Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 27, 2017 · 79 comments

  1. I bought a framed poster for $2.50 at the Goodwill Outlet on Monday, listed it for $99.99 on eBay that night and then sold it the next morning while I was at work! I took a shot in the dark on pricing as I couldn’t find the exact same image, but I’m comfortable that I didn’t under price it. (Frankly, I thought I had overpriced it!) If all my thrift store flips could go this well, I could quit my stressful job as an RN!

  2. I drove my older son through Burgerville last night after picking him up from work. His food smelled absolutely divine, but instead of indulging myself I foraged/spelunked through the fridge and came up with a big taco salad which was A) rather yummy, B) much healthier and C) Waaaay more frugal. I’m not a believer in hell, but I believe it would likely resemble being hungry in a compact car while a passenger happily chomps on aromatic French fries. Man, did those smell good!

  3. I was able to create a “Frankenbox” for the framed poster utilizing an enormous used box, which I then bent and cut to size. I wrapped it in an impressive amount of bubble wrap, (which I source for free from a local business) and then taped the thing within an inch of its life. No need to use virgin shipping materials when used supplies are easily available. I made the decision over ten years ago to only buy used and if anything I’ve grown more adamant about this choice. Our planet and its inhabitants suffer under the new, new, new mentality and most people practice without a second thought.

  4. I attended a four hour mandatory meeting at the hospital yesterday afternoon and I chose to walk up to my unit and grab a cup of the free crappy coffee rather than order one from one of the on site cafes.

  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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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 24, 2017 · 112 comments

Edit: It seems that some readers took offensive in my having used the descriptor of “plus size” to describe this hospital gown. To me, that is not an insult as I myself am such. I did not hold the gown out to mock the larger community at large, but only to show the gown. I have written over seventy-bajillion blog posts over the past 9-1/2 years and would hope that my readers would show some faith in me. I will not respond to individual comments on this subject.

  1. I fought the urge to get Mexican cart takeout and assembled my own burrito bar for dinner. I set the crock pot on the front porch to avoid heating up the kitchen for the pinto beans, and then pulled together various toppings from the contents of the fridge and pantry. I took one for the team and ate up a tomato that was on its last legs as well as a half avocado that on the sad side of the bell curve. You may think my addiction to Mexican food carts is a joke, but it isn’t as there are three (maybe four) within walking distance from my house! The struggle is real!

  2. I hung out with my mother after dropping my older son at work yesterday. For the two of us, that meant scoping out the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet. (My son’s work, my mom’s house and “the bins” are all in the same neighborhood!) I bought a number of items to sell, as well as a few things to keep. (One huge canning jar, socks for my son, an adorable cowboy vest for our dress-up bin, a vintage Fiestaware bowl, a hair band, a couple bandanas and a cute vintage canning lid.) I did not buy the above hospital gown, although I couldn’t resist snapping a photo, as it’s the same as the ones we use at my hospital!

  3. I sold two life vests that I picked up from a garage sale freebie pile, I sold a handmade wooden duck that had been lying dormant in my eBay sales, (and I assumed had been a mistake to have bought in the first place) and then finally received payment on a baseball mitt that sold last week. I arranged for a free USPS pickup from the house to avoid a post office trip.

  4. It’s been kind of hot lately, which becomes very noticeable on the second floor of my uninsulated 103-year-old house. However, I’ve been running window fans instead of using the air conditioner as it’s not that bad. Cool clean sheets with an empty duvet cover go a long way.

  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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{ 112 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 21, 2017 · 86 comments

  1. I’m going to a co-worker’s retirement party tonight and will bring a bottle of nice wine leftover from my husband’s work party, as well as a platter of pumpkin bread. The pumpkin bread (which is similar to the Starbucks version) was made using pantry ingredients plus some frozen puree leftover from 2016’s leftover Halloween pumpkins.

