A Lovely Non-Consumer Weekend

by Katy on April 5, 2009 · 22 comments


What happens to Oregonians when warm weather finally breaks through the thick cloud cover? An entire winter’s worth of seasonal affective disorder gets wiped clean, as we garden, run, bike, walk and generally make any and all excuses to stay out of our damp stuffy homes. 

Here’s what our weekend looked like:

My 13-year-old son had soccer games on both days, which my husband coaches.

The older son spent the night on Friday with a friend whose youth group went to see an improv comedy show. This unfortunately cost $10, but sounds like it was well worth it. The theater is owned by friends, so I felt okay sending my money their way. My younger son invited a friend for a sleepover as well, they watched a library movie and oddly went to sleep on time.

On Saturday I took our ten-year-old son to a free art supply swap put on by a nearby community gallery. I brought a large bag of yarn, as well as a few jars of silkscreen ink. We took home a large number of professional colored pencils, a huge pad of construction paper, some really nice artist pens, paints, palettes, spools of satin ribbon, matches, (I can never find any) yarn for sock darning plus a few other items. I also took home an extremely sturdy reusable grocery bag from the Portland Office of Sustainability for the low price of signing a pledge to bring my own bags when shopping. No problem there!

I also took my wire hanging baskets and had them planted up with fuschias in an annual fuschia event at a local store. The starts are 5/$3, and the potting soil is free. I also took a neighbor’s pots for her as well.

My younger son set up for a lemonade stand on the corner and made a quick $5. We use our own mugs, so there’s no waste.

My older son hosted band practice in our basement, and then they went and ran wild in the park.

For dinner we ate tacos made with pinto beans cooked in our pressure cooker.

I then watched a library copy of Burn After Reading before bed.

On Sunday, we all met up after the soccer game at The University of Portland for a free children’s literacy fair with games, art projects and snacks. Each child got to pick out a brand new chapter book. There was an incredible selection, and both boys were happy to have books they actually got to keep.

A lovely non-consumer nap was then enjoyed by yours truly.

My ten-year-old and I then walked over to the grocery store to buy a few of life’s essentials such as lettuce, apples, tortilla mix, bread and yes, more lemonade. (We of course, brought our own bags.)


My favorite part of the grocery store trip? 

I saw a man carrying his groceries home in a child’s sandcastle bucket. (I also found a penny on the floor.)


While walking home, we came across a neighbor’s plastic pot filled with garlic plants. It had a free sign, so I scooped them up in my hand, (didn’t need the pot) and walked them to their new home.  They’re now all snugly  planted in my miniscule garden plot, and I’m looking forward to having homegrown garlic from now on. (This assuaged my guilt about spending money on flowers, when I should be planting veggies.)

Dinner was burritos made with roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, the leftover beans and homemade tortillas. 

I also got all the garbage, yard debris and recycling ready for our once-a-month pickup.

This weekend is fairly typical for us, (when I’m not working.) Not so much for what it did include, as for what isn’t included. We hardly spent any money on entertainment, we didn’t eat out and we certainly didn’t go shopping. Next week will be different, yet I can’t imagine it will include anything expensive. (I’m actually thinking of putting together a garage sale!)

How was your weekend? Did you treat your family to the new Dreamworks movie complete with Twizzlers, soda and popcorn? (A movie I look forward to seeing in a few months when it hits the second-run theaters.) Or did you find fun, frugal and fabulous alternatives? Please share your weekend in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela April 5, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Any weekend that includes both tacos and burritos sounds perfect to me.

Art supply swaps, free books, naps, the old man with sandcastle bucket sighting, flowers, garlic- a bountiful life indeed!


Angela April 5, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Whoops – forgot to share our weekend…

It was free- the weather was gorgeous so walked everywhere both days, plus yoga, reading, writing, and dinner at a friend’s while we played a board game – I can’t remember the name…

No tacos or burritos, but I did make guacamole last night. There’s something about springtime that makes me crave Mexican food (and a margarita)…


mari April 6, 2009 at 7:21 am

well this weekend , like every other weekend, was my weekend to work. Friday evening my husband bbq in the back yard. Saturday evening , I went through my stuff to get ready for a community yardsale. And Sunday, I was getting games and invites ready for my daughters baby shower, that we are having in a few weeks. We don’t have children living at home anymore,so children activity will have to wait until granddaughter gets old enough to participate in. I also try to walk about 10000 steps a day, so a long stroll through the neighborhood is nice, on a nice day like yesterday.


