Non-Consumer Photo Essay

by Katy on June 20, 2024 · 2 comments

It’s time for another Non-Consumer Advocate photo essay, because a picture is worth 51¢!

These coins were in the Safeway parking lot this afternoon and now they’re in my found change jar.

 

My snake plant was having a hard time holding some of her leaves in the full and upright position, so I did a web search on “how to propagate snake plants.” This led me to pull out the longest pair and cut them into two-inch pieces and then wait a couple days for them to form a “callus.”

 

They’re now tucked into their cozy crib and it’ll be interesting to see if I can grow baby snakes.

 

And since my hydrangeas are in the background of the last photo, here’s a close up. These were also propagated, albeit by my father in 1998. They’ll turn a pretty blue color within the next month.

 

It was wholly undocumented, but I hosted a couple neighbors in the newly refreshed backyard last night and served sun tea made in this fancy aesthetic carafe. Made using three random bags of tea and the power of the sun god Ra.

Behold his almighty power!

 

 

Happy Solstice!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on June 19, 2024 · 43 comments

  1. I finally got my shipment of free wood chips that I signed up for through ChipDrop.com. It’s hard to tell in this photo, but this pile is as tall as my garage door, so I’ll be offering it up on Buy Nothing once I’m done spreading it out over my front and back yards.

  2. Our oven pooped out on Father’s Day, which our son noticed after he mixed up a batch of brownies. I texted my next door neighbors asking if I could use their oven. (They’re out of town so I’m already bringing in their mail.) Their “FREE peanut butter” coupon caught my eye, so I snapped a photo of it and jokingly texted that I was “stealing your peanut butter coupon.” Of course I didn’t, but it gave the two of us a laugh. My husband ordered a new $30 part from Schmeff Schezos and then got the oven back to functionality in under ten minutes.

  3. I’ve been inspired to reread my copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette after seeing The Frugal Girl do the same. A lot of the tightwad tips are outdated, but the overall message that you can reach your goals by living below your means ages like fine wine. Or whatever the tightwad version of wine would be. Ages like fine tap water?

  4. I pinched a bit of dill from a neighbor’s plant to propagate for my own garden. It was the perfect opportunity to use the adorable sake glass that I garbage picked a few weeks ago.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 17, 2024 · 78 comments

  1. I invited a childhood friend over to the house who’s going through some tough times. I’d made an inexpensive pot of chicken soup with dumplings, which she remembers eating at my house when we were little kids. I also threw together a loaf of no-knead artisan bread because everything’s better with warm buttery bread.

    Had we met for coffee or lunch (her suggestion) not only would we have spent money, but our time together would’ve been limited by how long is an appropriate amount of time to monopolize a restaurant table. Instead we got to sit on comfortable furniture without external stressors — no one listened in on our conversation and we both saved money. Plus I enjoyed a couple days of leftover soup.

  2. I’ve been enjoying walks lately, (mostly evenings) sometimes with my husband or a friend, but mostly on my own. I’ll either listen to a Libby audiobook or a podcast or — shocker — think my own thoughts. Sometimes I come across great “free boxes,” but I’m just as happy to walk without gamification. I’m not marching to reach a specific number of steps, but am simply enjoying the longer days and the luxury of feeling safe after 8 P.M.

    Just today I walked a mile or so to a real estate open house I’d seen on Zillow. I’ve admired this house in the past and welcomed the opportunity to explore the interior. (I was honest with the real estate agent about simply being a curious neighbor and she assured me that many others were doing the same thing.) I then meandered to the library to pick up my holds and nipped over to Fred Meyer to grab ingredients for scampi, (my husband’s sole Father’s Day request.) I was probably out for around two hours, yet my only expense was the $21.25 for dinner ingredients.

    Extreme frugality is often viewed through a lens of deprivation, yet I got to indulge my interests without spending money. Free exercise, free open house, free books (more Roz Chast!) and $21.25 for a special occasion meal that’ll serve meal four people — likely with leftovers!

  3. My husband invited a friend to dinner, as they were headed to a punk rock concert that evening. (Very much not my thing!) The friend had initially suggested a restaurant, but my husband instead offered to barbecue some chicken kebabs.

