Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 22, 2021 · 83 comments

BEFORE

AFTER

  1. I finally got my free wood chip delivery through Get Chip Drop, which pairs arborists with cheap-ass local gardeners. I’d signed up a few weeks earlier and even prepped the backyard for the project as I knew I’d have to start shoveling the mulch as soon as it was delivered. Luckily I had two day’s notice, which allowed me to move the car out of the driveway and ensure that all garden implements were at the ready.

    Wheelbarrow with a properly inflated tire? Check!

    As you can see in the above photos, the supposed “grass” portion of my backyard had devolved into hardened clay soil that served no purpose other than to ensure that dirt and mud was efficiently tracked into the kitchen.

    In the end I’d estimate that I lugged fifty wheelbarrow loads of mulch from our driveway to the backyard. Hard physical work, but worth every sore muscle.

    And the cherry on top of this project is a $28 string of outdoor Edison lights purchased used from an eBay seller. Because Jeff Bezos doesn’t need any more money and over-manufacture of consumer goods is killing our planet.

  2. My husband and I took a day trip up to Washington to visit the Ridgefield National Wildlife Sanctuary which was a 45-ish minute drive from the house. (It would have been quicker, but traffic was an issue.) We’d never been before, and were quite pleased with the experience even though the hiking trails were closed due to Covid.

    The sanctuary takes you on a driving loop, which we hadn’t anticipated, but since it wasn’t an issue to stop the car and peer through our binoculars at the various wildlife that populate the area. (Nutria! Fawns! Coyotes! Turtles! Otters! Birds! Birds! Birds!) We ended up driving the loop twice, and even downloaded their podcast for the second go round.

    They also have an offsite Native American reproduction “plankhouse” as part of the nature preserve, and although it too was closed, it was still worth the extra step to find.

    Not too shabby for a $3 car fee.

  3. I recently watched a mind blowing HGTV YouTube video about the actor, chalk artist, historical reinactor and calligrapher Rajiv Surendra. And then I watched it again. Twice. And then I called my sister and ordered her to watch it as I needed to debrief with someone who’d also seen it.

    For those who may not know him, Rajiv Surendra is a Canadian actor with Sri Lankin Tamil roots who’s best known for playing the rapping mathlete “Kevin G” from the movie “Mean Girls.” But he’s also a gifted artist, musician, knitter, potter and enthusiastic researcher into artisan made goods from the past.

    Then I ordered a $12.99 used copy of Surendra’s memoir titled The Elephants in My Backyard from Powell’s bookstore. (His story of how he immersed himself in the book “Life of Pi” in a vain attempt to win the movie role.) I’d tried to order the book from eBay, but there weren’t any copies available, so of course I listed my one when I was done reading it . . . and it sold for $50 as you can pretty much name your price if you’re the only seller.

    It’s hard to describe the magic of this video. Go watch it. Twice!

  4. I spent an afternoon prepping multiple meals for the fridge and freezer, (this included cooking up a leftover Costco roasted chicken for both soup and two pans of enchiladas, marinating chicken for an Asian stir fry, prepping broccoli, cutting up cantaloupe and baking some extra chicken thighs) we ran out of toothpaste, but survived on dentist samples until I could get to The Dollar Tree as toothpaste was suspiciously expensive at the grocery store, I finished listening to The Paris Library and immediately began The Last Bookshop in London through the free Libby app, I found 44¢ in change over the course of two days, I mended my son’s pants, I cobbled together a hanging jar for propagating plants and I’ve been having my son save his morning coffee grounds so I can later brew myself a cup of weak iced coffee.

  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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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 83 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on July 10, 2021 · 82 comments

  1. The Pacific Northwest experienced an unprecedented heat wave that knocked us Portlanders off our feet. For reference, Portland had never before recorded a temperature higher than 106F (41.1C) yet we rose up to 116F, (46.67C) after setting record highs three loooong days in a row! Keep in mind that the Pacific Northwest is normally known for cool summers, and June here is jokingly referred to as “Junuary” as the weather is normally drizzly and cold.

    For reference, when my kids were little, we’d always wait until July 1st to buy a summer swim pass as it was too cold to swim before then anyway.

    Because of this, most Pacific Northwesterners forgo air conditioning and just sweat out the one or two hot days per year. My natural inclination is to just run fans, but my husband sleeps hot and had slowly accumulated window AC unit for our kids’ bedrooms, as well as a portable unit for our bedroom. These were lifesavers in our uninsulated 1914 home!