Jeanine April 6, 2009 at 9:47 am

I spent about 80.00 this weekend.

20.00 *Dinner out Satuday*4 people*all you can eat

15.00 *Skating for 3 little girls

10.00* 5 pairs of jeans for the littlest girl

15.00 on misc items….bottled water, chips etc.


Satuday-Free air show and AirForce open house. It was an outside event, and no food or drink allowed in, so had to buy those things there. Then skating for the kiddes.

Sunday-Laundymat. Got about 10 outfits and 6 pairs of shoes from from the attendant for free.
Yard saled and people watched. Movie on PPV for free. Dinner then bed.

By the way…I’ve was intending to ask, when your son sells the lemonade in the mugs, does he have someone to run back and forth to wash them, or does just use them till he runs out?

My kids want to do that at their pawpaws general store, but I dread using paper cups. I do have about 30 cups that they can use, but every single one is a different size.


karen April 6, 2009 at 10:59 am

we tend to stay at home most wkends. Outings consist of grocery shopping, lol. Hubby & I went to 2 different museum exhibits this weekend within 10 miles of our neighborhood. ‘Free first Saturday’ for one, & free admission on Sundays for the other. No parking meters enforced on Sundays either 🙂 grouped errands, but our ‘splurge’ was at an art supply place near one of the museums. 40% off stickers, & full price for 2 paper punch designs not to be found at Michael’s, etc… so worth full retail to not have to go online & pay as much in shipping as the item I bought. Our dining out is 2x a month at a locally owned all you can eat buffet in our neighborhood. Yes, we can still do better but for just the 2 of us, we’re doing good for now.


Kristen@The Frugal Girl April 6, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I don’t think I spent any money this weekend. Actually, I made $275 on a piano gig I had(the money was lovely, but the experience was horrible and I am so never doing that again!).

We some of those weird Christians who are convicted not to shop on Sundays, so the only possible day we can spend money is Saturday. That kind of cuts back on weekend spending! lol


Kayleigh April 6, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Saturday I unfortunately spent a mint on clothes for my 9th grader who needed dressy clothes and shoes for Easter at church and something decent to wear to his brother’s graduation. He’s 6’5″ with a 36′ inseam and 32′ waist and a size 14 shoe.He’s very tall, but still has that youthful fifteen year old’s thin body build. I can truly only find him nice clothes from a “real” mall store and even then I usually have to order them online from their store catalog. I’m so glad older son and husband are just 6 feet wear “normal” sizes and find clothes either off the clearance racks or from thrift stores.

Later in the day my husband and I did a lot of yard work, washed the cars and then went to the playground for a picnic and to the library with our little girl. The boys went to a mutual friend’s house for a game of Risk party and pizza the other mom provided. I sent over a couple bottle of soda I had in the fridge.

Sunday was church, grocery shopping and a family afternoon of Wii bowling and XBox Guitar Hero. I always get the microphone because apparently that’s easiest. My husband gets to be drums on medium and the boys play guitar on expert mode. I don’t get to play an instrument because they’ve politely told me I “suck” and bring their band score down or even worse, I end the game before the song is over. I need to do some serious practicing when they’re out of the house I guess. Baby girl watched a Lilo and Stitch DVD grandma sent over as an early Easter gift. Speaking of which, I’m off to Walgreen’s to buy some candy…………


connie April 6, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Saturday, my husband and I drove about 1 &1/2 hours from home to where my youngest is attending college.
It was “Mom’s weekend” and many events were free. The football practice and scrimmage was enjoyable. Watched my son tackle the quarterback and had a stop for loss with the defense. (memories for a happy freshman year son)
Walked all over campus, viewing Grizzly bears, goats, cows, and an impressive veterinary school.

We did feed the boy at a local eatery, and had the gas expense. Spent maybe $50– he eats a lot! 🙂
It was a warm spring day.
Sunday, my husband and I walked the great dane, bbqed chicken and asparagus in the backyard, and got a box ready for donation.