    There have been times when the prospect of spontaneous guests was stressful, as the state of our house veered more towards messy than clean and tidy. I’ve put a metric crap ton of work into decluttering and organizing the house through the years and I no longer live in fear of the spontaneous stop by. It’s just so relaxing to exist in an orderly home that can welcome guests without those inevitable feelings of panic.

    Not gonna lie, it helps that the kids are grown and flown.

  4. • I scored a $1 bag of apples from the Fred Meyer clearance shelf.
    • I’m watching over our neighbor’s house as they’re traveling again for a couple of days.
    • I walked over to the tail end of our block party and enjoyed conversation and a slice of overly sweet bakery cake.
    • I stopped into H Mart for gluten-free soy sauce and curry paste, yet somehow didn’t succumb to any impulse purchases.
    • I combined errands when I needed to drop off probate forms with our estate attorney and then swung through downtown to pick up a repaired pair of earrings.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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Come Curb Shopping With Me

by Katy on June 13, 2024 · 50 comments

I’m currently in my “let’s scrounge up some extra money” era and I’m not ashamed to go through my neighbors’ discarded things for possible profit. So I roped my friend Lise into going for an evening walk with “for inventory.”

See anything interesting in this free box?

 

 

How about this wool blend REI flat cap? I brought it home, cleaned it up and threw it up on eBay for $18.*

 

 

Did you notice the pair of Birkenstocks peeking out from under the plastic tote? They were actually in okay-ish condition, so I grabbed those as well. They’re also now available for $39 on eBay.*

 

 

This free box offered up a four-cup Mr. Coffee coffee maker that worked perfectly. (I checked) Now available for $10 on Facebook Marketplace. Complete with filters!

 

 

Good thing I brought along my reusable bag!

 

 

This free pile? Chipped dishware, scratched up non-stick pans and a burnt baking sheet. No profit to be made here!

 

But I saved the best for last. This curb find was actually a day later and down the block from my daughter’s apartment. Sure it had a couple of surface level stains, but I was able to remove them using soapy water, a washcloth and a half-hour or so of elbow grease.

 

 

I easily found the brand information and original price, ($321) which helped me price the set at $75. It sold in under 24 hours and I’m happy with my 0 —> $75 profit. Everything else will take awhile to sell, but that’s okay, I’m a patient(ish) person.

Now if I could just sell a $50 chair for $85,000 like this guy did!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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* The eBay links are affiliate links.

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I mentioned in a recent blog post how excited I was that my out of town neighbors let me set my yard debris bin out with their weekly pickup. (We share garbage service with our other neighbors and it would be another week before it was our turn.) I needed to hose out the slurry that collects in the bottom, as the smell was not aging with grace! I’d somehow never made the connection of how the broken lid invited Oregon’s ever present rain.

What can I say? My mind was on other things like the price of eggs and garbage picked flowerpots.

 

Sure I could get the garbage company to give us a shiny new bin, but my goal is always to avoid unnecessary replacement of functional goods. However, plastic is not repairable in the way that wood, fabric or metal is, so this was going to be a good enough endeavor.

Time for duct tape and zip-ties to enter the chat.

Please enjoy the fix for the underside of the lid and no, it ain’t pretty.

 

 

And here’s how I created a facsimile of the hinge using a humble pair of zip-ties. Bow down to my elite skills!

 

However, there’s no reason this repairs to be devoid of beauty — after all, what is function without form?

 

 

There, that’s better! Will my repair job last forever? Unlikely, but it saves this huge hunk of plastic from the landfill and dare I say it . . . adds a touch of beauty to an otherwise dull object.

Better. Better is good.

 

 

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 10, 2024 · 80 comments

  1. I assembled my bag of tricks and picked up two Popeye’s Chicken meals for a mere $3.49 after my son’s evening soccer game. I paid with points (from his birthday dinner) for one of the meals, plus had done a “back of the receipt” survey to earn the second free (with drink purchase) meal. It was a bit finicky to do the transaction, but well worth it as it fed the three of us.

  2. My neighbors, (whose house I’m caring for while they’re on vacation) let me set our yard debris bin out with their weekly pickup. It’s not so much about a full bin, but rather the smell which is currently seventh level of hell horrific, and I need to spray the demons from its depths. We share garbage service with our other next door neighbors and it would’ve been another week before it was our turn.

