Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 10, 2018 · 62 comments

  1. I sold a number of things including a locally made silkscreened pillow, as well as Lenox snowman figurine that I picked up for 18¢ at the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill bins. I also listed a couple more items such as a Dyson vacuum cleaner canister/filter and a North Face backpack. All these items (other than the pillow, which was $2.99 from a regular Goodwill) were bought at the bins. Yes, I had to scrub down the Dyson canister and the backpack, but they’re now as good as new. There’s gold in them-thar bins! Yee-haw!
  2. I mended a pair of hand knit socks that I’d set aside at least six months ago, as they had a hole that was likely to worsen with wear. They’re not perfect, but since zero percent of my friends and family spend time scrutinizing the bottoms of my socks, they’re now good to go. I feel like I got a brand new pair of socks for free!
  3. I mixed up a big ol’ pot of chili, which included some browned bulk sausage that I’d stuck into the freezer last month. I also threw in some random Chick-fil-A dipping sauces leftover from when I stopped by for a freebie over the summer. It added an extra zip, and there’s juuuust enough left to pack up for my next work lunch. Needless to say, I started with bulk-purchased dry beans.
  4. I set up our garbage picked Christmas tree that I pulled out of a dumpster three (four?) years ago. It came from a real estate company that had shuttered its doors, so I suspect that my tree lived its previous life staging houses for sale during the Christmas season. I never thought I’d been an artificial tree enthusiast, as Oregon supplies a large percentage of Christmas trees to the U.S., but I gotta say that getting rid of an annual purchase is pretty sweet. I’m in full support of anything that banishes a recurring expense! 
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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.

{ 62 comments }

Happiness Project Giveaway!

by Katy on December 7, 2018 · 295 comments

This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Janelle!

Want an opportunity to win a copy of the special 10th anniversary edition of Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project?” For those living under a rock over the past decade, (which frankly, kind of sounds like bliss) The Happiness Project is Rubin’s #1 best seller in which she chronicled a 12-month period of her life, meticulously testing out different methods to invite more happiness into her daily routines.

This 10th anniversary edition includes additional material such as:

  • An interview with Rubin with updates on the past ten years of her life.

  • An excerpt from her book The Four Tendencies. (Which I highly recommend.)

  • A guide to the many free resources that Rubin offers in the areas of happiness, good habits, and human nature.

Here’s how to enter:

Write your name in the comments section. That’s it. 

I’ll randomly pick one winner on Monday, December 10th at 9 P.M. PST. U.S. residents only, one entry per person.

Good luck in your happiness endeavors!

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.

{ 295 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 5, 2018 · 82 comments

  1. I sold a few things through eBay and Facebook Marketplace including two Christmas sweaters, two Elf on a Shelf plushies, a baby sized Patagonia coat and a collectable figure. Almost everything was bought for next to nothing at the Goodwill outlet. Seriously, how much can a 12-month sized down jacket cost when paying $1.29 per pound?!

    I ran out of padded manilla envelopes, so I texted my neighbor and she happily gave me an armload of her used supplies!

  2. I’ve been really good about cooking at home and resisting the siren song of Portland’s endless restaurants/food carts. My son’s next college tuition payment is due at the beginning of January. We don’t have enough set aside quite yet, but you know I’ll be hustling my tuchus off between now and then. (You know, as in “side hustle,” not the other meaning of hustle. Just thought I should clarify.)

    Luckily we’ve winnowed down who we exchange presents with over the past ten years, so Christmas gifting shouldn’t be too painful. If you’re unhappy with your family’s gifting expectations, I suggest that you plant that seed for 2019’s holiday season sooner rather than later.

  3. I finished reading an advance copy of Joshua Becker’s newest book titled, The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life. You likely know Becker as the guy behind Becoming Minimalist, which is a website “designed to inspire others to pursue their greatest passions by owning fewer possessions.” I don’t identify myself as a strict minimalist, although I do keep a tight eye on how much stuff my house contains, and like to think that I keep a balance between too much stuff and “why does your house echo?” (My mother complains that my house echoes. It doesn’t.)

    I enjoy reading books on minimalism, as there’s always a new idea or inspiring viewpoint to keep me on track. This one did not disappoint.

  4. I drove 200 miles to pick my son up from college today, and even though I made sure to eat before leaving, I became hungry verging on hangry on the way home. (Can I just say that I love the word “hangry?” I wish I’d known about it during the years of parenting children who’d go from normal to inconsolable whenever an dusting of hunger entered their lives.)

    Hyperaware of budgetary limitations, I made a decision to drive through a McDonald’s. After all, their coffees are a buck apiece and there’s usually a $1 burger available through their app. My son also wanted a coffee so I ordered the largest drip coffee and asked them to put it into two cups. (50¢ coffee hack, people!) So for a budget friendly $2, I downed a increasingly necessary burger and my son and I enjoyed coffees. (Before anyone has a fit that I frequented a McDonald’s, let this be an example of how real life can get in the way of one’s loftiest ambitions.)