    I went ahead and invited our family over to my mother’s air conditioned house two evenings in a row, (I picked up Popeye’s chicken the first night.) We rarely eat at my mom’s, as my house is better set up for entertaining, but there was nothing “normal” about these conditions.

    Intellectually I know that global warming is changing the world we all live in, but this was still a rude awakening for me as we Oregonians rarely experience dramatic weather. I fear my next electric bill, and frankly, for the future of our planet!

  2. I curb picked a wonky handmade wooden shelf that was the perfect catalyst for decluttering and rearranging my narrow back porch. Measuring at a mere 43 inches wide, some might call my porch a hallway rather than an actual porch.

    The weathered shelf was unusually shallow, which makes it a perfect storage solution for the random bits and bobs that accumulate on the porch. I finally have a logical spot to neatly store items such as gardening supplies, plastic clogs, batteries for recycling, etc, etc.

    No one is ever going to send a photo of my back porch to HGTV, but it’s no longer an eye sore — and for the price of zero-point-zero dollars, I call that a win!

    Click HERE for more photos of the back porch.

  3. I sold just a few items, including:

    • A $7.20 pair of Planet Box Rover lunch boxes that sold for $46.

    • A $8 American Girl doll that sold for $80.

    • A $3.99 video game that sold for $24.

    • A 99¢ mug that sold for $25.

    • A $3.99 Ikea fabric remnant that sold for $22.

    • A $4.99 Florence Knoll chair that sold for $40.

  4. My neighbor borrowed a stick of butter and in return they gifted us a dozen local eggs, I read and returned All-Of-A-Kind Family from someone’s Little Free Library and then borrowed a copy of The Kew Garden Girls from my own library, I soaked three unused stamps off old envelopes to mail thank you notes, I transformed accidentally spicy marinara sauce into black bean chili, I’ve been really good about bringing ice water in my thrifted Hydroflask whenever I leave the house, I transplanted a fern from my front yard into a curb-picked planter for my shady back yard and my son got a job that’s walkable from our house.

  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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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 82 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 23, 2021 · 60 comments

  1. I sold a McCarty Pottery Studio vase through an auction on eBay for $86 and change. This should have been an impressive sale as I’d picked it up at Goodwill for a mere $3.99, however the winning bidder never paid. I went ahead and waited the four days that an eBay buyer is allowed to jerk me around delay payment and then relisted it, this time for $125 as a “buy it now.”

    It sold in two days for $125 and they paid immediately!

    Puts me in the mood to do some thrifting!

  2. I brought home a nice assemblage of items from random neighborhood free piles:

    • A large still shrink wrapped faux-stone resin planter which I immediately filled with a fern from my scrappy parking strip. I’d been wanting some potted plants for my deeply shady backyard, so this was a perfect zero-dollar solution.
    • A pair of outdoor cushions for the Adirondack chairs that my husband made a dozen or so years ago. My neighbor had invited me over for tea last week and I’d noticed how her padded chairs were infinitely more comfortable than my hard wood ones, so this was true kismet.
    • A bizarrely nice antique end table that needed nothing more than a good cleaning and wipe down with some Restor-A-Finish. I am flush with fussy end tables, so this one went up for sale on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.
    • A paper bag full of random CDs that I let my son and his friend rummage through. The couple dozen that were left will stock my Little Free Library.

  3. I spent a good chunk of time last Sunday meal prepping a variety of different dishes for the week using what I happened to have in the fridge, freezer and pantry. I know that other people employ this practice as part of their normal routine, but boy-oh-boy was it a huge undertaking! (So many pots and pans to wash!)

    However, it was fan-freaking-tastic to spend an entire week knowing that delicious dinners were at the ready and that I didn’t have to burn even a single brain cell wondering what to make for dinner! I do see that it would get progressively simpler over time were I to repeat and streamline the process, so I think I’m going to continue with this experiment.

    Here’s what I made/prepped:

    • Two and half pans of enchiladas. (1-1/2 went into the freezer)
    • A big pot of black bean chili.
    • Washed and chopped a ton of broccoli.
    • Asian-style marinaded chicken thighs, which then became a chicken and veggie rice-noodle stir fry.
    • A lasagna-style pasta bake, as I didn’t have any gluten-free lasagna noodles, but did have gluten-free penne.

