The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!

A recent post on Apartment Therapy asked readers for their best method to refinish metal leg caps, which reminded me of a project I’d been meaning to tackle.

Remember this midcentury bookshelf that I picked up a few months back? (I think I paid something crazy like $2.99 for it!) It had loads of neeto-jets 45° angles, but the metal cap feet were unforgivably rusted out and were hardly worth highlighting.

However, I still had the gold paint pen from my frame project, so I taped off a leg and got to work. I was unsure how it would look, so I started with one of the back legs.

Rusty Feet

Of course, me being myself, I reused the blue painter’s tape with each leg as I am:

  1. Cheap.
  2. Loathe to be wasteful.
  3. Obsessive about how long I can go before replacing new stuff like stupidly expensive painter’s tape.

Blue Tape

The project was actually quite fun, as I set up up in front of an episode of Alias. (J.J. Abrams being my second favorite producer/director after Joss Whedon.)

Hello, Jennifer Garner Sydney Bristow, why no wacky wig today?

Shelf - before

And here’s how incredible the metal leg caps looked after the caresses of my magical golden pen.

Like the necklaces that adorn the chest of Mr. T, nothing but pure golden goodness is allowed.

“I pity the fool who lets their metal leg caps go rusty!”

Happy Feet

I also went ahead and gave the wood a nourishing rubdown with my trusty Aspercreme Restore-A-Finish, which coaxes finished wood  from dry to glossy, while also minimizing scratches and gouges.

Here’s a gratuitous detail shot of the bookshelf.

Hello, lover . . .

Detail Bookshelf

And here’s the shelf all lovely and refurbished.

Now, if all home improvement projects could be this cheap and easy . . .

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 10 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 25, 2016 · 49 comments

Catherine Holm listing

  1. I sold two items that I’d gleaned from garage sale leftover piles. (A cloth diapering kit for $15 and a glider rocking chair for $50.)
  2. I listed a garage sale leftover pair of figure skates on Craigslist, as well as a Goodwill saucepan on eBay.
  3. I helped my mother finish cleaning one of her guest cottages.
  4. I had nine people at my dinner table last night, which increased to twelve for dessert. My sister and I made a huge pot of chili using black beans cooked in the slow cooker. We then put bowls of fun toppings out for people to customize their meal. The day was pretty hot, so I put my crock pot on the front porch in order to avoid heating up the house. (Today I’m cooking garbanzo beans on the front porch, which is probably starting to confuse my mail carrier.)
  5. I picked up a prescription at Walgreen’s last night and remembered to use my HSA Visa card. Because I used the drive through, there was zero temptation to pick up any impulse items.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 49 comments }

Be The Pink Shoes

by Katy on August 24, 2016 · 20 comments

be the pink shoes

In a world where the pressure to conform is mighty, I present to you this message:

“Be the pink shoes.”

 

Make your life choices without fear of The Joneses, and you’ll discover freedom.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 20 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 22, 2016 · 97 comments

  1. I made a quick stop into Safeway and noticed a coupon next to the cash register for 88¢ eggs. I asked the clerk if eggs were on sale, and she answered that neighborhood customers had received the coupon in the mail. I commented that I lived in the neighborhood, (which I do) and she told me to go grab some eggs. I was able to buy two dozen and am now set for the next couple of weeks.
  2. I drove across town to pick up my sister from her friend’s house, and we stopped in at our father’s house afterwards. He’d just baked bread and sent us home with a fresh loaf.
  3. My visiting niece was feeling poorly all day, but had perked up by the evening. I asked her if she wanted to leave the house for some fresh air and she readily agreed. I took her to a big local park (Mt. Tabor) where I let her use my phone to hunt for Pokémon. We had a lovely time without spending a penny.
  4. I turned in another Clark Howard article, I put together three Craigslist listings, I signed up for September hospital shifts, I watered plants using my family’s abandoned water bottles and I used a free car wash coupon for my bigger car, making sure to drive through with a full passenger load for full entertainment value. “Release the kraken!”
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 97 comments }

Over The Rainbow at ShopGoodwill.com

by Katy on August 22, 2016 · 14 comments

I recently had the opportunity to poke through the ShopGoodwill.com facility for Goodwill Industries of The Columbia Willamette. My tour guide was the ever knowledgable Dale Emanuel, known simply as “Goodwill Dale” at my house, as she shares a name with my husband. She and I go way back, remember when she gave me a behind the scenes tour of the main Goodwill store?

