Who Are You & What Makes You a Non-Consumer?

by Katy on October 15, 2013 · 251 comments

As The Non-Consumer Advocate, you all know who I am. A wife, a mother, a nurse, a sister, an aunt, a daughter and a lover of all things non-consumer-y. I buy nothing new, find joy in the simple tasks of daily life, and scour the local thrift shops like my life depended upon it. And I try not to take myself too seriously.

Me. Katy Wolk-Stanley.

But The Non-Consumer Advocate is more than a blog about a single person, it is a community. We share ideas and commiserate about our daily struggles. We find like-minded people to remind ourselves that our frugal and simple aspirations are admirable rather than weird. We’re here in America, and we’re all over the world.

But today, I want to know about you. Who are you and where do you live? How did you start coming to The Non-Consumer Advocate and what kept you coming back? How has non-consumerism affected your life, and what has been your family’s reaction to any changes you may have made?

Essentially, what makes you a non-consumer?

I will be checking in frequently throughout the day and I’ll try to reply to all comments. So please, share your thoughts and join in the discussion. After all, this blog is about you.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 251 comments… read them below or add one }

Van October 15, 2013 at 8:18 am

I love doing posts like this periodically, too. So many blog readers are hiding and need to come out of the shadows! You know me, I’m Van, lifelong Thrifter and Non-Consumer. Half-Mexican, Half-Puerto Rican, my grandparents were dirt-floor-poor and grew their own food, being sustainable, creative, and thrifty is innate for me and I love the spread the word about it. I’m going to continue pushing the limits: currently making my living reselling thrifted wares, want to continue permaculture gardening, local community gardening, and producing as much of my food as possible next.

Thanks for always inspiring us, the moment I first saw this blog and community I was like, yup, these are MY PEOPLE. 😀

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:20 am

And we love have you as part of The Non-Consumer Advocate community. I may be old enough to be your mother, but you too are “my people!”

Katy

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Karen October 15, 2013 at 8:22 am

I am a middle-aged, college-educated former big-box retail store employee. Presently I work from home. I live in the western part of Texas, in a university town.
I was led to the Non-Consumer Advocate through a link in The Simple Dollar. I stayed because I liked what I read.
After I gave up my paid job non-consumerism slowly became a way of life. The family has accepted it pretty well, as long as the economies make sense to each family member.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:27 am

I’m glad you’re here, Karen. I didn’t know that there had been a link in The Simple Dollar. You experience working in big-box retail must give you an inside understanding of how people are marketed to.

Katy

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Karen October 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Katy, at the time The Simple Dollar had a section called something like “Blogs I Follow.” Yours was on the list. I liked what I read so I stayed.

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JW October 15, 2013 at 8:25 am

I am a 53 year old granny who prefers the old ways and knows that corporations don’t really care about quality or health. Their main objective is $$$. I have had a wonderful journey discovering how to do things the way our great grandparents did them. They made things themselves out of necessity. I do it out of a love of quality, purity and cost.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:50 am

Oh yes, to many we are “Consumers” not “Citizens.” Quality, purity and cost are a whole heck of a lot easier to produce at home than in a factory.

Thanks for your input, JW.

Katy

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JaneUlness October 15, 2013 at 8:27 am

I am a mother, wife, and grandmother living in Seattle on a fixed income. I have watched our grocery budget all my adult life. I write a blog to help others feed their families well balanced for 1/2 price. I appreciate this blog because it opens up new ideas for me, and it’s a community that doesn’t think I am stupid for going to more than one grocery store to cut my food bill and not resort to dinner in a box.
I work at an antique mall, so buying used is in my blood!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:15 am

Jane,

Food expenses are one of the biggest areas where a person can either overspend or economize. And it’s so easy to relax a bit and suddenly have spent hundreds of extra dollars.

“Going to more than grocery store” should be my middle name, so yes, you are welcome here.

Katy

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Barb @ 1SentenceDiary October 15, 2013 at 8:33 am

I work full time outside the home. I’m a mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, and niece. I mostly prefer a “simple” life and have few material wants, though I love to travel. I don’t grow my own food, make my own clothes, or make my own laundry soap. But I do attempt to think carefully about my purchasing — spending money on the things that are truly important to me, and economizing on everything else. I feel very fortunate to come at this perspective from a state of priviledge, and am exceedinly aware that others are on this path through neccessity.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:20 am

Barb,

“Spending money on the things that are truly important to me, and economizing on everything else” is my goal in life. I want to provide the very best for myself and my kids. But I know that “the very best” is about education and experiences, not shoes and electronics.

Thank you for sharing, I love you bay-bee!

Katy

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Barb @ 1SentenceDiary October 15, 2013 at 9:53 am

Love you back, darlin’. B-)

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Linda M October 15, 2013 at 8:38 am

I am early-retiree wife, mother, grandmother. We live in the very rural Midwest. We used to farm but both of us worked off the farm also. We now raise 1 1/4 acre of garden….I should say my husband and I help put can, freeze and make jellies. We like being as food self-sufficient as possible…economical as well as we know what is in our foods. I thrift and consignment shop for things we need. I have made my husband a believer also. We both are appalled at retail prices and like having to have new things manufacturer and trucked all over the country in order for us to have to have things we need. I like to crochet, read, spend time with grandkids and volunteer at causes that I believe in. I love helping with things at our church and we love to travel and get together with friends. I love your blog and look forward to it each every time there is a new post. You feel like a daughter to me….maybe you can be my daughter from another mother:)!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:04 am

Well, my mother is from Nebraska, so I am kind of a midwestern daughter. 🙂

As a city dweller with the shady yard, I am not a big canner, although I do make jam and applesauce every year. Happy to hear that you converted your husband. I’m not sure I could say the same for my husband, but he does play along as he sees the benefits of all my non-consumerism.

Thanks for sharing, mom. Umm . . . I mean, Linda.

Katy

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Jenny October 15, 2013 at 8:40 am

I’m a fifty-something married but childless woman who is part owner of a bookstore In a small Alaska town. I came here through a link from The Frugal Girl. Grew up in the 60s as the only child of a family who seemed to always have plenty of money, and I didn’t learn anything about frugality as a child. Have spent a lot of my adult life educating myself in non-consumer ways starting with the era of Amy Dacyzyn and the Tightwad Gazette.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

Owning a brick and mortar bookstore makes you a hero in my mind. Having the internet for blogs like The Frugal Girl is a great resource for those of us who are creating a different life than we grew up with. No sense inventing the wheel, and all that.

Thanks for your comment, Jenny.

Katy

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Linda M October 15, 2013 at 8:42 am

Oops…tried to correct….we like not! having new things manufactured !
The first one was in process of being sent and I tried to correct and it sent twice. Sorry! Nice being at a blog that others understand your goofs and forgive!!!!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:36 am

Worry not!

Katy

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Ellen Freeman October 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

I am coming at this from the same place as Barb. My goal is to spend thoughtfully and in line with the things that really matter to me rather than getting caught up in all the “musts” of consumer culture. I don’t get there all the time, but I try. I also enjoy Katy’s sense of humor. 🙂

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:59 am

Spending thoughtfully is a goal that can often look hypocritical from a distance. For example, I pay such intense attention to the pennies in my life, yet I spend enormous amounts of money on tutoring, Japanese exchange trips and soccer related expenses. But I would so much rather save my money for what really matters in life than dribbling it away at the mall or grocery store.

Thank you much for bringing this up, Ellen.

Katy

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:18 am

Ellen,

I don’t think that any of us get there 100% of the time, so make sure to keep that in mind. Glad to hear that you enjoy my sense of humor. Life without one is stark and unpleasant. 😀

Katy

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Lana Aburto October 15, 2013 at 8:44 am

I am Portlander 6 years. When I got here I took 25% of my wardrobe out of free boxes. Partly because I was unemployed for 5 months, and partly because I was learning to sew and saw a lot of practice material. I’m pretty creative and whenever I “need something” I tend to see if I can make it with stuff around the house. I get a kick out shopping my own shelves and cobbling together what I might have otherwise had to buy. I believe quality trumps new and I’d rather have a 50 years old cast iron pan I need to bring back to life than anything from the mall. I believe the quality of what we can buy new has nosedived in the last 20 years and I try to find materials to mine and refurbish. I love bring back unloved items into the living world. You can find me shopping the Village Merchant and sewing at home.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:56 am

I absolutely agree that “the quality of what we can buy new has nosedived in the last 20 years.” Whenever I’ve bought new over the past decade, I’ve often felt regret with the purchase. I love that you’re using free-box clothing as an opportunity to practice sewing that’s a great idea! So many people pick up DIY hobbies that end up being more expensive that buying new.

Thank you so much for sharing, Lana!

Katy

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AnnW October 15, 2013 at 8:46 am

Native New Englander. Old enough to be Katy’s mother. I grew up with Katy’s motto, Use it up, etc. My father was in the military, so we didn’t have a lot of household goods and stuff to move around with. We lived modestly. My dad Never bought a brand new car. After graduation I moved to New York City. It was expensive, so I had to watch my money to buy really nice clothes, etc. After I got married, I still tried to watch my spending. Now I am retired, waiting for my husband to retire. Because I didn’t waste a lot of money on extraneous junk, we are well set for retirement. But I embrace the frugal lifestyle. Not the cheap stingy lifestyle. Don’t believe in keeping up with the Jones’s. Let them drive themselves into debt. What I like is living a careful life. Don’t be careless with your money, possessions, and relationships.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:53 am

To “embrace the frugal lifestyle. Not the cheap stingy lifestyle” is a great point. To find how to be generous without it having to be synonymous with spendy. I mooch like crazy from my neighbors, but I also bring them flowers from my garden, baked goods from my kitchen and make all our household belongings available to all.

Thank you so much for sharing, Ann.

Katy

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erin @ dfmi designs October 15, 2013 at 8:55 am

My best friend told me about this blog. I’m married and have a 5 year old. I design and make invitations and party banner and other paper goods. I LOVE garage sales and thrifting. About 75% of my clothes I purchased for myself this year were 2nd hand. I love that they still look good and are considerably much cheaper. Much nicer than buying something new, washing it once and it looks terrible, which has happened to me multiple times.
Every year my garden has gotten larger and I also try to forage. The past couple years instead of paying to go apple picking, my family and I have scoured for apple trees and asked the owners to pick from them then I make pies and applesauce. This year I also bought cast off peaches at a fruit market to can for winter.
I try to do my best to search out coupons before grocery shopping and not waste food. My husband and I just started a project that we hope will be the ultimate money-saver for us. We went through the process of purchasing a Landbank duplex that was owed by the City (of Columbus, but I’m pretty sure every state has one.) They are very inexpensive and we are doing all the labor ourselves and will rent it out when finished. We plan to acquire and re-do more properties in the same fashion and hope to rehab one for ourselves eventually and stop having a mortgage! I have a blog where I document the progress. http://dfmidesigns.wordpress.com/ It’s motivating to see how far it’s come in almost the month we’ve had it.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:13 am

Erin,

Wow, I just love all your ideas and energy! From foraging to fixing up an investment property, I have full confidence that you will succeed an life.

I absolutely agree about buying new only to find that it falls apart after a washing or two. That’s one of my favorite aspects of buying used. That the first owner gets that experience instead of me.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Sunny October 15, 2013 at 9:00 am

I found your website from a mention on the Dave Ramsey forums. My husband and I are 26 trying to live as frugally as possible and pay off our student loans. We are currently putting 45% of our income towards our student debt! Our friends and family think we’re a bit crazy (What?? How do you live without a smart phone!?! Or Cable!?!) but we’re okay with that!

We buy used when we can and I bike to work to save on fuel costs. We take advantage of things that are offered to us for free like fitness classes through my work and a free fitness center in town.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

Wow, good for you for your gazelle-intense focus on getting out of debt. Smart phones and cable-TV are fun, but crushing debt is the very definition of un-fun.

Being on a strict budget can either be awful or an enjoyable challenge, and it sounds like you and your husband are taking advantage of all the great free stuff your community offers.

Thanks for sharing!

Katy

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Kimberly October 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

I want a simpler life with my husband. I am learning more and more ways to save and that is my goal. I want to save enough to buy some land and a small house. To grow all my own food. I stayed in an abusive marriage for 25 years. God blessed me with a man who loves me now and we are married, a true marriage filled with love. I do not like what is happening with our food so I want to know for sure what is in it. I love learning any ways to save even more because this is my goal. To have enough to pay for the land in cash. I will not go into debt and with Gods grace I will find a way to save enough to do this

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:07 am

Kimberly,

I am so happy to hear that you are in a safe and loving home now. Whether you own a home or rent from another, your safety is priority #1.

Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Katy

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SusieQ October 15, 2013 at 9:13 am

I’m 51 and Scottish. I was brought up in a home with little spare cash but we always had a roof over our head and food on the table – these were always to be paid for first and luxuries later. I’ve been mostly frugal throughout my life, except for my ten year marriage when my goals weren’t shared. I’m now in another relationship with someone who supports those goals and encourages me in the things I want to do.
I seldom buy new clothes as I like good quality so secondhand makes more sense. I’m short and everything needs altering. My partner, bless him, is a great tailor so he shortens all my trousers, sleeves, etc.
I cook most of our meals from scratch; line dry (except in winter); paid off my car loan this year and am working towards paying off the mortgage early. I work full-time and have had health problems so I’m working towards going to a four day week. That’s what kicked off my search for all things frugal – first The Tightwad Gazette (used, of course) and then your site.
There isn’t a “thrifting” culture to the same extent over here and there are still many who think that buying secondhand isn’t “nice”. However I love to buy good things at a good price and not waste resources.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:32 am

Susie,

I’m so happy to hear that you’ve found a like-minded person to share you life with. And I just love that he alters your second hand clothing finds!

So many people do not understand that food and housing come before fun and games, which I think gets lost in today’s new electronics every two years culture.

Whether the thrifting culture is accepted here varies from town to town and neighborhood to neighborhood here in the U.S. Luckily, we can all create our own communities within our own homes.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

Katy

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Belleln October 15, 2013 at 9:14 am

I’m a 65+ retired woman now living in SW FL with my husband of 47 years. I have a BS in Home Economics with a major in Foods & Nutrition and was educated during Pres. Johnson’s War on Poverty so was educated in how to get a nickel’s worth from every penny. Was required to take classes in Child Development, Home & Family living, and clothing. I think I was the only one in my classes that knew anything about frugality as my parents were very frugal. My husband and I raised 3 boys on less than $35,000 a year and they never wanted for anything. They continue to be frugal to this day. We grow as much as we can, never buy new if at all possible. I sew, knit, crochet, paint, etc and husband can repair just about anything mechanical, electrical, plumbing and vehicles. We don’t consider ‘shopping’ a hobby or as a vacation destination – shopping is done on a needs basis and is always done with a list. We don’t have expensive hobbies like golf, prefer to read from the library and use Amazon Prime and streaming Netflix for our movies. We watch every penny, have a budget, plan a week’s worth of meals in advance so we grocery shop only once a week. We know how much electricity we use in a month, the same with water. I know how much toilet paper we use in a week (for comparison shopping purposes), how long it takes me to go thru a loaf of bread, a container of oatmeal, etc. We are not stressing over money issues because we know how to live within/below our means, something that, I believe, everyone should do.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:32 am

Belleln,

Wow, I think I should turn the blog over to you when I’m done with it! And I love the term “to get a nickel’s worth out of every penny!”

