Hustling to Make Extra Money

by Katy on August 2, 2015 · 44 comments

Broken Fiestaware

As much as I put my efforts into saving money, I put an equal effort into bringing in lots of income. Because unless you’re a professional couch surfer and food forager, you can’t have one without the other. I call it my “my hustle,” and baby, I am always hustling!

I’ve written about my money making hacks over the years and always get readers wondering why I don’t simply work more hours in my day job as a labor and delivery nurse. It’s a good question, and I can see why people ask it. The answer is that with my family, life gets too complicated when my husband and I both work the same days. We work 12-hour shifts which keep us away from the house for around 14 hours, and there is simply always something at home that needs adult attention. We’ll be empty nesters sooner than we care to admit, so why not spend time with our sons now while they’re still at arm’s reach? Sniff . . .

My people matter more to me than my money.

Having said that, money does matter. Not just money for life’s daily expenditures, but money set aside for retirement and for our sons to graduate college without soul crushing student loan debt. (Both my teenage sons hold jobs, but it isn’t enough to pay for college.)

It’s a delicate balance. Work enough to save and stay out of debt, yet also spend the apparently massive amounts of time I like to hang out with my kids.

So I hustle.

Here’s how my hustle breaks down:

  • I work as a hospital based labor and delivery nurse. However, it’s an on-call position, which means that I pick and choose my schedule, although I’m required to work a certain number of hours per month. Sometimes I work two days per week, sometimes less. (I used to have a regular part-time staff position, but my husband’s work week is based on an eight-day week, which was impossible to schedule around.)
  • I help my mother run her VRBO guest cottage business. This mostly means that I help to clean and maintain the two houses between tenants, which runs from twice a week or once a month. I’m very good at it, and always make jokes about how “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” as I certainly do not keep my house at the 100% immaculate standard that we keep for the guest cottages. This is work I can do despite running the kids across town or managing my own household. My mother pays me enough to make it worth my time. Plus she often takes me to lunch. Thanks, mom!
  • I sell stuff on Craigslist. This runs the gamut from soccer tickets, to unwanted personal possessions to things fellow Portlanders put out for free. I almost always have at least three listings going at a time, and I start to scour the house when my inventory gets low. Over the past week I’ve sold a vintage plant stand I found next to a dumpster, ($20) half of a Subaru trailer hitch that went with our sadly totaled Outback, ($10) and an antique claw foot bathtub that’s been sitting in our basement for ten years. ($625) Just yesterday a free pile gifted me a vintage hand painted floor cloth and a wonderful small desk/dresser combo. The former is already on Craigslist, and I’ll put together an ad for the latter as soon as I’m done writing this blog post.
  • I sell stuff on eBay. This is not as frequent as it used to be, but certain items do better on eBay than on Craigslist. (Larger customer base.) I have a listing ready to start tonight that is nothing more than a lot of broken vintage Fiestaware. I’d thought I would use it for a mosaic kitchen backsplash, but it’s been sitting in my basement for almost twenty years, so I’ll let some other crafty type take over the project.
  • I find money on the ground. Okay, this hustle may seem a bit of a stretch, but it seriously adds up. Last year I found over $35 on the ground, and I’m on track for a much higher amount this year as I’ve already found $27 in paper money alone!
  • I use Swagbucks to order up $25 PayPal gift cards. I know a lot of people use Swagbucks to earn gift cards for Amazon or Starbucks, but since the bucks can be used to earn straight-up cash, that’s my first choice. You know . . . money! My goal is to earn one per month. ($25 X 12 = $300.)
  • I blog. I know this one may seem obvious, but it’s something that I’ve done almost every single day since May 20, 2008. (A loooong time in the blogging world.) I turn down probably 99% of money making opportunities related to the blog, as it would hypocritical to write about not buying useless crap while simultaneously writing sponsored posts, although I do have a few advertisers to keep the lights on. The blog earns around $10 per day, which adds up. But I don’t do it for the money, I do it because it’s extremely satisfying and fulfilling. I feel like it’s helped to create an amazing community, and it may sound hokey, but I get more from blogging than my readers do. I love my readers! You should see what kind of amazing stuff that goes down over at The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group!

Together it adds up. We have enough money for everything we need and although we don’t have fully funded college accounts, we’re going to muddle through. I’ll work more once both kids are in college, but I’ll continue my hustle either way. Cause baby . . . my hustle is a thing of beauty.

Do you hustle to piece together a patchwork income? Please share your stories 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.

{ 44 comments }

More Creative Lettering

Update: This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Lorraine!

I have a special treat for you today, which is an opportunity to win your very own copy of More Creative Lettering: Techniques & Tips From Top Artists from Lark Crafts.

I consider myself to be a creative person when it comes to figuring out alternate solutions to life’s many problems, but my creativity does not follow me into the visual medium. I simply cannot draw, and no one in their right mind would ever ask me to letter anything. And what was decently okay handwriting a few years ago has devolved into chicken scratch, barely legible to me, let alone anyone else.

So when Lark reached out to me about reviewing this book and doing a blog giveaway, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Yes, please! Especially since Lark books are always deliciously gorgeous. (Whoever is in charge of book design over there deserves a raise!)

