nivo total station teodolit hiperaktivite About Katy

About Katy


My name is Katy Wolk-Stanley and I am the “Non-Consumer Advocate.” By this I mean that I am here to help people learn to live on less, and to do so in a way that lessens their environmental impact. I define myself not by my purchases, but by my goals and actions. I am a library patron, leftovers technician, Goodwill enthusiast, utility bill scholar, labor and delivery nurse, laundry hanger-upper, mother and citizen.

I don’t buy anything new. I have decided to challenge myself with being part of “The Compact,” which is a movement of people all over the world who are choosing to think outside of the “big box” and buy nothing new. This does not mean that I am filling my house with lots of used stuff, it has mostly meant that I am buying very little at all. I do have a few personal exceptions to the compact though.

I am also an advocate to help people learn to live on as little income as possible. Whether this means being able to sock away massive savings, or simply to have the freedom to work in a fulfilling but low paying  job. By making a choice to live this way, I have been able to work only part time for years as a labor and delivery RN, even when my husband was in school full time.

Since starting with “The Compact” in January 2007 I have worked very hard to de-clutter my house and this has very much helped me see how the mass of objects weighs a person down. Is my house clutter free now? Umm . . . . Not quite, but I no longer spend such a huge amount of time keeping the house up. Having friends and family over (or even houseguests) is no longer the anxiety producing event that it once was.

My journey to live well on less and to not buy new is far from over. I am constantly learning new ways to support my goals. I look forward to sharing my insights and foibles with you. I also look forward to hearing ideas and inspiration from my readers.

{ 8 trackbacks }

The Non-Consumer Advocate and Living In Reality
April 15, 2009 at 7:48 am
The New Age of Thrift ∞ Get Rich Slowly
May 4, 2009 at 5:00 am
The New Age of Thrift - Collab.r.nation
May 5, 2009 at 5:51 pm
Choosing a Greener Life Together — ChildWild
January 27, 2010 at 10:26 pm
Consumer Types, Sharing Lingerie and Minimalist Mondays - The Minimalist Mom
March 18, 2011 at 5:02 am
Today I Am… 28 Dec 2012 | Simply Being Mum
December 28, 2011 at 2:12 am
Forced into frugality and loving it! | The Amateur Consumer Blog
September 30, 2012 at 11:21 am
Feature Blogs | Hannah Goes Fishing
January 26, 2014 at 10:59 pm

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Abigail Dunham May 21, 2008 at 4:27 am

This is a great idea! Too many sites tell you how to get the most for your money — this is the first I’ve seen showing you how to NOT spend money. Good luck — I plan to keep checking it out. Is there a way to sign up for it?


2 Joy May 30, 2008 at 3:36 am

Fabulous site–this is just the kind of thing I’m interested in. While the whole “green movement” is now becoming mainstream (which is wonderful), it seems many are taking the opportunity to just consume new green products, rather than realize our country has a serious problem with overconsumption. I’m toying with the idea of joining the compact and love your down to earth approach and great writing style. Thanks! I’ve bookmarked your site for further reading.


3 Julia T May 30, 2008 at 8:24 am

Katy, great job. This is the blog I wish I’d written, if I wasn’t already writing like three others at the same time. Rock on, sistah.


4 Stretch Mark Mama June 19, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Nice to “meet” you! Come check out my site; we live in the same (great!) city and I write about similar kinds of things.


5 Jessica Wolk-Stanley June 29, 2008 at 12:08 pm


You take the “blah” out of blog!


6 Marcia July 4, 2008 at 6:20 pm

This is great — A fun way to reconnect after knowing each other so many years ago. Have been enjoying your blog — it is a lot of fun and inspiring. Many things we already do, many we want to, and many I am hoping to put into place. Today, we started with cloth napkins and it was lots of fun. I HATE shopping and love giving things away so have been doing a version of this for a while but we still have tons of clutter so you inspire us. Paperless bills are fantastic. WAY TO GO!
Marcia (from Corringham Road)


7 Tony Wolk July 9, 2008 at 10:56 am

Kate, I’ve just read your pieces on TURNING OFF LIGHTS and GARBAGE. Here are a few thoughts.