You sound like a rich resource for all things frugal, and hope you continue to weight in with ideas and inspiration.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Becky L October 15, 2013 at 9:19 am

Ditto what Ellen said. I’m from Ohio, via the East Coast and a small stint living with my family in Saudi Arabia as a child. We never had the latest name-brand fashions growing up, but we did see a lot of the world and get a good sense of the fact that the rest of the world does not live like Americans. I’m trying to teach this to my 2 sons, who only nag us to buy apps for their iPads (which they saved for), which is much better in my mind than junk to collect dust and then end up in a landfill. We’re fortunate to live in a community of people who share their stuff, pass on or sell unwanted things, and even help track down escaped pets through a local listserv (a village-only Craigslist and Freecycle site combined). Not sure what link led me to your site, but I enjoy your humor (especially your crazy Goodwill finds – I mean, who gives away their birthing pictures anyway?!) and how you’re teaching your own sons to be mindful without denying them fun experiences (and the occasional pair of new shoes found on sale!). I think of you whenever we’re in Portland, our current favorite town to visit. I’d never consider myself a non-consumer, only a wise consumer, doing the best I can for now, but aiming to be better. Thanks for your posts!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:26 am

Becky,

What a great childhood perspective that you had! I grew up getting a single pair of school shoes that were always the JCPenney knock-off of whatever was trendy that year. (Anyone remember Famolares?) However, we also lived abroad for a number of years, traveled through Europe and didn’t stint on education. There were no Hawaiian vacations or designer jeans, but I did spend most of middle school with an English accent that was audible to everyone except myself.

I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I sure as hell do now!

Glad to hear you like the Goodwill posts. I thought about doing a NYC version last week, but I never found the time to track down any thrift stores.

Thanks for sharing!

Katy

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Becky L October 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

Ha! I seem to remember REALLY wanting a pair of “Docksiders” boat shoes in 7th grade (yes, I’m in my early 40’s) and getting the knock-off Eastlands instead. And amazingly, I survived.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:41 am

Becky,

It’s amazing how we all survived without the “it” clothing of the day, isn’t it? 😉

Katy

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Stacey October 15, 2013 at 10:05 am

I remember the “Docksiders” as well as desperately wanting Nike athletic shoes instead of the Sears knock-offs. My mom was great about explaining that if I wanted the trendy shoes or jeans I would have to pay the difference between the name brand and the store brand. It really helped me learn to evaluate whether or not the name brand is worth the extra money.

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Maureen October 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Do you remember the “plain pocket” jeans from JC Penney during the designer jean stage? Thank God for Bruce Springsteen wearing good ol blue jeans (although I’m sure they were Levy’s!) I do remember getting my first pair of Levy’s when I was a junior in high school. Up until then, I wore plain pockets, if I even owned blue jeans at all!

Lise October 15, 2013 at 9:31 am

Well Katy, you have such a gift with words that I feel like you are my next door neighbor!!LOL. . . although Im in SoCal. . . Im a young gramma with 3 still at home. . . who bring their friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. home for dinner. . . . so making the food stretch to feed everyone can be tricky. . . but Im learning. . . .Soup is a great community meal!! add more water to make it go further. . . also, corn muffins/tortillas/etc are inexpensive side dishes. .. ONCE upon a time, we had plenty of money. . . no longer. . . but alas, we are much happier! Ive tried to teach my kiddos the direct correlation between the dollars they spend and the time it took to make that money. . . they are not always willing to part with their money/time when they see how much effort it took to earn the money. . . Dave Ramsey Financial Peace was a life changer for us!! totally recommend the class. . . took me until my late forties to realize that more money did not = more happy. . . .as a matter of fact, it made my life way too complicated. . . my dear hubby has always marveled at the little mexican villages where he goes fishing and how happy the people are even though they are very poor. . . their life is the church, family gatherings and meals! Simplicity is key. .. .we haven’t had TV for 2 years now and it’s been a blessing. . . my kids are no longer inundated with twisted messages from those trying to take our dollars and sense (cents) literally. . . . the economic downturn has been difficult but has taught us to value the real things in life. . .our family & friends. . . you all included!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:38 am

Lise,

What fantastic experiences you’ve been able to share here. I love that your husband recognizes true happiness when he sees it. And I 100% agree about soup being a great meal. I make the dumpling recipe from “The Joy of Cooking” whenever I make chicken soup, which transforms the meal into a filling and fancier dish. And when there is leftover soup, it’s easy to drop in more dumplings!

I too like Dave Ransey’s message that can get people to change their spending ways and midst. He has done a lot of good.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Amy Levasseur October 15, 2013 at 9:33 am

Hi Katy – I am a 40ish mom – I’ve been pretty frugal since I became a single mom 23 year ago. I’ve since remarried and raised 5 kids (yours, mine and ours). I enjoy finding a deal at Salvation Army, Goodwill or our local store Marden’s. I have lived in Maine pretty much all my life and back in the 90’s met Amy Dacyzyn. I have worked for Head Start for many years – currently I’m working seasonally for LL Bean and enjoying the fantastic savings in the employee store (ie. 25 cent pants or Bean boots for less than 10 bucks). So basically have learned to live on less. I have two teenagers left at home – they love a good deal but don’t mind spending for a good video game :). Have a great day 🙂

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:26 am

Amy,

25¢ pants? That’s an amazing employee perk! My kids also spend on video games, although they use their own money from their jobs, and always try to buy used before they buy new.

I am very envious that you met Amy Dacyczyn. I would likely blubber and stammer and act like creepy stalker. So maybe it’s good that we’ve never met. 🙂

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Erin October 15, 2013 at 9:34 am

Sometimes I’m not sure I belong *here* necessarily but I definitely don’t belong with the crowd that follows Madison Avenue’s whims either. My family appears to have more means than many of my friends in the NCA FB Group, but I don’t necessarily want to squander it keeping up with my peers. Instead, I want to spend mindfully and work on using only our fair share of the planet’s resources. Even though my husband does well now, there’s no guarantee that’s forever, so we want to put every penny in his 401K that we can. This means little things like living in a modest home that costs significantly less than we could afford, making my own laundry detergent, buying many of our clothes and household goods second hand. This doesn’t mean I don’t buy new — I do — but I aim to do it with forethought and purpose. We are aiming for a life based on experiences and time together, not stuff. And so far, we’re doing pretty well. But it’s always a work in progress, eh? While I’m not nearly as frugal as most of my counterparts in the NCA FB Group, I appreciate their support and the example their choices provides. It’s a refreshing and appreciated counterbalance to the conspicuous consumption with which I am inundated every single day. Thanks to you, Katy, for setting an example yourself and providing inspiration.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:41 am

Erin,

I love that you are “Aiming for a life based on experiences and time together, not stuff.” Time together doing enjoyable things is always going to trump new things.

Thank you for the nice words and for sharing!

Katy

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Joan October 15, 2013 at 9:35 am

Hi Katy! I stumbled upon you somehow, but I am a faithful reader. I think I am genetically FRUGAL – my dad would decant gallon “no name” shampoo into our empty name brand bottles while we weren’t watching. I also grew up brushing my teeth with a toothbrush that had a girl’s name on it…but not MY NAME (“RUTH”) that he picked up at a clearance. He is a great money manager and recently took the entire family to Ireland for 2 weeks (18 people), and it was his treat. I managed to remain at home with my 2 kids for 7 years while reading the Tightwad Gazette Newsletter and making meals from scratch, and we lived on one salary. For me this lifestyle is basically about making conscious decisions about how we spend our time and money. We heat with wood my husband cuts, we have “dumb” phones, and I am now pursuing my calling to be an artist after raising kids and getting them in college. Thanks so much for writing regularly and your great sense of humor. Your goodwill is way funnier than mine, btw.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:39 am

Joan (or Ruth),

I think I’m in love with your father! I love that he’s so cheap with the stuff that doesn’t matter and generous with what does. And I wish you all the luck in the world with your calling to be an artist!

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Ellen October 16, 2013 at 6:48 am

Love the story about your dad! My mom did the same thing with generic cereal.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 7:36 am

My parents did the same thing with wine!

Katy

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dusty October 15, 2013 at 9:40 am

I am a 50-something self-employed soon to be divorced after 32 years of marriage woman. I have always been frugal cause I didn’t have much growing up. Of course, in my late 20s and early 30s when we had lots of money I spent like mad. I wish I had all the money I spent on department store makeup alone! I will be moving to a small apt in a couple of months (my ex is keeping the house) so now I’m going through things, selling on ebay and craig’s list. The business that I’m in (medical transcription) is going through a rough time right now due to voice recognition so that has forced me to be even more frugal. I found out about Katy on TV and started really concentrating on what I spend and starting shopping in thrift stores. My friends look at me like I’m crazy but I just cannot believe how much money they spend and how much food they waste. One friend of mine always orders a ton of food when we go out to lunch and never eats it all. When I ask her if she is going to take it home with her she never does. That’s what really bothers me is waste. Also most of my friends complain about not having any money, they’re stressed about losing their jobs cause how would they pay their bills, etc., yet they continue to spend. I’m relatively stress-free even as my income changes. My next step is to go to a beauty school to have my hair cut as my long time stylist just raised her rates and the last time I went it was (wait for it) $125 for a cut, color and style. Even though I only do this 4 times a year it’s still $500, so have to make a change there. I have started coloring my own hair so just have to find someone to cut it for a reasonable price. I enjoy reading all the other comments to see how people live a good life frugally.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:57 am

Dusty,

Nobody wants their friends to be cautionary tales, and yet often they are. And it’s frustrating because NO ONE wants unsolicited advice. It sounds like you’re at a point in life to redefine a few things, and that you’re on your way to a happy medium. Go ahead and call the beauty school and ask to book your appointment with someone who is close to graduation. And ask about their coloring rates.

I think we all look back on ridiculous past purchases and wish we could change a few things. For me, it was a pair of stylish granny-style Victorian boots that I bought in NYC when I lived there in 1999-ish. I think I paid $150. I wore them maybe three times.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Erin October 15, 2013 at 9:41 am

Sometimes I’m not sure I belong *here* necessarily but I definitely don’t belong with the crowd that kowtows to Madison Avenue’s whims either. My family appears to have more means than many of my friends in the NCA FB Group, but I don’t necessarily want to squander it keeping up with my peers. Instead, I want to spend mindfully and work on using only our fair share of the planet’s resources. Even though my husband does well now, there’s no guarantee that’s forever, so we want to put every penny in his 401K that we can. This means little things like living in a modest home that costs significantly less than we could afford, making my own laundry detergent, buying many of our clothes and household goods second hand. This doesn’t mean I don’t buy new — I do — but I aim to do it with forethought and purpose. We are aiming for a life based on experiences and time together, not stuff. And so far, we’re doing pretty well. But it’s always a work in progress, eh? While I’m not nearly as frugal as most of my counterparts in the NCA FB Group, I appreciate the support and the example their choices provide. It’s an incredibly refreshing and most appreciated counterbalance to the conspicuous consumption with which I am inundated every single day. Thanks to you, Katy, for setting an example yourself and providing inspiration.

I am, BTW, a 43 year old overly-educated hillbilly, holding two masters degrees and hailing originally from Kentucky. I lived in Cincinnati, OH for most of my adult life and am most recently transplanted in suburban Philadelphia, where I work part-time as a reference librarian at a small Catholic university. 🙂

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:45 am

Erin,

I like to call what you’re doing “Conscious Consumerism.” Knowing when to spend and when to save. Not necessarily from a place of need, but careful and deliberate all the same. (I don’t do all the stuff that crops up in the Facebook group either!)

Ad BTW, your job sounds lovely. Libraries are my happy place. 🙂

Katy

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Erin October 15, 2013 at 10:13 am

I honestly think there are more people like me out there than we realize, people who may not want to or don’t need to be truly frugal but crave an alternative to Madison Avenue. I’m just glad I found that alternative viewpoint to add to my day. 🙂

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:22 am

I’m always amazing when seemingly big spender types come up to me all excited to talk about how they fixed the seemingly unfixable or the best bauty school for $3 haircuts. So yes, I agree about there being more of us than we realize.

Katy

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Taylor-Made Ranch October 15, 2013 at 9:44 am

OMGoodness, what a great question. I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time but I never commented until recently. Like you, I strive to make do with what I have – it just never made sense to me to throw away this whatsit so I can buy another whatsit in a different color. I try to buy used when I do buy (with some exceptions) – the main reason being environmental, but the financial ease is a nice bonus. My drive is to be as soft on the earth as possible so non-consumerism fits right in with that. Thank you for your continued inspiration!

~Taylor-Made Ranch~
Wolfe City, Texas

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:50 am

Taylor,

I love how frugality and environmentalism dovetail together with non-consuemrism. It doesn’t matter which one is your main concern, because the end result is still the same.

And I agree 100% about not tossing whatsits just because a shinier one has been released. The cell phone industry is so irresponsible when it comes to creating demand this way.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Laurie October 15, 2013 at 9:50 am

I am a grandmother from Wisconsin trying to save for retirement and insert “retirement” when college funds are mentioned in your blog. 🙂
Started following your blog from an article on the Huffington Post. Your blogs motivate me not to spend foolishly (which of course is in my blood). Thanks for the time you take from your busy schedule to keep us motivated.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

Laurie,

College fund or retirement, either way the goal is the same. Every penny goes towards freedom.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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megyn October 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

Young Austin mama here. I’m a minimalist and eco-freak by nature. I’ve always loved collecting money over anything else. I found poetry/essays from middle and high school where I talk about the horrible, money-grubbing corporations…so I’d say I’ve been non-consumerish for a long, long time. I really love the thrill and challenge of reducing waste and thrifting. When our three year old toaster went out (!), I found a better replacement at Goodwill for $7. I take so much pride in buying secondhand that whenever anyone compliments something we own/are wearing, I exclaim that I got it from Savers/Goodwill/Craigslist. I’m not sure I can ever go back to buying stuff the way “normal” people do. My grocery budget is something entirely different than the “stuff” area though as I try to reduce packaging, buy in bulk, and get organic stuff. Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods are my weaknesses 😉

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:04 am

Megyn,

I agree about being unable to go back to a traditional life. It’s like “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” as once your eyes have been opened, it’s just baffling how everyone else isn’t seeing the same thing!

