Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 1, 2017 · 53 comments

  1. I sold a Vera Bradley “Weekender” bag through Facebook Marketplace, which was my fist time trying them out. I was kind of nervous, as there’s no anonymity, but the sale went off without a hitch. I went ahead and listed a few items that had been languishing on Craigslist and immediately got a gimme-I-want-it inquiry on one item (The Pyrex bowls) that had yet to generate any interest on Craigslist. I’m definitely going to add this platform to my selling rotation! Unlike eBay which takes a hefty fee, Facebook Marketplace is free. So yeah . . .  that’s a plus in my book!

  2. I took apart and scrubbed out a small but kick-ass vacuum cleaner that my son and I picked up for free at a garage sale earlier this summer. It’ll come in handy for my younger son’s apartment, which has carpet. My older son may also have carpet in his apartment, but I know him well enough to be sure that any vacuum cleaner I give him will only gather dust. #parentingtruth

  3. I was chatting with an older co-worker about the process of gathering apartment supplies, and she offered me the chance to look through some excess household goods from her garage. I’d already compiled an extensive list of everything my sons will need, so I texted her a photo of it. I’ll make sure to figure out something nice for her in return.

  4. I found an extra container of paint stripper in my basement, which should hopefully be enough to finish the midcentury sideboard that I’m refinishing, I worked yesterday and brought my own lunch, even though it was a bit scrappy, I shared a $7 food cart burrito with my husband for tonight’s dinner, I watched a few library DVD episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I mended a shirt and I started working on my September budget after a few months of slacking.

  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 August 29, 2017 · 65 comments

  1. I’ve been busy the past few days helping my 19-year-old son to finalize plan for his off-campus housing. We finally pinned down an apartment worth the two-hour drive to his college town. Luckily, the apartment we toured was both within our budget (yay!) and close enough for my son to walk to his 8 A.M. classes. (Ugh!) He’ll be in an apartment with two other students and only needs to furnish his actual bedroom, which is a relief for me as I wasn’t keen to lug a bulky couch down the great state of Oregon. We will need to buy kitchen gear, but I can source that from the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet with one hand tied behind my back. And the best part? I think we can outfit his entire bedroom without buying even a single thing.

  2. My son and I needed sustenance after our apartment tour and subsequent paperwork-o-rama session. Fortunately, my trusty Yelp app directed us towards a great little Latin restaurant that was actually within a local church. (I would never have found this little gem without Yelp.) Note the above photo that allows you to search by price. I always click the single “$” sign, which means less than $10 per entree. The two of ate for $13 including drinks and nice tip!

  3. We stopped at the Brownsville Pioneer Museum on our way home, which was not necessarily a welcome detour for my son. However, it was going to be necessary to kill enough time to avoid rush hour traffic upon entry to Crap Traffic Central The Rose City. The museum was about to close, but since there was no admission fee, we still went in for fifteen minutes or so. I’ll definitely be back. Probably with my mom though.

  4. I came across a free box behind my son’s new apartment building. I pulled out a perfect looking towel and two microfiber cloths. See? We’ll get his apartment outfitted on a budget in no time!

  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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Four Frugal Things & One Frugal Fail

by Katy on August 26, 2017 · 97 comments

  1. I was supposed to meet up with a woman yesterday to sell her a patio table that I got for free. Instead I accidentally took an extremely deep nap, and now she doesn’t want to buy the table. This was my first time trying to sell anything through nextdoor.com, so at least I know that she didn’t drive from far away. Perfect, I am not.

  2. I was bizarrely tired yesterday, (see above) and had planned nothing whatsoever for dinner. I was deeply tempted to get takeout, but instead I threw together some bean and cheese quesadillas for the kids and then cooked up a couple black bean burger patties for myself. It wasn’t exactly a meal to blog about, but being able to accept this simple fare saved us at least twenty bucks.

  3. My out of town neighbors are going to let me put some extra garbage into their bin this week, (I’m cleaning out the basement) I donated a grocery bag of miscellaneous items to Goodwill, I’m photographing Goodwill finds for eBay listings, I sold another eBay item and I finally have the DVD of Hidden Figures ready to pick up at the library.