  2. I sold two items on eBay, neither of which I paid for. One was an adorable vintage set of travel shot glasses from a garage sale “free” table, and the other was a grubby soccer jersey that a buyer mailed back to me in a dishonest attempt to get a refund on the pristine one that I sold to him. (A common eBay scam.) Not only did eBay side with me, as each jersey is individually numbered, but I soaked that bad boy in Oxyclean and listed it for sale last night. It sold immediately. Katy – 1, scammer 0!

  3. I’ve been taking it easy the last couple of days, so there have been evenings of Star Trek Voyager on Netflix, afternoon naps and then spurts of eBay listings. There may or may not (definitely may!) have been takeout meals from various Mexican food carts. I could live off that stuff and never get sick of it! ¡Delicioso! I’m not sure how takeout can be considered frugal, except that it’s still cheaper than a restaurant meal!

  4. I reused packing materials for all my eBay mailings, I’ll be gassing up our minivan at cheapest-in-town Costco to ready it for my husband’s drive to Canada and I got to use my newly purchased vintage sifter for the pumpkin bread. (All hail my new glam rock band titled “Thrifted Sifter!”)

  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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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 18, 2017 · 103 comments

  1. I was texted a Redbox code for a free movie, so my younger son and I picked up a DVD of Hidden Figures at the grocery store. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to watch it last night, but that’s okay since I spend no money out of pocket. I still want to see the movie, so I took this as an opportunity to put the movie on hold at the library. There were a whopping 452 holds, but since they have 210 copies I should get the movie soon enough. I waited this long to see it, I can wait a little longer. Patience is a key tool in my frugality tool kit.

  2. I’m shopping around for a cheaper web hosting company. I’m embarrassed to admit how much I’m paying per month, ($120) as you would rightly lose all respect for me as a frugal advice-giver-outer. The blog was going over its limits every month earlier this year, so I switched to a new company without doing enough research. The real money in blogging is through writing sponsored posts and affiliate links. Since I refuse to do either, The Non-Consumer Advocate ends up being a very successful yet only mildly profitable endeavor. I must keep the expenses as low as possible. It’s a huge pain in the tuchus to switch web hosts, so I’ve procrastinated this chore. No longer!

  3. My husband has a two-day work class next week that’s in Tacoma, Washington. I’m thinking I’ll tag along as a lesser not-as-exciting-as-Timberline-Lodge mini-vacation. I’ve never actually stopped into Tacoma, which is right outside Seattle before. I’ll probably just go into Seattle for fun, but am open to suggestions of anything interesting to do in Tacoma proper. Any advice or suggestions are welcome.

  4. I wanted to treat my sons to Mexican food cart burritos last night, but realized I had almost zero cash on hand. Instead I walked to the grocery store and bought peppers and refried beans and was able to assemble the rest from food already on hand. Of course they weren’t as delicious, (nothing is) but they certainly did the trick. Especially since we still had multiple bags of tortilla chips leftover from my husband’s work party a few weeks ago. I did pick up pints of Ben and Jerry’s for each kid as a special mid-week dessert. What can I say? I love to spoil them!

  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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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 17, 2017 · 67 comments

  1. I took my family to a nearby food cart pod and handed everyone $10 to spend on lunch. This may sound like a splurge, but the money was from Craiglist sales which I specifically put aside for treats. My older son and I chose meals from an Egyptian cart and my younger son and husband ordered fried chicken from a Korean cart. We don’t have any vacations planned for this summer, so instead I’m loosening the purse strings for eating out and other experiential spending. Staying close to home, but eating very well.

  2. I hung three loads of laundry on the clothesline yesterday which was such a joy. I just love how this chore cannot be rushed, which transforms it into a meditative task. Everything smells so good and I saved money from my electric bill while helping our clothes to last longer.

  3. I called our cable company and told them I was considering canceling our plan as we were no longer receiving free HBO. The customer service representative quickly offered an additional free three-months of HBO, which was what I wanted. I have done this at least five times through the years and they’re always happy to provide it. Of course, this was prompted by the season seven premier of Game of Thrones! Winter is coming? Nope . . . free HBO is coming! (We have such a low level cable plan that it only costs us $10 extra per month than having internet alone.)