And don’t worry about your food purchases here. We all spend more on our priorities.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Stephanie October 15, 2013 at 9:54 am

I am a 35 married mother of two young elementary aged kids. I came (back) to thrifty living because we needed to get out of debt. I stopped spending and buying things in order to ‘freeze’ our debt and not continue to accumulate. A funny thing happened – once you stop the cycle of buying (especially buying new) it’s really eye opening at the waste around you and excessiveness of it all. It’s been really fun to see my family embrace it and it’s been a little surprising that my husband, the spender, has gotten on board. I’ve gotten lots of my kids stuff from thrift stores and I get great stuff from there as well – he’ll start to ask if I got him anything from there as well. Anyway, it’s one of those things that kind of becomes a way of life and really I am so much more thrilled with the $3 snow boots that I’ve waiting in their closets for this winter than I would have been to go to Target and buy them new once it finally snows here.
I’ve started trying to do more of the ‘refusing’ that Zero Waste talks about. Stop then influx of ‘stuff’ . . .
We also do a lot of borrowing in our neighborhood – just this weekend borrowed an extra set of tree trimming shears in order to make it go quicker – in the past we may have bought another pair.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:09 am

Stephanie,

Hooray for you and the changes that your entire family have embraced. And importantly, in a positive manner.

We’ve been working on more “refusing” at my home as well. My husband brought home two shoddy reusable grocery bags from a conference last week and I explained that “Just because it was free, didn’t mean you had to accept it.”

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Jennifer October 15, 2013 at 9:54 am

I found your blog through a Vanguard article about saving money and continue to read your blog for all the great ideas, but especially your sense of humor! I’m in my early 40s, have two school aged kids, am married and work full time in a corporate environment. I grew up relatively poor in a one income house with 3 children. My mother was extremely frugal, and because we did not have a lot of extras we made due just fine with what we had. Her frugality has taught me so much and even though my husband and I earn a good living now, we really enjoy trying to live a frugal life and avoid excess and waste as much as possible. It is so much more satisfying to create from what you already have than to buy new. Like you, what we do spend our money on happily is travel and experiences.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:00 am

Jennifer,

I wish everyone would give a thought to “avoiding excess and waste as much as possible.” It shouldn’t take a childhood of less to create this awareness, and yet it often does.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Tina October 15, 2013 at 9:58 am

Early 40’s mother 2 (10 and 14) who are hurtling towards college at an alarming rate. Just about as fast as I am towards retirement. Wanting to help pad the retirement and college funds we are careful with $$$. Also love how I am teaching my kids to shop thrift, make it yourself, and garden!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:12 am

Tina,

Hopefully we’re all helping our kids to learn frugal and simple ways. When I buy at Goodwill and resell the items, I try to include my kids in the process so that they’ll be able to scare up extra money when they’re older.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Suzanne P. October 15, 2013 at 10:00 am

I am a thirty year old new stay-at-home mom trying to live off of my husband’s seasonal income for the first time. I think I saw a short video about you from MSN or somewhere and started following your blog because I agree with your lifestyle. I have never really been very frugal but am really trying to learn. I used to live very “high off the hog” but I want to stay at home with my baby (and any future babies) until they are old enough to be in school. Then I’ll probably go back to teaching or find something else worthwhile to do.

I bit all of my nails off today talking to my husband about the budget. He is gone half of the year fighting fires so we are trying to find a way for him to be home the rest of the time (not working). We think it MAY be possible but I don’t know. This year is the experimental year. I live in Boise.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:20 am

Suzanne,

Your family’s circumstances sound very unique, but I’m sure that with some planning and shared goals, it can come together. The challenge of frugality can be an enjoyable goal, it all depends on your attitude. “Oh, poor me, I can’t afford to go out to lunch with my friend” vs. “Yay, what wonderful dinner leftovers I can share with my friend!” is all about your mindset.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Tiana Bodine October 15, 2013 at 10:09 am

I’m Tiana and I’m a 27-year-old freelance writer. Some poor financial choices in graduate school made me taste real poverty and I realized I needed to start learning about money and budgeting and such. So I went on a bit of a journey (that I’m still going through) to figure out how to live on a low enough income to afford pursuing the (not particularly lucrative) career I want.

I officially started the non-consumer thing last year. I was dicing potatoes in my kitchen and thought to myself, “….What if I just stopped buying things?”

It was a very freeing thought. I went to the internet to see if anybody else was doing that, found this blog, and I’ve been here ever since 😉

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:17 am

Tiana,

So happy that you found the blog, and love that it happened from your slicing-potatos epiphany!

Living below your means is a wonderful tool for pursuing your dreams, whether it’s travel, staying home with small children or even becoming a freelance writer.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Katie B October 15, 2013 at 10:15 am

I think this blog came to me through the google reader suggestions. The first post I read was about the returned wallet and i just loved it. I love the crisp simple posts and look forward to them. I live in southeastern PA with my husband and two-year-old daughter. My husband and I both grew up pinching pennies but I seem to have continued further down this path. I have slowly been doing things like doing homemade xmas gifts, making my own cleaning supplies, and growing vegetables in my 5×5 patch of yard. My husband goes along with my ideas but seems to have gotten comfortable with our two salary income and defaults to ordering replacements for things on amazon before i can look for it used. We are a work in progress but i feel good about my small accomplishments. We hope to raise our daughter loving experiences more than things.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:29 am

Katie,

Do you mean like the “Five Frugal Things” and “Today I am” posts?

I believe that there is not one person on this earth who is not a “work in progress,” so please know that you’re in good company.

I love that your goal is t raise your daughter loving experiences more than things. What a wonderful goal!

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Katie B October 15, 2013 at 10:39 am

yes, i do like “Today i am” and “five frugal things.” I also like the “five things that are making you happy and one that is pissing you off. ”

I also really like the goal of the week. I like the smaller goals and seeing them get completed. It makes me feel good because that’s how i tackle my house.

Any updates on the 90-10 home renovations? 90% complete but still not done.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:49 am

I need to get back to the “Goal of The Week” posts. They kept me on task!

Katy

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Val October 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

Hi Katy,

I can’t remember exactly how I found your blog, but I love it ! Yours is one of the few that I read every day. I am a mom of two teenagers, an early widow, a sister and a friend. I find it a struggle to manage a budget and provide my kids with what they need – but blogs like yours inspire me ! Oh, also I’m from Canada – so you do have international readers. Keep up the great writing ! 🙂

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:46 am

Val,

So sorry to hear that you’re an early widow. I imagine that managing a budget and providing for kids is an extra challenge for you. Happy to hear that you find inspiration within the Non-Consumer Advocate community.

Thanks for the kind words and for sharing!

Katy

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D October 15, 2013 at 10:49 am

Hi Katy! This is my first comment here, but I’ve been following your blog for over a year. After discovering Bea Johnson’s blog The Zero Waste Home a few years ago, I went crazy googling in search of other blogs encouraging secondhand purchases and responsible consumption. I am a 26 year old city dwelling New Englander without cable tv or a smartphone, and I drive a small, 11 year old car I bought from someone’s grandma. I like to maximize my saving potential and I moonlight as a waitress twice a month in addition to my full-time office gig (love the tips and having those skills to fall back on). My friends chuckle at frugality and “weird” quirks, but I was able to pay off my five figure student loan debt by 25 while still bolstering my savings and taking opportunities to travel internationally. I find my self-imposed restrictions stimulate my creativity, instead of detracting from my quality of life. Thank you for the constant inspiration!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:53 am

D,

You were “able to pay off my five figure student loan debt by 25 while still bolstering my savings and taking opportunities to travel internationally?!” Super impressive!

Your friends make think you’re weird, but I bow down to you in admiration. 😉 I love that you figured out that you need to do this in your early twenties rather than waiting until middle age or even retirement age like so many do.

THank you for sharing!

Katy

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 11:04 am

I am loving all your wonderful replies! I am going to take a break from the computer for a few hours, but I’ll answer all comments later in the day.

🙂

Katy

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Amanda October 15, 2013 at 11:16 am

I’m a proud Virginian, future historian, wife and mother. I have always been frugal and shopped at Goodwill, but your blog was where I discovered the non consumer philosophy. I found you through The Frugal Girl, but can’t remember how I started reading her. My husband seems pretty happy with the lifestyle we have created, and hopefully our sons will grow up knowing no different. I’m so far “gone” now that I am sometimes appalled at what I see as waste in some households and organizations. But I love being enlightened.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Amanda,

I think that kids are lucky to grow up in a non-consumer household. Great creative mindset and parents who have time to hang out and be there when needed.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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A. Marie October 15, 2013 at 11:20 am

Who am I: Female, 58, married/no children, telecommuter (with a great job, though I fantasize increasingly about retirement), Jane Austen fanatic (I chair the local Jane Austen Society of North America group), and brown-belt nonconsumer. DH (more often) or I will still buy something new if it’s a compelling deal and there’s a compelling reason for it, but we’ve done our best to buy used first for the last 35 years.

What makes me a nonconsumer: Multiple reasons–thrift, concern for the environment, and (no kidding, folks) fun. Was it the late Joe Dominguez who said in regard to thrifty living, “When this stops being fun, you’ll see my tail lights”? My sentiments exactly.

By the way, have you made party hats for your cats out of that second Marimekko bag yet??

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:18 pm

A. Marie,

I wish Joe Dominguez was still part of the modern day non-consumer conversation.

I have been giving more thought to what to do with the Marimekko bag, and am considering pillows, and although lately, I’ve just been using it as . . . a bag!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Nancy from Mass October 15, 2013 at 11:32 am

I am a 47yo, married with a 14yo DS. I great up in a large family and money was tight. we grew up working hard, making do, mending, etc. my mom would take in sewing and people would stop at the house on their way to 3rd shift, drop off their stuff and my mom would have the mending ready by the time they got out of work. i can swing a hammer, paint a house, chop wood and hang my laundry. I believe i found your blog from the Frugal Girl….but it’s been so long since i started reading it, i’m not really sure! 🙂 i am very frugal and am currently working hard to pay off large medical bills (DH was very sick last year and i almost lost him). I also heat with oil, so we use the fireplace as additional heating (it’s an interior chimney, so it does help). collecting wood from the back yard woods means that in 18 years, we have never bought wood to heat the house. I believe in purchasing used – for most things or, better yet, getting something wonderful for free. Like the awesome shaker-style rocker I picked up around the corner from me. it’s in fantastic shape and perfect for my height. (I’m only 5’2″ and it’s hard to find a great rocking chair for my height).

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Nancy,

Wow, your mother sounds like a hard worker and terrific inspiration.

I love me a great curbside find, and I can totally picture you contentedly rocking away in front of a free-wood fire.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Sabine October 15, 2013 at 11:36 am

I came here via The Frugal Girl. I am a 38 year old mother and wife from Southwest Germany and at first my interest was in avoiding food waste. But frugality and not consuming runs in our family. My parents always had enough money, yet I grew up in a reuse repurpose environment and still fondly remember my home made Barbie house which was NOT pink! Also the kites my Dad just to make out of old shopping bags.
My husband comes from the former Germany Democratic Republic and make do and mend is deeply ingrained in his personality as the whole family had to make do and mend in his childhood. He used to make his boardgames himself (drawn on old cardboards) as well as picking fruit and vegetables in gardens and canning them. So we are trying to get by with less, which saves us a lot of money and gave me the opportunity to quit my day job, be a SAHM as well as persuing my dream: writing. Right now I am on my third cookbook about frugal family cooking and am as of 2012 a published author. So there you are.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Sabine,

Not pink Barbie house?! Lucky plastic girl. 😀

Your husband must have some very interesting stories and perspective from his upbringing.

Congratulations on your published work, that is a huge accomplishment.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Cattis October 15, 2013 at 11:48 am

Hello! I´m 28 years old and from Sweden. I found your blog through Frugal girl and I love it! You´ve inspired me to try and buy more second hand, resently I found a pair of winter boots for myself at our “local goodwill”, I´m trying to make more myself instead of buying new: like gifts (christmaspresents) and also trying to look for second hand in first hand instead of buying new. When I buy something new I want good quality that lasts. I always bake our own bread, brown bag-it for lunch and so on… We´re planning to pay of our mortgage in 10 years, really unusual here, everyone have mortgages that runs 30 or 40 years. We save money for every home renovations, always fix things ourselves, try to mend or make do. We or we, I do. My husband loves to build and/or restore old cars, but I think that´s a way of mending or make do so I´m ok with that 🙂

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Cattis,

I’m so happy that you chose to share your story, as I am always interested in how people live across the world. Congrats on the new new winter boots. I’m guessing that warm footwear are a must in Sweden!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Leslie October 15, 2013 at 11:55 am

Hi Katy, I found about about your blog through the Compact and it’s my favorite. I am nearing the end of a ‘nothing new’ year (only digressing twice) and have found that rewarding on many levels. I am also in the midst of a huge de-cluttering year and am finding so much more freedom in owning less. I am 58, live on a cattle ranch in rural SE Oklahoma and am a public librarian. My husband wants to retire from his work (specialized construction) to ranch full-time and I am doggedly determined to make that happen. Being practical and frugal is the only way to accomplish this. Oh, and I also enjoy the NCA on FB and have learned quite a few things from the experiences of others.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Leslie,

It’s amazing how The Compact and decluttering go hand in hand. One would think that being unable to buy new would make a person want to hold onto what they have, but it seems that the opposite is true!

Best of luck with your ranching plans!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Queen Lucia October 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I’m a 40-ish arts administrator in SW WA and I’ve been reading daily for several years – your blog is my favorite! Frugality is a necessity for my family as my husband and I both work in the arts and don’t make tons of money – but we love what we do. So it’s a trade off. We do the usual frugal things – make things from scratch, buy used, borrow, no cable, use the library – but when we do buy something, we try to make it last (something I learned from my parents – they’ve had the same microwave for THIRTY YEARS), and that goes for everything from cars to appliances to shampoo. When we do have extra money, we most often spend it on artwork or cultural activities – in line with our values and passion. (BTW, we love Portland and visit several times a year to hit Blue Sky Gallery and Powell’s! And the Polish food cart….)

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Queen Lucia,

Sounds like your frugality is really allowing you to live the life you want. I too love Powell’s, but haven’t been to the Blue Sky Gallery in years. And which Polish food cart is your favorite?

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Queen Lucia October 16, 2013 at 6:16 am

Taste of Poland – my husband and I share one of their big plates. Perogis, potato pancakes, chicken cutlets, cucumber salad….bliss!

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 7:42 am

Ooh . . . thanks for sharing! My husband and I love perogis!

