Non-Consumer Photo Essay

by Katy on January 18, 2016 · 23 comments

A snapshot of my days, observances that warranted documentation. (All from my Instagram account.)

Ridiculously overpackaged potatoes:

Overpackaged potatoes

A freshly darned sock:

Darned sock

An unusual piece of Goodwill art:

Goodwill art

An orange juice carton turned into a Mason jar pour spout:

Mason jar pour spout

A lost, but not forgotten penny:

Found penny

 

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 January 17, 2016 · 85 comments

  1. I brought leftovers as my work lunch, even though it wasn’t an exciting meal. I’d made a black bean chili and added rice, which was fine at the time, but became extremely dry as it sat in the fridge. I could have added water to reconstitute it, but instead I took one for the team and ate it is-is. Of course I drank the free crappy coffee and drank the lovely free tea.
  2. I filled another empty milk jug with water for our chest freezer.
  3. I mailed a card to my uncle for his 90th birthday. I used a blank card from my stash of thrifted and garbage picked greeting cards.
  4. I cleaned one of my mother’s guest cottages on Friday, although this’ll be the last one for awhile since the upcoming tenants are staying for a full two months.
  5. I had a very satisfying conversation with a friend’s husband, who is a garbage collector. (He had no idea that I’m The Non-Consumer Advocate.) I unabashedly geeked out over his stories of perfectly good stuff that people put out as garbage. My favorite was a wealthy doctor on his route whose wife wanted new furniture every few years. His family scored a new looking set of leather furniture. I could have talked to him for hours!

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 January 15, 2016 · 89 comments

Multnomah County Library

  1. I stopped into the Verizon store on my way home from dropping my son at school. I ran this errand to have them apply my $100 gift card towards this month’s cell phone bill. (This was the card that I won from using my points in one of their auctions.) I’d unsuccessfully attempted this transaction online, and needed to do this in person. They scanned the card and sent me on my way! Of course I did no other shopping while at the mall.
  2. My mother and I went to go see Book of Mormon last night, (so hilarious!) which was her Christmas gift from my step-father. (Seriously, so hilarious!) Afterwards we sat in the historic bar at Jake’s and ordered food from their happy hour menu. $2.95 cheeseburger with steak fries? Yes, please! I forget what bargains you can get from happy hour menus!
  3. I needed to renew my library books, and went through the extra step of clicking through Swagbucks. Six swagbucks is directly 6¢ towards a $25 Paypal giftcard. Free money, people!
  4. My friend’s Airbnb guests asked about renting bicycles during their stay, which means I’ll rent her our unused bikes for half of what she’d otherwise pay. Bargain for her, extra income for us!
  5. I used the last of our free Chipotle burrito cards to cover last night’s dinner. Two of their whale-sized burritos fed the three of us and I didn’t have to worry about making dinner, while also making it across town for the play. (My son and were wholly absorbed with completing a program specific college application, so making dinner was simply not going to happen!)

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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Can’t Remember to be Frugal?

by Katy on January 14, 2016 · 11 comments

The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!

Do you make solemn vows of frugality only to find yourself inadvertently forking over fistfuls of cash at the mall? Keep forgetting that you’re on budget? Then you need the new-fangled, patent pending crap-in-a-shoe frugality reminder kit!

Because while going through old papers this evening, I came across this wedding announcement clipping from 1988:

“AnnaLiese Megan LaBlond of Philomath sewed 1,000 antique pearls on her gown for her marriage to Timothy John Keck, also of Philomath. Their September 5 wedding took place at the Peavy Lodge in the Peavy Arboretum, Corvallis. The bride’s stepfather placed an Indian head penny and a World War II meat ration coupon in her shoe to remind her to be frugal.“

Perhaps the stepfather should have intervened when she got the not-so-frugal idea of incorporating “1000 antique pearls on her gown.”

News of the frugally bizarre — I *lurve* it!

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 January 13, 2016 · 64 comments

Grocery Outlet produce

  1. I returned a lice treatment kit that we didn’t end up needing, which put $16 back into our credit union account. (The glamour never ends!)
  2. I dropped by The Grocery Outlet and loaded up on deals. Of course, I stopped by the scratch-and-dent produce shelf. I chose a bag of tangerines and a bag of apples, 99¢ apiece.
  3. I’m cooking up some black beans in the crock pot for a batch of chili. I’ll add some nice sausage to the mix, as it too was on sale for 99¢.
  4. My son handed me a handful of change yesterday, that he “picked up in the mud.” I added it to my Found Change Challenge jar.
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, and I saved $2 by not buying a Powerball ticket.

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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I host an annual Found Change Challenge every year at The Non-Consumer Advocate, asking readers to save all their found money and then count it up when the year is over. (Or specifically, a week or so into January, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Found change 2015

My grand total for 2015 was $56.54, which included two coin deposits, $26 in paper money, plus 11¢ refused by the machine. (I also found random foreign coins, but they’re not include in the total.)

Coin receipt

 

Coin receipt #2

Here’s the $25 I found on the ground in front of the Whitney Museum!

$25

Break it down:
213 pennies
41 nickels
80 dimes
73 quarters
1 dollar bill
1 five-dollar bill
1 twenty-dollar bill

And when I walked back to the car after turning in my coins, I found a lovely new penny just waiting for me on the asphalt!

Wet penny

And just for kicks, here’s an outtake from this morning.

Outtake

I truly believe that valuing small amounts of money is very important to a healthy bank balance. Both as income and well as outgo. Watch your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves. It goes without saying that I deposited the money into my sons’ college account.