For your visual reference, here we are taking a selfie in front of one of the pay-by-the-pound outlet bins. #friendshipgoals

13091888_10209307266695829_7206492184657325747_n

The facility itself is an enormous warehouse, located right next door to the Hillsboro Goodwill Outlet store. You could almost miss the entrance, as it’s unmarked. When you enter, you experience a surreal Wizard of Oz moment as the world turns from black and white to color, or more realistically from a suburban parking lot to a warehouse piled to the ceiling with priceless treasures. (Okay, okay . . . it’s actually “treasures neatly stacked on shelves.” But what kind of dull visual is that?) Either way, there are treasures galore!

I have to admit that my first response was dismay, as this building holds all the stuff I normally scout for when thrifting. But I quickly reminded myself that Goodwill’s mission is “To provide vocational opportunities to people with barriers to employment.” Not “To provide underpriced items for Katy Wolk-Stanley.” As Dale puts it, “To further maximize the value of donations.”

For those who are unfamiliar with ShopGoodwill.com, let me get you up to speed. ShopGoodwill is a multi-regional non-profit online auction site that sells both rare and popular goods. So although this particular facility is the largest in the nation, it’s one of many that coordinate their efforts.

Or more precisely:

“Participating Goodwill’s from across the country offer for auction on the site a wide array of art, antiques and collectibles as well as new and nearly new items pulled from their vast inventories of donated goods. From unique one-of-a-kind items to estate pieces, the depth of resources is enormous. Revenues from these auction sales fund Goodwill’s education, training and job placement programs for people with disabilities and other barriers.”

Once I got over myself, I began to enjoy in the wonder of it all. Everywhere I looked were hyper-organized treasures. (Sorry, am I using the word “treasure” too much?) Wagner and Griswold cast iron pans, Pendleton wool blankets, antiques and collectables, electronics, designer goods, American Girl dolls, Texas Instrument calculators, musical instruments, Dyson vacuum cleaners, Roombas, toys, books, Legos, jewelry and pretty much anything else you could dare to dream of!

I was quickly introduced to the dream team of Joshua Peterson, e-commerce operations manager and assistant-manager Heather. Of course, there’s Dale again.

13124553_10209307266735830_8344906481907930134_n

I learned that certain categories of donations are earmarked for special treatment. For example, American flags are sent to The American Legion and taxidermy animals are donated to a wildlife educational center.

Hello there, kitty. Are you ready to serve an educational purpose?

13096275_10209307262175716_4664429573352996484_n

A large portion of the warehouse is dedicated to GoodwillBooks.com, which runs the gamut from bestsellers to rare.

Goodwillbooks

Of course, I took a picture. What you can’t see in this photo is that I’m pulling a Buffy The Vampire Slayer book from the shelf. I guess I should have clarified how to frame the photo before handing my phone over.

11220813_10209307251735455_3574526741577814870_n

So pretty!

13082612_10209307262215717_7630924726022290588_n

I also learned that not a single donated book goes to the landfill, and that Goodwill foots the bill for recycling all unsaleable books. (In 2015 alone, Goodwill donated 28,000+ books through the “Book of My Own” program.)

Legos and jewelry are big sellers, which both have a 100% “sell-through rate.”

13100805_10209307262255718_8992281793369003976_n

All the while, the 90 employees are busy photographing, researching and listing the donations. (400 – 500 per day, approximately 3,500 at any one time!) You can see a lighted photo station in the background of this picture. Those large white plastic bags? They each hold a wedding dress!

WP_20160412_12_33_16_Pro

Because my area’s Goodwill receives anything and everything through their 100+ donation stations, ShopGoodwill.com sells everything you could possibly ever think of. Recent items have included:

  • A 4-foot square soapstone Taj Mahal, lit from within and weighing “at least 600 pounds.”
  • A human skull marked “for scientific purposes.”
  • A full size weaving loom.
  • A life size Yoda.
  • A rare color change sapphire brooch.
  • An autographed Amelia Earhart book.
  • This fancy-to-the-schmancy chair, which I think evokes a fabulous Donatella Versace vibe.

Fancy schmancy chair

As the manager Joshua Peterson put it, “Not a week goes by that I don’t see something that I’ve never seen before.” (Not surprising considering that Portland area Goodwills receive over 218 million pounds of annual donations!)