    This may not seem like a huge amount of work, but since I took almost no short cuts (cooking black beans in the Instant Pot, making my own marinara sauce, etc) it was labor intensive. Luckily I had enough backlogged podcasts to keep my brain engaged.

    I call this kind of endeavor “doing a favor for my future self.” Thank you, Katy!

  4. I’m rooting more stems from my father’s prayer plant, I used a fully stamped “frequent buyer card” to get five free loaves of bread from the Franz bakery outlet, (this card only need five stamps to fill up, which is easy since they double stamp on Tuesdays) I’ve been moving plants around my yard to freshen it up rather than buying anything new and I chose a new bundle of novels from my county library to read.

  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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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 60 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 12, 2021 · 71 comments

Guitar Hero guitar

  1. I was able to replace the 12-volt battery in our Prius for just $65 as it was still under warranty with Les Schwab. (A local chain) We paid $238 for it in January of 2019, so I’m choosing to see this as a “frugal win.”

    Are you noticing that we’ve been attending to multiple issues on our vehicles? Yeah, me too. Being an adult is nothing but fun and games.

  2. The Little Free Library in front of the house had developed an impressive echo, so I asked the fine folks on my Buy Nothing Group if anyone had extra books to share. People responded within minutes and our library is now full with books for one and all.

    The downside of having worked so hard to declutter the house is that I no longer have extra books to cull. No regrets though, worth it.

  3. I dropped my iPhone 6 into the toilet last week, and despite resuscitative efforts from the fine folks at the “I, Chihuahua” repair shop down the boulevard, the poor thing was completely fried. My sister even mailed me her recently upgraded phone, but her’s turned out to be too messed up to repair as well.

    So I broke down and spent $280 on a “new” phone, specifically a used iPhone 8, purchased from a local shop with excellent Yelp reviews. There were people in my life who didn’t understand why I wasn’t taking this as an opportunity to acquire a shiny new phone, as money isn’t an issue. However, I firmly believe that the endless cycle of upgrading phones and other electronics is an environmental and humanitarian nightmare that I want no part of.

  4. I filled my minivan at a Fred Meyer gas station and saved 80¢/gallon by using my rewards card, I sold a number of items through both eBay and Facebook Marketplace, (like this $60 hoodie, this $30 fabric, this $60 Guitar Hero controller, this $40 Scrabble game, these $30 mugs and this $40 winter coat) I bought a $3.99 pot of basil from Trader Joe’s, which I then transplanted into a large outdoor planter, (this will then grow big enough to provide enough basil to get us through the summer) I mended the ever-ripping belt loops on two pairs of my husband’s work pants, I checked out four books from my local library that were bundled as “artsy fiction,” (you can’t browse the library yet, but they do have categorized bundles in the windows) and I dragged home an outdoor planter and a wooden trellis from neighborhood “free piles.”

  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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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 71 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 22, 2021 · 89 comments

  1. The “check engine light” blinked back on in my Prius, so I drove the dratted thing back to our trusty mechanic. I’m not clear on the specifics, but the issue was once again related to the catalytic converter, but it was still under warranty from last summer’s theft debacle so were able to get it replaced for free. Which incidentally reset the 12-month warranty.

  2. My husband turned 56, and we celebrated it with one of our traditional “Birthday Day of Adventures.” These traditions are getting harder to plan, as A) I try not to repeat activities, and B) the pandemic has decreased the number of things that are available and safe.

    However, I got the idea to treat my husband and son to a day trip to McMenamin’s Kalama Harbor Lodge Hotel/Brewpub, which is just an hour north of Portland. (Sadly, our daughter had to work that day.) Situated on the Columbia river, this hotel sits on a riverside walkway with picnic areas, sports grounds and magnificent totem poles.

    Although I’ve passed the lodge countless times, this was my first visit. I’ll definitely be returning, although I might choose to pack a picnic for future trips as our lunch bill was a bit shocking.

  3. My son turned 23 a few days later and I planned his “Birthday Day of Adventures” to be a bit more frugal. The two of us had recently visited the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens and I’d noticed that he was interested in the public golf course across the lake. I checked their website and noted that $12.50 gets you a bucket of 100 balls, including the golf clubs. I called to confirm that they could be shared by multiple golfers and that no reservation was required. I learned that all four of us enjoyed hitting balls into the driving range. So much so that we forked over $12.50 for an extra 100 balls.

    We then drove over to Uwujimaya, (which is a huuge Japanese grocery store) where we indulged in delicious bowls of ramen soup and then browsed the store. My son picked out a Japanese mechanical pencil and the rest of us chose sweets.