Glad to see some hard data about turning off the lights. Garbage: Trader Joe’s: Lindy, a year or so ago talked to them about their excessive packaging (they have no scales at the check-out)–even watermelons come, presumably, all one size, bananas too. That must increase the cost of how they buy since they’re so persnickety. Pity, since we like TJ’s and know from the son of a friend that they’re good to their employees.

Anyhow, an instance: for my birthday Lindy bought a plastic tub of macaroons instead of baking them from scratch (as usual). This morning I had to throw that tub away; unless you stack/compact your garbage carefully, it takes up so much space.

Your mention of bread bags triggers a response: Being that I’m a baker means no bread bags. How about taking on home baking (cookies, pies, cakes, and most of all, our daily bread). The bread and the cakes baked here are all from a sourdough “mother” dating back to the late 19th century. Personally, I began baking bread when you were in utero, which helps me remember how long I’ve been baking all our family’s bread (except the occasional Italian-style artisan loaf). The numbers: 42 years, 52 weeks/year, 3 loaves/week = 6552 loaves of bread (and that’s a conservative estimate. By the slice and bite, the numbers come close to half a million. By the chew, we finally top the 7-digit number. That’s a lot of bread–high protein bread, with flax seed, wheat germ, oat and wheat bran, sunflower seed, chopped walnuts, a bit of organic white and lots of whole wheat flour. Nuts, and grains, natural yeast that reproduces itself. Plus it’s vegan. If I were to think COST, and you could find bread that good at a store, I’ll bet it’d be about $25,000 worth of bread. Add to that the upper-body excercise from stirring and kneading. Plus the satisfaction of taking the bread out of the oven. Dante describes what exile is like in terms of (1) unfamiliar stairways and (2) the loss of one’s local bread (Italy is still famous for its local breads).

Thanks for the prompts.



8 Amanda January 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm

OMG, I love your dad!


9 drcorner August 14, 2008 at 12:10 pm

I’m in the same boat as you, I see the change in weather happening all around and know that global warming is gaining faster than scientists can predict. I agree with these new green trends, we can’t keep pumping out dirt into the air or other things bad for the environment and not expect it to change.

It’s great to see more green choices out there.

I wrote about a couple of new green choices out there, please check it out and comment with your ideas as well. I look forward to hear from you. Thanks.


10 Kate August 19, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Hi Katy,

found your blog through blog-hopping. Looks wonderful, and something to help support my family in our sometimes lonely decision to live with less consumerism. So thanks for bringing your voice to the web.


11 Tracey Smith August 24, 2008 at 4:29 am

Hi Katy – thank you for your note on my site and I’m delighted to have been drawn to yours!

I also put together InterNational Downshifting Week, an awareness campaign designed to encourage participants to slow down and green up.

A big part of it urges them to take a positive approach to living with less – exactly what you say on here.

I too don’t buy from new…I have 3 children and with the exception of uniform items that are not available through the second hand shop at school, I haven’t bought ANY new clothes in about 11 years! Everything comes from friends, clothes swaps, the charity shops and good old Freecycle. It’s also passed out the other side in the same way – you must always share the love and abundance!

I will go make a comment on your latest post about food – I make delicious flatbreads using leftovers (pasta and rice) and strongly encourage re-use of food – dress it up as something different and it can taste even more amazing second time around.

Wishing you all the best,

Tracey Smith
Author of ‘The Book of Rubbish Ideas’


12 Strathy August 24, 2008 at 11:42 am


I thought you might enjoy this post on living cheap on a boat:




13 play2survive August 27, 2008 at 2:04 am

Dear Katy,

A few words of support for what you are doing – you are making a big difference, thank you and keep it going, we need people like you. We need to support each other, so here is a virtual cheer for you.

I’m in Scotland, occassionally blogging but mostly working to change attitudes directly through my courses and eco-tours; opening minds and smoothing the path towards significant first steps to a healthy future. Oh, that sounds a bit long winded. I’m ‘doing my bit’, I guess, just less tidily than you.

