Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 17, 2021 · 79 comments

  1. My daughter turned 26, so I planned an afternoon of adventures for the two of us. We normally celebrate family birthdays that include the four of us, but our schedules were all over the place, so it ended up being just the two of us. Her schedule was tight, so we ended up going to just two places.

    • Our first stop was Purrington’s Cat Lounge, which doubles as both a “cat café” and a feline adoption center. Together we enjoyed coffee, treats and the disinterested company of cats. My daughter’s cat passed away recently, so this ended up being pet therapy, but very much enjoyed by both of us.

    • Our second stop was a local restaurant that serves gluten-free fish and chips. This is one of my duaghter’s favorite dishes, but a rare treat due to dietary restrictions. I would rate the food as decidedly “so so,” but my daughter liked it, so who am I to complain?

  2. My mother turned 79, so I hosted her and my step father for dinner, but also cobbled together a later “day of adventures.”

    • Our first stop was ¿Porque No? where we dined on “Bryan’s Bowls” in the outdoor seating area. I had a filled punch card, which cut the bill in half.

    • Our second stop was to Goodwill, where I picked up an end table to refurbish and my mom bought up a pair of drinking glasses.

    • We then circled back to my house where I served tea and scones that I’d baked earlier. I’d also checked out a stack of library DVDs for my mother to choose from. We settled on The Bookshop, which ended up being the perfect rainy day movie for the two of us to watch while snuggled under blankets.

    We as consumer are heading into the holiday gift giving season and are already being inundated with “black Friday deals,” and cargo ship mayhem news designed to separate us from their money and fill our homes with crap clutter. I invite you to reconsider how you gift with your loved ones. It doesn’t have to be a Day of Adventures, but there are so many better choices that don’t fill up Jeff Bezos’ Crammed Cavern of Cash™.

    Shop local
    Handmade
    Buy used
    Consumable goods
    Experiential gifts
    Gifts of service
    No gifts <– seriously . . . do we need to give so many gifts to so many people?

    Click HERE to read about previous Birthday Days of Adventure.

  3. My son and I both got free haircuts from the Supercuts training center, which is a rare money saving tip that should work nation wide. (I know that my friend Joel who lives in Atlanta is also a fan of this frugal hack!) These cuts are performed by licensed hair dressers who happen to be new employees and are supervised by a manager.

    We do tip, but it’s still a huge savings.

  4. I brought home a dozen or so green tomatoes from a neighbor’s “free box,” I shelved my Little Free Library with children’s books from my mother and Shakespeare anthologies from my father, I stocked my freezer with pureé from a neighbor’s gifted Halloween pumpkin, I finished listening to an audiobook of The Rose Code and then started listening to Radium Girls using the library’s free Libby app, My son and I stopped at Ikea to buy a plant and also dropped off batteries to recycle and filled our travel mugs with their free coffee, I gave away some macaroni noodles, a fleece blanket, a pair of clip-on lamps, a pair of bow ties and some extra winter gear through my Buy Nothing Group, and my son and I drove through McDonald’s for free McNuggets after Portland’s basketball team scored over 100 points.

  5. I didn’t go on an ego driven space jaunt with my fellow billionaires.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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{ 79 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 2, 2021 · 49 comments

  1. I sold a number of things, including:

    • A pair of one of a kind Nike sample shoes for $85.

    • Two Guitar Hero guitars for $60 apiece — HERE and HERE.

    • A Chevron toy oil tanker for $45.

    • A McCoy vase, which I sold locally for $30 through Facebook Marketplace.

    • A Prince dance costume for $60.

  2. My daughter started working at a high end grocery store and has been bringing home random leftover food, which is amazing, but also kind of a challenge.

    So far I’ve been the lucky recipient of:

    • Three (maybe four?) pounds of pastrami and sliced deli turkey. We ate “French dip” sandwiches swapping out the roast beef for turkey, as well as turkey wrapped around cream cheese and pickles. The pastrami went into my husband’s work sandwiches.
    • A large container of pickle spears. See above.
    • Two beat up looking grapefruit, which ended up being really sweet and juicy.
    • Multiple boxes of gluten-free donuts. No need to work these into a recipe. Urp . . .

  3. I salvaged the sturdy plastic sheeting from my son’s new mattress to create two drop cloths for future projects. I also cut another piece into strips and drew bats on them as reusable Halloween decoration. The last random bits got cut into pieces for use as packaging material.

    Such a enormous amount of plastic, and I’m happy that it’s not going straight to a landfill.

  4. My neighbor let me put out an extra bin of leaves with his yard debris pickup, (he rarely puts one out) I was able to give away the under-bed trundle and mattress from my son’s old twin bed through the Buy Nothing Group, and I went to Trader Joe’s and bought nothing but the 19¢ bananas, truly a feat of self control if there ever was one!)

  5. I didn’t purchase a seat on a rocket ship with my fellow billionaires.

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.

{ 49 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 25, 2021 · 60 comments

  1. I Sold a number of random things on eBay, including:

    • A Penguin Soda Stream machine that I picked up for $14.99 and sold for $110.

    • A fireplace remote control that I bought for $3.99 and sold for $40.