Did you participate in the Found Change Challenge? Please share your findings (pun intended) in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanle

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

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The Yin and Yang of Frugality and Income

by Katy on January 11, 2016 · 14 comments

yin yang

Every day I work to spend less money without decreasing my family’s quality of life. But I also focus on earning extra money. Alone, neither is enough, as there needs to be a balance between the two. We all know people who earn significant incomes, yet because of lifestyle inflation still live paycheck to paycheck, and conversely we also know those who squeeze every penny, yet never get ahead because of a small income.

I put my focus on both frugality and income.

Frugality

  • Today I took my husband on a date by treating him to free coffee at Ikea complete with a free ice cream cone chaser. (I had a $1-off coupon from a previous visit.) We spent time sitting across the table from one another while sipping beverages, which qualified in my book as a date.
  • Dinner was leftover turkey noodle soup with the extra either packed up for a work lunch or stuck into the freezer.
  • I filled an empty gallon milk container with water to put into the chest freezer to fill up space and save on electricity.

Income

  • I found 32¢ on the ground.
  • I wrote a blog post.
  • I logged into an old online bank account and discovered that it contained almost $93. I promptly transferred the money into my credit union account, and will use the money towards my son’s next college tuition payment due in April.
  • I submitted another Clark Howard article and proposed five new ideas.
  • Tomorrow I’ll work a 12-hour RN shift at the hospital.

Frugality and income are perfect bedfellows. Together they bring about a balance of financial security that would be impossible if one were to focus on a single half.

Perfectly in balance. Frugality and income, the yin-yang of personal finance.

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 January 10, 2016 · 65 comments

Free cat food pouches

  1. I brought home a box of cat food pouches that someone else’s cat was too much of a “snob” to eat. So far my cats are demonstrating their egalitarian values and having no issues of snobbery.
  2. I stopped at Costco yesterday after picking my son up from a friend’s house. I bought exactly what was on my list, (cat food, laundry detergent and eggs) snacked on a few samples and then treated my son and I to $1.50 Polish dogs with soda. Of course I filled the tank with $1.99/gallon gasoline.
  3.  Tonight’s dinner will be the last of the leftover turkey noodle soup.
  4. I finished reading my library copy of Primates of Park Avenue and picked up an armload of books that I’d put on hold. This included a couple books that my son had seen at Powell’s bookstore and wanted for himself.
  5. I spent an hour or so working on our January budget. I’m not sure what we’ll owe in taxes this year, so we”re going to prepare them ahead of time and then we’ll know how much we need to put aside. Of course, we won’t actually file them until April 15th.

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 January 7, 2016 · 93 comments

Dinner!

  1. I prepared a dinner using the last of a bag potatoes, some defrosted Grocery Outlet sausages, peas, shredded cheese and diced avocado. Both frugal and delicious!
  2. I had a childhood friend over this afternoon. Instead of going out for lunch, I served home brewed coffee and then ham and cheese panini sandwiches with a side of orange wedges. Also, frugal and delicious! (Okay, okay   . . . the sandwiches were prepared using my humble George Foreman grill, not an official panini press.)
  3. I had the opportunity to stay at home instead of going to work yesterday, but called my charge nurse and told her I wanted to come in to complete some online education. I quickly got a laboring patient, but was given the opportunity to go home again after she delivered. I repeated my wish to stay at work, and someone else happily accepted her offer. My pushiness earned me hundreds of extra dollars. It would have been nice to cozy up at home, but work is the best place to go when funding a college account. Of course I brought a lunch of homemade leftovers.
  4. We made the $7017 payment for our son’s winter tuition, room and board, and were able to do so without borrowing a penny. Earning as much as possible, combined with extreme frugality is a powerful tool. (That reminds me, I should put some pinto beans into the crock pot for tomorrow’s dinner.)
  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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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The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!

My week has been pleasantly busy, with tasks and outings related to hosting a 15-year-old Japanese speech contest winner. And Monday, after he presented his speech on Bushido: The Samurai Moral Code, we spent a few hours downtown, as the teenagers shopped and did some sightseeing. Now you, as regular readers, know that time spent shopping downtown is about as usual for me as inviting ChemLawn over for a spray-fest. But not wanting to start an international incident, I shepherded the kids around, even ushering them into the downtown mall. (I consider this to be my ticket to heaven, as it was an entirely selfless task!)

The one store they seemed most excited about was a large Swiss department store that sells everything from shoes to slutty underwear. The joint was hopping, with loud rock music, prominent displays featuring supermodels attired head to toe in their merchandise, and store personnel with edgy piercings and Crayola hued dye jobs.

In other words, fashionista heaven.

But a closer look at the merchandise revealed that everything in the store looked like crap. The jewelry appeared about the same as gumball machine stuff, the towering heels were constructed from vinyl-esque material, the clothing was made with really thin fabric and the seams all looked wonky. And yes, everything was made in China, not Switzerland.

So yes, crap.

I looked around at the crowd of weekday shoppers, yet everyone seemed to be enjoying the illusion. And the phrase “Sell the sizzle, not the steak” began to swirl through my head.

Then I started to think about the Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. The story of a King, duped into believing in clothing that is only visible to the worthy. In the story, no one except a small child has the cojones to inform the king of his rather, ahem . . . nude status. I wanted to run an intervention with the people standing in line or at least scream “Does anyone else notice that everything in here is a piece of crap?!”

But then I took a deep breath, waited patiently while the Japanese teenagers made their purchases and then took everyone down to the food court.

And that night, I had a glass of wine.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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