nivo total station teodolit hiperaktivite The Non-Consumer Advocate Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. Page 3

Coin Girl

My family is in Washington D.C. right now, and it’s a very interesting mix of very expensive and extremely frugal.

Here, let me elaborate:

  • My husband is being presented with an award, so the airfare and very nice hotel for the two of us was free. However, the tickets for the kids were $580 apiece. Frugal/expensive.
  • My husband was given a stipend by his employer for incidentals, but yesterday’s hotel breakfast was $84 with tip. Frugal/expensive.
  • I packed sandwiches, chips, cookies and fruit for the airplane, but we still splurged on food court food as we were hungry for dinner by the time we were leaving the Chicago airport. Frugal/expensive.
  • Yesterday’s entertainment included walking down the National Mall and stopping into The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Dinner was included in a banquet presentation by my husband’s employer, and we were able to walk everywhere we needed to be. And when my husband started taking everyone to the museum cafe to get drinks, I found us a drinking fountain. Frugal/frugal/frugal.
  • Yesterday’s souvenirs included a penny found on the ground (Lincoln Memorial on the back!) and making one of those squished penny thingies at The Smithsonian. I was mock horrified to find that the hand-cranked-squished-penny-machine cost $1.01 instead of 51¢. Frugal/expensive.
  • Today’s breakfast is part of the festivities, so it will be free, but we are going to a restaurant to meet up with an old friend for dinner. Frugal/expensive.

Saving money where we can so that’s available for when frugality is not an option. It’s the Non-Consumer way.

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 9 comments }

Today I Am . . .

by Katy on March 21, 2014 · 19 comments


 New sunglasses

Today I am . . . 

Getting ready for our east coast trip by running errands, writing to-do lists and trying to achieve a goal of leaving the house in a state of complete cleanliness and order. Nothing’s more depressing than coming home to a stale and messy house. So depressing!

Looking forward to the Non-Consumer Advocate D.C. Meetup on Tuesday, March 25th at the Library of Congress at 10:45 A.M. I’m hoping at least one person shows up. (It’s during the day, which I know is a barrier for those with jobs. Sorry.)

Enjoying my new $2 sunglasses. My last Goodwill pair finally bit the dust, so I spent a few minutes rifling through the haystack of thrifted eyewear until I found an acceptable pair. I did find a really nice pair of Ralph Lauren sunglasses, but they turned out to be prescription. (I’ll try to glue the old pair back together, but want a not-sure-to-break during-our-vacation pair.)

Really wanting to include a visit to the Tenement Museum in New York City’s Lower East Side. My husband and I lived in the neighborhood in 1989-1990-ish, and it was still completely ungentrified.  My step-mother grew up there, and was horrified that we would knowingly live in such an awful area. To her, it was a place to escape.

Planning a dinner meal that will use up as many perishables as possible from the fridge.

Taking my son to school and running errands on my way home. Gotta go, bye!

Now your turn. What are you doing today?

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 19 comments }


eBay globe

It’s time for another Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.

The Luxury of Time Allows For Creative Problem Solving

It may seem as if I’m able to come up with frugal hacks without batting an eye, but that’s simply not the case. Each wheel that I invent requires lengthy periods of watching The Walking Dead, contemplation and rumination. (Okay, okay, maybe I’m not always inventing the wheel, but some days sure feel like it.)

Two recent examples come to mind.

I just sold a uber-cool vintage black globe on eBay. I normally try and stay away from selling large items, as they’re a pain in the tuchus to ship, but I figured the relative lightness of the globe would negate the size. Of course, I didn’t have a big enough box in my packaging stash. Resignedly, I realized I would have to buy a box, so I took some measurements and began walking to The UPS Store in my neighborhood. Halfway there I decided I would check at the art supply store where my son works to see if they could spare a big ol’ box. They did have one, and although it was big, it was too short to fit the globe.

I brought it home anyway.

I recut and re-bent the box until it met my needs, and then I taped it within an inch of its life. Not pretty, but it was functional, zero waste and free. (To buy a box would have been around five bucks!)