Anyway, I’ve stored your blog away and I look forward to reading more from you. I’ll be putting links from my blog, to help increase awareness.

Today I proudly state I have avoided the electric shower again! More time and money and energy and pollution saved. My wife loves it too!

Simple steps for mankind.


14 leslie November 18, 2008 at 9:29 am

I’m so glad I found your blog. Off to read more right now!


15 Heidi November 19, 2008 at 11:18 am

I am new to your blog and I’m enjoying it. Hope my ideas are useful.


16 calimama33 January 4, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Would you consider adding an archive widget to your blog? I would love to read some of your older posts but going backwards page by page is a little tedious and time consuming. Love what I’ve seen so far and am encouraged for my own adventure.


17 jessiedog January 15, 2009 at 11:50 pm

Great blog site, seems you are interested in living a lot like me. You may enjoy an article I wrote recently on Household Item Clothing Exchanges, I invite you to take a look.


18 Laura April 11, 2009 at 4:49 am

Hi Katy,

Props to you for a great blog. I just found it via an article in today’s New York Times. I’m a nursing student with a year left in my BSN program and my husband has been out of work now for 18 months. Every penny is precious to us. We have slashed all expenses, started a garden, investigated joining a local food co-op. The biggest change we have made is going vegetarian for 5 days a week. This for a couple that used to think nothing of going out to dinner 2x a week, shopping at Whole Foods (whole paycheck!) By going veggie, we have trimmed our grocery bill from an average $135 a week to $68. And, we eat extremely well and get all our nutrients.

I’ll bookmark your blog and continue to read. Thanks again!


19 Jay April 11, 2009 at 8:59 am

Great going, fine site! I started on your path about 3 years ago but you got the message much earlier in life than I did. I was several years into my 70′s before the light bulb turned on.

Much good luck to ya.


20 Alison Wiley April 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Hi Katy,

I can’t believe I haven’t found you prior to this. We are both Portland women bloggers who share a similar mission. We’re even both blonde :)

I’m going to post about you at Diamond-Cut Life within this Wednesday. Great to meet you!

Alison Wiley
Mount Tabor
Portland, OR


21 ellen9 April 15, 2009 at 11:49 am

love your blog!
there is such a groundswell of support for this stuff.

check out our “month of responsible consumption” in nyc


22 alison13 April 16, 2009 at 6:47 am

Hi Katy,

Here is the link to my post about Non-Consumer Advocate:
Looks like it’s resulted in one new fan for you so far (besides me).

I’d love to take you out to coffee here in Portland sometime this spring to talk about our shared interest in reducing consumption. Do you like Bipartisan Cafe, or Coopers? Hint: the coffee at Bipat is better :)

Alison Wiley
Diamond-Cut Life


23 Doyle June 4, 2009 at 4:58 am

Your principles make a great family or personal mission and vision statement. Almost without being aware of the process, I became a vegetarian over a period of time. My wife and I are careful not only about the food we eat but how we cook it. We are strong advocates of cast iron cookware especially an old cast iron dutch oven that has been in the family forever.
The same has happened with my consumerism. What a wonderful concept to “think outside the big box”. My task now is to remove the clutter from my life. Great blog!


24 Sonja June 29, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Hi. Love your website.

I’m wondering if you buy cleaning supplies, or if you make your own. I make some of my own cleaning supplies, including washing detergent, and what I’ve found is that it’s better and cheaper than the commercial stuff. Plus you can make it the way you like the best and are not dependent on what is available.


25 Maureen Farmer July 2, 2009 at 9:38 am

I am a master gardener and my profession is programmer/project manager. This spring, I taught myself the PHP programming language to improve my professional skill set. To practice, I created The Farmer’s Garden website. The site, is a place where people can post free classifieds to sell, trade or give away their surplus backyard garden produce.

I launched my site in May 2009 and it is nationwide. I think it is a great resource for members of your community. It is very easy to grow more produce than you and your family can use. Why not share your local, fresh and delicious vegetables, fruit, berries, etc. with others?