    Dinner was homemade Mexican chicken soup, complete with fun toppings, (diced avocado, shredded cheese, cilantro, fried tortilla strips and sour cream) which was perfect as none of us were hungry for a heavy meal. Dessert was a Costco cheesecake, (my son’s favorite) which we shared with my mother and step father. We’re all fully vaccinated and are finally able to enjoy each other’s indoor company.

    Replacing “things” with “experiences” is no sacrifice, and we look forward to these days together. I plan them out as secrets which brings an extra element of fun, (I no longer share plans with my husband as he’s notorious for spoiling the surprise by blurting out “we’d better get on the road if we’re going to the beach!”) I love creating these family birthday celebrations and cherish the time together.

  4. I gave away a vintage apron through my Buy Nothing Group, I scrubbed down and then sold a Simple Human brand garbage can that a neighbor set out for free, I brought an embarrassingly large bag of spent batteries and light bulbs to Ikea for free proper disposal, my son and I hit the Rhododendron Garden during one of their free days, (Mondays and Tuesdays) and I cooked a thousand meals from scratch.

  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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{ 89 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 7, 2021 · 68 comments

  1. The “check engine” light on my Prius had been going off intermittently, so I made an appointment and brought it to my neighborhood mechanic. I’d already stopped by a nearby auto supply store to take advantage of their “free check engine light” service and got the message of “something something catalytic converter.” Although the mechanic was able to access the record of the alert, she didn’t find anything wrong with the catalytic converter. (Remember when it was stolen last summer? Ugh!)

    I also asked her to take a look at the battery, which died on me a couple of weeks ago. She found that the battery was low, but it charged up without issue. The car was also two quarts short on oil, which she topped up.

    Grand total? $11.98 for the oil. I was expecting to pay at least a couple hundred dollars for everything, so this was great news. I love my mechanic!

  2. Although I did pick up a few items at Goodwill, (a kid’s Trek bike, some Ikea fabric, a TV wall mount) I’m mainly focusing my reselling efforts on cross listing what I already have. This means posting my Facebook Marketplace stuff over on Craigslist and NextDoor, and then some of my eBay stuff on Facebook Marketplace. It’s a finicky job and not particularly fun, but it does increase the number of eyes on my merchandise.

  3. I received an email from my son’s university that his “online billing statement is now available.” My first thought was “fuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!!” as said son graduated from college, and I thought my days of receiving these bills were in the past! But I clicked the link and discovered that this billing statement was actually notifying me of an $818.44 overpayment. A couple of emails later and that sweet sweet money is now sitting pretty in my savings account.

  4. My son and I drove through McDonald’s for a free McFlurry, my husband brought more free bubble wrap home from work, with the exception of $1 tacos on Tuesdays I’ve cooked all meals from scratch, I’m rooting some cuttings from my father’s Maranta Leuconeura, (prayer plant) I washed and detailed my filthy (yet functional) car in the driveway, and my husband is visiting family, so I signed him up for a $14 AARP (American Association of Retired People) membership so he can get a 12-15% discount on the motel bill.

    By the way, you only need to be 50 years old or married to someone over fifty to qualify for an AARP membership.

  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 Twitter.
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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 68 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 22, 2021 · 95 comments

  1. I got home from running errands and noticed that my neighbor was taking advantage of the hot sunny weather to power wash his car. Although I do have access to a power washer, (both my step mother and my next door neighbor let me borrow theirs) it’s a pain to set up and put away so I normally wait until I have a butt load significant amount of stuff to be cleaned.

    My family uses a large wicker basket as our laundry hamper, but it can get a bit grubby. I’d noticed some superficial mildew and was thinking I’d give it a spray the next time I was in possession of a power washer, so I grabbed the basket  and asked my neighbor if he’d give it a quick spritz. He happily obliged and the basket now looks as good as new. And since it was a hot sunny day it even dried before the sun went down!

  2. My son and I drove over to the Franz Bakery Outlet to stock up on bread. I learned that they run a Tuesday special of an extra $10 punch on their frequent buyer cards. This may not sound newsworthy, but it only takes five punches to earn a reward of five free bakery items. Considering that my sandwich loving husband’s preferred bread is normally $5 per loaf, this has the potential for significant savings.

    I guess I’ll try to remember to run this errand on Tuesdays.