Listings start at $5, with an average sale around $40, so there are opportunities for some great bargains. You can even narrow your search to your local region in order to arrange a pickup.

This site is perfect for all the people who complains that my Goodwills must be better than their Goodwills. Because ShopGoodwill.com is for everyone. Well . . . except for those in the taxidermy market. Don’t believe me? Then click here to scope out featured items.

May the thrifting odds be ever in your favor.

This blog post may read like a sponsored post, but it isn’t. I promise. I just *really* like Goodwill.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 14 comments }

Free stuff

Yesterday my sister and I drove around a wealthy area that had just completed a neighborhood garage sale day. The “free piles” were abundant and we were not shy about doing a little “shopping.”

We brought home:

  • A new looking Lululemon hoodie for my niece.
  • A $300 dress for my niece.
  • A gliding rocker that needed a quick scrub down.
  • A Gap winter coat that included two quarters and a Burt’s Bees lip balm. (Kept the money, tossed the lip balm.)
  • A child’s life vest.
  • Two desk lamps.
  • A brand new pair of Danskos.
  • A spatula.
  • A blue vintage Ball jar.
  • A new looking pair of girl’s ice skates.
  • A lot of miscellaneous clothing.
  • A wooden toy.
  • A Cynthia Rowley comforter and matching sham.

I’ve already put together three Craigslist listings, added the 50¢ to my Found Change Challenge jar and washed the coat. You know my #collegefund will be a little happier by the end of the week!

Thank you, anonymous garage sale sellers!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 24 comments }

Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will

by Katy on August 20, 2016 · 18 comments

My sister and her kids are in town, which for the Wolk-Stanley sisters means Goodwill adventure day!

Of course, there were the usual suspects such as the wooden shoes sold to gullible Dutch tourists. Apparently they’re not so cherished once they hit American soil, as they inhabit every single thrift store. Always.

Exhibit A:

Wooden shoe

Exhibit B:

wooden shoe 2

Exhibit C:

wooden shoe 3

Not to take a backseat are the inevitable targeted savings banks.

For College Cash:

college cash

For a Harley Fund:

Harley fund

Or simply for your next Get Rich Quick Scheme:

Get rich quick

But then I spied this “Master Piece” liquor dispenser. Notice anything odd?

liquor dispenser

How about now?

liquor dispenser close up

Perhaps you need a close up?

liquor dispenser closer up

How about an extreme close up? Mountain Dew anyone? 😉

liquor dispenser closest up

Perfect for a fun selfie!

liquor dispenser selfie

Of course, I was able to snag a treasure, which was this adorable vintage Catherine Holm Lotus Flower saucepan. Soon to be available at an eBay near you!

Catherine Holm saucepan

Oh, Goodwill, you never fail to provide!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 18 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 19, 2016 · 46 comments

My Twinn

  1. My sister is visiting and wants to learn how to sell on eBay. I took that as an opportunity to list my thrifted Goodwill doll and show her how easy it is to put together an eBay listing.
  2. I mopped my kitchen last night using a garbage picked Swiffer and a pair of those overly puffy socks which stretch perfectly over the mop head. The socks were a gift from my charge nurses and work perfectly with a Swiffer. (The true savings is that I rarely mop my kitchen, but that’s a blog post for another day. 😉 )
  3. I was able to hang three loads of laundry on the clothesline yesterday.
  4. My sister brought food both as gifts, (a loaf of homemade bread) and leftovers from packed plane food. (Trader Joe’s snack-age.) She wants me to add that she also brought tomatoes from her neighbor’s garden plus hard boiled eggs and string cheese!
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 46 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 18, 2016 · 84 comments

 Seasoning salt

1. I was annoyed with how enormous the pour holes were on my bottle of Dollar Tree seasoning salt, so I covered four of the holes with electrical tape. Now I can enjoy my eggs without feeling like a deer at a salt lick. Or conversely, like that kid from the original Star Trek who killed people for their salt. Remember him? So sad without his salt.

Edit: This is not the salt sucking Star Trek creature. I am deeply ashamed to be outed as not knowing the original Star Trek inside and out. Please forgive me.

Salt kid from Star Trek

2.  I went to Fred Meyer (Kroger) last night, but actually took the time to load e-coupons onto my card before leaving the house. Just a couple bucks of savings, but every penny counts. Right?