  4. A friend of mine from work had been wanting to tag along for a Goodwill Outlet excursion, so the two of us arranged a little play date. (Actually there were two-and-a-half of us, as she has a newborn.) The trip did not provide any brag-worthy finds, but for $5.50 I did buy:

  • A swimsuit for myself, as my old one becomes transparent when wet. (Not my preferred look!)

  • A 1930’s Mickey Mouse silver spoon to sell.

  • Another handful of miscellaneous stainless steel silverware for my sons’ apartments.

  • A Rubbermaid silverware organizer.

  • A Texas Instruments scientific calculator to sell.

  • Two children’s books for my friend.

  • A ceramic coffee creamer for this friend.

  • An unopened package of wall hooks. Yup. For my friend.

     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 August 23, 2017 · 97 comments

  1. I sold a set of vintage Pyrex mixing bowls through Craigslist that had been taking up space in my cupboard. I love their aesthetic, but they can’t go into the dishwasher and need to be handled with delicate care. I’m at a point where I’d rather have more practical tools in my kitchen, so I’m also readying to list another set of Pyrex as well. My mother sings the praises of nextdoor.com, so I listed a couple items on there to test it out. I found a potential buyer for an outdoor table that I got for free, so I guess I’ll keep Next Door in my rotation.

  2. I started the process of stripping the paint from a midcentury Broyhill sideboard that I picked up at the beginning of the summer. My mother had a 3/4-full jug of chemical stripper, so my only expense so far is the $15 that I spent to buy it from the Goodwill Outlet. I might actually hold onto this piece, as it’s uber-groovy and the storage would be handy. However, I know myself well enough to guess that I’d rather have the money than a new piece of furniture. I guess it’ll depend on how much I can sell it for.

  3. I cooked up a batch of black beans in my slow cooker yesterday thinking I would set up a burrito bar for dinner. Half of my family was out and about come dinnertime, so I switched things up and mixed up a batch of Black Bean Burgers, which was a total win as I was able to incorporate a bag of random frozen bread heels, the last of a bag of roasted corn kernels and some pureed Pace salsa. (Someone brought a Costco size jar of this salsa to a party earlier this summer, but since none of us enjoy this brand, it’s been sitting in the pantry.) By pureeing it, I think I can start to anonymously slip it into recipes. Shh . . .

  4. I picked up a faux Hudson Bay blanket at the Goodwill Outlet earlier in this week. It had iron-on lettering plus the Washington State Lottery logo, but since it cost maybe $1, I figured it was worth the gamble. I finally figured out that Goo Gone, elbow grease and a sharp knife was the key for letter removing, although it took me at least a couple of hours to complete the task. (Thank you, Netflix reruns of The Office!) It’s currently on the clothesline airing out, as the Goo Gone odor is surprisingly strong despite two washings. If anyone has any tips on how to remove that smell, I’d be super appreciative!

  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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{ 97 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 21, 2017 · 82 comments

  1. My son picked up a $5 pair of eclipse glasses while downtown yesterday, and then my step father brought over four pairs that he got for free. This gave us two more than we needed, (my husband works nights) so I put together a hasty Craigslist ad this morning to sell two pairs for $5 apiece. Portland will be in 99.3% totality, so eclipse fever is frenzied here. Needless to say, I found a buyer within a few minutes. I could easily have demanded a much higher price, but that didn’t feel right.

  2. A woman in my Buy Nothing Group offered six brightly colored pairs of jeans that no longer fit her. They were my size, so I went over and chose three pairs. They’re exactly the style I like, (bright and stretchy) and I’m excited to have tripled my jeans wardrobe for the fall/winter season.

  3. I picked up a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography at the library, I used our free trial of HBO to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones, I cooked a batch of black beans in the slow cooker and I bought just $2 of gas for my Prius as the price had just gone up 40¢/gallon. (I’ll hit Costco later today to properly fill the tank.)

