Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 18, 2018 · 31 comments

I know that my blogging “schedule” has been terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad lately, and for that I apologize. For years I blogged seven days per week and was happy to do so, but lately I’ve been putting my energy into having the kids home for summer as well as pesky things like work and screen addiction having fun with my Instagram account.

And now . . . with a tremendous and unnecessary amount of preamble, I present to you . . . two days in a row of blogging!

  1. I combined a dull errand with meeting up with a long time blogging buddy who I’d never actually met in person. She texted to let me know she was in the area and asked if I had time to get together. Luckily my day’s tasks weren’t time specific, so I asked if she wanted to accompany me to The Grocery Outlet. (Life as a semi-successsful blogger is nothing but glamour and glitz!) Luckily, she was game for frugal shenanigans and we set off for adventure.

    I scored big, including 99¢ rounds of brie, 33¢ containers of sorbet and a single 99¢ 1/2-pound bag of shredded cheese.

    Grocery bargains and a semblance of a social life? Score!

  2. I was texted a RedBox code for a free movie rental, which prompted my son and I to walk over to 7-11 to pick out our evening’s entertainment. Luckily they had a copy of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity Wars, which was my son’s first choice. (My 73rd choice, but parenting involves sacrifice.) We watched it last night and you know we’ll be returning it before any fees accrue.

    Free movie? yes, please!

  3. I assembled a pan of enchiladas last night which included:

    – corn tortillas leftover from my husband’s work event
    – kidney beans cooked from scratch
    – brown rice
    – the above shredded cheese
    – some leftover salsa from the back of the fridge
    – a generous shake of corn from a 99¢ bag in the freezer
    – a $1.49 can of El Pato green enchilada sauce from The Grocery Outlet

    Super tasty, frugal and generally healthy. There were no complaints.

  4. I picked up library holds, returned a book that wouldn’t renew, my son and I listed our free curbside chair on Facebook Marketplace, we walked our errands instead of driving, I paid my son’s fall tuition, I found two pennies and a dime and I signed up for the next round of hospital shifts, thus ensuring that I’d have enough money to pay for bulk dried beans/college tuition.

  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.”

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{ 31 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 17, 2018 · 52 comments

  1. My husband had ankle surgery and I was able to thrift a new looking shower chair for him. (Plus we still have the Goodwill crutches leftover from his hip surgery.) Then when he got fitted for his “air boot,” I got the tech to give us the sturdy plastic bag packaging, as I could tell it was the perfect size and shape to put around his leg for showering! (It’s already shaped like a lower leg!) The medical bills are starting to invade the mailbox, but you know I’ll do everything within my power to maintain control of expenses.

    I know that many churches keep a stash of medical equipment available for loan, but we’re not church goers. However, this would be worth pursuing for those who do attend.

  2. My son and I were driving home from Costco last night and passed by what looked like a quality child’s wooden chair next to someone’s garbage. We took this as an opportunity to enjoy the evening air and walk through the neighborhood. Indeed the chair looked to be in excellent condition, so I encouraged my son to list it on Facebook Marketplace to earn a few extra bucks. (He’s going back to college this week and didn’t earn much money this summer.) I looked up the chair, which sells for $80, so I figure he should be able to get around $20 for it. People, this is free money!

  3. I’ve been watching YouTube videos of guys who practice urban extreme frugal hacking, specifically Living Bobby, Simon Wilson and London Hacks. Although their twenty-something dude lives differ greatly from my own established female existence, there’s still information to glean and food for thought. These three YouTubers live in New York City, Manchester and London, and since I’ve lived both in London and NYC, there’s a certain familiarity. But even if I hadn’t, there are still hacks to fit into my own routine.

    What have I incorporated for far? Downloading restaurant chain apps that give you a freebie just for signing up. Yesterday my son and I drove through Krispy Kreme and enjoyed a free pumpkin spice donut, and I have a free Dairy Queen Flurry just waiting for me!