My other example is shoe related. I’m somehow currently down to just a couple pair of shoes, which normally is a non-issue as last time I checked I’m only able to wear one pair of shoes at a time. However, I specifically lack non-boots, no-sandals, non-sneakers, which is a problem for our upcoming trip to the east coast. I’ve been trolling the thrift shops, but since I wear a size-10, the supply is limited.

I was perusing the shoe racks at Goodwill today when I realized that I could just wear my work shoes, which are black patent leather Danskos. (After first wiping them down with antiseptic wipes. Shoes from a labor and delivery unit are, umm . . . body-fluid-tastic.)

Bam. Done. Problem solved!

Both of these non-consumer challenges took time to figure out. I had the answers all along, but they took awhile to float to the surface. If I were to buy stuff the second I realized a need, there would be no time for creative problem solving.

Give it time, people. Give it time.

Washington D.C. Meetup!

I have arranged a Washington D.C. meetup for Non-Consumer Advocate readers at the Library of Congress for Tuesday, March 25th at 10:45 A.M. We will meet at the main information desk next to the entrance security. This is all thanks to “Katie” who is a blog reader, and Library of Congress docent. She’ll be giving us our own personal tour!

Please let me know if you’re able to attend, so I can have a sense of how many people to anticipate.

Meet me *and* my teenage sons who are likely to be both bored and embarrassed!

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 15 comments }

Don’t Replace it, Fix it!

by Katy on March 19, 2014 · 28 comments


Don't replace it, fix it!

If you own possessions, you’re already fully aware of the content decline of everything that surrounds you. Appliances need repairs, clothes need mending and stuff simply needs fixing. But just because your possessions crumble in front of your very eyes doesn’t mean that they have to be replaced.

Just the other day, my microwave started flashing and making a burning smell. Needles to say, I unplugged that sucker faster than Katy Wolk-Stanley on half-price Goodwill day a cheetah. My first thought was that the microwave was a goner, but my husband came home and pulled off the flat metallic plate, (called a wave guide cover) which sported a very obvious burnt hole. We very carefully wrote the make, model and model number on the plate and took it to a locally owned appliance supply shop.

Wave Guide Cover

To my surprise they sold me an entire sheet of packaging-free mica-like paper/metal. I then traced the shape of my metal plate and cut it out using scissors and slotted it into place. It set me back $22, but there’s enough material to make six of these metal plates, so I have enough to repeat this repair until the day I die.

Cut-your-own Wave Guide Cover

I thought about how most Americans would have freaked out and replaced the entire microwave without even considering this easy fix. (And it doesn’t help that many currently manufactured appliances and electronic gizmos are deliberately designed to be unfixable.) Luckily, this was an easy fix, but even if it hadn’t been, I still would have tried my hardest to repair before replace.

Whether it’s a microwave, a ripped bed sheet, a busted wooden table or even just a lowly sock, it’s likely to be fixable. So step away from your big box routine and change your mindset from replace to repair.

If I can do it, anyone can!

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 28 comments }

Cap & Gown? No Thank You!

by Katy on March 18, 2014 · 26 comments


There are two things that set my teeth on edge, wasting money and buying single use items.

Example of the two? The obligatory graduation cap and gown.

My son’s high school kept sending information about graduation products to buy, (class rings, mementos, official announcements) and of course the cap and gown. I asked on the school’s Facebook group if anyone had a cap and gown we could borrow, posted on Freecycle and even asked a friend whose sons are both a year older than mine if we could borrow her set.

Nope, nope and “My son wouldn’t be comfortable wearing something someone else had used.”

I finally called the school yesterday and asked if they had any hand me down sets my son could borrow, and whattayaknow they did! We now have a cap and gown for graduation, no money will change hands, and we’ve avoided the dreaded cheaply made single use item!

And the best part? The school counselor completely understand why we would want to avoid buying this useless low quality item.

I just kind of wish more parents would want to avoid single use caps and gowns, then I wouldn’t of had to invent the wheel.