  4. My mother and I indulged in an afternoon of Goodwill Outlet shopping yesterday, and as always I scored some incredible bargains. Here’s what I bought for a grand total of $50.01:

  • A new looking Trek trail-a-bike that at $35 was a bit of a gamble, but I’ve already found a buyer at $90, so my instincts were right on this one. (They sell new for $274.99.)

  • A Brother sewing machine pedal/plug to sell on eBay.

  • A pair of DKNY sunglasses.

  • A handful of stainless steel silverware for my sons’ off campus apartments.

  • A silverware drawer organizer, again for one of my sons.

  • A Hudson Bay style blanket. (Always wanted one.)

  • Two T-shirts and a Pendleton Wool shirt that I’ll sell to the consignment shop. (Update: They bought everything and gave me $17.50 in store credit that I’ll  use towards a gift card for my son’s birthday.)

  • A Heelyz roller skate key.

  • A Thomas The Tank train car. We keep a bin of trains and tracks for friends whose bring their little ones by the house.

  • Two pretty outdoor cushions to replace the ratty ones on my wrought iron chairs.

  • A packet of piddle pads to set under our litter boxes. (Admit it, you envy my glamorous life!)

  • A bright and sparkly collar and a clip-on dinosaur tail for our dress-up box.

     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 August 19, 2017 · 78 comments

  1. My son and snuck up to Seattle for a couple of days for a parallel mini-vacation with my husband. Why parallel? My husband was there to attend a 6-hour punk rock concert with friends, and I would rather stick a hot poker in my eye than engage in such an activity. Instead my son and I stayed with a dear friend from college and indulged in a wee bit of thrifting and a tremendous amount of great conversation. I bought two items to sell on eBay, (a vintage enamelware lid and a vintage record album organizer) as well as a Real Madrid soccer jersey for my son to keep.

  2. I finally sold the brand new wall-to-wall carpet that I picked up a few weeks ago. I also sold a Turkish soccer jersey and a pair of vintage pantyhose on eBay.

  3. I mended a T-shirt and took in a pair of jean shorts that were too big in the waist. I wasn’t sure how to do it, but sure enough, there was a YouTube video that demonstrated each and every step!

  4. I worked two 12-hour shifts earlier in the week and brought my own food both days, I once again piggybacked on a Tacoma hotel room that was paid for by my husband’s employer, I washed and mended a large bag of vintage handmade Barbie clothing that I’m getting ready to sell, I deliberately chose locally owned restaurants for all meals while out of town, (supporting local economies is an important part of my non-consumerism) I sorted a stack of mail and wrote checks, (nothing frugal about late fees) I bought a pound of coffee and a gift card as a hostess gift for my Seattle friend, (again supporting a local business) I accepted some random leftovers from a relative’s Bat Mitzvah and I put recommended books on hold at the library.

  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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{ 78 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 14, 2017 · 122 comments

  1. My husband pulled a dashboard phone holder from the garbage at work. It needed something to keep it attached it the dash, but my husband was able to figure something out using stuff we already had on hand.

  2. My husband has another two-day inservice in Tacoma, Washington this week, so I’ll head up there after work to stay the night in his nice hotel room and then drive up to Seattle in the morning. My son and I will stay with a friend and enjoy another fun mini-vacation. (I feel like I’m perfecting the art of cheap vacationing this summer.)

  3. My son and I drove to Mt. Hood for the day and enjoyed a couple of short hikes, including the very easiest of hikes up to Little Zigzag falls. (Seriously, so gentle and slope-y even a Wolk-Stanley can do it!) All these day trips that we’ve been doing are exponentially less expensive than traditional vacations. Plus they accommodate my non-traditional work schedule.

  4. I sold a belt and a pair of vintage pantyhose on eBay, I sold a passel of Brio train track pieces on Craigslist, my son and I stopped into thrift store on our way to the mountain and just bought a soccer jersey to sell on eBay, and I brought leftovers for today’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.”