    A lot of the hacks cross my ethical boundaries, (especial those from Simon Wilson, who’s a fan of sneaking into luxury hotels to enjoy their buffet breakfasts) but I still find it fascinating.

    I recommend watching the five short videos from Living Bobby on Turning $1 into $1000 in Five Days.

  4. My father’s neighbor has a fruitful apple tree, yet isn’t eating the apples, so my dad has been making pies and enjoying the bounty. (The neighbor told my father to take as many as he wanted.) My son and I stopped by the other day, and he asked me if I wanted any free apples. Umm . . . yes, please! I took enough to assemble a couple of apple crisps, and then stopped by again for more. Many of them require some creative carving to avoid the buggy/bruised bits, but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. And then while my son and I were walking last night I helped myself to handful of miniature yet delicious plums that littered a neighbor’s sidewalk!

    Although my discovery of free fruit was random, you can go to FallenFruit.org to locate your area’s free fruit that’s ripe for the gleaning.

  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.”

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{ 52 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 7, 2018 · 85 comments

  1. My husband, son and I drove our college junior’s belongings down to his off-campus apartment. It’s the same unit where he lived last year, but we save over $1200 by choosing a ten-month lease and emptying the apartment over the summer. School doesn’t start until September 24th, but my husband’s having surgery on his ankle/foot and we wanted to enlist his help before he became temporarily handicapped.

    We paid our son’s first month’s rent and appreciated that it was $300 less than normal, as I’d negotiated a repeat renter bonus. They’d offered this incentive to tenants who re-upped by a certain date. We missed the deadline, but I asked to get the bonus anyway, which they agreed to. It just goes to show that doesn’t hurt to ask for discounts!

    We didn’t buy anything new for the apartment, just set him back up with the same perfectly nice thrifted supplies from last year.

  2. I took a 12-hour shift of RN on-call for the hospital instead of staying at home without pay. (This happens when the labor and delivery unit is uncharacteristically slow.) I would have received time-and-a-half pay had they needed me, and was a worthwhile gamble even though it tethered me to being available to come in at a moment’s notice.

  3. I did another big shopping trip at Winco Foods. For those not familiar with this chain of no frills (and employee owned) grocery stores, you are missing out on some amazing bargains. The freshest of produce, an expansive bulk section and huge variety of stock make this store a bargain hunter’s dream. Plus, they refund you 6¢ per reusable bag that you bring from home!

    Here’s what I bought for $50.47

    – 1 box of brownie mix
    – 1 carton of whipping cream
    – 5 pounds of sugar
    – 5 pounds of flour
    – 18 eggs
    – 2 boxes of cereal
    – 1 loaf of bread
    – chicken breasts
    – kale
    – broccoli
    – tortilla chips
    – carrots
    – grapes
    – 1 red onion
    – 1 5-pound bag of red potatoes
    – oranges
    – bananas
    – 2-pound block of Tillamook cheese
    – cottage cheese
    – 2 mangos

  4. I finished a library copy of Less, by Andrew Sean Greer, I helped my mother clean her guest cottage between tenants, I listened to a couple of podcasts from Pour Not Poor, I gave away an ancient (think 1950s!) but perfectly functional mattress and boxspring set through our Buy Nothing Group, I put some classic monster movie DVDs on hold through my public library, my husband cleaned our gutters and I binged the Jack Ryan series through my mother’s Amazon Prime account.

  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.
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{ 85 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 3, 2018 · 69 comments

  1. My son and I wanted to watch a movie, and even though we have a Netflix membership (plus access to Hulu and Amazon Prime) we still went and rented a $4 movie. How is this frugal? Because we live close to the store Movie Madness, which not only stocks thousands upon thousands (upon thousands) of movies, but also houses the owner’s personal collection of movie costumes and props from movies ranging from ET to Alien. So for a mere $4 we were able to enjoy a museum level experience as well as a movie rental!

    This business was recently on the brink of failure, and was brought back to life through a successful crowdfunding campaign that ensured that this unique establishment will continue to serve our local community.

