Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on February 27, 2024 · 17 comments

    1. My husband and I were driving back from Vancouver, Washington, (which is just across the river) and decided to stop into Ikea as it was on the way home. I wasn’t hungry, but my husband ordered two meatball kid’s meal instead of one adult one, as it’s the same amount of food at $8.58 vs. $9.99. ($1.41 savings!) Instead, they were running a special where it was somehow $3 for his two plates of food using the Ikea family card!

      This prompted me to look up their deals once I got home and here’s what I was able to find. Note that you need the free Ikea Family Card.

      Monday: Meatless Monday — All plant based meatball plates are $3. (Did the cashier think my husband’s meatballs were veggie?)
      Tuesdays: $3.99 adult meals.
      Wednesday: Two free kid meals with the purchase of one adult meal.
      Thursday: $1 off Meatball entrees.
      Friday: 50% off adult entrees.
      Weekends: No deals.

      Not too shabby, especially since there’s no tipping and the coffee is free.

    2. I’m listening to Marge Piercy’s Gone To Soldiers through the library’s free Libby app and reading a Lucky Day library copy of Weyward, by Emilia Hart.

      Gone to Soldiers is one of my favorite books ever, but this is the first time that I’ve listened to it as an audiobook.

    3. My husband and I stopped into a Goodwill while in Vancouver, but all we bought were a 99¢ commemorative baseball, (my husband) and a 99¢ spice rack, for our son. I still have the remnants of a Goodwill gift card from Christmas, so our out of pocket cost was just 54¢.

    4. • I picked up seven discarded 10¢ deposit cans while my husband was at hockey practice.
      • I keep two foldable reusable fabric tote bags in purse at all times, which came in handy for the cans. They’re machine washable, which is great as there were a few sticky drips.
      • The Supercuts Training Center had to change my appointment time, which meant my friend could no longer go. I got a $12.99 Great Clips coupon in my Instagram feed, so I signed my friend up for the offer. Not free, but still a good price.

    5. I didn’t thrift any tiny Lear Jets.

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 February 26, 2024 · 71 comments

    1. I scored an adorable antique dresser from my Buy Nothing group, which was sorely needed as my son’s old bedroom had devolved into a literal “bed” “room,” as it contained a bed and no other furniture.

      I’m trying to avoid spending money on extras as we had a deluge of unwelcome expenses in December and January. My goal is to not touch our savings account if at all possible.

    2. I try to balance the giving/receiving when it comes to the Buy Nothing group, so I looked over my eBay inventory for something to part with. I chose four vintage style blow-mold Santas that somehow didn’t sell over the holidays. I list quality items pretty frequently, so I’m not concerned about it being a precise exchange of goods.

    3. I finally scored appointments for a pair of free haircuts for my friend and I through the Supercuts training center. I didn’t get a response to my first email inquiry, but a follow up a few days later was a success. The stylists are all fully licensed and often have years of hair cutting experience, they’re simply new employees.

      If you’re also looking for a free haircut, call around to see if the Supercuts in your region have a training center for their newly hired employees.

    4. • I yelled at a passerby to stop picking my neighbor’s daffodils, which resulted in my neighbor being able to enjoy what was left of her flowers. I rarely absolutely do not approve of theft as a “frugal hack.”
      • Someone left an empty kombucha can in front of our house, so I added it to our stash of returnable cans. I’m never going to turn down an easy 10¢.
      • A different neighbor borrowed our muffin tins and returned them along with two frosted cupcakes.
      • I drove to Safeway to pick up a $1.49 half-gallon of milk and their 99¢/pound chicken quarters. I took a minute beforehand to glance at Ibotta* and loaded a 5¢ coupon for “any brand milk.” Meh.
      I spent an hour or so pruning my backyard wall of hydrangeas and otherwise tidying up our outdoor space. A yard that’s simple enough to maintain on my own is a frugal choice.

    5. I didn’t thrift any Lear Jets.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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* Referral link

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What’s Your Best Frugal Hack?

by Katy on February 24, 2024 · 142 comments

When I started writing this blog in 2008, my goal was to share “how my family works with the challenges of living on less, living less wastefully and the occasional obstacles that come up.” It didn’t occur to me how much of a two way street it would become. (Is “roundabout” a better metaphor, with all the cars circling the same center?) Either way, we’re all getting ideas and inspiration from one another.