  4. I donated a small bag of unwanted items to Goodwill. Although a huge load of stuff is much more impressive, it’s consistent small amounts that make a difference for maintaining an uncluttered home. Of course I took a donation receipt for my taxes.

  5. I took a semi-matching felt-tip pen to a thrifted table to cover up a few areas where the finish had worn off. I wouldn’t recommend this method for a priceless antique, but for a $2 thrifted table? You betcha!

  6. 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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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 13, 2017 · 95 comments

  1. I took my sons to see a movie on Tuesday night at the locally owned Academy Theater. Why Tuesday? They run a weekly 2-for-1 special. Sadly, that doesn’t work for odd-numbered groups, although I can hardly complain about the $8 total cost. We saw the Japanese animated movie Your Name, which had a very unique and moving plot. I chose a viewing that was subtitled instead of dubbed as I want to make sure that my sons don’t forget the Japanese that they studied throughout their entire public school career.

  2. My mother and I went thrifting to her favorite Goodwill Outlet yesterday as I was A: in her neighborhood, B: she was getting itchy for some deals; and I guess C: she wanted in on the fun. I spent $15 on a quality midcentury cupboard as a project piece, as well as a number of things to sell.

  3. I was tempted to get takeout for dinner, but instead I rifled through the fridge and freezer for a meal. I boiled up pierogi, assembled bean and cheese quesadillas and cut up a cantaloupe. I need to clean out and organize the fridge, as it’s crammed with random stuff from my husband’s work party, plus leftovers from 4th of July and my sister’s stay. It’s chock full, but I know there’s inedible stuff in there that makes it hard to find the actual tasty treats. Disorganization leads to food waste.

  4. I visited my friend who just had her baby, and brought hydrangeas and a platter of homemade pumpkin cake, I sold another eBay item, I renewed my Craigslist listings, I hung laundry on the clothesline, I wore 100% thrifted clothing, I accepted a can of seltzer from my mother and I returned books to the library,

  5. I don’t buy a Lear Jet or a Предательская позолоченная квартира в аки.

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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Goodwill Outlet Finds

by Katy on July 12, 2017 · 26 comments

I met up with my new friend Sarah for a morning of thrifting at the Goodwill Outlet. We enjoyed wonderful conversation and our shared love of thrifting. Here’s what I bought:

  • A Hartstone brand mug that matches the ones I use at home. I’m ridiculously obsessed with these mugs which are the perfect size and thickness. Many of them of kind of ugly, but I’m a fan of form over function when it comes to my hot caffeinated beverages. This one wasn’t so ugly.

  • a Pyrex measuring cup. I’ve been keeping an eye out for a four cup size for awhile, and this one looked almost new.

  • A $2 bent wood stool in the same finish as my husband’s armchair. We’d been borrowing the exact one from my son’s room as a spot to set a coffee mug, so I’d been keeping an eye out for an extra. The top was sort of gummy, but it cleaned up quite nicely. This should solve the problem where I pass by my husband’s chair and invariably kick over this coffee.

  • A booklet about “Agates of the Oregon Coast” for my geology obsessed sister. A vintage booklet about how to make potholders for the same sister, as the graphics were to die for. Plus . . .  potholders! Both are now packaged up and ready to be taken to the post office.

  • An official Chivas soccer jersey to sell on eBay.

  • A Bodum glass coffee press. I’ll sell this as well.

  • A wonderful antique 8 X 10 photo of high school or young collegiate athletes. I’ll likely list this on eBay after giving it a spot of research and then fawning over these likely long gone handsome fellas.

  • Two blank books.

  • One reusable nylon shopping bag that folds up into its own pouch. Perfect for keeping in the glove compartment of the car.

  • I probably bought something else, but I need to clean myself up so I can visit with my friend who just had a baby.

Total cost?

A little more than $10! Considering that those mugs alone sell for $20 apiece, I made some major scores.