  2. I put together a goodie box for my nephew who just started college. I wanted to make it as spectacular as possible since I’d somehow flaked out on giving him a graduation gift, so I crammed a medium-rate USPS box with sweet and savory treats from Ikea and The Grocery Outlet. I then folded a handful of cash into a vintage silver box from the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet. (I have just one nephew and one niece, so I can afford to splash out when it comes time to gift giving.)

    None of these gifts conflict with my decision to not buy anything new, as consumables and cash pair well with a non-consumer lifestyle. He has zero use for plastic trinkets or low quality manufactured items, and what 18 year old on earth wouldn’t welcome a box full of cash and snacks?!

  3. I’ve been very good about cooking low cost meals from scratch, even though it’s immensely tempting to enjoy the many restaurants and food carts that Portland has to offer. Warm weather and the both kids at home invite a vacation mindset, but in the end I’ll be happy that I kept the food budget under control. Especially since my son’s apartment lease just kicked into gear and the next college tuition payment is due on October 1st.

    However, home cooking doesn’t have to boring, as evidenced by a recent fondue night that featured my homemade one-hour bread and the Tillamook cheese, beer, sausage and broccoli already in the refrigerator. The neighbors lent us their electric fondue pot and there were no complaints!

  4. My son and I watched a library DVD of Micmacs, I’m readying to send the same stuff I thrifted last year back to my son’s apartment, (no need to buy new stuff each year) I brought leftovers as work lunches, I drank the free so-so coffee at work, I ate a spotty brown banana, I used an ancient gift certificate to pick up a couple of cool 50¢ magazines at the Title Wave used library bookstore, I turned in my adult summer reading program card to the library, I got another free haircut from the Supercuts training center and I wore clothing multiple times between washings.

  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.
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{ 69 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 28, 2018 · 79 comments

  1. I texted my friend Lise to see if she was interested in walking to the library together, as I had an interlibrary loan book that was sadly non-renewable. Luckily, her schedule was open, so we met up for the easy half-mile stroll. Along the way I dropped off a few magazines at a Little Free Library, bought a goofy looking carrot at New Season’s, picked up a library hold of Emily Giffin’s “All I Ever Wanted” and then scored a Lucky Day copy of Andrew Sean Greer’s “Less,” which was very exiting as I’d been #333 on the hold list. The two of us enjoyed a lovely chat, and I was able to cross off “have a social life” from my mental to-do list. (Mind you, the two of us had gone to the Goodwill Outlet the day before, which categorizes me as a genuine social bad ass!)

  2. My son and I returned two huge bags of cans to the grocery store to redeem our 10¢ deposits. However, seeing all of them together made me realize that the flavored cans of seltzers that had once been a treat has become a problem. Not only because it’s essentially bottled water, (which I only support for those without a safe drinking supply) but also because it’s kind of expensive, especially when compared to tap water. It’s a perfect example of the law of diminishing returns, as what was initially an occasional splurge, had devolved into being taken for granted. I’ll certainly buy them again, but perhaps pause for a couple of weeks.

  3. I washed both of our cars by hand. Even though my plan had been to just wash the Prius, (which is the recipient of much avian feces. I swear the tree in front of our house contains some kind of emu sanctuary!) I also washed the minivan as I had the momentum going. Since I used buckets of soapy water and a hose nozzle, I didn’t actually go through that much water. It wasn’t the perfect job, but they both look 98% better, which is a win in my book. Plus you know . . . mild exercise. This saved us $12.

  4. I borrowed an electric fondue pot from my neighbor, I’ve been continuing to buy my groceries from the discount chain Winco, I used ancient Safeway points to save 70¢-per-gallon at the gas station, my son brought a jar of coins to the credit union for his savings account, which resulted in me scooping up 47¢ from under the coin counting machine for the Found Change Challenge, I donated a bag of miscellaneous stuff to Goodwill and I enjoyed a restaurant meal from my mother as a thank you for driving her up to Shelton, Washington for a cousin’s surprise party.