Today I want you to share your very best frugal hacks, the ones that don’t show up on those useless “lose that latte habit” listicles. The creative, the extreme, the ones from your depression scarred grandparents. The ones we might be able to incorporate into our daily lives.

You’ve heard all my frugal hacks, now it’s your turn. What is your best frugal hack?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 142 comments }

Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on February 21, 2024 · 104 comments

    1. I stopped by my beloved dented vegetable store yesterday afternoon and shelled out $7.78 for an impressive amount of (actually undented) groceries/produce. Here’s what I got:

      • Two yellow heirloom tomatoes.
      • One container of cherry tomatoes.
      • Three heads of broccoli.
      • One container of mixed greens.
      • One big yellow squash.
      • Two boxes of egg & onion matzohs.

      Food prices are predatory right now, so it pays to be creative whenever possible.

    2. I walked my plastics wishcycling recycling to New Seasons Market without shopping downstairs.

    3. I came across a damp free pile on my way back from New Seasons, but I still took a minute to look through it. I wasn’t interested in the half used toiletries, but I did grab these two plastic organizers, which cleaned up perfectly after a run through the dishwasher. Organizing supplies are my love language.

    4. • My husband forgot to use coupons at the grocery store, so I stapled them onto the receipt so I can show them to customer service the next time I’m at Fred Meyer.
      • I finished listening to The Immortalists audiobook through the library’s free Libby app.
      • My plant cuttings are all starting to show roots, which means I’ll be able to fill my outdoor flowerpots without spending any money.

    5. I didn’t thrift any tiny Lear Jets.

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 February 19, 2024 · 72 comments

    1. Fred Meyer sent me coupons for free Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Hazs ice cream, which prompted me to walk to the store and buy the ice cream and nothing else. The Ben & Jerry’s Tonight Dough was unpleasantly gritty, like it had defrosted and refrozen, but we ate it anyway as I was free.

      I guess you occasionally get what you pay for.

    2. I cut forsythia from the garden to force an indoors flower arrangement. My father propagated the forsythia from a shrub at his house/my childhood home. As scrappy as it looks 11-1/2 months of the year, its yellow flowers are so cheering and hopeful when winter otherwise looks like it’ll never end.

    3. I mixed up a batch of brown sugar using nothing more than granulated sugar and molasses. Using 1-2 tablespoons of molasses per cup of sugar, it’s about the simplest kitchen hack around. I didn’t start making my own brown sugar until recently so it still seems like magic when I mix up a batch. I used a food processor, but I’ve made it before using a pastry cutter. I suppose a simple fork would work as well.

    4. • My husband and I watched the movie Past Lives through the library’s free Kanopy app. Amazing movie, I highly recommend!
      • The woman who organized the free haircuts for my local Supercuts training center moved away and I haven’t had luck finding her replacement. I decided to ramp up my efforts and called a couple different Supercuts locations until I found someone with the email address for the new training director. Apparently there’s a training session for their newly hired stylists at the end of the month and they’ll need models (ha!) at that time. Crossing my fingers that my email finds the right person.
      • I walked to the library to pick up my hold copies of Katrina Rodabaugh’s Mending Matters and Make Thrift Mend. I’ve only leafed through them so far, but they’re very inspiring. However, they were extremely heavy which was noted on my walk back to the house.
      • I stopped into the Trader Joe’s in my son’s neighborhood and picked up two bunches of 19¢ bananas. I had the checker run them as two transactions as we have to use this debit card twelve times per month to qualify for 1.5% interest on our regular checking account.

      We recently opened a different credit union account to get a 5.25% high yield savings account, as well as their checking account which kicked back an extra $100 if we used their debit card twelve times in a month. So yes, using two different debit cards, twelve times apiece. Don’t worry, there wasn’t anyone in line behind me.