Katy

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Lesley Parent October 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Hi Katy: I, too, look forward to each of your posts and had fun trekking through NYC “with” you. I can’t remember how I came across your blog but it is the only one that remains on my Favorites Bar while the others come and go. I like that I never leave feeling “less than,” the way I feel when I read through some seemingly-perfect blogs. I always learn something from you, or I laugh about something, or I not my head in agreement, or I write down a great quote … so when I leave the blog it is always feeling like I’m in a better place. As with consuming goods, I think a lot about my time and what is consuming it, so I keep streamlining the time I spend online and visiting a blog can’t be a “contentment robber” (learned that from the Simple Abundance book of long ago), and yours is not!

I am a 42-yr-old single mom with a daughter (17) and son (16). My goal is that they not graduate from college with the debt that so many kids are shouldering these days, so that’s where my pennies are going right now. After that, it will be the house (built in 1902 so I like your old-house stories). In the meanwhile, I love thrifting and have got both kids hooked on our many local consignment shops. We’re in a Big 10 university town so I feel like we have such a surplus of used goods that the coeds just toss when the school year ends. Yay for the rest of us! This includes not only clothing in the thrift stores but big tv’s by the side of the road, furniture, grills, you name it. To say nothing of the free educational and cultural amenities available in a university town.

Keep on posting and keep on keeping it real. Beautiful picture captured of you in NYC by that free artist! lp

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Leslie,

Hmm . . . “contentment robber.” I haven’t heard that before, but I know exactly what it’s referring to. I’ll have to ruminate on that for a day or two.

Thanks for the nice words, and yes, I lucked out with that free photographer.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Robin October 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Whoa! So cool to see so many responses!!
I am a college student living in NYC. My frugal parents passed on their values of thrift, eco-consciousness, and real food (my mom is a dietitian). After going through my teenage years obsessed with stuff, I read Your Money Or Your Life and discovered minimalism at the same time. Life changed! I came for the cool header banner, and stayed for the humorous and practical advice. 🙂 I love your posts! Keep it up!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Robin,

“Your Money or Your Life” is a great book, and how fantastic that you read it while you were still young.

You came for the cool header banner? I’ll have to share that with my Trish and Patrick Mahoney, my personal design team. 😉

I hope you enjoyed my frugal NYC advice over the last week. I’m sure you could have added a thing or two.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Michelle October 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Hi, I am 40, live in seattle with my hubs and daughter who is almost 5, and I have been reading your blog for at lest 3 years, but don’t remember how I found you. I have a ebay biz, so I am in a few goodwills a week to get things for resale, so as a result 99% of our personal items come from goodwill.
Btw, your blog is one of my most faves.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Michelle,

Thank you so much for the kind words. And I bet you can do very well with an eBay biz from the Seattle Goodwills, as they are awesome!!!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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K D October 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I have read your blog for several years, I believe I found it through The Frugal Girl. My husband and I are in our mid-fifties and live in the Mid-Atlantic region. Our only child is away at college this year. While our income is quite good at the moment I really discovered furgality when I read Your Money or Your Life and the Tightwad Gazette books (all borrowed from the library) around 1998. Frugality is a challenge I embrace both because I abhor waste and becuase I love to receive value for the money.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:13 pm

KD,

That’s exactly when I first read “The Tightwad Gazette,” as I was on maternity leave.

Waste bad. Value for money, good. Got it! 😉

Katy

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jill October 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I am a 50 year old married mom of 3 – 2 who are recent college graduates and one who is a college sophomore. I was raised in the Midwest and have lived in SC for 15 years now. My father was beyond frugal having lost their house during the Depression and my mother is a spendthrift and loves brand names and hiring anything done. So I always say that I fall somewhere in the middle of the two. I found your blog through The Simple Dollar and enjoy reading it very much. Not only do I find it hilarious but also very encouraging. I became a “retiree” two years ago when the church I worked at replaced paid employees with volunteers.I now travel with my husband who has a 2 state territory in industrial sales and help him with his work. We had enough in college savings to pay for the older two – with scholarships, state schools, working their way through and a few loans – but now we are paying back debt as they switched my husband to commission only and I became out of work. Trying to struggled through paying for college for the youngest also even though she too is working part-time, got a big scholarship and goes to a state school – it is still so expensive. I was a travel agent before I had kids and travel is my one true love – and vice. Luckily, my husband receives hotel points through his work and we drive everywhere and eat out of a cooler. We drive old, high mileage cars, stay out of restaurants, buy used, use the library and sit on our screened porch and say Life is Good.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Jill,

You sit on your screened porch and say “Life is good?” I love it!

Sorry to hear that your income has dried up, but it sounds like you know how to make it work anyway.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Morgan October 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Hi Katy, I have been following your blog for over a year or so. I don’t remember how I happened upon it, but I live in Portland as well and I think I saw a link to your blog in some article. I love everything about your blog and all your fun helpful tips. Seeing as I live locally, I can take almost all of your tips and tricks and apply them directly to my own life.

I am 26 years old, I live with my boyfriend (a medical student at OHSU) and our two dogs and one cat. I was laid off from my job at a local non-profit back in February due to budget cuts, and I have been extra careful with our budget ever since. I have always been cautious and stick to a budget, but now I have to be extra super careful since our funds are seriously diminished. Thank you for your ideas and for everything you write about. You inspire me and put a smile on my face daily. Our dishes, books, furniture and many of our clothes are all thrift store finds, and the money saved is definitely keeping us afloat. Your blog showed me where to start when I needed help. I sincerely thank you for keeping me motivated daily!
Morgan

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Morgan,

Your boyfriend is lucky to have you on his side. Happy to hear that a fellow Portlander is out there taking full advantage of all the great frugal opportunities our city has to offer.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Alyson October 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I’m a 30ish mom, living in the Midwest. I discovered The Frugal Girl–and from there I found your site–while on maternity leave and began experimenting with baking my own bread and implementing other money-saving tips. I soon came to the realization that if my family lived frugally, I could stay home with my baby. So I did. And four years and another baby later, I still do.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Alyson,

What a treat to get to be home with your small children. It may not seem like it now, but these years go by faster than you can imagine. This time is precious.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Traci October 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Hi Katy! My name is Traci and I live in Salt Lake City, UT. I’m a happily married working mother of four (1 mine, 3 step kids). I think I found your site via The Frugal Girl, but it’s been so long I’m having a hard time remembering. I initially began reading voluntary simplicity web sites while working my way through college as a way to live on the cheap. However, in Utah, being frugal and DIY is a big part of the Mormon culture so I learned many of my skills from relatives and the community. I’m not so concerned now with living on the cheap (thanks college!) but I still feel it’s my duty to be a good steward of the earth. Now I’m handing down wicked skills to my three step daughters who are all in college themselves. Love your site. Write a book already.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Traci,

Write a book already? I’m actually headed in that direction. 🙂

I think that Emily Henderson from HGTV has a blog post about how many DIY bloggers are Mormon!

Here it is:

http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/martha-and-mormons/

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Diane October 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I’m a young at heart almost 70 year old non consumer who grew up with the values of New England thrift. I live in Austin and spend as much time as I can wandering the beautiful trails here or swimming outdoors all year round. I love to make things, especially baby quilts. I cook and bake from scratch. I’ve raised 2 generations of children and now it’s time for me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. My mantra is: living large on little!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Diane,

What a great attitude in life, I love it! And New England thrift with Austin weather? The perfect combination.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Jeana October 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I’m a soon to be empty-nester who recently bought a farm in northern Virginia. My boyfriend and I are working toward being self sufficient and removing ourselves from what I call the “primary economy.” We buy very little new and get a real thrill from making something out of nothing. I would rather save a dollar than earn a dollar!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Jeana,

I too would rather save than earn a dollar. You don’t have to pay taxes on it, and it’s so much more satisfying!

Best of luck with your new farm, and thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Jane October 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Katy, I can’t remember how I found your blog. I read several frugal/money blogs and probably linked from there. I really enjoy yours and look forward to it (your Goodwill’s have much better and cooler stuff than ours here in Upstate New York). I grew up on a dairy farm so frugality was a way of life, huge garden, sewing clothes or hand me downs from relatives, cooking from scratch, canning & freezing, etc. . My husband comes from a much more consuming back ground. We have lived in small city since we got married(33yrs & 2 children) and we have always tried to live within our means, which has allowed us to both retire debt free in our late 50’s. My husband is working a part time job to supplement our retirement income for the “fun money” (for travel and experiences). We didn’t live as frugally as we could have during our 20’s-30’s, but my finding a copy of Amy Dacyczyn’s Tightwad Gazette in the library helped put us back on the right track. So I’m always looking for new ideas, to reduce, reuse, and become a better non-consumer. Keep up the good work Katy!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Jane,

Amy Dacyczyn is who got me on track as well. I love that your husband is working for “fun money,” it must make the job kind of extra enjoyable.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Helen October 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I’m recent college grad from Boston. My parents were not frugal or careful with money at all. I started reading a number of personal finance and frugality blogs when I got my first good paying job in college and had to figure out what to do with my savings. I believe I was linked here from the simple dollar too. I wouldn’t call myself a non-consumer, but I am a conscious spender. I read your blog because I share your ideas about saving money on things you don’t care about and spending on the important things. It is such a relief to find bloggers who are proud of that philosophy and encourage others, because it’s so easy to misrepresent yourself online and make it look like every inch of your life is full of shiny new toys.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Helen,

Every inch of my life full of shiny new toys? Thank god, no! 🙂

I love that you figured out a financial philosophy so early in life, syour seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Emily H. October 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I found your blog a few years ago when I was teaching in Germany and started to get into some frugal blogs. I found I really enjoyed the subject matter, considering I’m the kind of person who used to do PowerPoint presentations for my parents about why they should raise my allowance… I kept track of every cent I earned as a kid – making entries like “+$0.01 — found one cent on the ground” (a natural -born CoinGirl??)

I’m now in grad school in Wisconsin so keeping a handle on my money is more important than ever.

I find that saving up for my goals and using coupons to get the most out of my money is a great challenge. However, I don’t mind spending my money on experiences and treats for/with friends, because I’m careful in many other areas.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Emily,

You sound like you were such a neat-o kid! Your parents must have had so much fun with you. 🙂

I love that your frugality is a tool for generosity. Such a great way of approaching things.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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NMPatricia October 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I am living in New Mexico after moving here 5 years ago from Oregon (yep, I am the one who moons over your mentions of Fred Meyer!). I think I found your blog when, after retiring September 2008 (great timing) we found ourselves with much less money than we had anticipated. I also had time to put into it. However, I was ready to be done with consumerism but not exactly sure what that meant and how to go about it.

It is the little things that make me keep coming back. Suggestions on the FB posting. The way you look at life. I ponder your postings and apply what works for me. Since I am in a different space than you are, things are a bit different for me. I also come back to revisit having two boys in high school/college and what that was like. I guess, a lot, is I keep coming back for you, Katy.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Patricia,

You are my opposite, since I moved to Oregon from New Mexico. (I went to nursing school at UNM.)

Being “ready to be done with consumerism” is an interesting place to be in life, as it allows you to open up your mind to a different way of life.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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NMPatricia October 16, 2013 at 5:00 am

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 7:57 am

For a fellow New Mexican? Of course!

Katy

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JoAnn October 15, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I am a recent grad (MBA) as a returning adult student and a life-long learner who desires to optimize my low income… seeking employment. I reside in rural central Pennsylvania where the living is slow and peaceful. My husband and I enjoy cooking from scratch, homesteading on our 1/2 acre, living simply, and uber frugally. We have enjoyed your blog for several years, and have accumulated a wealth of knowledge from your postings – thank you!!!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 5:39 pm

JoAnne,

Being in an MBA program must have been very interesting, as a homesteader. Hardly the typical student! 😉

Glad to hear you’ve learned from the blog, it sounds like I could learn a thing or two from you!

Katy

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Trish October 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm

I was the youngest of 8 children, and one of the clearest memories of my childhood is my father stressing about money. My goal was always to make lots of money, mainly so I didn’t have to face those worries that were so terrifying to me as a child (looking back, my dad was just a person who didn’t handle the pressure of a large family well, we always had enough money, never were without utilities or food). So I worked very hard in college and grad school – but was very disillusioned by the jobs that followed – corporate America and I didn’t suit. My husband ended up being pretty good at his line of work, and after gritting my teeth and getting thru a few high paying jobs, we had enough money for me to leave the job world. We had decided against kids, but what we did want was a house in the country, with horses, dogs, and cats. And we got it.

We moved into this house 16 years ago. I gardened and found that I sincerely enjoyed frugality – I had found Amy Dacyczyn in the 1990s and loved her. We had enough money, but not a lot. I got into horses, a lifelong passion, and began working at a horse barn in exchange for board and lessons. Over the years, I found that ‘stuff’ meant less and less to me. I also began following world events more and found myself unable to reconcile spending lots of money on stuff I truly did not need, with the unbelievable need in the world. ‘Live simply that others may simply live’ resonates deeply with me. And I also realized how much manufacturing harms the environment, another deep passion of mine. Being a nonconsumer suits me to a T.

My mother passed away 2 yrs ago, following a short illness – she had a long full life (my father had died several years prior to her). The remaining money she and my father saved for retirement was divided up amongst my siblings and me. We are currently using this money to repair and refurbish our old shabby farmhouse. Nothing fancy – the reason my mom had money left was because she didn’t spend it on herself, my parents little retirement home had the cheapest fixtures and finishes, and I am unable to spend any of this money on anything fancy for myself as a result. Instead I gave some to my brother – he has kids headed for college. I was very happy to redistribute the money where it was needed and I know my mom would be happy too.

I have so many reasons for being a frugal non consumer. this lifestyle really rings true with my values. Thank you for showing us the way Katy, and providing a forum for us to share ideas in.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Trish,

Wow, what a great life you’ve chosen for yourself. I love how your decisions are guided by a global perspective and that you’re unwilling to splurge on stuff your mother didn’t for herself.

So many people feel that stainless steel appliances and granite countertops are a must for a nice home, when that’s simply not true. My best friend’s husband is a chef, and they have the simplest kitchen of anyone I know. And let me tell ya’, the food from that kitchen is to die for!

My mother came from a family of seven kids, and her mother didn’t handle it well either. Then again, I don’t see how anyone does. You must just have to give up any personal life.

Thank for so much for sharing!

Katy

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Trish October 15, 2013 at 6:47 pm

whoa, can I just say that having Katy reply to my post feels llike having a rock star pull you onstage!! feel about 14!!!! and am really almost 50!!!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 6:49 pm

I am the Bruce Springsteen to your Courtney Cox. 😉

Katy

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Trish October 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm

that is exactly what I was thinking!!