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 26 comments }


My family is soon to spend a week and half visiting Washington D.C. and New York City. This trip kind of fell in our laps as my husband recently learned that he was being presented with an award in D.C. Luckily, this means that the airfare, housing and food are paid for while in D.C. (Yay!) Unluckily, we decided to include our 15 and 18-year-old sons since this is all happening during spring break. Which means yes, their flights were ridiculously expensive. Pretty much the same price for their two tickets as four cheap tickets would have cost.

Not frugal people, not frugal!

However, we’re taking full advantage of being on the east coast to jam in a trip to New York City for a full ten day vacation. My sister lives in Manhattan, so we’ll stay with her, and my husband and I lived in the city from 1988-1990, so we’re very comfortable with getting around NYC without breaking the bank.

Remember my Cheap-Ass Katy in The City post?

Here’s what we have planned so far to keep the budget from getting out of hand:

  • We’ll take full advantage of all the free meals while in D.C. If it’s free, then we’ll fill up!
  • Many museums in D.C. are free, so yeah, we’ll be doing that!
  • We’ll bring our own snacks and food on the airplane.
  • We’ll hit up the free museums in D.C., which are luckily walking distance from our hotel.
  • We’ve booked Bolt Bus tickets rom D.C. to NYC which is costing our family of four a whopping $60. (Such a deal!)
  • We’ll stay for free with my sister and her family. And since she’s stayed countless times with us in Portland, there’s zero moochiness guilt.
  • An old college chum had offered us Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) passes when my younger son and I were in NYC in October for my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. (He gets them for free through his employer.) Unfortunately we didn’t have time to advantage of this generous offer on that trip, so I e-mailed him and asked if the offer still stood. Since MOMA admission is $25, this is a $100 value!
  • We don’t own four nice roll aboard suitcases, so we borrowed the extras from my friend Sasha.
  • We will not be taking any taxis, seeing Broadways shows, eating in tourist trap restaurants, buying souvenirs, paying for city tours or partaking of any other overpriced tourist trap opportunities. (Okay, I’d actually love to see a Broadway play, but simply can’t justify the expense.)
  • My husband, younger son and nephew will be attending a New York Red Bulls soccer games with old friends. (However, they’ll sell the tickets for the Portland Timbers game that they’ll be missing so it should come out about even.) I’m thinking this will be the highlight of the trip for my soccer obsessed fellows.
  • We’ll most likely eat lunch out while in NYC, but eat dinner at my sister’s apartment.

Do you have any New York City or Washington D.C. frugal travel tips to share? Please share your wisdom in the comments section below.

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 42 comments }


I am not and never have been a fan of paying for something when I can figure out a free alternative. Yes, it’s usually easier to plop down the ol’ debit card and pay for convenience, but where’s the fun in that?

Remember how I was rooting rosemary from my neighbor’s cuttings? I was waiting to plant the rootings until Portland was past freezing temperatures, and I decided to gamble on March 16th.

I already had a free flower pot, (I nabbed it from my mother, as she wasn’t using it) and have been using it for oregano, but it died in the freeze and the soil level had gone down too low.

See?

Empty flower pot

Instead of buying potting soil, I went ahead and just dumped the soil from last year’s fuchsia baskets into the pot. (Our local Fred Meyer stores host an annual Fuchsia Day where fuchsia starts are 5/$3 and they fill your pots with free potting soil, which means I only bring empty pots!)

Here’s one of my thrifted hanging baskets filled with dried out and dead fuchsias:

Hanging basket

Unfortunately, the coconut mat had rotted away on the bottom. However, I know that people use paper coffee filters in the bottom of their flower pots, so I will borrow a few from work and see if I can get another year out of my basket liners. (Spoiler alert — I will!)

Peek-a-boo!

holly basket liner!

With two baskets emptied into the flower pot, I pulled my rooted rosemary from their opaque vase:

Rosemary starts

And planted them nice and deep:

Rosemary

Rosemary

This gardening project may seem like a lot of effort for a small payout, but by challenging myself to use a creative mindset I was able to figure out a free way to have an attractive (and edible) plant for my front porch.