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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.

{ 82 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 28, 2018 · 90 comments

  1. I took a groovy vintage light fixture and magazine rack into a neighborhood shop, and received $60 for my efforts. This is a big deal, as I normally slog through the work of photographing, describing and then waiting on buyers in order to sell my thrifted items. However, learning that I can simply bring a new category of stuff into a nearby store for immediate compensation is a game changer. I already do this for certain categories such as Thule and Yakima bike rack component pieces, (Thank you, ReRack store!) but this is a better, stronger, faster method for my reselling side gig.

    I also sold a pair of Furby slippers in less than 24 hours from bought to sold. Cha-ching! 

  2. I cooked up a huge pot of turkey noodle soup using the leftover Thanksgiving carcass and various tidbits from the fridge. I’ll likely throw the majority into the freezer for when the words “leftover turkey” are no longer an expletive.

  3. I returned a library book that was only one day late, I arranged not one, but two (!!) Goodwill thrifting play dates, I picked up a few miscellaneous items for resale, (gotta replenish the merchandise!) my husband added 2% milk into a container of whipping cream for use as coffee creamer and I walked into Trader Joes and bought nothing more than the bananas, plain yogurt and lunch meat from my list. A Herculean effort during Candy Cane Joe-Joe season.

  4. I’d heard rumors for years about free legal services through my employer, specifically will preparation. I realized that I could just call human resources, which I finally did this morning. I’m glad I did, because the instructions on how to access the information sounded a little something like this:

    “Go to this website you’ve never heard of. Now scroll down past where the page should end and click the carousel until an unrelated link shows up, click on that and now login in. Scroll past 23 links and then hover over the word “¢§∞¨˙©©∂´£˜¨•¨†®´´∂®†¥. Any questions?”

    I did eventually find the information on free will preparation, as well as other free services such as “letters of complaint, internet law forms and personal service agreements.”

    I guess I should give everyone fair warning to not cross me from here on out, as I now have unlimited access to intimidating legal letters of complaint. This is going to be fun.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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.

{ 90 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 26, 2018 · 61 comments

  1. I sold a few items through eBay, including a new-in-box NBA robe, a sparkly Barbie outfit, a load of midcentury tapered table legs, a Hanna Andersson jacket, three Starbucks mugs and some miscellaneous board game pieces. Needless to say, all packaging was on its second (or third) life.

    Curious about whether your items are worth listing on eBay? Check out this piece I wrote for ClarkHoward.com.

  2. My son was home from college for Thanksgiving break, so we drove up to my father’s Mt. Hood cabin so he could spend some time with his grandparents. We broke up the hour-long trip with a stop into the Sandy, Oregon Goodwill, where my son picked out a new looking corduroy shirt and I pounced on a leather footstool that was the exact match to my husband’s Lane brand armchair. (Seriously folks, it’s the same brand, style and color!) I’d picked up a similar-ish footstool awhile back, but its vinyl had begun peeling like crazy which looked like crap.

    Goodwill was selling the chair/footstool combo for just $6.99, but I chose to just buy the footstool as that’s all that I needed. And since the price was so reasonable, I didn’t even attempt to bargain them down.

    I have a theory that every item ever manufactured eventually shows up at Goodwill, and so far this theory has yet to be disproven.

  3. I didn’t look for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals on the internet. 50% off is still 50% that you’re paying. My husband and I have had an extremely expensive year with his medical bills and the kids’ college tuition. Now is not the time loosen any purse strings. Plus, there’s nothing we need. If anything, we need less.

    Instead, we’ve been completely content gorging on enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers and taking full advantage of the free opportunities that present themselves.

  4. I spent five days in New York City helping my sister move. (She’s in an intensive graduate school program, which limits her time resources.) My mother booked the trip, so my only related expenses were $25 to ship my suitcase and a few random extras such as gasoline for the truck, a single airport meal, a couple slices of pizza and one diner breakfast. It was a challenging visit, made no better by a big ol’ snowstorm, but I’m proud of the amount that we did accomplish.

    For reference as to how focused this trip was, I drove a carload of my sister’s stuff to Goodwill and didn’t step foot into the store!! Shocking.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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.

{ 61 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 17, 2018 · 133 comments

  1. I sold a board game, a vintage toy and a pair of shoes through Facebook Marketplace, as well as a pair of slippers through NextDoor.com. All items were cheapie thrift store finds.