Elizabeth October 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Hi Katy! I really enjoy reading the blog and feel a sense of community with you and the readers. I was raised in a frugal and relatively ‘non-consumery’ household. Reading the posts is a great way to feel connected with others who share similar values (and to get ideas). I am not a ‘full on’ non-consumer, but I’m a thermos-toting, soaking dried beans because they’re cheaper, making yoghurt from scratch to see if I can save a few cents, and library-loving kind of person. I like a little luxury – but I love saving money (e.g. cashmere = expensive… cashmere acquired at a flea market = not that much in comparison). I am generally interested in frugality, voluntary simplicity, downshifting, non-consumerism and eco-friendliness. I continue to evolve the challenges I set for myself in these areas but on the whole I just think that most North Americans are to wrapped up in acquiring more stuff. I am a 38 year old woman living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and working in health professional education. Thanks for your ongoing posts!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Elizabeth,

For someone who describes herself as not a “full on” non-consumer, you just described just about everything that I consider to be non-consumer-y.

I love that you consider a flea market sweater as “luxury!”

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Alison Marie Nicholas October 15, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Mother to 4 school aged children, wife to a teacher, Nurse/counsellor who has chosen to be primarily available to her children and family…thus…necessarily…frugal shopper and embracer of a simple life.

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Alison Marie Nicholas October 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm

meant to say…I visit your blog regularly for community…ideas, and your humour 🙂

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Alison,

Whether it’s by necessity or not, frugal shopping and embracing simple living are both a road to the same destination.

Happy to have you as part of our community.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Dana October 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I’ve been reading you for a few years, probably found you from a link on The Frugal Girl. You were eating some leftover pricy cheese from your mom’s cabin maybe? I loved that!
I’m a 41yr old SAHM mom of a 2 and 7 yr old. I only buy the kid’s clothes at the thrift stores, my fave one has half off kids and men’s clothes every tues AND they mail out coupons too. It is such a thrill for me to get everyone’s clothes for soo cheap. I also resell kids clothes and toys at a large consignment sale twice a year. Want to get into eBay or Craigslist sales but haven’t quite gotten there yet.

Question for you: you talk about socking away all your extra $ for your son’s college, but I don’t recall you ever talking about where you put it? If it’s not too forward, can you share more about that? We have a savings account w an online bank, but it’s only getting .50% now.

Sorry for this long post, love your blog. We have tons in common and I just really dig you and how you live your life!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Dana,

This is terrible, but we actually just put the money aside as cash, as we’re thisclose to having to pay for college. Knowing about money management/investing is very much not in my knowledge base. (So bad, I know.) And before you scream in horror, it’s an embarrassingly low amount of money as we just last year paid for triple trips to Japan, which totaled $8,000.

Glad that my ingestion of other people’s leftover cheese resonated with anyone. 🙂

Katy

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Kelly October 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Hi Katy:

I am a 50 year old mom of two teenage boys. I live in a micro town in the Midwest and can not wait to return to the large metro that is my hometown. I will do so when my sons graduate from high school. I have a part-time job and we run our own small business; to say it is difficult to make a living here is a severe understatement. Being a non-consumer is so much more interesting than not. I am raising my sons to be wise and careful non-consumers as well. They think it is fun and smart! We prefer home-cooked and baked food and are black-belt couponers and dealers for fun and for survival. We scour thrift shops, garage and estate sales, and online listings, all while enjoying the thrill of the hunt. We too re-sell on ebay and have a good eye for turnover items and re-purposing things. Several months ago, I stumbled across a link to your website and loved it, laughing out loud often at your posts. Thanks for all you do and for the great entertainment. I am a loyal reader!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Kelly,

What a great life and example you are leading for your sons! The thrill of the hunt is so addictive, and I bet your “micro-town” (never heard that term before) provides lots of hidden treasure.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Millie October 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Hi Katy,
My name is Millie and I live in Long Beach, CA. I don’t really remember how I first came across your blog! I may have found your site through the Frugal Girl’s (or maybe it was the other way around) or just by clicking around on the Internet. Some of my favorite things about your site are the article and book reviews, various “non consumer” challenges and plain, ordinary updates about finding happiness in small things. It inspires me to try out new literature (I actually just finished reading American Wasteland) and to be content with what I already have. This is my first comment!
-Millie

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Millie,

Hooray for de-lurking, we’re happy to hear your voice!

Glad to hear you read “American Wasteland” as it’s a great book written by a great guy.

Thanks for the feedback on which posts you like, and thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Stacy S October 15, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I am a wife, mother of 2 girls (9 & 7), new gardener and long time reader. We recently moved from the Toronto, Ontario area to rural Nova Scotia – big change! We bought some land and have changed lifestyles. I’m a substitute Educational Assistant for the school board and my husband has his own business working from home. I believe I found your blog through the Frugal Girl, but it’s been years so I can’t say for sure. I read your blog regularly because I enjoy your philosophies and your adventures, so thanks!
I have a personal dislike for shopping and we try to live by your motto – use it up…well, you all know it. I’m not a non-consumer exactly – lots of people here are thrifty by necessity and tend to hold on to things so we don’t have thrift stores like goodwill, just a few used clothing stores in town – but I do make mindful purchases and prefer not to shop at all!
Thanks for all you do. I rarely comment, but always read, and I appreciate the time and effort you put into your blog.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Stacy,

Thank you so much for the kind words. Yes, it requires a wasteful community in order to stock the shelves of a thrift shop. In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be so much extra stuff manufactured in the first place.

And yes, Toronto to Nova Scotia sounds like quite the “big change!”

Thank you so much for sharing.

Katy

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Joyce October 15, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I am a “28 3/4” aka 54 haha year old part time worker. We are empty nesters (except when college isn’t session for our sophomore). I also found you through Frugal Girl and do remember that post about the cheese. tee hee. I enjoy reading all your posts and they do inspire me. Little by little I have increased my non-consuming. My family just sort of rolls their eyes but has gone along with minimal complaining. I love them.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Joyce,

My family rolls theirs eyes at me as well. I think I must owe The Frugal Girl a big thank you, as many readers seem to have found me through her. Hopefully, I’m sending traffic her way as well!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Lilypad October 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I can’t remember if I found you through The Frugal Girl, or if I found her through you, but it was 2008 or so. We’d made a terrible mistake and bought a house that was too expensive for one income. I’d quit my part time job because my kindergartener son was having problems and it was becoming apparent that he had special needs beyond a high IQ. (He was later diagnosed with 3 neurological disorders.) We finally sold the house and lost a ton of money and it was a very traumatic experience. But my mad frugal skillz have since come in very handy, because I know I’ll be home with my son (we’re homeschoolers) as long as he needs me and that keeps us a one income family. Luckily, I love to cook and bake (vegetarian and vegan only, since animal cruelty and environmental issues are top concerns of mine), take nature walks and lie around reading library books. I used to travel a lot and visit Germany and Austria every year to see my cousins. (The part of Germany that Sabine mentioned above, the Southwest, is also where my family is from and the people are known for being ultra frugal, even among “regular” frugal Germans!) I also learned a lot from my paternal grandparents who were in their 30’s during the Great Depression. I remember my grandfather going around behind us kids turning off lights and saying “don’t waste the juice!” and so I never leave on a light when I leave the room. I think I drive my husband crazy with that. We live in Seattle and it is so incredibly expensive, I really would like to leave and go to a small college town (as someone else mentioned above) so that’s my dream for the future. Bless you for taking the time to keep up the blog all these years and for the inspiration you provide! p.s. mazel tov to your nephew, that is quite an accomplishment! My husband did a full-on Orthodox bar mitzvah when he was a kid but my son decided when he was very little that he was not going to even try (he’s 12 now)—it’s too stressful for him but that’s fine with me.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Lilypad,

What a lucky kid to have you as his mother. Sorry you had to take such a hit on your house though, what a huge bummer.

Interesting that Germany has an area that’s more frugal than another, who knew?

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Lilypad October 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm

That is a very sweet thing to say! But I am the lucky one to be the mother of this kind, loving, funny, courageous boy. Add this to the benefits of the non-consumer life: really getting to know and enjoy your kid(s). I can tell from your posts what a close relationship you have with your sons and that is very impressive. I wonder about people who seem to have had their kids as status symbols, to dress up and parade around and who then complain about how expensive and time-consuming being a parent is!

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Even if I wanted to dress up and parade my sons around, I’d be out of luck as there’s no way they’d let me.

Katy

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Jenifer October 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm

No clue how I found you. Friend of a friend, I think.

Anyway, I like being frugal. I am working toward more minimalism all the time, really — and now exploring thrifting for things that I need. It’s an interesting journey.

I just moved from NZ to PA. I’m jet lagged like crazy, but own only the very minimum of stuff. We moved 8 bags; one is mine with personal items, roller derby gear, and my whole wardrobe. Plus, my carry on (lap top, books and things for the kiddo on the plane). The rest are the hub’s or the kid’s. And we have a few boxes of our favorite books and kitchen items here in the US.

It’s an interesting process, and I think that when I get to my new place (2-3 weeks from now), I’m going to go even more minimal (for myself at least), and we’ll see how the hubs and the kid goes. 🙂 I’m excited about it. Crazy, I know.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Jenifer,

Wow, that’s a huge change! And one of your eight bags is filled with roller derby gear?! LOVE it! We are such a diverse community.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Jenifer October 16, 2013 at 8:54 am

Yes, all of my stuff is in one bag, which includes my roller derby gear.

For travel, I have the clothes that I wore, plus another outfit stuffed into a compression bag and in my coat pocket. For the last week, and for the next 3, I’m living in two outfits — one of which was stuffed into my coat pocket. It’s actually quite an easy way to go. I do miss my other 5 outfits, though. 🙂

In setting up our new place, we have been given used furniture from friends: dining table and chairs; book case (real wood!) for toys, books, etc; and thai mattresses.

My thai massage teacher runs a successful business, and when the mats get “too compressed” he usually gives them away. Layer three of those on the floor — super comfortable sleeping! And, it rolls up and into the closet during the day for maximum play space. 🙂 So, he’s giving us 9 of them — three for us and three for DS. And my mother is giving us the blankets and stuff we need.

My sister’s giving me her old blender, some cast iron camp gear that they don’t use (which we use for everyday cooking), and my MIL is giving us her old crock pot. So, we are sorted in the kitchen.

It’s so nice to have people helping us out — but what’s cool is that everything is used. 😀 I’m psyched about that.

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Pam October 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Hi Katy

I am a 43 year old married mom of 3 – two college grads and one in college, and have never commented until today. I live in Chicago. I honestly cannot recall how I found your blog, but am very happy I did. I look forward to all of your posts, your insight on various topics, enjoy your sense of humor, and your Goodwill trips !

I grew up knowing nothing about saving and being frugal. Our family motto was “get paid Friday – be broke on Monday !” It took me a long time to get out from that way of thinking, and I have a lot yet to learn. I now buy mostly second hand, coupon, have a veggie garden – – and often find myself thinking “What would Katy do?” 😀

I am also more aware of the waste around me and conserve as much as I can. It now drives me crazy watching TV shows (Such as on the Food Network ) does anyone else watch these large cakes being made (for display and not consumption) and wonder about the waste, or it just me?
Anyway – thank you for this blog. I appreciate it !!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Pam,

I’ll tell you what Katy would do, Katy would laugh at your family motto. “Get paid Friday – be broke on Monday!” Too awful! 😉

I hate seeing waste as well, and those shows just kill me.

Glad for the feedback on which posts you enjoy, and thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Bauunny October 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm

I am a newly minted 59 and have bee following you for 3-4 years. I would not describe myself as frugal, but I enjoy saving money, thrifting and a good bargain. I am frugal about some things so I can be not frugal about other things. I am in the simplify and declutter stage of my life so I can focus on experiences, travel, giving back and generosity to others. I think I found you via a link, but can’t remember which one. I love your humor, intelligence and practicality — you are an inspiration and a support for my semi-frugal journey. I look forward to your blog entries. I love that you are “real”.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Bauunny,

Thank you so much for the kind words, you are too nice!

It’s amazing how frugality, decluttering and a focus on experience over stuff all dovetail so well together. Sounds like it’s a perfect fit for you!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Kristin Schafer October 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Hi Katy,
I have subscribed to your blog for several years, I can’t remember when I first saw it. I recently returned to the Binghamton, NY area after 3 years in St Paul, Minnesota. I recently broke up with my boyfriend, we lived together two different times in our 8 year relationship and in between I lived alone. I have to say it is much easier to practice Non-Consumerism when living alone than when trying to compromise with someone who does not necessarily practice N-C. When together we purchased large amounts of food (he’s one of those skinny guys who needs to eat constantly) and I felt like we often ended up wasting food, not eating it before it spoiled. When alone, my food bill is much smaller and I eat more cheaper protein sources like beans, nuts and cheese. I frequently am more of a consumer than I’d like to be but usually my purchases are useful/consumable items rather than shopping for fun or sport. I try to be careful about what I am bringing in to my house and what I am throwing out. I am working and trying to live frugally with the goal of purchasing my own home in a few years. The lower cost of living in my area makes it a possibility, whereas it did not seem possible in the Twin Cities with their higher cost of living along with a salary that was not correspondingly higher. Your ideas inspire me on a regular basis to live frugally and be conscious of consumer behaviors. Thank you!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Kristin,

It sounds like you’re at a good point in your life, with being able to make choices to support both your current and future life.

Happy to hear that you’re finding ideas and inspiration in The Non-Consumer Advocate.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Katelin October 15, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I am in my first year at the grad school in Arizona! I am not sure how I found your blog, but I know I have checked it frequently since I found it! My mother instilled in me the importance of frugality, and I am far from perfect but I love the ideas that come from here. Since finding this blog I have found myself exhibiting a lot more creativity!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Katelin,

I love that you describe yourself as “exhibiting a lot more creativity” as I really truly feel that a limited budget sparks the mind to find alternatives to the norm.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Markie October 15, 2013 at 6:20 pm

My parents, who both worked full time in the 60’s and 70’s while I was growing up, lived within their means and we were able to do some nice family vacations.

Having sisters who are 8 & 9 yrs older than me taught me a lot of things that I didn’t want to do when I became a mom. Didn’t want to be in debt because of buying things and having a perfectly decorated house, didn’t want to be a working mom but I did want to offer my kids experiences and teach them frugality by taking advantage of lots of free activities. Amy D. saved my life when ds was born as no one thought I could stay home and survive without a second income. Dh and I did and the kids (2) got to do most of the stuff they wanted to do (sports, karate, school trips). They learned what was worth spending money on and what wasn’t and what we could get used. Both kids are in college and practice frugality. Dh and I have good money in our retirement accounts. We have few needs and wants. We’re happy. Much happier than my two older sisters and older brother.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Markie,

Sounds like you’ve been able to be very deliberate about your life choices. Hopefully your older sister can learn a thing or two from you as well.