Now, off to snuggle a baby!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 26 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 11, 2017 · 106 comments

  1. I finally sold my set of refurbished vintage shell chairs that I’d had up on Craigslist for weeks. Although I’d received multiple inquiries about them, it took awhile for someone to follow through. I also sold a violin case that I’d picked up at Goodwill and a Cuisinart lid on eBay that I’d pulled from an estate sale “free” box. All of this while working at the hospital both Saturday and Sunday.

  2. I delivered two grocery bags full of wonderful infant clothes to a friend that’s soon to welcome her first baby. Although everything was stuff that I picked up from a garage sale free box, it was all in excellent condition and delightfully gender neutral. I was able to snip a bouquet of hydrangeas from my backyard to gift to her as well. Although this time of year you’d have to hide from me to avoid being on the receiving end of a bouquet of hydrangeas. Seriously, I kind of over-planted hydrangeas back in the day.

  3. I’d offered my eBay Cuisinart lid as “free shipping” for some mysterious reason. However, the buyer lived right here in Portland, so I drove the package over to his house and saved myself a couple of bucks. It was a neighborhood that I’d never been to before, and I enjoyed exploring in my own city. I then photographed and listed a big ol’ pile of stuff on eBay, most of which I’d gotten for free.

  4. I defrosted some pumpkin puree from last year’s jack-o-lanterns for pumpkin bread. A number of my friends are having babies or going through family crises right now, so I thought I’d put together some baked goods. I’m going to try this recipe from my friend’s blog.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated partment 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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{ 106 comments }

It’s time for another Non-Consumer Advocate photo essay, because apparently it’s been awhile since the last one.

First photo is of my hacked bra, which I worked one while watching the newest episode of Grantchester. (Hello, yummy vicar. Oh no . . .  are you shirtless in bed? So sad.)

Both of my go-to bras had become too loose in circumference and I was thinking that I needed to replace them. But then I got the genius idea that I could just reposition a row of the hooks to create a tighter option. Of course, I needed to cover the freshly sewn-in hooks which brought me to my name tape that my mother had made for my 1977 trip to Camp Namanu. Hey, it’s works!

This will come in handy if I begin a new chapter in my life where my 49-year-old married self starts to leave my bra in random places.

See? You just use a seam ripper (or tiny scissors) to release the widest row of hooks.

I spent an enjoyable half hour or so cleaning out and reorganizing my kitchen junk drawer. Those containers in the front? They’re my adult childrens’ school lunch boxes, which I bought on a 2005 trip to NYC. Of course my spacey kids almost immediately lost the lids. Use what you have, people!

My not so secret dream job is to be a set decorator for period movies. In this movie, these 1970’s avocado green measuring scoops are being used while a mother and daughter have a heated debate in their perfectly outfitted 1970’s kitchen. Of course, all the appliances will also be the same hue.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 6, 2017 · 76 comments

  1. I hosted a going away supper for my sister, niece and extended family last night. I served a hodgepodge of leftovers, which kept the budget nice and low. It was a casual affair, but a mostly tidy home and attractively plated food (even leftovers) elevates any event. My sister and niece then spent the night to simplify ferrying them to the airport at 4:30 in the freaking A.M. Love them, will miss them, but that’s too damned early! Yawn . . . .

  2. My sister and I walked to the grocery store for a few items last night and came home with a pretty glazed flowerpot that someone had put out for free. It actually has the remnants of plant in it, so I’ll water it to see what happens.

  3. I was unsure of how make my garbage picked Westnova style (?) lucite table work, as the unusual top isn’t flat. (This is what it looked like before.) Anyway, I added a gold tray that I already owned to the top, which transformed it into the perfect end table for a corner of my living room. Note the “Happiness is found in little things” needlepoint pillow that I usurped from my mother. Theft from parents is very frugal. Sorry, mom.

  4. My sister brought over all her leftover and uneaten food from the guest cottage where she spent her Portland vacation. From ice cream to frozen Trader Joe’s meals, tortillas to veggies, my fridge is now fit to burst! Hello, free food. Goodbye, food waste.

  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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{ 76 comments }