  3. I surprised my daughter with a trip for gluten-free fish and chips, which was a special treat due to her dietary restrictions. This takeout was a splurge as we don’t normally choose restaurants with $20 entrées, but I made sure to eat beforehand to keep the tab under control.

    My daughter savored every delicious bite.

  4. My son sold a pair of $40 thrifted sneakers for $235 through my eBay account, I returned a bra that didn’t fit right, (why does the cup size change when the band size goes up?!) we skipped Taco Tuesday this week as my son had booked a 7:39 P.M. vaccination in a far out suburb, I mended the belt loop on a pair of my husband’s work pants, I listened to Jenny Lawson’s Broken: In The Best Possible Way through the free Libby app and then started listening to Sarah Penner’s The Lost Apothecary, I lugged home a curbside stack of free organizing cube pieces and have been using them to put our closets in order, (click HERE for a “before & after”) I sold a $5 bag of wooden marble roll blocks for $25 and a $5 framed Andy Warhol poster for $40 through Facebook Marketplace, I cut dogwood and lilac sprigs from my mother’s garden and I went for a walk with my friend Lise, and while I didn’t bring anything home she grabbed a couple stainless steel dog bowls for an upcoming dog sitting stint.

  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 Twitter.
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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 95 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 10, 2021 · 80 comments

  1. I sold a number of things through eBay and Facebook Marketplace, including:

    • A pair of $3.99 crampons that sold for $65.

    • A $2.99 Stumptown Coffee artist collaboration mug that sold for $30.

    • A pair of my son’s old Nike sneakers that sold for $40.

    • A $9.99 partial set of Marimekko sheets that sold to someone in Australia for $32.

    • A $4.99 Sylvania DVD/VCR combo that sold for $50.

    • A $4.99 collection of 1990’s keychains that sold for $19. This was the leftovers from a huge bag of keychains from which I’d already cherry picked the more desirable items.

  2. I binged my way through four seasons of HBO Max’s The Great Pottery Throwdown, which made me nostalgic for the pottery classes I took from Antioch College’s world renowned professor Karen Shirley.

    I made dozens upon dozens of pieces, but short sightedly sold almost everything at a stoop sale as A: I was broke, and B: I didn’t relish schlepping heavy breakable things from Ohio back to Oregon. Luckily two of my friends bought pieces and miraculously kept them through the decades. So thank you Lisa and Maura, I love seeing my creations in your homes.

    I did keep one vase, which I gave to my father and step mother, but it turns out that they didn’t remember that I’d been the person who made it and there was no issue with me reclaiming it. My vase is now enjoying pride of place on the mantle and I love owning a piece of my own artwork again.

    Note — The above photo is the piece my friend Maura has kept since 1998, not the one I gave to my father!

    For those wondering about how my world renowned cheapness and an HBOMax subscription co-exist . . . my husband signed up for a month of the service, which we’ll cancel after 30 days have elapsed. Watch the stuff that interests us and and then move on.

  3. I sacrificed a single-armed pair of reading glasses to repair my only decent pair of sunglasses. Luckily the scavenged screw was the correct size and I’m relieved to be headed into sunny sky season without resorting to the scratched up pairs that multiply while I sleep.

  4. I used my vaccination card to get my son a free Krispy Kreme donut, (it’s across the street from Goodwill, so there was almost no extra driving) I returned a $27.99 case of Kirkland brand canned cat food that my normally gluttonous cats refused to eat, we enjoyed a few meals from a Costco rotisserie chicken and then transformed it into an enormous pots of soup, my husband brought home an armload of bubble wrap from work, I cut a spray of forsythia from my garden to make a nice flower bouquet, I drove my 14-year-old Prius to the nearby O’Reilly Auto Parts store to take advantage of their free “check engine light testing” service, I gave away a jumble of excess reusable water bottles through my Buy Nothing Group, we’ve been enjoying hot buttery popcorn from bulk-purchased kernels and a thrifted air popper, I’ve been listening to Emily Henry’s Beach Read through the library Libby app and I received my second free Covid-19 vaccination.

  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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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 80 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 3, 2021 · 65 comments

  1. I sold a number of items on eBay, including:

    • A CPR dummy, which I bought for $15 and sold for $90.

    • A pair of Wii controllers, which I bought for $8.99 and sold for $45.

    • An almost weightless rosary that I bought at pre-pandemic at a Goodwill Outlet. Paid maybe 10¢ and sold for $10.