Registration is free and required to post a classified. Registration is not required to search the classifieds. Can you please provide a link to my site, on your site?

Thank you,


26 Susan Blanch December 15, 2009 at 9:04 am

Katy, I would like to see if you would do a radio interview. Please call me at 612-370-0645 or email



27 Emily on the Southern Prairie February 7, 2010 at 6:53 am

Love this blog! So glad to find people blogging (and living) the same sort of principles I care about too.


28 Marj McClendon February 15, 2010 at 8:35 am

I, too, dislike clothes shopping…..I thought I was possibly the only one. Yahoo, I am not. I would like to be entered into this contes. This is a book I have been drooling over for some time now.


29 selma February 27, 2010 at 9:14 am

I would like to recieve your blog on a regular basis. I’m not real sure how this works so if i need to do something differently please let this
ol’ gal know


30 Katy February 27, 2010 at 10:43 am


There is a “subscribe” box in the middle column. Just write your e-mail address in the box and and then click the “subscribe” box. Feedburner (who manages my subscriptions) will send you a confirmation e-mail. Then you will receive The Non-Consumer Advocate in your inbox.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


31 Amy Considine March 25, 2010 at 6:36 am

Hi Katy-

I just found your site and I love it! I have a similar site– that focuses on the little things or “eco-steps” we can all do to make a big difference.

I’ll be stopping by more often. Keep up the great work! Amy


32 edina August 6, 2010 at 12:49 am

Thanks, very impressive. I am doing an online research before start writing an article on scavengers – a theme that brought me to your blog. Keep up your good work – I am gonna follow (at least will try hard) your path. Thanks again & Cheers, +e


33 Caz from Aus August 22, 2010 at 4:25 am

Just wondered if avoiding “buying” would exclude bartering/local currency? I am gradually switching from spending money to spending local currency (my local system is but there are lots of LETS around the world and a South African organisation ( which provides the software to run them free of charge. Just some food for thought… of course I probably can’t avoid spending money altogether but it is a nice thought!


34 Tammy April 12, 2011 at 11:04 am

Ha! I just found your blog by googling Amy Dacyzyn. I LOVE it! Shared it with both of my grown daughters…I know they will LOVE it, too! =) You go, girl!


35 Katy April 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Glad to have you join the party!



36 Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares September 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I agree with so many of the other commentors, that, for most blogs regarding thrift or environmentalism, it’s still all about getting more–just cheaper, or so-called “greener.” The greenest thing and the cheapest thing is a purchase not made, or when a purchase IS made, one that is thoughtful and will last (and that usually means something used and time-tested). I look forward to future posts!


37 Katy September 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I am definitely about less. I was just talking to my husband about how it seems that as we’ve gotten rid of stuff, our lives have gotten better. We get very excited when stuff leaves the house. The idea of a “green purchase” (with a few exceptions) is a bit of an oxymoron.

Mind you, I am FAR from minimalism.



38 Theresa November 30, 2011 at 5:11 am

Hi Katy,
My husband found your blog and recommended it to me. Love it! I too am trying to use/re-use what I have, save money and other resources and d-clutter my house and life. I am passionate about making homemade bread, gardening, eating nutritious meals from the earth, and sharing my resources and passions with others. I look forward to further exploration of your blog. Great to find you!


39 Godith July 6, 2012 at 2:19 am

JUST the kind of blog I would start if I were to blog!
Capitalism = good
Consumerism = bad
They are not the same and need not ever be considered the same.


40 Susan September 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Hi Katy,

I nominated your blog for the Inspiring Blogger award ‘cuz you inspire me every single day. Pop over and check out the rules (these things always have rules!) or not — it’s entirely up to you. Thanks for everything!


41 Katy September 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Aw, thank you!



42 Scott November 8, 2012 at 7:50 am

Thanks for your info. I became adamant a few years ago about not giving away my money to banks and finance companies. We have paid off ALL our credit card debt, and own only on our home mortgage. We are halfway to having an emergency cash fund of $20,000, at which point we will be doubling down on our mortgage to get that paid off ASAP. Thanks!


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