    5. I didn’t thrift any Lear Jets.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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Let’s Go Thrifting — It’s All Wood

by Katy on February 17, 2024 · 28 comments

I haven’t thrifted much lately, maybe because I don’t want to clutter my home but mostly because my energy to list on eBay is at an all time low. I really don’t want to buy things to resell if I’m going to actually do the work of listing.

However, I did stop into the Goodwill that’s next to Winco Foods last week and found some unusual items. I didn’t buy anything, but I still wanted to document them for the blog. Oddly, everything was wooden.

This vintage centerpiece (candelabra?) was priced at just $6.99 and I was thisclose to bringing it home, but couldn’t pull the trigger as it would take up a tremendous amount of space to store.

This wooden case caught my eye and I almost bought it as I’ve done well in the past selling liquor related collectibles. Such cool graphics!

The price point was perfect, but I still left it on the shelf.

I love old tile work and this (slightly blurry, sorry) vintage trivet was also priced at just $3.99. Maybe I should have bough it as it wouldn’t have taken up too much space, but alas I left it behind for someone else.

The last cool wooden item is this hand carved wooden corbel. Absolutely stunning and I think it was just $6.99. Yes, I’m a fool to not snap it up, but I was there as an observer not a shopper. To document, not purchase.

Was I a fool leave so much goodness on the shelves? Probably, but Ive made my peace. What would you have bought?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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Five (More) Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on February 16, 2024 · 55 comments

“Ugly” chair

    1. My husband bought a discounted one year Apple TV subscription at Costco last year, which we hardly watched. I happened to ask my husband about it the other night and he clicked into our account and stopped the automatic renewal, which was scheduled to happen at the end of the month. Close call.

    2. I saw an Instagram reel about how you can ask your credit card companies to waive the annual fee as a “retention offer.” We pay $95/year for an airline credit card, so I thought I’d give it a try. I called customer service and although the employee offered to lower our interest rate for services we don’t use, (cash advances, etc.) he wasn’t able to waive the annual fee as it won’t be charged until June 30th. However, he said to call back a couple weeks beforehand and they’d likely waive the $95.

      So yeah . . . that’s in my calendar!

    3. It took three (very polite) phone calls and two (also polite) emails, but I finally got the Oregon Humane Society to refund the $315 my son overpaid for spaying Mama’s Little Meatball. He’s not able to make personal phone calls while at work, so I took on this task.

    4. • I treated my friend Lise to lunch for her birthday and we both happened to want their $12 lunch special, which saved me $8. We then drove over to the main Goodwill where I browsed but didn’t buy anything.
      • My son still needs dining room chairs for his new apartment and I found two at Goodwill that I thought he’d like. They were priced at just $5 apiece, so I took pictures to see what he thought. He replied they were “ugly,” which saved me $10!
      • I’ve been enjoying leftovers on my own over the past couple days, but my husband is off work tonight so I’m planning a taco/tostada bar for tonight’s dinner. Very frugal as I can cook beans in the Instant Pot and I already have all the other toppings.

    5. I didn’t thrift any tiny Lear Jets.

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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{ 55 comments }

Five Tiny Frugal Things

by Katy on February 14, 2024 · 77 comments

    1. I had a low key day at home yesterday and cooked up a pot of red lentil soup and a pan of fried rice using some leftover brown rice. I’d picked up a bag of frozen mixed vegetables at Winco last week for a buck or so and threw the entirety into the skillet. I need to remember to keep these on hand for exactly this situation.

      So much food for so little money!

    2. I chopped a huge onion for the lentil soup but froze about half of it, (on a tray and then into a ziploc bag) which I consider to be a favor to my future self. It was basically no extra work to chop the whole thing and will save the work of washing the knife and cutting board at a later date. Plus, there’s no chance of the half onion being shoved to the back of the fridge and going to the dark side.

    3. My husband and I completed 12 debit card transaction through our new credit union checking account, which earned us a nice $100 bonus. We can now stop using it as we earn 2% interest on the checking account we’ve had for years at our home credit union.

      We hadn’t planned on opening a new checking account, but I’m not one to say “no” to a hundred bucks. We’ll continue to keep our savings in their high yield savings account as it’s currently at 5.25% interest.