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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Heather October 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I can’t remember how I stumbled onto your blog, but I’m so happy I did. I like the non-consumer concept and try to be a conscious consumer when I can. I’m 40, married with a daughter, 9 and a son, 7. We were really affected by the economy crash (my husband was a self-employed mason). We’ve always been relatively frugal, but the last few years have been super tight. My husband is now a CNA at the hospital and I’m working part time and attending grad school to get an MSW. Money is as tight as post-Thanksgiving pants… but we’re finding ways to keep tapping at the debt and having rich life experiences. Thanks for your blogs!!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Heather,

From a mason to a CNA, that is a huge change! It sounds like your life is hard right now, but on the path for bigger and better things.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Robin October 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

I love that term “post-Thanksgiving pants”!

Here’s hoping for some more comfortable sweatpants for you in the future.

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Stephanie October 15, 2013 at 6:47 pm

I live in darwin Australia under the tropics. I am very well travelled and worked as a nny for the rich and well known in my 20’s as a nanny as saw 1st hand millions does not bring happiness. I partied hard, drank hard and danced hard but never had debt. At the age of 37 I became pregnant to my partner and all we had was a bomb of a car. This was 7 years ago. So we tightened our belts, stopped the partying, got scholarships and apprenticeships some quals, worked casual jobs, housesat for a year to save a home deposit, bought a better second hand car with cash and had our baby. After 3 months of having our baby we moved in to our home and got full time jobs. In our aim to save I learnt about the word frugality that changed my life. Budget and plan meals, became more eco, became a active community garden participant and activist in my region. I did all of this with the help of Google and finding blogs like this one. I also wrote a blog and was inspired by comments. This year if our 7th year and I think our home will be paid off 100% by December next year. We go on international trips, buy second hand, spend on things that are important to us such as the arts theatre and wall art. I LOVE my frugal eco life and I LOVE how this community is very giving.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Stephanie,

What an interesting journey you’ve been on! And you have an almost paid off house? Right on!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Cheapchick October 15, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Me? 44 yr old living with husband age 51, married 8 yrs. We downsized last year from a $720,000 house (paid for) to a $380,000 (paid for) for financial security and to put money in our account for retirement and to be the seed for hubby’s company (2 yrs old). We are nonconsumers as 1. we buy used when possible, mostly clothing, furniture and cars. 2. We recycle and reuse 3. I am one of very few people I know who actually wears my socks out 4. We plan all purchases, saving up for them, not buying things we cannot afford. I think that qualifies us. Cheers!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Cheapchick,

That must have been quite a house!

Sounds like you and your husband are very much on the same page and with a common goal. And since I too wear out my socks, you now have a friend who shares this practice. 😉

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Cheapchick October 16, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Actually it was a nice house but not a great house, a big house, way too big to clean. We are much happier in our small cozy home.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Cleaning unfun. 🙁

Katy

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Kathryn October 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm

I think I found your blog from My Plastic Free Life, but I’m not entirely sure. It could’ve been anywhere, but I was definitely interested in the environmentally friendly side of being a non consumer at first. I’m a 17 year old from Canada. I really enjoy your blog because I like thrift shopping and am interested in conserving money as I head out into the “real” world in *gasp* 8 months. I am also interested in conserving the earth’s resources and I wonder why owning more stuff is so important in western society. Although I’m far from being a non consumer, I’m working on being a more conscious consumer mostly by supporting local businesses and buying quality goods even if they are slightly more expensive up front. Someday I would love to have a blog about conscious consuming, happiness and environmental issues. I hope to start one soon to chronicle my transition into adulthood and how I manage conscious consumerism as I find my place in the world. Thank you for the great blog, it has definitely changed the way I think about the world!

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Emilee October 15, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Cloth diapers! And Goodwill! And Craigslist!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Emilee,

I like you you, you’re to the point! 😉

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Alicia Kamuda October 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Wow Katy, You sure did get a lot of comments with that question! I’m very happy for you and the group sharing. I accidentally found your website/blog and thought I would fit in. I live in NH and I’m not a tree-hugger type, but I find your information helpful, productive and sometimes amusing with how people work with each other and provide helpful ideas and suggestions to one another. I like the family atmosphere here and feel very comfortable. I have always been frugal, make do, and conserve, for not only myself but for others in the future. I have been able to live a comfortable lifestyle just buy doing the “right thing” as much as I can to preserve the earth as well as my own well being, my family’s and future generations. I am quite often criticized for what I believe in, but I don’t let it bother me and strive to pass on my beliefs of frugality to others. I’m quite often disappointed with other peoples reactions sometimes
, but I figure they will come around eventually and see the light. I might not be making a big impact on the world with my lifestyle, but I feel it a duty to do my part, for what little it may be, to try to show someone at least that I’m trying!

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Alicia,

I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been criticized for what you believe in, that is simply not right.

Happy to hear that you’ve been able to find community with the blog.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Jenzer October 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Another 40-something mom of two chiming in. DH & I live in the upper Midwest. I work at home supporting his entrepreneurial pursuits.

I found your blog through your comments on Get Rich Slowly. What keeps me coming back is the gentle way you celebrate the charms of everyday life. That, and your constant inspiration to make do with what I have. We’ve eaten many a creative dinner out of our fridge, pantry, and freezer when I’ve resisted the urge to order out and put on my “What Would Katy Do?” hat instead.

In the mid-1990s, I spent a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (kind of like a Catholic, stateside version of the Peace Corps). One of our support people introduced our group to The Tightwad Gazette newsletter, and I took to frugality like a duck to water. DH was raised by thrifty parents, so when we met in 1999, we figured out quickly that our money values were in sync. Picture two 20-somethings in the grocery store, shopping for staples, and one getting all starry-eyed when she notices her partner comparing prices on jars of grape jam. That was us. (*grin*)

Among other benefits, conscious consumerism has given us the ability to spend on high-impact experiences for the people we love. A few years ago, we gifted my parents with tickets for the SS Badger (a Lake Michigan car ferry). They’d always wanted to take a trip on the Badger, but in their minds they could never justify the expense. When our 7-year-old son had repeated problems at school last year, we were able to fund a full psychological assessment for him and begin private therapies without sweating if we could afford them (he falls in that grey area of needing help but not having a diagnosis that would qualify him for in-school assistance).

Blogs like yours, The Frugal Girl’s, and Donna Freedman’s help me keep company with like-minded souls, which I cherish — especially after I spend time with family members who, um, have very different consumer-related values. Our living room couch looks like the 70’s exploded all over it (orange and cream velour, yeah baby!), but when all four of our are piled together on it to watch a movie, who cares what it looks like?

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Jenzer,

Now THAT’S a “cute meet” story! How terrific to have a like-minded partner in life.

I’m happy to hear that your frugal ways have meant that you’re able to pay for everything your son needs. That is truly what non-consumerism is about. NEVER holding financially holding back on what matters.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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jeanine October 15, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Hi Katy!

I’ve been around for years, but haven’t been commenting recently, so I thought I’d come out semi-lurkdom and say hi.

I’m a 35 year old, widowed mom of two girls, 13 and 11.

I love to shop at thrift stores, love to make my own yogurt, and have managed to keep a variety of plants alive since my DHs funeral in August. There may be hope for a garden yet.

I have found that with proper planning, I can stop working next year, and fully plan to do just that.

I have worked for 2o of my 35 years, and now I am ready to dedicate my time to staying at home with my children. At least long enough to go back to school and get a degree so that once they turn 18, I can go back to work.

I love this blog, and it has helped me in so many different ways…thanks for doing it all these years.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Jeanine,

Happy that you chose to de-lurk and share your story. So sorry to hear what you’ve been through lately. It sounds like your non-consumerism ways are a tool for giving your kids what they need from you.

Please feel free to stay de-lurked.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Jen October 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I came to hate the mall in my 30’s and haven’t been back since. I teach yoga and fitness and ran a yoga studio on my own for 3 years, a wonderful experience, but ended up in debt. So I searched the net for frugality and found this whole lovely community. At 46 I just moved, alone, from the suburbs to rural British Columbia to homestead, grow my own veggies, live and eat wild, get dirty fingernails, get terrified by all the unknown noises at night, and develop a homesteading blog and a yoga blog. Reading all the ‘bios’ above has been fascinating. Thanks for asking this question, Katy.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Jen,

I agree about all the bios being so fascinating. We are such an interesting group!

Sorry to hear that your yoga studio put you into debt, but it sounds like you’re in a good place now.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Anette October 15, 2013 at 9:17 pm

I am someone who has been lurking in a non-commenting way/following + enjoying your inspirational and funny blog posts since some time in the summer of 2012.
I am 42, an aunt, a sister, a daughter, a frequent traveler, a reader, Danish, single, debt-free, a department manager at a language school, have an MA (Linguistics + American Studies) and live in an apartment in Copenhagen, Denmark.
I am not really sure how I found your blog, but I am pretty sure it was via some minimalist web page/blog: I was struck with a sudden (and to this date still on-going) urge to declutter my possessions in the spring of 2012, and I am 99% sure that it was while I was dabbling around the internet in search of inspiration for my decluttering mission that I found your blog.
I am nowhere near being in the same non-consumery league as you are, but what really resonated with me when first reading your blog was (and still is) how you prioritize in your life and economize in many areas in order to be able to splurge on things that are truly important (for me: experiences + time with family and friends, traveling, books). I too prioritize and economize, and your blog has made me more aware of my priorities and the choices I make.
I splurge (like crazy, if you ask the people around me) on traveling – this past year I have been to Scotland, Sweden (okay, Sweden doesn’t really count, it’s a half hour train ride from Copenhagen…), Germany, Vietnam, China, The United Arab Emirates and the US (I am in fact writing this in a hotel room in the East Village in my favorite city in the whole wide world – it would have been fun to bump into you in the streets of NYC :).
While splurging on traveling I have economized on other things in order to be able to afford traveling as much as I do – I have for example never owned neither a car, a dish washer, a drier nor a microwave oven.

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Anette,

I would have loved bumping into you in NYC!

I love traveling, (as evidenced by last week’s blog posts) and would love to work more into my life. I am impressed with all that haven’t owned married with all the travel that you do.

Thank you so much for de-luerking and sharing your story!

Katy

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SarahN October 15, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Actually people like you remind me to look in thrift shops for things I don’t urgently need. So far I’ve succeeded in a number of fronts.

I’m 28 and live in Sydney, Australia and I (of course) blog. I aim to have a zero waste home, and otherwise, I work as an electrical engineer. I live to volunteer, travel, socialise, see movies etc…

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Katy October 15, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Sarah,

You call them “Op shops” don’t you? Glad to hear you’ve found things you actually need by thrifting. My house isn’t 100% zero waste, but I did buy some scoop-your-own at litter today.

Always happen to hear from non-Americans!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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SarahN October 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Yes we do call them Op shops, but seeing I know my audience is international, I try to adjust my language a little! Zero waste is a long path, so don’t beat yourself up. Every little step should be seen as a win, and the fact your going against mindless consumption is certainly half of the puzzle!

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Kerrie October 15, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Hi Katy!
I’m a Mum of two small children who just moved home to New Zealand after a decade in Portland, where my partner is from (halving our income in the process). I think I heard about you from someone local, can’t remember who. I appreciate the inspiration; every cent we save is another towards airfare!

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 8:15 am

Kerrie,

That is a huge geographical change to be making! And yes, PDX -> NZ plane tickets must be exorbitant, but dollars are made from pennies. I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand, it looks so beautiful and varied.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Diana B October 16, 2013 at 1:36 am

My mother, who knows I am a “non-consumer”, found you through a TV spot perhaps and referred me to your blog. I am a SAHM mom who sells on Ebay while my two elementary school-aged children are gone. Even on one government income (DH) we are still able to afford a domestic newborn adoption this February because we are so thrifty and non-consumer-like. I don’t shop at department stores like Target or Walmart because I get everything I need at yard sales and thrift shops. I got my like-new, DKNY purse last weekend for $5, my new Pampered Chef stoneware muffin pan for $8 and the like new glider-rocker for the nursery for $5. I rarely buy anything new so I enjoy reading about someone like me. We are somewhat rare in this country, you know?

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 8:11 am

Diana,

I think we are less rare than we think we are. Because of what I write about, I am constantly having people come tell me about how they fixed the unfixable, garbage picked a household item or found the deal of the century. And this is from people who from the outside look like The Joneses. It’s not everyone, but it’s not as rare as you think.

It sounds like you’re finding fantastic bargains, and (as you know) you’ll be able to resell all the above items if you ever tire of them. It’s the thrill of the hunt, right?

Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Stacie October 16, 2013 at 4:00 am

I am a mother of 4 kids, 3 girls 19, 16 and 13 and our adopted little guy who is 6. I am married to my best friend who is an inner city school teacher and I am blessed enough to be home which means a lot of frugal living. I found you also through Frugal Girl and you crack me up…I love how you write and your fun attitude towards all things non-consumer….your Goodwill hunts are our favorites!

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 8:06 am

Stacie,

I’m glad to hear that you like my Goodwill posts. I’ve not done one in awhile since my income has gone down and it’s better to stay away from temptation. Maybe I could just go for photos and keep my money at home. 🙂

You must be a very busy mom with such a wide age spread of kids, but I bet your family has a lot of fun!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Tracy October 16, 2013 at 5:02 am

Hi Katy,
I found your blog a few months ago and love it. I am a 53 year old full-time working Mom of 5 (government lawyer) right here in Portland! 3 of the 5 are in college and the youngest who is 9 is in Catholic school so money is tight. While I am not as frugal as some, and spend too much on conveniences such as eating out or takeout on work nights, I am a dedicated Goodwill/thrift store shopper, a cheap cook and a bargain travel shopper who loves to travel as inexpensively as possible. I recently bought an 8 year old Impala to drive to get out from under the payments and gas bills of my newer model SUV. I am also working to reduce my family’s footprint on the planet, for example we are remodeling our home (which we bought 4 years ago in its original 1964 condition from original owner) and we elected to keep all walls, appliances etc. in original locations and to keep original kitchen and bathroom cabinets to save on both money and stuff that would hit the landfill. We also donated absolutely everything we could to Habitat for Humanity for reuse. Retirement is looming 8-10 years out and I look forward to becoming ever more frugal as my available time increases in inverse proportion to my decreasing income! Love your blog and mindset!

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 7:51 am

Tracy,

Your frugal ways must be unusual in a legal setting. My step-father practices law, and I’ve seen how so many lawyers feel they need to display their conspicuous consumption in order to be perceived as successful. (There was one lawyer working for my step-father who was in terrible debt, yet spent over $1000 in groceries every month. We joked about his $10 bananas.)