Being on a limited budget is never a barrier to the good things in life. You just have to give it a little extra thought.Rosemary

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 18 comments }


Instagram:

Katy Wolk-Stanley Instagram

And Targeted Savings Banks:

banks 1 Banks 2 Banks 3

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 5 comments }


Non-Consumer Netflix

If you have streaming Netflix, it can be hard to not get overwhelmed by the thousands upon thousands of options. Yes, their fancy algorithm shows you a manageable number of viewing options, but sometimes it’s nice to get a nudge in the right direction.

Here are few Netflix shows, movies and documentaries that I feel complement the Non-Consumer Advocate:

The Joneses

“In this smart drama about the dark side of a material world, it’s impossible to keep up with the Joneses, a suburban family with good looks, fancy cars, a sprawling estate and… a shocking secret the neighbors would never guess.”

Park Avenue: Money, Power and The American Dream

“Documentarian Alex Gibney focuses on the gap between rich and poor by examining New York’s Park Avenue, home to America’s highest concentration of billionaires. Meanwhile, down the street, South Bronx is the poorest congressional district in the U.S.”

The Queen of Versailles

“Meet the Siegels, glitterati who made a fortune in the time-share business, only to see it crumble in the 2008 financial collapse. The site of their rise and almost-fall is their home (America’s largest), a gaudy replica of the Palace of Versailles.”

30 Days, from filmmaker Morgan Spurlock

This appears to to have vanished from Netflix, but it’s so good that I’d keep an eye out for it to reappear. The Minimum Wage episode is a must watch; and Working in a Coal Mine and Off The Grid are excellent and thought provoking as well.

“An unscripted, documentary-style program where an individual is inserted into a lifestyle that is completely different from his or her upbringing, beliefs, religion or profession for 30 days.”

There are also a number of documentaries about income inequality and the influence of the Koch brothers that are so depressing looking that I can’t even stand the thought of watching them. (I gotta be able to get out of bed each morning.)

I also have cable, (generally a frugal no-no, but my husband and son have an apparent need to watch international soccer games, and my husband bikes to work to offset the cost. <– Defensive much, Katy?) Anyway, since I do have cable TV, I take full advantage of all the great shows that complement my non-consumer interests. You can watch full episodes of most of these shows online if you don’t have cable.

American Pickers 

Mike and Frank travel the country poking around in barns and outbuildings searching out “rusty gold.” The property owners are always treated respectfully and there’s actually a bit of historical backstory given to the stuff they pick for resale. (The History Channel.)

Thrift Hunters

A new show where two guys rifle through various southwestern thrift shops to find items to resell on eBay. I like this show, as I feel it helps to hone my eye for what items actually do well on eBay. (Spike TV.)

Rehab Addict

Nicole Curtis rehabs houses in Minneapolis and Detroit that would otherwise be due for the wrecking ball. She is fiercely protective of her mission to save old houses, and is very creative about reusing old materials and other people’s discards. Do not underestimate this cute little blonde. (HGTV and The DIY Network.)

Beachfront Bargain Hunt — Funny story. Although this HGTV show showcases wealthy couples buying beachfront property, my initial thought when I saw the name of the show was that it was about people finding cool stuff washed up on the shore or that beachgoers had left behind. Sadly, such was not the case, although I would totally watch the hell out of a show like that!

Note that I did not include Extreme Cheapskates, as that show strives to gross you out rather than educate.

Are there any movie, TV show or documentary that you feel dovetails nicely with non-consumerism? Please share your favorites in the comments section below.

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 24 comments }


broke spot

I get frustrated with articles and blog posts about how to save money that never challenge the reader to do more than “skip that morning Starbucks run.”

It’s insultingly to the reader. Because, duh . . .

What about when you’re barely hanging on financially? What if you were never stupid enough to establish a daily latte habit in the first place? Are there money saving tips when you’re already financially strapped and have already taken the obvious steps?

Luckily, I am the queen of pinching a penny until it tells you where the microfilm is screams for mercy, and I am generous with my tips, so here you go!