  2. I also picked up an extra shift at the hospital and confirmed that I’m on track to work enough hours to earn a bonus after the first of the year. (I get a $1.10 per-hour-worked bonus, but only if I work over 800 hours in a calendar year.) My friend once worked a few hours shy of her 800 hours, and her error put the fear in me. And since my son’s next college tuition payment is due at the beginning of January, it couldn’t come at a better time.

  3. I’ve been making sure to keep a variety of cooked beans in the fridge for use in layered bowl meals, which are my favorite. White beans, black beans, pinto beans, they’re all so cheap, tasty and healthy! I’ve been watching YouTube videos from Stacey Flowers recently, and am inspired by her $50 per month food budget. (It’s rare that I find people who beat me in the financial extremity game!) Lots of what she calls “Buddha bowls,” which are essentially beans with easy add-ins.

    I’m working the next few days and have already pre-assembled my meals, which will be guessed it . . . mixed beans bowls.

  4. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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.

{ 133 comments }

I’m going to describe a situation that I know is far from unique to my personal experience.

I create tasty meals based on bulk purchased dried beans, I pick up every coin, (even the grubby pennies) I source my clothing from the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet or neighborhood free piles, I dumpster dive at dorm move outs, I pack leftovers for work meals, I stalk the library for reading material, my haircuts are all freebies from Supercuts’ new employees and I repair and mend anything that promises to last another day, another month, another year.

None of these things will individually ensure financial independence, but together they make a difference. An opportunity for financial breathing room.

Mind you, these are all sacrifices that I’m happy to incorporate into my life. These choices allow me to pay cash for my kids’ college educations, they make it possible to throw 16% of my income into retirement and to step away from the anxiety of a paycheck to paycheck existence. Plus, I firmly believe that over manufacture and purchasing of consumer goods is an environmental nightmare as well as a toxic mindset. So choosing this lifestyle pairs well with my beliefs.

However . . . it can be exhausting. It’s satisfying when it results in financial freedom, but it’s frustrating to save 50¢ here or $2 there’s when an unexpected $538 dental bill or yet another medical bill infesting my mailbox.

I feel like I’m celebrating a found nickel while simultaneously throwing hundred dollar bills into the abyss.

2018 has been a year of intense expenses with my husband having two (two!) surgeries, as well as kids in college and the general expenses related to home ownership and the audacity to stay on top of dental care.

So do I give up on my money saving efforts?

Nope. I renew my library books, grab my reusable bags (that save 6¢ apiece!) and head out to the inconvenient discount grocery store across town. I sell an item or two through Facebook Marketplace and pack up a bean based meal for tomorrow’s work lunch.

Do you feel like your scrimping and saving is hardly worth the effort when life is full of endless high cost obstacles? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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.

{ 88 comments }

Today’s Five Frugal Things blog post is an overview of the errands I ran in my neighborhood this afternoon. They all have the same theme, which was to:

A) Get stuff out of the house.
B) Earn a bit of money/avoid losing money through library fines.

  1. I brought a book and DVD set to the library as the DVD was due. I also went up to the customer service desk and had the librarian explain their cultural passes, which turn out to be called My Discovery Pass, and allow patrons to “Visit local museums and cultural institutions for free.” Unfortunately, almost all the passes have been given out for the rest of 2018. However, there were still free movie passes to the historic Hollywood Theater, so I’ll take a look at my schedule so my husband and I can enjoy an evening of free entertainment.

    And you already know that I’ll be hitting the library website on January 1st to see what’s available for 2019!

    This frugal hack may seem specific to Portland, Oregon, but my research tells me that many library systems have similar programs. Please visit your local library (or library website) to discover what free stuff is available to you!

  2. I brought two books into Powell’s Bookstore that I’d received for free from a local bookstore reading. (They weren’t exactly “free,” as I did pay $10 for the event, which was a reading/talk from Cheryl Strayed.) I received $6 in store credit, which’ll come in handy towards holiday gifts. I did read one of the books, (an excellent collection of travel essays) but know myself well enough to admit the other one was destined to gather dust.

  3. I then walked over to the CD Game Exchange store and sold two unopened blu ray movies that had been gifts. They gave me $12 in store credit, which I’ll also use towards holiday gifts.

  4. My last errand was to return an adorable vintage kitchen timer to the Boutique Goodwill, as it had been a unapologetic impulse purchase. (Seriously, wasn’t it the cutest?!) Because even though it looked freaking adorable in my vintage kitchen, it was still destined to become yet another piece of clutter in my home. Luckily, Goodwill has an excellent return policy, and I’m now in possession of a $10 store credit to use at any Portland area Goodwill retail store.

  5. I didn’t buy (or sell) a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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 }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 29, 2018 · 64 comments

  1. My mother and I celebrated her 76th mother’s birthday by indulging in a Birthday Day of Adventures. (We’d gone to dinner last week, but I hadn’t given her a physical gift.)