    • A Super Mario Sunshine video game that I bought for $4.99 and sold for $55.

    • A Miele vacuum floor brush that I bought for 99¢ and sold for $23.

    • A Microsoft ergonomic keyboard that I bought for $4.99 and sold for $38.

    • A vintage Patagonia fleece vest that I bought for $12.99 and sold for $50.

    • A Rock Band Guitar Hero gaming guitar that I bought for $4.99 and sold for $50.

  2. My son woke up with an idea to go treasure hunting for something to sell on eBay. We grabbed our masks and hit two Beaverton Goodwills with the theory that the thrift stores nearest to the Nike campus would yield the most valuable sneakers. (His specific area of expertise.) This strategy paid off as he scored a $40 pair of highly desirable “Air Dunk” Nikes that should sell for $250.

    They’ve been cleaned up and are ready for him to photograph, so I’ll keep you in the loop of how well this $40 gamble pays off.

  3. I gave away a couple of items through my Buy Nothing group. These were things that I’d bought for resale, yet had been unable to unload. They’d been sitting in my spare bedroom for years and I was happy to put them in the hands of people who wanted them.

    The small amount of money spent was a sunk cost, so I lost nothing giving these items away for free.

  4. I picked up more free used packaging material from a local business, my son and I stopped at the Franz bakery outlet for bread and bagels and I made sure to spend over $10 to qualify for a free loaf, I brought some ginger snaps to my favorite taco cart owner who provides 1/7 of my family’s dinners, I planted a flowerpot of spider plants from rooted babies, my friend Lise gave me three pea plant starts that she didn’t have space for, Lise and I went for an evening walk that featured poking around a few curbside “free boxes” which netted me a set of four shop towels, (and then received an overnight soak in off-brand oxyclean) and my husband and I watched a DVD we already owned of Napoleon Dynamite.

  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 Twitter.
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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 65 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 27, 2021 · 101 comments

  1. I wandered over to the Vancouver, Washington Goodwills last weekend and I scored my favorite thrift find ever — a Native American arrowhead collection! For just $12.99 apiece! (Click HERE for additional photos.) Approximately 200 in total, both beautiful and fascinating.

    I took three (maybe four?) anthropology classes in college, including “Peoples of The Pacific Northwest,” so I already possessed a small amount of knowledge on “projectile points,” but am now embarking on additional research. Of course I have zero information about where these specific points were found, but so much history can be gleaned from the type of stone, plus the shape, size and notch locations.

    Value is hard to determine, but it looks like I could get between four and five hundred dollars apiece for this each framed piece on eBay. However, I’m going to hold onto them for awhile while I indulge in some further research.

    You really never know what you’ll find on a Goodwill shelf!

  2. I was on my way to the grocery store when a “spoon carved” antique dresser caught my eye. Set out on someone’s parking strip, it looked too nice to be a freebie. I was about to knock on their door when their next door neighbor came out from her house. I asked if the dresser was really free, and she confirmed that it was.

    I’ve since wiped it down, checked and double checked it for bedbugs, covered the lead painted drawer interiors with contact paper, (leftover from my son’s third grade Halloween costume!) and will have my husband cut a couple pieces of wood to replace the missing drawer guides.

    And yes, I’ll be selling it to boost our paltry emergency fund, which has been neglected over the past six years that my husband and I have been putting our kids through college.

  3. I pulled out my vintage 1950s Henry Huggins books for a reread after learning about the passing of 104-year-old Beverly Cleary. I grew up a few blocks away from Klickitat Street and loved her books. Beezus and Ramona’s schools were my schools, Henry Huggin’s paper route was for the newspaper where my mom worked and Ellen Tebbit’s dance classes were at the studio where I took my ballet classes. Heck, even my old middle school is now named after the beloved novelist!

    For those who grew up on Cleary’s books, I highly recommend that you read her two memoirs, which are frank and amazing. Not sugar coated and worth your time.

    A Girl From Yamhill

    My Own Two Feet

  4. My husband and I continue to enjoy mystery shows through my sister’s BritBox subscription, (specifically Shetland, Traces and The Bay) I gave away a number of items through my Buy Nothing group, I picked up two free bags of flexible styrofoam sheets from a local business who gets them in their shipments, I packaged with free second-hand supplies for my eBay shipments, my son and I started listening to the Dune audiobook through the free Libby app and I drove with my son through McDonald’s for free McNuggets after our basketball team scored over 100 points.

  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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