Here is an example of my very best cursive, which has not changed since Mrs. Criqui’s third grade classroom.

Luckily, this great book has many easy to follow examples of super cute handwriting that I’m excited to try out on my own. Yay!

To enter to win a copy of this book, please write your name in the comments section below. I will randomly choose one winner on Monday, August 3rd at 9 P.M. PST. U.S. and Canada residents only. One entry only.

Good luck!

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.

{ 140 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 30, 2015 · 51 comments

  1. Half of all paper Portland Timbers soccer tickets feature a coupon on the back for a free meal at Ikea. (Up to $5.99.) Even the development team tickets, which come free with our season tickets. So you know I snatch those things up faster than Imelda Marcos at a Manolo Blahnik shoe sale. They have to be redeemed pretty quickly, so my husband and I headed over to all things Swedish yesterday for a rare and appreciated restaurant treat. However, we had four tickets and zero teens in on the fun. No problem for me though, as I simply brought my own Pyrex leftover containers and kid orders for the chicken strips with fries. Add in my Ikea Family card and a tall mason jar, and a free iced coffee was added to our bill. That is, the bill of $0.00.
  2. My husband and I stopped at The Grocery Outlet on our way home and filled two large reusable grocery bags for the low, low price of only $15. 99¢ off-brand Corn Chex, 10¢ Greek yogurts and $1.50 boxes of Luna bars (among other things) made their way home with us and our money stayed in the bank, where it’s needed for our sons to go to college.
  3. I finished reading my library copy of In The Unlikely Event, Judy Blume’s latest adult novel. I sometimes worry that books from my favorite authors won’t live up to my high expectations, but that was a complete non-worry as this book was so amazingly wonderful. Go read it. Now. I love you, Judy Blume!
  4. I hung laundry on the clothesline, I made club sandwiches from scratch, I relisted three Craigslist posts, I washed my hair using dollar store shampoo, I slept on free-pile sheets, I watered plants using water from the kids’ unfinished water bottles, I washed laundry in cold water using small amounts of detergent, I used fans instead of air conditioning, I viewed the bright world through thrifted $1 sunglasses and I wrote my blog on a much repaired laptop.
  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.”

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.

{ 51 comments }

Non-Consumer Photo Essay

by Katy on July 29, 2015 · 24 comments

It’s time for another Non-Consumer Photo Essay, as sometimes a photo is simply easier better than words.

Please enjoy this photo of the money I found below the coin counting machine at my credit union. That’s $2.25 in free money, people!

Free money! You just have to the person willing to bend down to scoop it out from under the machine. No question that I am that person.

Free money

I stopped at the Habitat for Humanity Restore yesterday to drop off a light fixture and some miscellaneous lighting components. I took a few minutes to browse the store and was impressed with the 10¢ price on the small cans of wood stain. Ten freaking cents!

At this point you might be saying to yourself, “Ten cents is fine and dandy on a small can of stain, but I need a larger can!” Worry not, as the larger cans were priced at only a buck apiece.

They had a large and well organized selection of stains. Not to mention the paints and most anything else a regular hardware store would stock. Much of it looked brand new as well!

$1 stain

I no longer buy paper towels, but I do miss them when it comes time to wipe out my cast iron pans after seasoning. Luckily I’m still handed paper napkins now and then, which I gleefully clutch like Gollum bring home normally for cast iron swipage. 

My precious!

Zero waste paper towel 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 }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 28, 2015 · 33 comments

Spider plant

  1. I used a buy-one-get-one-free Redbox code to rent a free single DVD. I’d read this was possible if you put the movie on hold online, rather than at the kiosk itself. We watched Ex Machina, which was intensely suspenseful and well acted. Well worth our $0.00!
  2. I sold two things on Craigslist — A vintage wrought iron plant stand that I found standing next to a dumpster, (the stand was hanging out at the dumpster, not me) and an Amazon FireTV stick that my husband won at a basketball game. $45 more dollars for the ol’ college fund!
  3. I planted some spider plant babies that I’d pinched off my father’s monster plant. I first rooted them in water for a few weeks, and I’m now looking forward to my own lush spider plant. (Spider plants are highly rated for improving indoor air quality.) I have the plant outside right now, but will transition it indoors when temperatures cool down.
  4. I posted in my local buy nothing group asking for twin XL sheets for my son who is soon to head off to college. Surely there are people with this dorm-specific size sheets that they no longer have use for. I also offered up a scratching post, that despite my best effort my cats have shown no interest in.
  5. Last night’s dinner was a collection of leftovers and gotta-use-em-up stragglers. Bean and cheese quesadillas, baked ziti, cubed cantaloupe and bangers and mash all fed my family while serving to avoid food waste. Plus, I didn’t have to cook . . . yay!

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.
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.

{ 33 comments }

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

Why buy new?

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 do 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.”

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.