    We ended up at the Linn County Historical Museum located in Brownsville, Oregon. Sure, it’s an hour and a half from Portland, but I’d briefly been there once and knew it was right up my mother’s alley. (Plus their suggested donation policy brings the admission price down to a reasonable amount.) Needless to say, it was a hit. My mother made fast friends with the curator Joni, who even snuck us in for a free quick and dirty tour of the 137-year-old Moyer House, which would’ve normally set us back $5 apiece.

    The funny thing is that I’d just been talking about how I’d always wanted to do one of those cheesy ole western photo shoots, but was too cheap to pull the trigger. ( <– Such a great pun!) And wonder of all wonders, this museum had free replica pioneer clothing available for dress ups, photo ops and shenanigans! For free! Needless, to say . . . things got silly.

    We also worked in some thrifting, (shocker, right?) hitting both the Goodwill Outlet here in Portland as well as the regular one in Albany, which has recently risen to the top to become my favorite store. (Hello, $12.99 midcentury modern desk!)

    I did pick up a few things to sell, (Snoopy mugs, Ugg slippers, a vintage macrame hanging light, a framed painting and a Nightmare Before Christmas plush) as well as a couple items to keep, (two Williams Sonoma dish towels and a specific round stacking stool that I always keep an eye out for as they’re infinitely practical as end tables/seating/bedside tables.)

  2. I sold a pair of Rothy shoes and a vintage macrame kit on eBay, as well as a pair of Danskos and (hopefully today) a pair of vintage Snoopy waterskis through Facebook Marketplace. I also gave away an Edible Arrangements kit and an embroidered pillowcase through my Buy Nothing Group.

  3. My husband has been out out town all weekend, so I cooked up a big batch of bulk purchased brown rice and black beans and have been assembling meals from it over the past couple of days. Simple, cheap and yummy, especially since I buy Costco sized jugs of chunky salsa at The Grocery Outlet for just $2.99 apiece. I could see myself being one of those people with a $50 monthly food budget if I lived alone.

  4. I finished reading my library copy of Money Diaries: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Your Finances & Everybody Elses, I rounded up a number of items I’ve been meaning to sell on eBay and actually listed them, I watched random dumpster diving YouTube videos while listing on eBay, my husband fixed our refrigerator, which was leaking water from a broken ice maker, (it’s 20 years old, and I imagine that many others would use this issue an an excuse to buy a new one) I ordered cheap pizza for dinner as our kitchen was a mess of leaking water and sopping wet towels, I used a $5-off-$15 Target coupon plus an e-coupon to buy all our Halloween candy, I saved the cost of a stamp for my mail-in ballot as I’d brought my daughter into the election office to change her address, (we Oregonians vote by mail) and I reused second hand packaging for all my eBay sales.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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.

{ 64 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 21, 2018 · 104 comments

  1. My mother signed up for a booth at a local school’s craft fair, and asked me to come work it with her. I’m not particularly crafty, but there’s enough time between now and November 9th to figure out a few things that I can sell.

    Hmm . . . are rocks with googly eyes still a thing?

  2. Now that my husband is healing from his ankle/foot surgery, I went ahead and gave away his thrifted shower stool through my local Buy Nothing Group to someone who said that she couldn’t “stand long enough to shower & would love such a gift.” It would’ve been easy to shove this bulky item into our attic in the name of “but we might need this again some day.” Instead, I put it into the hands of someone who’ll use it, which not only saves them money, but also keeps a useful item in circulation.

    There are countless practical things stashed away in our homes. Can you imagine what would happen if we all worked to put these items directly into the hands of people who needed them?

  3. We just shelled out a little over $1000 in college fees that we hadn’t been expecting, which is never a fun day. (My son picked up an extra class and my daughter had some lingering college fees.)

    However, we have money set aside for exactly this situation. It does mean that we now have $1000 less tucked aside for winter term’s looming deadline, but we have until January 1st to amass the next payment.

    How is this a “frugal thing?” My thousands of “frugal things” make this possible.

  4. I sold a curb picked chair through Facebook Marketplace, I returned a book to the library, I made a huge pot of white bean sausage/kale soup instead even though I was exhausted and felt lousy, we were treated to a lovely meal out with my mother to celebrate her 76th birthday, I scrubbed my mildew-infested shower curtain instead of replacing it, (seriously, I’d let it get disgustingly bad!) I replanted lettuce seeds after harvesting everything, I raked leaves in my backyard and crammed them into the yard debris can that we share with our next door neighbor, (which saves us $182 per year) I stopped into New Seasons Market and enjoyed a free tiny coffee and food samples, I started a new library book and I’m using a menstrual cup instead of disposable (and expensive) products.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

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.

{ 104 comments }