  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.
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{ 79 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 16, 2018 · 104 comments

  1. I’ve been forcing myself to buy our groceries from Winco, even though it’s not as convenient as the Fred Meyer (Kroger) that’s a few blocks from the house. Their food is significantly less expensive, but . . . it’s a major schlep from the house. However, I end up doing a more organized trip which saves me from shopping on an almost daily basis. Plus, their bulk food section is beyond amazing!

  2. My husband and I drove down to Ashland to move our daughter out of her college apartment. It’s a 5-1/2 hour trip each way, so it was tempting to stay two nights instead of one. Instead, we buckled down and took care of everything on days that included long drives. Ashland, Oregon is the home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which makes it an expensive area to rent a hotel room. (Even the Safeway has a Shakespeare theme!) We kept the budget low by stopping for food and gasoline at Costco, although we did splurge on a couple of nice meals.

    I downloaded the Overdrive library app onto my husband’s phone, (he has unlimited data) which allowed us to enjoy a free audiobook for the drive home. And before you ask . . . yes, it was a Star Trek book. #LLAP

  3. My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary, and were perfectly happy to enjoy the happy hour menu in the Jake’s bar instead of sitting in the regular restaurant. It’s about the company we keep.

  4. I read four library books, I mended two T-shirts and a fitted sheet, I repaired a camp/soccer mom chair and I packed leftovers for tomorrow’s work lunch.

  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.
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{ 104 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 7, 2018 · 80 comments

  1. My son and I stopped into Goodwill to take photos for my Instagram account and I ended up scoring a Macbook Pro charging cord for a cool $9.99! Mind you, it wasn’t for my outdated 2009 laptop whose chargers are easy to source, but for my husband’s one which is on the newer side. And since these sell new for $79.99, I’m feeling pretty good about this purchase.

  2. My husband and I had planned on spending a couple of days at the Oregon coast to celebrate our 25th anniversary, that is until we priced motels. Holy inflation Batman, prices have skyrocketed since we last booked a motel! Instead we planned a “daycation” and enjoyed all the beach had to offer without spending hundreds of dollars for the privilege of housing without so much as a glimpse of the beach. Because of the savings, we were able to enjoy guilt free restaurant meals. Although one was a budget friendly Mexican food cart.

  3. I sold a political science textbook through eBay that I’d pulled from an post-garage sale free box. It took just a couple of minutes to put the listing together (books are really easy to list) and I profited a cool $20 with minimal effort. (Minus eBay fees) Of course I sent it out using second hand packaging materials.

    I think this makes four textbooks that I’ve now sold from this particular free box.

  4. I did a big grocery shopping trip at Winco, (which is the cheapest grocery store in town) I returned library books right before they were due, I picked up another ponytail elastic off the ground, today’s shorts and T-shirt are both from free piles and I texted with my best friend Jennifer who’s vacationing in Ecuador. Because yes, I’m old enough that this technology still seems miraculous, and it seems not that long ago that foreign long distance was prohibitively expensive and texting didn’t even exist.

  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.
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{ 80 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 30, 2018 · 108 comments

  1. I discovered that I somehow had a $10 gift card credit on my Starbucks app, and have been slowly dipping into it to treat my son to Frappuccinos. We even bring our own cups in an attempt to decrease the amount of garbage created from this rare indulgence.

  2. I prepared a batch of kidney beans in my slow cooker for a Mexi-bowl type of dinner. It was 99° F in Portland yesterday, so I plugged it in on our front porch in an attempt to avoid heating up the kitchen. (I make sure to place the slow cooker in an area where no one will trip over it and burn themselves.) However, my mother called me up and offered to take us out to dinner, so I deferred this plan as a restaurant meal sounded immensely preferable. We’ll enjoy our Mexi-bowls tonight, and you know I’ll be plugging the rice cooker into the porch outlet as well!

    Air conditioned restaurant > sad porch beans!

    Thanks, mom!