  3. My son and I walked over to the local consignment shop, where I picked up a Jumbo Fiestaware “peacock blue” mug for just $2. My sister likes these mugs, so I thought it would be fun to provide one for her upcoming visit. They sell for around twenty bucks on eBay,* so I knew it was a bargain.

    We then went to a new/used outdoor supply shop as my son is seeking Army surplus pants. They didn’t have any, so we nipped over to the closest Goodwill thrift shop. They also didn’t have any, but I did find a half-price $7 T-shirt for myself. My summer wardrobe is lacking, so this is a necessary purchase. Decades of working as a nurse means that I put absolute zero effort into my home clothes. Sure, it was amazing to never pay for a work wardrobe, (not even scrubs, as they were hospital provided!) but owning just a couple of decent T-shirts becomes a problem in warmer weather.

  4. • My daughter gave me a handful of gluten-containing food items, which were leftover from her old roommate.
    • I started listening to Jodi Picoult’s Wish You Were Here through the library’s free Libby app.
    • My husband and I have been eating black bean tostadas with sautéed onions and peppers on repeat as they just hit the spot. Needless to say, clearance price onions and peppers, tostadas from Winco and bulk purchased beans cooked in the Instant Pot. Cheap, healthy and yummy!

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
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* Referral link.

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Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on June 7, 2024 · 68 comments

  1. I drove past another curbside stack of flowerpots and literally turned the car around to investigate. Most of the pots were of the plastic variety, but I chose a stoneware one which washed up beautifully. I was briefly tempted by the big terra cotta pots, but I don’t really have a spot for them and I’m trying to be particular about what gets to live at my house.

    You probably already guessed that I nabbed the colorful one from the bottom right hand corner. Here it is all scrubbed up and ready for action.

  2. My younger sister was is town and the two of us hit up Winco Foods to grocery shop. (I found out last minute that she was visiting, which is how she got to accompany me on such an exciting adventure.) I’d been jotting things on a shopping list for at least a week, so there was no way I wasn’t going to check this off my to-do list. We had a nice catch up and it turned out she needed to grab a few things from the bulk bins anyway.

    I picked up a couple of abandoned receipts in the parking lot and scanned them into my Fetch app*, which worked out well since one awarded me 4000 points!

    I am THE cheap date!

  3. I did a metric ton of laundry for my daughter, whose apartment complex has terrible laundry facilities. I’m happy to do this favor for her as it saves her money.

  4. • I bought two bags of clearance price spinach at Fred Meyer and then immediately returned them as I hadn’t realized how truly slimy they were. Blegh!
    • My sister and I also hit up the Goodwill that’s a couple blocks up from Winco, which I blogged about HERE. Combining errands is always a money saver!

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
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* This is a referral link. I get referral points if you sign up with my link.

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In the mood to see what I found at my local Goodwill yesterday? Good. Bad. Questionable.

Like this tin featuring a bedraggled group of pilgrims. Nobody looks happy, which I’m guessing is historically accurate.

Especially this guy (William Bradford?) who should be avoided at all costs!

Did not buy.

I was momentary tempted by this $4.99 gnome watering can and even put it in my basket, but I surrendered it at the register. Again . . . I don’t need that disturbing face in my life. The mustache originating in the nostrils cannot be unseen!

I was unable to resist this $4.99 “Fit by Katy” T-shirt, which was weirdly long and actually spelled my name correctly. It’s a bit flared at the bottom, which’ll make it the perfect sleep shirt. It’ll also come in handy if I’m struck by a case of spontaneous amnesia.

I did succumb to this practical purchase — a $2.99 file folder case. I’d been wanting one for my late father-in-law’s paper trail. He died without a will and the executor paperwork for my husband is finicky and excessive. I unsuccessfully asked  for one in my Buy Nothing group, so this was a depressingly perfect find!

Yay me?

I balanced the dullness and practicality of the last find with this antique “craft project” clock case. (You can see that someone wrote “craft project” on the glass if you look closely.) Sure, it has no clock face, but the antique brass gears are beautiful in their own way. The beehive and florals are reverse painted on the glass panel below and aged to perfection. $7.99

Do I need it? No, but there was no way this gem wasn’t coming home with me!

I was thisclose to buying this vintage ceramic lamp, but I ended up leaving it behind for someone else. The glaze work and colors were exquisite, but single lamps can be hard to sell. Priced at just $12.99, I left this bargain for some other lucky shopper.