Spend very little during the week usually, so I don’t feel too bad about the restaurant. The time with the youngest is just priceless.


Maniacal Mommy April 6, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Ha ha, I did take the kids to see the movie mid-week during the cheap showing for spring break. We also hit Barnes & Noble to play with Thomas the Tank Engine for free, and PetSmart to play “find the lizard” and visit the critters. It ended up being a relatively inexpensive day (I refuse to pay a king’s ransom for popcorn!).

Our weekends usually involve a trip to the library and that is about it. We are homebodies for the most part, although I am jealous that your weather has been warm enough for gardening and outdoor activities.

I would love to have your tortilla recipe! My one attempt at homemade tortillas was rather disastrous.


calimama@compactbydesign April 6, 2009 at 2:11 pm

I too am interested in the tortilla recipe! Do you use a tortilla press though? That might have to wait until one shows up at the thrift store!

This weekend was pretty normal for us. Yoga for me Saturday morning (prenatal yoga is one of my few “health” expenses), a 5yr old’s birthday party (so I didn’t have to make lunch!), a quick trip to our local supermarket for the last of the weekly food shopping, a quick Dutch Baby Pancake for diner and then some quiet time with my husband!

Sunday included a trip to the park (my son’s favorite place to be – and it’s free, we both win!) and then home for the rest of the day. Cleaning may be free but it’s not very entertaining!


Meredith April 6, 2009 at 4:38 pm

You know, we did well with our kids and with entertaining: My four year old and I had free tickets for a kid’s symphony concert on Saturday morning (Daddy works for the theatre where it was put on, there have to be some perks in the arts…) and we had friends over for supper on Sunday: chickpea curry casserole, homemade bread, salad and homemade cookies for dessert. After supper the kids watched a copy of Shark Tale from the library.

But, we splurged on ourselves. My husband and I booked a sitter ($35) and went to a movie at a second-run movie house ($20, plus $10 for snacks). I figure at least it was cheaper than a multiplex? And while it’s the sort of thing we try to avoid spending money on, we also rarely get out for an evening like that, so it’s not a regular expense.


Caroline April 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm

This weekend was all about loved ones. We flew in from a few months overseas on Saturday, picked up from the airport by one of my best and most missed friends. While in the city we made two hospital visits to family members who had had life threatening medical emergencies while we were away. Pick up the cat and the long drive home.

Sunday we spent visiting friends and family and experiencing the bliss of reconnecting and of catching up on all we had missed while we were away.


Sharron April 6, 2009 at 6:45 pm

This was my birthday weekend, and it was a pretty compacty one. On Friday night we had a gathering with two of my friends, sat in the hot tub and rolled in the snow banks, and then had wine, cheese, chocolate, and watched “Juno” on my friend’s big screen with a fire in the fireplace right below it. On Saturday, I helped my daughter bake to serve the “bingo lunch.” It was a job for her that netted just over a $100 for her savings account and provides sandwiches and desserts and coffee for the people who come to the community’s non-profit bingo night. Sunday was really quiet. I walked to worship, folded my palm into a cross, took a long nap, and read a good book–from PaperbackSwap. Tonight my daughter cooked me my belated birthday dinner from items in the pantry–spaghetti and garlic toast. This week I hope to clean out the “junk room” for the Relay for Life Rummage Sale. We may actually see 50 degrees on Easter–a true heat wave.


growingsage April 6, 2009 at 8:04 pm

That does sound lovely! One of the highlights of our weekend was a trip to the farm where our veggies come from. (We belong to a CSA.) We got to bring home some veggies to plant in our garden, which was wonderful!


Barb April 6, 2009 at 9:03 pm

A great list for a fantastic weekend!

I have a question for you. You say your son went to youth group and it cost $10.00. How do you manage all these activities for your kids? My daughter is in Highland dancing (paid for by grandparents) but I am left paying for all the extras like shoes, tights, body suits, competition fees, exam fees. The list goes on and one. My son is in acting and band classes (also paid by grandparents) and he is always needing money for something. Both of my kids put a huge amount of effort into these activities and love them. My daughter is doing very well, in fact, I have to tell her to STOP practicing! Both these activities realy havea great affect on their self-esteem so pulling them out is not an option I want to consider. I am a single mom, working full-time but stil livng below the poverty line but these extras are breaking my budget.
Any suggestions?