  3. I made myself some popcorn using a plain brown paper bag in the microwave, which has been my frugal hack for a number of years. However, I got greedy and reused the bag, which then CAUGHT ON FIRE IN A RATHER DRAMATIC FASHION!

    So, yeah . . . I’m done with this frugal hack.

    However, my son and I were perusing local Goodwills and I came across a new-in-box air popper, which now lives in my kitchen awaiting my commands. Because there’s nothing frugal about saving a few cents while having to replace a burned down house!

  4. I gave away a radio and lent out our staple gun through our buy nothing group, I’m enjoying a thriving flowerpot of red potatoes that I planted from accidentally sprouted spuds, (especially since they’re starting to flower!) I used my Fred Meyer (Kroger) points to inexpensively fill up our gas tank, I’m sprucing up a cute midcentury thrifted end table to ready it for resale and I picked up two abandoned hair elastics to wash and use for my own ponytails.

  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.
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{ 108 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 25, 2018 · 75 comments

  1. I got together with a former co-worker this morning. Instead of heading out to one of the cute coffee shops in my neighborhood, I suggested that we enjoy our coffee and nibbles at my house, as my furnished front porch is perfectly breezy in the mornings. It really is the idyllic go-to spot for the early hours of the day.

    Both of us are attempting to live within a strict budget, (she’s a musician as well as an RN) and in the end we agreed that my private and comfy front porch hands down beats any loud and pricey cafe. No sacrifice here!

  2. I participated in a two-hour consumer opinion panel and received $125 as compensation. Plus they plied us with snacks and drinks, which to no surprise . . . I thoroughly enjoyed.

  3. I went out of my routine and shopped at Winco, which is a local employee owned grocery store chain. They are famously cheap, but I’ve fallen out of the habit of shopping there as I’m walking distance from a Fred Meyer/Kroger. However, it was a good reminder that there is money to be saved when I put in the extra effort.

  4. I stopped by the main Portland Goodwill to see if I could get customers to share their finds for my Instagram account. (Click HERE to see the post!) I was provided with $5 Goodwill gift cards for bribery payment and was finally able to convince enough participants to complete my post. (You’d be surprised how many people aren’t tempted by gift cards.) I wasn’t looking to buy anything for myself, but was unable to walk away from an adorable midcentury end table priced at just $14.99.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a вульгарная позолоченная квартира в небе.

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.
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{ 75 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 23, 2018 · 58 comments

  1. I took my son to see the Han Solo Star Wars movie at our local second run theater. (Although I prefer to go on 2-for-1 Tuesdays, it was still a bargain to pay a mere $4 apiece for our tickets.) We didn’t buy any snacks, but we did stop on the way home to pick up a 50%-off pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream as an evening treat. $10.50 well spent.

  2. I continue to declutter and downsize our excess stuff. We’re neither hoarders nor minimalists, and I’ve got a bee in my bonnet to rid our home once and for all from the burden of containing too many things. Of course, there are other people who live here, so there’s only so much under my control.

    My motivation is that an item of mass replaces the space where fresh air could have circulated. More things = less air to breathe.

  3. I went to a couple different Goodwills in search of treasures to photograph, (and to bribe other shoppers into sharing their stories with me for my Instagram.) I didn’t end up buying anything for myself, although my son bought a new-in-package set of underwear and a best of Deep Purple album.

    My favorite recent Goodwill find was a new-in-package toilet seat, as ours had split in an unfixable manner. It’s been 11-1/2 years since I made a decision to stop buying new consumer goods, and I’m constantly amazed with what I’m able to find used!

  4. I finished one library book and started another, I walked most of my errands yesterday, I arranged to participate in a consumer opinion panel that will pay $125 for a two-hour commitment, I renewed my Facebook Marketplace listings, I made a phone appointment for my son and I to talk to someone at his university about reversing the charges for the summer class he accidentally signed up for, (he thought it was a fall class) and I put a book on hold through the interlibrary loan program.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a вульгарная позолоченная квартира в небе.

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.
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{ 58 comments }