3.  My mother brought me a large bag of plums that her friend had given her for free. I immediately put them into the fridge since we have fruit flies. #PlumTart

4.  My sister and her kids are flying in from New York City tonight, and will stay with us for a couple of weeks. I’ll only work one shift while she’s here which I only have the luxury to do because I am so frugal the rest of the year. (I’m in an on-call position, which means I get no sick or vacation pay.)

5.  We’re heading into a heat wave, and our second floor gets pretty hot after a couple days of high temperatures. We don’t have central air conditioning, so I was feeling bad for my nephew who will be sharing a room with my younger son. (Note that I don’t feel bad for my son, as he’s survived 18 summers in his room with nothing more than a window fan.) My mother had offered a window air conditioner from a room she no longer uses. Instead, she remembered that she actually had a brand new air conditioner that had never been installed. My husband and I drove over, picked it up and installed it that night. Now my son and his cousin will have a nice comfortable room for sleeping and hanging out.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 84 comments }

The post first appeared over at Clark Howard.com.

Unless you live off grid without the influence of media, your children are likely to have favorite characters that steer their wants and needs. Be it Disney’s Frozen, Star Wars or Cars, there are endless products emblazoned with these characters. You can easily spend thousands of dollars indulging these purchases, because what’s cuter than a $299 Cars bed or even this $3999 Millennium Falcon version? Add in the bedding, pillows, posters, backpacks, lighting, wastebaskets, rugs and artwork, and you’ve invested a ton of money in this theme.

Instead I recommend that you choose attractive but neutral stuff for your kids that will outlast each new whim. You can certainly add in a few accessories to complement their current interest. Pillows, posters and a couple of stuffed animals won’t set you back much, plus they’re much easier to change out when your kids’ interests naturally evolve.

I spoke to one mom who chose a neutral high quality backpack for her kindergarten age son, and then added a “Herbie The Love Bug” patch for customization. As his interests expanded, she would pick out the stitches and sew on a new one, and by fifth grade her son’s five-year-old backpack featured a “Beatles” patch. She explained that “I doubt he would have wanted to carry a Cars themed backpack as an eleven year old, and I doubt a character backpack would have held up anyway.”

One tip is to only buy character items that a child would naturally grows out of, like T-shirts, pajamas and shoes. So go right ahead and buy that Frozen T-shirt for your four year old, but forgo the coordinating comforter, lamp and iPhone case that’s sure to embarrass your daughter come middle school.

But what happens when your child hits puberty and ages out of their former obsession, and their formerly adored rooms are suddenly deemed as “babyish?” You’ve spent a bundle crafting a theme to their each and every possession which is now more embarrassing than dad’s incessant knock-knock jokes. Worry not, as there are a number of solutions.

Donate to your favorite charity

Whether you’re a fan of Goodwill, Salvation Army or a local non-profit, you can always donate outgrown stuff for a tax deduction. This Salvation Army value guide clarifies the amount you can legally deduct from your taxes, so make sure to write a detailed list of every donated item for a maximum deduction.

Sell on eBay or Craigslist 

Selling on eBay and Craigslist has never been easier, especially now that most of us have a camera and internet access built into our mobile devices. Create good pictures, take measurements and accurately describe each item and you might be able to get at least get some of your money back.

Give it the slip

Slip that Princess or Star Wars comforter into a duvet cover like one of these inexpensive Ikea versions. That’s what I did when my now 18-year-old son outgrew his love for Teletubbies, and to further bring down the price, I even picked it up at my local Goodwill.

The great cover up

Decoupage over childish themes using Mod-Podge. Here’s a Miss Spider’s Tea Party wastebasket which I updated by covering with vintage maps. This transformation not only got my son through his teen year wastebasket needs, but it also accompanied him to college. (This may seem inconsequential, but recent studies suggest that the average college student is spending $899.18 to outfit their dorm rooms. Add that on top of room, board and tuition, and suddenly that wastebasket from home sounds like a great idea!)

Conclusion

By choosing to not spend excessively on stuff that needs to be repurchased every few years, you’re able to keep your money available for the things that really matter. Although it’s tempting to indulge your kids’ every whim, you lead by example when teach that possessions are not disposable, and that smart people spend wisely.

This singular choice will save you hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars throughout your son or daughter’s childhood.

Now, if we could only figure out a way to update dad’s knock-knock jokes!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 23 comments }