Happy to hear that cheap cooking, Goodwill shopping and staying away from the Joneses when it comes to remodeling is for everyone.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Christa October 16, 2013 at 5:27 am

I saw a news blurb on an airplane ride about Amy Dacyzyn in 1995 and was immediately hooked. My husband and I paid down so much debt (2 cars, school loans) and saved $40,000 for a down-payment on a house in the span of 5 years. That was when we were dual-income and lived in a small condo. Enter in a home purchase, 2 children, a cross-country move, another home purchase (that has required enormous sums of money put into it) and our third child, and it has been difficult to get back on track. I am slowly re-embracing all the wonderful things I learned in those early years and with blogs like yours to continually inspire me, we will be working on raising these children, sending them to college and hopefully be able to retire in our mortgage-free home in a comfortable state. But not anytime soon. Good thing I am patient!

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 7:46 am

Christa,

It sounds like you were a black-belt Tightwad back in the day. There is just so much great inspiration and ideas on the internet today, which helps to keep us all on track with money.

And yes, it’s good to be patient!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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kris October 16, 2013 at 6:24 am

I’m a wife and a mother (to 4 kiddos, ages 19, 17, 15 & 7). I work full time at a hospital and my goal before next summer is to be able to live off of my husband’s check so that I am not pressured to find a job to have a job. I want to do something I love and working for a for-profit hospital with all it’s greed at that expense of the employees and patients ISN’T it! He is a teacher so it won’t be easy living off of just 1 check (until I find that dream job, lol) but having a frugal lifestyle helps. I work hard everyday to try to make a difference! Little things add up to a bigger picture and I’m trying, lol. I’m pretty sure I found your blog thru The Frugal Girl site.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 7:41 am

Kris,

Sorry to hear how unpleasant your job is. America’s health care system is seriously messed up. I agree 100% about little things adding up, and I hope you and your dream job find one another!

Katy

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Bethany October 16, 2013 at 7:01 am

I’m a homeschooling mom to 5 daughters, ages 11 down to 3. I’ve always been “tight” as my dad says, but really became more non-consumer after having daughter number 2 while living in a high cost area. I still by some things new, but the majority of the girls clothes and our furniture came second hand. I live in the DFW area of TX where the shopping culture is out of control so I routinely find new or like new items at the thrift store for very little.

Not sure how I found your blog, but two recent posts have made me a dedicated reader. DH works for the government and is going to work right now without getting paid. You post on the shutdown and the comments were by far the nicest and most calm I’ve seen. Also, your questioning of the animosity of the comments regarding the Panera CEO also struck a chord. You seem to be a genuinely kind, helpful person and that makes me want to spend time here. I also don’t leave feeling as if I should do more and better! You are someone I would want to spend time with and not someone makes it seem as they do everything perfect all the time. Thank you!

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 7:34 am

Bethany,

Thank you so much for the kind words. I genuinely do not understand why people are so cruel to others trying to bring attention to America’s most vulnerable populations.

It sounds like you’ve got your priorities straight. And as much as it can be isolating to live in a conspicuous consumption community, it does provide the best used and free stuff. Thank goodness for the internet for like minded people, right?

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Trish October 16, 2013 at 7:31 am

Dear Katy,
I found you last year when my life fell apart, and I was looking for ways to be thriftier than I was already. Last Oct, when I turned 55 my lover of 15 years (I thought would last forever) left me. I had sold my home and moved to Jax,FL for him, and when we broke up I had nothing. I was unemployed and moved into my daughter’s 1 BR apartment in Orlando, where she was going to college. A month later, she quit school and moved into her best friend’s home, which meant I had to move out. I moved again, to 5 miles from my 80 something parents home. I rent a 700 sq ft duplex, in a seedy part of a small town. It took me 5 months to find a part time job, but I did. I also went back to college using my VA benefit to retrain (I served in the USAF for 12 years and was injured), and I just graduated with a diploma in Medical Billing and Coding, with a 4.0 GPA. The school is working with me to find a job. Meanwhile, I continue my PT work, and am slowly paying off my debt that I was left with after the breakup. I lost 37 lbs since last October, when I had a gall bladder attack and had emergency surgery to remove it. (had major infection). Anyway, none of my clothes fit, so thank heaven for thrift shops! I find Alfred Dunner sweaters for $1, and have a Kate Spade (knock-off) purse too. I never buy anything new (except for unders). I even found brand new St Johns Bay loafers to wear to work for $4.
I read your blog daily, as it cheers me. I lived in the PacNW for 4 years, when I was stationed at McChord AFB, and I have visited OR many times, as my first husband’s family lived in Portland. My goal is to retire to Portland, as it is a great place to live. Keep up the great blog and thank you for letting me share. (probably TMI, but that’s me).

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

Trish,

Not at all TMI, as your comment is real and from the heart. I’m so sorry to hear how the past few years have proven difficult for you, but it sounds like you’re soon to be on your feet. (In your $4 shoes!)

Hopefully you’ll make it back to Portland. But until then, enjoy the warm weather, sunshine, access to gorgeous beaches and Cuban food.

¡Que delicioso!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Linda in Mass October 16, 2013 at 7:45 am

I had so much fun reading all the replies. Thank you! I started my frugal ways when I watch Amy Dacyczyn on the Donahue show years ago (that dates me). I am 47 and have been feeding my family on about $40-$60/week forever. My sisters feed their families for $150+ a week. Shocking! No one can understand how I do it but somehow I can. We have not had cable tv since we moved into our house about 23 years ago. Never missed it but my kids do! Our lives have changed through the years…we have traveled a lot throughout the years due to the company I am affiliated with. We are now in the middle of paying college tuition for our kids. It will be a rough 7 years, but so worth it! I do not want them to start off their lives in debt and I do not want to be in debt either!

I am in direct sales which seems a little funny, since I do not buy a lot new but I love the company I represent and my main focus is family mealtimes…quick and economical. I love when I see people who have been to my shows say, I am cooking so much more now since I met you. It makes me feel really great!

I have been following this blog for a few years now. I love it! I don’t know how I found your blog but it is the only one I follow regularly.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 8:03 am

Linda,

Interesting how you’re able to be both extremely frugal and a salesperson. However, it sounds like your products are helping people to embrace home cooking. (I have a pampered chef wine opener, which I love. However, I think I paid 25¢ for it! 😉 )

I am very intrigued with how long you’ve been able to feed your family so inexpensively, and would love to hear what it is you do!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Linda in Mass October 16, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I have always been a very thrifty shopper and learned from my mother-in-law how to shop. My father-in-law was a manual laborer and money was very tight with 5 kids. Now they live very comfortably in their retirement because they were so thrifty.

I shop sales for everything and do some couponing. Not much couponing but every penny counts. I cook most nights, breakfasts and make lunches. I have certain price points for meats. If they are not on sale, I do not buy them. I have enough in my freezer until the next sale or discount. I always round out meat meals with veggies and/or a starch. Example, tonights meal was roasted chicken legs (.69/lb), roasted potatoes (.99/5lbs), onions, peppers and carrots. All bought on sale. I go to a local veggie market and get very reduced veggies (yesterday I got a 2.5 lb bag of baby spinach for $3).

I also cook for our local senior center once a month and do a cooking class. My meals tend to feed 30 people for less than $1.50 per serving.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Linda,

It sounds like you landed with a terrific mother in law, how wonderful for both of you! And your dinner tonight sounds delicious.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Megg October 16, 2013 at 8:30 am

I’m from Seattle, yay for PNW!
I came here via the Frugal Girl about 5 years ago (wow that long ago now!) when I first discovered blogs. I was a poor grad student at the time, and I stuck around when I was unemployed and a poor newlywed.
I became more “green” and environmentally aware about 6 years ago so being a non-consumer just goes along with that. Over the past 5 years things have changed, but we always have something we’re saving for. I guess that’s why I keep coming back! 🙂 It’s not especially cheap to live here but by being frugal in other ways we are able to do things like go on date nights (important to us before we have kids) and go on vacations I never thought we’d be able to go on just a few years into our marriage (a cruise and Hawaii!)

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 8:39 am

Megg,

There is nothing frugal about living on the West Coast, but with a focus on frugality it is very do-able.

It sounds like you’ve been able to find a happy medium for your pre-child years, and your life will only get richer when you take that next step. Of course, being childless can be rather wonderful as well. 😉

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Lauren (in PA) October 16, 2013 at 8:46 am

I’m from West Chester, PA. Outside of Philadelphia. I’m frugal by nature and a huge second hand shopper. After 2008 had to become more frugal by necessity due a 20K pay cut. My challenge there was to cut back when I was already pretty cut back already!

I truely don’t remember how I found your site. I’m sure it was by searching or surfing, but I’ve been visiting for years and always love it. And I love the Facebook group.

I always know I’m not as frugal as I could be, and strive to do better.

My 20 year old son doesn’t help. I belive we have the Alex P Keaton Syndrome going on. Wherein your children become the opposite of what you stand for! He is the worst spendthrift I know. It’s horrifying to me. But we’re working on it.

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Vivian October 16, 2013 at 8:50 am

This fall we had a reality check. We thought we did not live an extravagant life style but after being gifted a significant amount and putting it on outstanding debt we had accrued mostly doing reno’s on our home we still owed $2000 in consumer debt. Yes at least it’s only $2000, however it has taught us to be more thoughtful about our purchases. We had considered a new leather couch and chair but were so glad we paid the bills first. Now we are looking at used ones. I still get such a rush buying second hand, from a thrift store or being complimented on my old reliables from my closet. Thank you Katy for being such an inspirations and thank you my fellow non consumers for being there for me to learn from.

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Amy October 16, 2013 at 8:55 am

Hi Katy! This was a fun experiment. I must have found you after searching for simple living or frugality in 2010. My husband and I had the opportunity to buy our own business, a bowling alley that he grew up in. (Started bowling at 5, that was his first job, etc. etc)
I needed you so I could keep the goal in mind.

Business ownership has not been easy. For some reason I didn’t believe people when they told me that. The cash flow did not appear as much as my overly optimistic husband had believed it would, so there have been costly mistakes.

But I keep reading your blog because it’s funny, I love the Goodwill/Badwill posts, and it encourages me to make every effort to use all I’ve got. Stuff is easy – using up leftovers and making sure no veggies go yucky is hard for me. I made bean soup from dried beans I found in the pantry and ham from the freezer, so that gave us a few good meals. Thank you for doing what you do. It’s nice to know we’re not all alone. It seems everyone is doing well except my extended family, even though it’s not really true.

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Lori October 16, 2013 at 8:55 am

Hi Katy! Long time lurker, lifetime thrifter and working mother of two boys (3rd and 6th grade). I stumbled on to your blog when looking more deeply into frugality with an enviro family twist. You and Bea from Zero Waste Home are my blog heroes and have provided me with lots of concrete inspiration. More recently I needed to doubled down on saving $$ due to both my husband and I experiencing less income and it just makes it so much more… fun! to have others in the same boat. As I sit here with my re-purposed cashmere gloves with the ragged tips cut off to make swell fingerless gloves to keep me toasty while typing. Thanks for your blog!

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Katie October 16, 2013 at 9:14 am

Hi Katy,
I’m a single 40-something living in Maryland near Washington D.C. (yes – the black hole of insanity). I drive a 10-year-old-paid-for-car in a world of Mercedes, BMWs, and Lexi (what is the plural of Lexus?). I’m not sure how I found your blog, but you are on my daily reading list :-). I enjoy your ideas and seeing how I could make them work for me. I try to put some frugal ideas in place so that I can spend more in other areas: travel, charity and my 4 nieces.

thank you!
Katie

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Sharon October 16, 2013 at 9:16 am

If I were filthy rich, I’d be a happy Uber-Consumer. [Dorothy Parker’s quote comes to mind: “I’ve never been a millionaire, but I know I’d be just darling at it!”]

As an ordinary person, I realized I’d better buy good things that last, because I can’t afford a lot, don’t enjoy replacing junk that breaks, and don’t enjoy using poor quality junk before it breaks. Like most people, my soul needs beauty. Finding the sweet spot between frugality, green-ness, and beauty is my goal.

I look for companions along the road to encourage me to keep looking for the beauty in everyday life. Thank you for your wit, creativity and zest for living a full life that inspire us, Katy. 🙂

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Sharon October 16, 2013 at 9:37 am

Oops, forgot to answer the other question. I’m in west-central Illinois, in suburbia.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 10:57 am

Sharon,

Love your Dorothy Parker quote!

That sweet spot between frugality, green-ness and beauty is a sweet spot indeed. Thank you for the kind words. 🙂

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Margaret October 16, 2013 at 9:58 am

I don’t think I am a very good non-consumer. However, I do try to live by Elizabeth Warren’s rules: our needs (housing, electricity, medical care: the real essentials) take up no more than 50% of our income, our wants 30%, and savings at least 20%.

Non-consumery things we do: driving a beat up car until it dies. We haven’t had car payments for years. We intend to pay cash for our next car. Paying off all debt except the mortgage. That happened a few years ago and it was AWESOME. No cable, just netflix. I looked at our big expenses and cut where it was most painless: car insurance, homeowners insurance, etc. We have high deductibles on all our policies.

One of the smartest things we did was choose to live in a modest working class neighborhood. There is an Applebees and a Chick fil A. Maybe we could have splurged and moved into one of the “cute” towns, but living in a quiet town suits us and having less to do keeps us at home, enjoying gardening, home cooking, books, hobbies, etc. Our mortgage takes up less than 20% of our income.

However, I spend pretty freely and happily. I hire a cleaning service on occasion, which is probably the expenditure that makes me the happiest. I have more hobby supplies than I need, and while I went on a successful yarn fast this year I made up for it in fabric. I could be better about clothes shopping. I am not allowed to go to the library, which my husband calls “Margaret’s most expensive bookstore,” because of my terrible track record returning books on time. But by and large we make choices that work for us and save a healthy chunk of money each month, so we’re working towards our goals.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 10:54 am

Margaret,

Paying only 20% of your income to your mortgage is huge! That’s the smartest decision ever.

I love that your husband called the library “Margaret’s most expensive bookstore.” That is too funny!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Jennifer @ Little Blog in the Big Woods October 16, 2013 at 10:04 am

Hello! I have been following your blog faithfully for at least 3 years! We are kindred spirits, I love your creative and fun frugality and you make me laugh! I’m a married 36 year old mom of a lively 9 year old girl and a sweet 7 year old boy. We live in northern Indiana. I grew up in a very frugal farming family so many of the principles I have carried over into my adult life. My hubby and I have been on the Dave Ramsey plan for 4 + years and have been debt free for over 3. We can, freeze and dehydrate many things from our garden and extra produce given to us by friends and neighbors who have grown more than they can use. It’s funny how when folks realize that you will work to preserve food that it will come at you from all directions!! Also my husband loves to hunt and fish and our family loves the low cost and healthful sources of protein that provides us with. We also love to forage for mushrooms, nuts and berries. (Obviously we live in the country!! ) I love going to garage sales, flea markets and of course, goodwill! Especially half off days!!! I love putting on an entire outfit and thinking, “Yeah, this is all second hand and I paid less than $10 for the whole shebang and I look AWESOME!!” I love to sew and cook. I like to make Christmas gifts so I will cook up batches of granola and hot fudge sauce to give. I make quilts and pj pants, ect. for the kiddos in my life. I am a rabid recycler and composter as well. I love the library and usually have at least 10 items out at a time, if not more! Thanks for your blog and for continuing to inspire us!