I’ve saved the best (worst?) for last, as I came across this book and had to investigate further. After all, what am I if not a married woman?

Please note the author’s name is “Hugh R. High.”

Get it? The only way to achieve “marital bliss” is be secretly drunk! Ha ha, women are terrible and the only way to handle marriage is to be a closet drinker. So hilarious!

Nope! Sexist bullshit gag gift stays at Goodwill.

 

Would you have bought any of these bad or questionable items? Keep in mind that it was 10%-off senior discount day, (you only have to be 55) which made my bargains extra bargain-y.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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Non-Consumer Photo Essay

by Katy on June 4, 2024 · 26 comments

I garbage picked this sake glass while out for a walk. I use these glasses for propagating plants, as well as small flower arrangements. The graphics are always the peak of adorableness and they’re the perfect size for the windowsill above my sink.

Welcome to the family!

 

I was on way home from an errand and stopped into Dollar Tree for a solar powered  garden light and decided to stock up on toothpaste. (I bought one of their $1.25 solar powered lights last month to test it out and since it worked great, I came back for another.) I noticed that the shelf held two similar yet different tubes. My immediate instinct was to grab the “60% FREE” instead of the “25% FREE” package, but then I took a moment to look at the small print.

Do you see it?

The “60% Free” one is actually an ounce less than the “25% FREE” one. Because it’s being compared to 2.5 ounces, versus 4.0 ounces. (Note that the box sizes are exactly the same.) Manufacturers count on consumers mindlessly grabbing their products without a second thought. Don’t be that consumer.

I really enjoyed my Lucky Day copy of Roz Chast’s I Must Be Dreaming last week, so I put a couple of her other books on hold at the library. However tight my budget might be, I can always treat myself to a new library book!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 3, 2024 · 44 comments

  1. My neighbors will be out of town next week, so I’ll water their plants and bring in their mail. I’m actually happy to have this opportunity to help them out, as they help care for our elderly cat whenever we travel. Not that we’re keeping track as some kind of quid pro quo situation, but it’s still good to try and keep a balance when giving and receiving favors.

    I also bring them the occasional warm baked good to even out the occasional “Hey, can I get a splash of milk for my tea?” requests.

  2. I’ve been an unapologetic homebody lately, due simply to the reason that I’d rather hang out at the house than needlessly go out and about. Being at home means home cooking, zero impulse purchases and a generally full gas tank. My husband and I go for evening walks if he’s home, (his work shifts don’t end until after 10 P.M.) so there’s minimal risk of cabin fever. It’ll never go viral for “Ten Crazy Ways to Save Money,” but cooking from scratch, gardening, reading, puttering about the house, visiting with neighbors, hosting friends at the house and a bit of TV in the evenings is just about the cheapest way to live your life. Not always, but it’s nice for now.

  3. My husband swapped our fancy Nest “smart” thermostat back to the standard programmable Honeywell version. (Luckily, we held onto the old one!) Ideally the smart thermostat would’ve saved us money, but I was constantly adjusting the temperature, as the heat would suddenly turn on at random times. (I don’t need blast the heat while we sleep!) Plus it didn’t have a way to set the “house fan” function for longer than 12 hours at a time, when we actually run that mode 24 hours per day during hot weather.

    It wouldn’t function as it was supposed to and I’m happy to be rid of it. Was it a lemon? Who knows, but it’s happily in the past.

  4. • I lined my vintage canning supply tin with white contact paper. The paper was leftover from some long forgotten project, so my out of pocket cost was zero-point-zero. This’ll protect the contents from rust, both real and imagined. I didn’t try to make it look perfect as it’s the inside of a tin and I got to use up some random scraps this way.

    • My other neighbor gave us some locally grown strawberries as they’d “bought too much.” She then borrowed my biscuit cutter for shortcake.
    • I pulled a mostly eaten Costco rotisserie chicken from the freezer and made a pot of lovely chicken soup during our atmospheric river weather event. I was out of onions and garlic, but did have garlic and onion powders, which still tasted great. I added tons of finely chopped carrots and am finally down to just two one-pound bags from last week’s clearance rack score.
    • That frustrating Nest thermostat was cheap enough through our electric company, so minimal money was wasted.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
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