Katy Wolk-Stanley’s money saving tips for the broke-broke-brokety-broke:

Cut cable and then share a Netflix account with a friend or family member. This is completely legal, and although it only saves you $4 per month, you are doing this because you’re broke. So take your $4 savings already! Each Netflix account gives you five different profiles, which means each of your chick flick+eco documentary+wacky comedy algorithms will stay intact. (Even better, get your parents (or kids) to give you their login information for free.)

Call your insurance agent and update them with everything they need to know. If you’re driving less, you should be able to get a discount for that. Simply ask them if there are discounts you could quality for. While you’re at it, take the time to call all your service providers to see about getting your bills lowered.

Give stuff you already own as gifts. Books, family belongings, cute decor items, jewelry and most anything else can be up for grabs. Think of your home as your own personal mall and go shopping. And if you declutter in the process, all the better!

Use less of your household products. When a new container of laundry detergent is major expenditure this tip will save your tuchus. Use half of even a third of the recommended amount of laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, shampoo, conditioner, etc. And when you think you’re out of a liquid product turn it upside down for a few days and then later cut it open when you think it’s finally empty. (It’s not.)

Speaking of your shampoo, it’s time to let go of brand loyalty. You are not Donna or Tom Haverford from Parks & Rec, and you do not need to “Treat yo self!” You will survive a demotion to Dollar store shampoo. (I use White Rain brand, and it is awesome!) This tip can be expanded to almost every category. Give off brands a chance.

Unless you’re exercising, you can probably switch to an every-other-day bathing routine. Wash the important bits with a soapy washcloth and save yourself the time and money.

Just say “No!”  Say “no” to expensive invitations, say “no” to group gifts and say “no” to charitable solicitors. (If you are broke-broke-brokety-broke, it is perfectly okay to pay your own bills before you pay the bills of others.) Say it with me. “No!”

Just say “Yes!” Don’t let pride get in the way of taking your friends and family up on their generous offers. Let your friend pay for the movies or a lovely lunch. You can return the favor when you’re in better financial standing. Maybe you can give them a bouquet of flowers from your garden or an evening of babysitting as a thank you.

Lower your cell phone bill. I am hearing good buzz about Ting, and there is no reason to overpay just because you’re in love with your smart phone.

This one may fall under the duh category, but make sure you’re taking full advantage of everything your library has to offer. Books, music, downloadable audiobooks and museum passes are just the beginning. Portland’s library puts on events for adults and children and clubs for everything from knitting to fans of The Non-Consumer Advocate. Okay, I made that last bit up, but go ask your reference librarian if there’s anything you’re not taking full advantage of.

Embrace cheap recipes. Whether it’s bean based meals or simple meals from everyday items, you need to avoid recipes that call for expensive ingredients. Yes, cooking at home will save you money, but not if you’re having to buy ingredients that only work for that one recipe. Say buh-bye to anything calling for saffron, and sayonara to pricey cuts of meat.

Lower your housing costs. Renting a room to an international exchange college student can be quite lucrative. Not only will you raise some much needed funds, but since the students are from another country they’re unlikely to bring a room full of furniture to your already furnished home. Contact the housing department of your local university, and they should be able to put you in contact with the right people. Plus, it’s fun.

Break your routines. Do you buy all your groceries or household supplies at the same store out of habit? Explore beyond your usual routine to find the best prices for the stuff you need.

Take advantage of any and all free entertainment opportunities. It sucks to stay home all the time just because you’re broke, so scour your local paper and websites for cool free stuff to do. Get out of the house already!

Consider sharing your internet service with a neighbor. Go ahead, ask them. The worst they can say is no.

Stop drinking booze. It’s expensive and not worth the expense. Sorry.

Borrow, borrow, borrow and then share, share, share. Need a whatchamacallit but only occasionally? Ask around to see if anyone in your circle has one you can borrow. We borrow a document shredder, loppers, and the neighbor’s pressure washer, and in exchange we lend out our rug shampooer, wheelbarrow, post hole digger, miscellaneous tools and snow shovel. It goes without saying how important it is to return everything clean and in working order.

Okay people, what did I miss? Please share your tips in the comments section below.

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 61 comments }

nivo total station teodolit hiperaktivite