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{ 122 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 11, 2017 · 105 comments

  1. I worked yesterday and of course I packed in my own leftovers and enjoyed the free crappy coffee and the free delicious tea. (A 12-1/2 hour shift requires a lot of food and caffeine.) I then came home to greet an overnight house guest. I would have loved to splurge on a takeout or restaurant meal, but my husband had prepped a meal that kept our finances in check.
  2. I sold a thrifted designer suitcase and then a thrifted designer backpack on Craigslist, as well as a cute vintage battery checker on eBay. Shopping at Goodwill is a profitable endeavor for me.
  3. We took a day trip to a nearby rural area and splurged on farm stand fruit for the freezer. We brought binoculars and enjoyed a bit of bird watching. And by “we” I mean “I,” as no one else could be convinced to even consider this to be an enjoyable activity. We discovered a free sandy beach, which we’ll likely return to at a later date.
  4. I refreshed my Craigslist listings, I hung laundry on the clothesline, I wore 100% thrifted/curb picked clothing, I accepted my less than perfect, off-trend house, (“Horror of all horrors, is that 1990’s Formica in your kitchen?”) I assembled a couple of Franken-boxes for my eBay shipping and I bought zero souvenirs while enjoying vacation day trips.
  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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{ 105 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 8, 2017 · 99 comments

  1. I was running on fumes in my Prius, so I drove across town for some of that cheap Costco gasoline action. I somehow convinced my 19-year-old son to accompany me on this adventure, probably assisted by a promise to feed him. His reward was an enormous $1.99 slice of Costco’s everything pizza and a bonus trip to nearby Ikea where the two of us enjoyed steaming mugs of their free coffee. I’m obsessive about combining errands while driving, so I’d tucked a big bag of CFL light bulbs and spent batteries into the car to drop into the recycling bins at Ikea. I would’ve been more than happy to include a stop into the close by Goodwill Outlet, but that idea was nixed by my bin-adverse son.

  2. I vacuumed up my curbside wool rug to remove the 7.2 pounds of dog hair that likely deterred other garbage pickers. I then measured it, photographed it and promptly listed it on Craigslist. My reward was $80, which will go towards looming fall tuition payments and apartment deposits for my two university students. I also sold three small wool rugs and a Pottery Barn kilim pillow that I’d picked up at the Goodwill Outlet. People found items they were looking for, I saved items from going to the landfill and I even made a few bucks for my efforts. Win-win-win!

  3. I drove past a house that had recently been hyper-remodeled to sell, and noticed that there was a large roll of what looked to be brand new wall-to-wall carpet out for free. I stopped by later with my husband and confirmed that yes, both the carpet and under carpet were indeed new. We surmised that the remodeling company had installed carpet, which the new owners then promptly ripped out. You can guess what happened next. Yup, it’s now up on Craigslist ready for a new owner.

  4. I mailed out two eBay packages utilizing my dwindling stash of used manilla envelopes, I set out my recycling and yard debris bins which is a service I share with my next-door neighbors, (saving us both $89 per year) I found three pennies on the ground, I hung multiple loads of laundry on my clothesline, I put together a few new eBay listings and I turned off everybody’s window air conditioner units that had been running almost constantly since last week’s 105° temperatures. I fear our next electric bill.

  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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{ 99 comments }

The following is a reprint of a post that gets published every year. Enjoy!

School supplies

It’s school supply time and despite the glossy ads featuring pretty new pens, pencils, binders, scissors and whatnot, it’s actually okay to *gasp* reuse the stuff you already have. That’s right, fellow non-consumers, last year’s scissors will still work this year, and that slightly used pencil can be resharpened. And that grubby binder? Try giving it a scrub and laying it out in the sun to dry. You’ll be surprised how fresh it can look.

Sure, there are some school supplies that have to be bought new such as 3-ring notebook paper and boxes of Kleenex, (umm . . .  not sure how you would buy used Kleenex.) But I’m usually able to get away with only buying a couple of things for back-to-school.

So dump out and organize your pens, pencils, scissors and general office-y mayhem; scrub out your binders, backpacks and winter coats and make do with what you already have. You’ve already paid for it, it’s already been manufactured and any excessive packaging has already happened.

It’s one of those win-win situations. It’s sustainable and will save you money. And you don’t have to be a member of the buy-nothing-new Compact to make these decisions.

So happy shopping . . . from your own stash!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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