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 10:38 am

Jennifer,

Wow, I wish you lived closer to me, what great stuff you’re doing! I too love the head-to-toe $10 outfit! Right now I’m wearing 99¢ yoga pants, a $3 T-shirt and a $1.50 Columbia Sportswear fleece jacket. I don’t exactly look “awesome,” but I am comfy, cozy and debt-free.

And although I don’t agree 100% with Dave Ramsey, he has done so much good for so many, and for that I have great respect for him.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Jennifer @ Little Blog in the Big Woods October 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm

In my book, comfy is awesome!! 🙂 I feel the same about Dave. I agree with the main points of his financial advice, some of his other ideas are a little out there for me, but is helping our country so much by empowering folks to dump debt! You rock…keep on cheapin’ on! 😛

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Renee October 16, 2013 at 10:05 am

I’m a 43 year old stay at home mom with 2 and 3 year old girls. We live in Seattle. I found the NCA through a friend who posted a link on Facebook. I grew up poor. I am not, now. We can afford to outsource some household tasks, which to me is a worthwhile expenditure, basically purchasing time. Bu I am over accumulating stuff. I am over shopping as a hobby. I am over buying Christmas gifts for anyone other than my kids, and even then I try to minimize what they get since they already have plenty. I don’t want my girls to grow up thinking they can have anything they want, any time they want. I don’t want them to grow up thinking a person’s worth is based on the stuff they have. I want them to value what they have and feel proud of what they earn. So even though I buy plenty of things new and I don’t bake my own bread, I consider myself aligned with non-consumerism.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 10:30 am

Renee,

It sounds like you’re giving your kids a sound and deliberate lesson on consumerism. Shopping as a hobby never did anyone any good, whether it’s the mall, high end stores or even Goodwill. One episode of “Hoarders” will fix that misconception.

You don’t have to bake your own bread to be a non-consumer. If that were true, then I’d be kicked from the club!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Wanda October 16, 2013 at 10:08 am

Hey Katy,

I am a single gal currently residing in Florida( Near the Mouse House) and I believe I found my way over to your blog from either Cate Linden’s blog or Kristen’s Frugal girl blog,its been so long I don’t honestly remember. I used to be a huge spender but reading your blog and others I have cut way back ,learned the importance of quality over quantity and that I can find some pretty cool stuff at Goodwill if I am patient enough to look through everything.

My family has been mostly supportive of my endeavour though there have been raised eyebrows from time to time. My friends,well I lost a few but thats okay because the ones I gained are awesome. I still have some hurdles to cross but slow and steady is me winning my race.

Oh and I was totally tickled and loved your recent NYC posts. They gave me some great idea’s for when I visit again.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 10:27 am

Wanda,

You lost friends because of your frugality?! That’s cray-cray.

I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed my NYC posts. So many people think visiting the city is about Broadway shows, eating at expensive restaurants and taking taxis. ANd really, NYC can be an incredibly cheap place to visit. Gotta spread the word!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Alison October 16, 2013 at 10:38 am

Hi Katy – I think I found your blog through a link to your Green Goddess salad dressing! I’m a work-from-home-office mom of two in the Boston area. I don’t consider myself a non-consumer at all BUT I love libraries, composting, gardening, washing dishes by hand to stay warm on a cold winter’s night, batching errands, walking instead of driving whenever possible, using cloth napkins, handing down outgrown children’s clothing, seeing how long I can go before turning on the heat in the winter and shopping smart.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 11:17 am

Alison,

You must mean my “Tea Towel Salad Dressing!”

http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/2008/06/cheap-eats-katys-tea-towel-salad-dressing/

And all the practices you just wrote about? Sounds like non-consumerism to me! 😀

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Lorraine October 16, 2013 at 10:55 am

Reading everyone’s entries has been a lot of fun. It took a while – had to do it in a couple visits – but very interesting.

I am in my late-50s, semi-retired, and a wife, mother, and grandmother. I’ve always been fairly frugal with bouts of spending sprees in my youth. The Tightwad Gazette is one of my favorite books and would love to meet Amy one day. Generally, I prefer old instead of new, and quality vs quantity. Fortunately, my husband is on board with most of my frugal activities. He plans to retire in a couple years. Financially, we are in good shape and that is why I am able to work part-time at something I love. We put 2 kids through college and our house is almost paid off (less than 2 years). We have an emergency fund. Both cars are paid for and in good condition. We like to garden and cook most meals from scratch – going out is a rarity for us (although, we usually have a couple frozen pizzas on hand – bought on sale, of course – for those crazy days with no time and/or no planning).

However, as many mentioned, we are not always frugal about everything – we have our priorities. It’s nice to be able to enjoy things that are important to us – mostly experiences and spending time with loved ones vs stuff. Life is good..

I can’t remember how I found NCA, but I’m glad I did. It’s refreshing to see younger adults who understand the importance of buying less and enjoying life more. I thoroughly enjoy your wit and humor. Thanks for what you do. Keep up the good work.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 11:12 am

Lorraine,

Thank you so much for the kind words.

It sounds like you’ve got a great frugal routine from years of incorporating it into your daily routine. I agree about having a ready to go meal in the fridge for those inevitable crazy evenings. It’s better to eat a less than amazing meal at home than to get take out. I much prefer to have my meals out be something to look forward to and to linger over.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Donna in Warrenton VA October 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

Hi, I live in Northern VA with my husband of 19 years & 17 year old (soon to be 18) daughter who’s a senior in high school. I can’t remember how I found your blog but I’ve been following it for 3 or 4 years now.

I’m an avid yard sale/thrift store shopper and love being as much of a non-consumer as possible. Back in the early 90s I found the Tightwad Gazette books and read & followed her advice religiously. I have the Complete Tightwad Gazette and read through it whenever I feel like I’m getting lazy about being thrifty. Amy Dacyczyn is one of my all time heroes.

I also like seeing the things you’re doing to prepare for your son going to college next year since I’m doing the same thing with our daughter. I’m hoping that my daughter will have learned some of my non-consumer/thrifty ways as she goes away to college and has to make decisions for herself.

Keep up the good work.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 11:25 am

Donna,

I need to get back on track with the focus on college savings. The NYC trip took my focus for a few weeks, but it can come front and center again. My sons both like thrift shopping, although my younger son is shoe and soccer gear obsessed. He spend his own money from working, but I still wish he’d tune it down a bit.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Marcella October 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Hi from Melbourne, Australia Katy!

After I discovered your blog from GRS, it really clicked for me and I went back and read the whole thing from start to finish! So much of what you post resonates with me – being frugal, zero waste, being happy with less.

I am a single, female engineer in my 30s, so I am lucky to earn a very good wage, but I have always been thrifty and haven’t inflated my lifestyle to match my salary. I learnt that from my parents. Dad drove a 20 year old car all the way across town to work every day and the money he and my Mum saved on things like that was spent on giving us a good private school education (much more common here in Australia, even for non-rich folk), good health insurance and supporting me and my older brother and sister through university. Dad was also on us to turn off lights and not be wasteful!

This non-wastefulness has then really made sense with a consciousness about zero waste and environmental considerations too. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a zero waste challenge like you did for a while.

Other than that, being an engineer, I do love a good spreadsheet and you should see the budget one I have. I especially love calculating how much money I have saved each month. 🙂

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Marcella,

I love that your frugal choices are because it’s right, rather than a genuine need. I kind of love your father as well. I too get irked when lights get left on. I ask if my family is “leaving the light on for an imaginary friend?”

Always happy to hear from non-American readers!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Lauren October 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now (found you through The Frugal Girl) and this is actually my first time commenting. I’m 31 and have two kids, 15 months and 5. I’m a non-consumer primarily in the child raising part of my life right now. I read a statistic when pregnant with my first that the cost of raising a child was something like a billion dollars (okay, several thousand but it might as well have been a billion). I don’t like to be told what to do, however, and responded to this ultimatum with cloth diapers, garage sale clothes, library trips vs. buying books, and little to no costly activities such as organized sports (at least at younger ages). I grew up with it being a rite of passage to take gymnastics lessons and I didn’t want my kids to experience everything so young there was nothing left to look forward to.

I have enjoyed your Goodwill posts most of all. You have inspired me to start looking for hidden treasures to re-sell. I thoroughly enjoy most all of your posts, though. You are an entertaining and inspiring writer.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Lauren,

I have seen those statistics as well, and they are utter hogwash! It’s good that you’re realizing that early on in your parenting.

And all the comments about the Goodwill posts are making me realize I need to schedule another day of thrifting.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Anna October 16, 2013 at 7:46 pm

I’m a mid thirties stay at home mommy to two little boys in Alabama. After college, I married my best friend, and we live on a farm outside of a very small town. I don’t remember how I found your blog, but I love it! Since deciding to quit my job when our oldest son was born, I’ve tried to be frugal and mindful with our one remaining income. My husband pretty much goes along with my frugal ideas, even though some of them are failures. Since our town is tiny, thrifting is not great, but I LOVE Ebay!! It is my go-to source for clothing, dishes, toys, etc. I also love quality over quantity. Even our boys “shop” for their toys on Ebay, so maybe they “get it” that new doesn’t always mean better. Your blog keeps me motivated and inspired, and it makes me laugh. Thank you for making frugal fun.

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Katy October 16, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Anna,

I’ve only bought on eBay a few times through the years, but I’ve put together hundreds of listings. And you’re not having a frugal failure or two, then you might be a robot. And that is bad. Bad robot.

Thanks for the kind words!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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cathy October 16, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I’m a fifty-something SAHM of two boys (one in high school and the other in elementary school) living in Utah. I started thrifting when I was in high school and have gotten more frugal as I’ve gotten older. When I worked, I never made much money and we’ve lived on a single income for years; my husband recently started a new job. Though the benefits are awesome, the salary’s not, so we’ve had to tighten up. I know that the reason we’ve been able to live as comfortably as we have is because we buy nearly everything second-hand (the joy of the hunt!) or get it free, we prefer quality items and make those things last, we don’t “upgrade” just because an upgrade exists, we do as much ourselves as we can (home and car repair, gardening). We also cook virtually every meal at home as there are severe food allergies in our household. I’ve always said that the more broke we are, the more creative we are. Walking lightly upon the earth has always been important to us and we find the less we consume (and the more we declutter!) the better we are able to live our beliefs. (And, in a literal sense, living in a state as beautiful as Utah and in the western U.S. gives us endless opportunities to explore and go camping and hiking.)

I discovered The Tightwad Gazette in 1998 when I was on maternity leave (self-funded since I was self-employed). While there were plenty of things I already did, Amy really had a knack for allowing readers to see all the other possibilities. Your blog is the same. I’ve been reading for a couple of years and love your writing style. I think my favorite recurring posts are “Today I Am…” and “Goal of the Week.”

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Katy October 17, 2013 at 6:33 am

Cathy,

Too funny that you and I discovered The Tightwad Gazette at the same time and in the same circumstance. (1998, maternity leave.) It sounds like you’ve figured out how to make the most of life, while finding all the wonderful free stuff available in your beautiful corner of the world.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Roberta October 17, 2013 at 6:20 am

I’m a homeschooling mother of two (8 and 11) and wife of a high school teacher. Librarian by training. I discovered frugality in the early ’90’s with PBS’ Affluenza program, and I found NCA through the (Jonathan Bloom’s?) Food Waste book (you link to his website on the blog).

I love being able to live well on one income, in southern California. We travel every summer, sometimes cheaply, sometimes extravagently (we made it to England one summer, and we are planning to go back), with our children. We’re making the most of our life with creativity, not STUFF. My husband sometimes thinks my next plan is nutty, but he’s almost always willing to try, and is supportive of not buying things, even if his friends have them (he’s even the only person we know without a cell phone).

I love your blog. I love checking in routinely with a friend who’s having FUN with the little things. Especially on those mornings when I don’t want to take pictures to post on Craigslist (or start a load of laundry, or whatever I don’t want to do), knowing you’re out there finding the enjoyment in the little things helps me pull it together and do what needs to be done.

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Katy October 17, 2013 at 6:27 am

Roberta,

I love that you’re saving money on the little things in order to splash out on the big stuff. I too like the documentary “Affluenza,” and I think it’s available at the library. Might even be able to find it on the internet.

Thanks for the reminder about Craigslist, as I need to re-up a few listings.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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Penny October 17, 2013 at 7:12 am

Hi Katy! I’m in north Florida. I’ve been reading your blog for about 6 months and I love your take on things, especially the Not-So-Goodwill posts. I’ve been frugal my entire adult life, never made much money but I learned the skills to make it work and continue to be independent. Then I married a guy who wanted to start a business. That has had HUGE ups and downs over the years but we’ve managed due to frugality. I was also a big fan of the Tightwad Gazette and one of the earliest members of The Frugalista Files (I joined in 1995 I think).

I treat frugality like a game, I “win” when I get the best price or find the perfect item I’ve been needing at a thrift store. I hate buying anything whose sole purpose is to be used, then thrown away. My kids resisted while they were in high school but now that they have kids of their own they’re pulling out all those frugal tricks they grew up with. I recently took a 2 week trip to Italy, saved up for 2 years for that. I’ve been on several international trips, all of which are paid for up front, otherwise I wouldn’t go. People are always asking me how I can afford to do that, don’t I come home to mountains of debt? And they’re shocked when they find out I don’t put any of my travels on a credit card. That’s their first instinct! Vacation now, pay later! That mind-set is simply amazing to me. If they’d adopt habits like cooking meals at home, using dishtowels instead of paper towels, washing plates instead of using paper plates, maybe they could save up and do or have the things they want too.

Keep up the great posts, I always need new inspiration!

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Katy October 17, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Penny,

I wish more people would “hate buying anything whose sole purpose is to be used, then thrown away.”

I love that you treat frugality as a game, as I agree 100% with this mindset.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Katy

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J. Pario October 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

I am a writer, editor, artist, blogger, and part-time English prof. I’ve enjoyed 13 years of wedding interesting with a guy I thought was was too hot to ever ask out little ol’ me. I am practicing frugality and simplicity in the hopes of paying off the house early so I can quit my job and dive head-first into my freelance business. Just seven more years…

Thanks for keeping it real, Katy!

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Katy October 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm

J.,

Real is all I know. Glad to hear that the normal girls do get the hot guys. (Kind of like a chick lit novel. 😉 )

Thank you for sharing!

Katy

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