Barb April 6, 2009 at 9:05 pm

A great list for a fantastic weekend!

I have a question for you. You say your son went to youth group and it cost $10.00. How do you manage all these activities for your kids? My daughter is in Highland dancing (paid for by grandparents) but I am left paying for all the extras like shoes, tights, body suits, competition fees, exam fees. The list goes on and one. My son is in acting and band classes (also paid by grandparents) and he is always needing money for something. Both of my kids put a huge amount of effort into these activities and love them. My daughter is doing very well, in fact, I have to tell her to STOP practicing! Both these activities really have a great affect on their self-esteem so pulling them out is not an option I want to consider. I am a single mom, working full-time but still living below the poverty line but these extras are breaking my budget.
Any suggestions? (Sorry for the double post. I am having problems with my toolbars!)


Jen April 6, 2009 at 9:05 pm

I spent Saturday afternoon and part of the evening working on a Girl Scout project with my daughter’s troop. After the troop went home, she had a friend over for a playdate. They played outside and my husband did yardwork and put the laundry out on the clothesline for me. We also took our daily walk in the neighborhood. We took stuff to the recycling bins and made a quick grocery store stop for marked down bag lettuce for taco salad. I usually spend time reading and/or on the computer in the evenings. I did this in the living room while my daughter and husband watched and old Star Trek episode on VHS (no cable here!)

Sunday we would normally go to church but my husband was out on call and one of my friends was in town. I rarely get to see her so we hung out out another friends house and chatted while the kids played. I did stop at the grocery store again and got lunch for my daughter and I (salad bar for me and one of those awful lunchables things for her. She paid for half and it was a treat for her. Why kids think junky food like that is a treat is beyond me!) Afterward, I made my weekly trip for raw milk. (I pay $4.25 a gallon with my own glass jars and it’s about a 50 minute country drive roundtrip to get it, but it’s worth it to me.) I was in the mood to bake when I got home, so I made buttermilk bran muffins and cottage cheese pancakes for the week. Also started a batch of yogurt. We had leftovers for dinner and rented “Australia” from redbox ($1 rental per day).

Not very exciting, but a typical weekend for us.


lala2074 April 7, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Last Saturday consisted of attending a 6 year old child’s pirate birthday party which was held at a local playground. It was very compacty and the parents had a social catch up too!
For the girl pirate costume, I had purchased a pirate patch and plastic sword from Goodwill for $2 and tied a bandana around my daughter’s head. She wore some great long boots ( near new) which I had purchased for this winter on ebay for $8 (including postage.)
Most of the food was home made, including a very colourful pirate treasure chest cake. There was also a sausage sizzle at the free and very clean community BBQ at the playground.
There were sack races, egg and spoon race and a treasure hunt.
Birthday Boy was heard exclaiming” Mum, this is the best birthday ever!”.


Nicki April 7, 2009 at 12:56 pm

A couple things first…Kayleigh…I can SO relate about your son! Mine is in 9th grade too, and is about 6’2″, and wears a sz 15 shoe! I will say when he was in 14’s, they were MUCH easier to find than 15’s now are. And his comment to me last night was, “Mom, I think I’m growing again…I’m ALWAYS tired and ALWAYS hungry!” which usually translates into another growth spurt. 🙂

And Jen, did you know that by signing up at the Redbox website, they email you a code each Monday for a free rental? The catch is, the code is only good that day, but hey! Free is always good!

Our weekend was pretty laid back too. Saturday my hubby had a stockholder’s meeting at his work, and then had dinner out with a few of them that night. My son and I went out for pizza and then ice cream–some good time spent together. My daughter worked, so she didn’t join us. Sunday was church and doing things around the house.


Jen April 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Thanks, Nicki! I do get emails from them but I had forgotten about that perk. Obviously, I don’t always open email!


alunachic April 11, 2009 at 3:12 pm

If I have the temptation of a non consumer weekend, I make a list of things I need to do in the office or house (one in the same) and I simply DON’T GO ANYWHERE!
The list is a money saver!
Last weekend’s list was clean closets, clean linen closet, change beds, cut grass, till garden, start seeds, etc.
By the time Sunday night rolled around, I had not spent a penny and I was exhausted!


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