    4. • I continue to turn off the heat throughout at the day as I’m the only person home and I can always throw on an extra layer. Mind you, the daytime temperatures in Portland have been in the high 40s to low 50s.
      • I watched the movie Minari through the library’s free Kanopy app.
      • I spent a number of hours tidying up the landscaping in the front yard. I had a lot of thinned out Japanese iris rhizomes, which I bagged up and gave to a neighbor.
      • I stopped into Goodwill, but didn’t find anything I wanted to buy. However, I did find a shiny penny in the parking lot.

    5. I didn’t thrift any tiny Lear Jets.

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 February 12, 2024 · 99 comments

  1. I booked a flight to New York this summer and was able to pay just $205 by shuffling frequent flier miles. I had almost 25,000 miles sitting idle in an account but was separate from the miles that my husband and I accrue through an airline credit card — unfortunately the ticket required 70,000 miles. I called customer service and they walked me through how to transfer miles for the least amount of money. My husband tells me that the ticket was going to cost $800, which seems insane but apparently it’s a popular time to travel.

    I also made sure to purchase a direct flight ticket that has me landing early enough in the day, so I can take public transportation to my sister’s house during daylight. This saves either the cost of a taxi or the bother of someone driving to get me.

  2. I was able to thrift six drinking glasses to match the three that my son and I bought a couple weeks ago. I deliberately chose a popular design that I knew would be easy to thrift if broken or misplaced. I thought they were Ikea, although I might be wrong. Either way, I was right that three could be thrifted on one day and the rest on another.

    He now has five tall glasses and four shorter ones and I paid maybe $12 for all.

    My personal Working Glass drinking glasses were also chosen as they’re easily thrifted and can be replaced singularly if broken. People think that buying used means you live with a jumble of hodge-podge belongings, but with a little patience that’s simply not true.

  3. I’m currently enjoying a laughable number of library books, as a bunch of my holds came in at once. One that I’m halfway though and thoroughly enjoying is Nobody Wants Your Sh*t: The Art of Decluttering Before You Die. It’s a tiny book, but doles out the pragmatic that you need. Seems like it might be a parody book, but it isn’t.

    The perfect book for people who prefer their advice with a tremendous amount of swearing.

  4. • I baked a loaf of no knead artisan bread and continue to use the 99¢/5-lb flour that I scored in November. Total cost of the loaf? Around 15¢ once you account for the yeast, salt, sesame seeds and cornmeal.
    • I sprinkled Winco bulk purchased corn meal in the bottom of the pan instead of using the recommended parchment paper. I’ve never bought parchment paper and consider it to be wasteful.
    • I was craving a treat last night, so I pulled out my thrifted air popper for a big bowl of popcorn. Melted butter and a generous sprinkling of salt scratched this itch. Unsurprisingly, I scoop my popcorn from the Winco bulk bins.
    • I watched the movie Misbehaviour last night through the library’s free Kanopy app. Excellent movie about the 1970 Miss World beauty competition and how it sparked Britain’s women’s liberation movement. Stacked with A-list actors such as Kiera Knightly and Rhys Ifans, I highly recommend.
    • I noticed that Safeway had Challenge butter on sale for $3.99/lb without a limit. I picked up four pounds as butter freezes well. I wish that $4/lb wasn’t a stock up price.

  5. I didn’t thrift any Lear Jets.

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 February 8, 2024 · 52 comments

Today I cut a few tendrils off this fuzzy bunny plant to propagate for next summer’s flowerpots. They fill out perfectly and don’t seem to mind my shady backyard. This one is just chilling in my daughter’s old bedroom with no needs beyond a weekly watering. Think of it as an organ donor.

These cuttings will provide pretty landscaping for zero-ninety-nine!

Lunch was pressure cooked refried beans over cheap-o tostadas, which cost maybe two bucks per bag.

Keeping me company while I putter around the house is the The Immortalists audiobook from the library’s free Libby app.

I looped past the Winco clearance shelf the other day and scooped up these ten cent boxes of pumpkin spice Jello. I’ll likely list them on eBay as seasonal food items can fetch a pretty penny. See for yourself HERE!

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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