{ 39 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 26, 2015 · 44 comments

  1. I booked a motel room to stay in during my son’s two-day college orientation next month. He stays for free in a dorm, (ha, not really free at all!) but I needed a place for little ol’ me. I spent some time clicking around AirBnB, HomeAway, Priceline, TripAdvisor and such and finally chose a place. My son’s college is in adorable Ashland, home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and more cutesy-wutesy than the Dionne quintuplets. (Like my timely reference?) However . . . this means that the hotels are expensive. We stayed in a nearby untrendy town last year, but the 30+ minute drive added up. I went ahead and booked a non-fancy, but recommended motel (with kitchenette!) that’s almost on campus. I’d planned on staying three nights since I didn’t relish a five hour drive at the end of an orientation day, but we need our money for tuition, not motel stays! To make the most of any discounts I booked through eBates –> Priceline, making sure to compare the price of booking directly with the motel. (I always pat myself on the back when I remember to use eBates!) This may sound like a pain in the tuchus, but I saved $20+ per night. Plus . . . kitchenette!
  2. I plan on being deliberate and judicious about bringing our own food and drinks on this trip. Hello . . . rest stop picnics and thermos coffee breaks!
  3. I worked the past two days and brought my lunch and drank the crappy free coffee instead of walking down to one of the hospital’s cafes for a lovely latté.
  4. I stopped by The Grocery Outlet the other day and stocked up on 33¢ packages of organic angel hair pasta, $1.50 boxes of Luna bars and 3/$1 fancy yogurts. Man, do I love that store!
  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.”

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.

{ 44 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 23, 2015 · 52 comments

Clothesline selfie

  1. I relisted three things on Craigslist, started a new listing and sold five free pile half-pint jars to my local terrarium shop for $20. I also signed up for work shifts through mid-September.
  2. I reminded myself that even though my son’s college expenses seems high, having him away from home will save us some money. No groceries for him, less electricity, no Crossfit membership and no long showers. I’m sure there are many more ways in which it was save us money to have him away from home, but for now I’m too busy fighting an emotional breakdown to think clearly. My baby . . . 
  3. I walked to the grocery store for cereal and milk. I found two pennies on the ground at the store, and then spied a dollar bill on the grass outside of another store. Not only did I save money by walking instead of driving, but I made money in the process!
  4. I hung a load of laundry on the clothesline, I prepared a dinner of white bean soup from scratch, I brought home a pretty glazed flowerpot from a free pile, my husband and I slept on a fitted sheet from someone’s garage sale leftovers, I watered plants using mystery drips that I catch in a bowl at the back of the refrigerator and I packed a lunch for tomorrow’s 12-hour shift.
  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.”

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.

{ 52 comments }

Taking One For The Team

by Katy on July 23, 2015 · 54 comments

Gross yogurt

My older sister and I are dedicated non-wasters. We mend and repair, barely ever buy new and we watch our families’ food waste like a hawk. This means that our refrigerators are ripe rife with many small containers of leftovers just waiting to be consumed. Sometimes those leftovers are in high demand, but often they aren’t.

Need an example?

Leftover salad that’s been marinating in salad dressing and is starting to lose its crispness.

Yeah . . . not so desirable.

However, the two of us joke about “taking one for the team,” which boils down to eating something no other family member will in the name of food waste avoidance. And when we do, we call each other on the phone and announce that “I’ve taken one for the team.”

Just today my sister announced that she’d eaten the last of some salad, while I countered that I’d eaten a watermelon flavored yogurt that had been sitting in my fridge since before I visited her in New York. (I bought it not noticing that it was “light yogurt” and artificially sweetened.)

Was that yogurt my favorite thing ever? Hardly. But it was okay, and it certainly did me no harm and functioned to sate my appetite.

I took one for the team.

Food waste is not only a huge waste of money, but is also an ethical issue when so many around the world and within our own communities do without.

If you’re interested in learning about the farm-to-table-to-garbage-bin issues related to food waste, I highly recommend Jonathan Bloom’s WastedFood.com blog. A fascinating subject we should all be familiar with.

C’mon, fellow non-consumers. Take one for the team.

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.

{ 54 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 21, 2015 · 40 comments

Found change receipt

  1. I cashed in my Found Change Challenge jar as we’re gathering any and all available money to send our older son off to college. It contained $23.21 in coins plus $26 in bills, which added up to $49.21! Not quite enough to fund a year of college, but not a bad addition either.
  2. I Craigslisted a small black and white striped rug that had been in my younger son’s bedroom. I sold it for $15, even though I’d bought it years ago at Goodwill for only $10. It was replaced by one I pulled from a garbage can and shampooed back to life. Buy low, sell high, people.
  3. My husband was given an extra ticket to tonight’s Portland Thorns women’s MLS soccer game. Our team includes a few members from the U.S. World Cup champions, and there will be a special ceremony at the game. I expect there will be many tears of happiness. (And not just because of free tickets.)
  4. I checked out two books from the library today. Judy Blume’s In The Unlikely Event and Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Revisited. 
  5. My son had a friend over this afternoon. I served home popped popcorn drizzled with honey butter and bottles of icy tap water. I also prepared a large quesadilla. Just because my sons are teenagers doesn’t mean they require expensive and unhealthy junk food.

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.
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.

{ 40 comments }