    • A vintage wool coat that I bought for $14.99 and sold for $125

    • Some vintage Revere Ware pots and pans. Here and Here.

    • A Laika Animation studio hoodie. I paid $6.99 and sold it for $39.

    • A few more Halloween costumes, including Buzz Lightyear, Assassin’s Creed a Scream movie parody mask and a Star Trek dress.

    • A Girl Scouts patch that I found in a Goodwill Outlet parking lot and then sold for $4.

  2. My post-graduate son is living at home as he gets his adult life off the ground. However, his bedroom doesn’t match his status as a 23-year-old man. Specifically, his twin trundle bed — which was perfect for middle school sleepovers, but not his current adult body. Keep in mind that his room is teeny, so the only option was to upgrade to a full/double bed, as a queen would dominate the space.

    Normally I don’t buy anything new, but “mattresses” are on my exception list. I do my best to support locally owned businesses though, so we drove over to N.E. Portland’s Mattress Lot, (not sponsored) where my son proceeded to lay across a dozen or so beds before deciding on a $400 traditional inner-spring mattress.

    I’d put up a request for a full-size bed through my Buy Nothing Group, and got a offer for a free Ikea frame pretty quickly. A single wood support piece did need a repair, but my husband worked his magic with glue, dowels and pocket screws.

    My son gave the bed a rave reviews for his first night’s sleep, so all that’s left is to offer up his old bed on the Buy Nothing Group.

  3. I needed a new pair of comfortable warm slippers and my research led me to LL Bean’s $79 Wicked Good Moccasins. I began searching on eBay and found a like-new pair in my size for just $20 plus $9.99 shipping. However, this specific pair had a small tear in the suede. But you and I both know that I’m fearless when it comes to mending. Literally fifteen minutes of work fixed the slippers and I’m now cozy as can be!

    Click HERE to see the before and after.

  4. I picked up some free bubble wrap and flexible styrofoam sheets from a nearby store for my eBay sales, I’ve been continuing to cook 100% from scratch since returning from NYC, my son picked up some free McNuggets as our NBA team scored over 100 points, my mother brought over some books for my Little Free Library, I fell down a Frugal Fit Mom YouTube rabbit hole and have been picking up a few food items from Dollar Tree, (corn tortillas, frozen peppers, ginger snaps, dry beans, seasoned salt) and my friend Lise and I have been socializing by pairing our dull errands as our rainy Oregon weather doesn’t lend itself well to nice long walks.

  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.

{ 60 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 9, 2021 · 106 comments

I’ve been putting off publishing a blog post, as I felt it needed to be amazing and extra special since it’s been awhile. However, this mindset was a barrier to getting back in the game, so I present to you . . . a regular, run of the mill post!

Sorry about the lapse in blogging, I just needed to let my life be my own for a bit. 

  1. My husband and I recently returned from a two week trip to NYC that included a five day detour to Pittsburgh for a family wedding. The plane tickets were painfully expensive. However, we consistently lives below our means, which means that we could absorb the extra expense. Did we then use the YOLO (you only live once) mindset to justify unfettered spending? Nope! We did have a few surprise expenses, specifically a highly recommended “you have to go there” bagel joint in Pittsburgh that bafflingly set us back more than $90! Still annoyed. Seriously.

  2. I sold a number of things, through both Facebook Marketplace and eBay.

    Notably I sold:

    • The last of the 10¢ Bailey’s Irish Cream chocolate chips from earlier this year. I lotted them up as groups of four for twenty bucks apiece and gradually sold them all. I made more than $200 from ten cent chocolate chips. Kind of a fun experiment in retail arbitrage. Update: I had a few extra bags, so I upped the price to $20 for two bags, and sold some to Australia!

    • A $35 Breuer chair back piece that I garbage picked while visiting friends in Brooklyn, NY.

    • Two yards of discontinued IKEA fabric that I thrifted for $4.99 and quickly sold for $50. I pick up IKEA fabric whenever I come across it as it’s always a quick seller.

    • A 99¢ Cutco knife that sold almost immediately for $35. By the way, Cutco is a fantastic brand to scan for while thrifting!

    • A number of quality Halloween costumes, including a $75 Harry Potter cape, a $55 Back to The Future jacket and a $39 Captain Picard uniform shirt. (all adult size costumes, which is why I priced them so high.) I’m kind of nervous that I bought too many costumes, as I’m now sitting on a dozen or so kid’s Halloween costumes. Hopefully the run up to October 31st will prompt buyers to find me on eBay. Update: I’ve sold six additional costumes since I wrote that last sentence.

  3. After two weeks of extremely mediocre New York and Pittsburgh restaurant meals, (which were preceded by two weeks of hosting out of town family for an additional two weeks!) I came home with fresh motivation for frugal yet delicious home cooked meals.

    Cool evenings have ushered in soup season, which means I pretty much always have a pot of homemade soup in the fridge that everyone can just ladle from. Chicken soup, (both traditional and Mexican-style) chili, white bean rosemary soup, red lentil soup — it’s all a hit with my family, especially when paired with crushed tortilla chips, dumplings, cornbread or biscuits.

    Tonight I’ll assemble a couple of homemade pizzas and top them with some leftover sautéed onions with spinach from last night’s burrito buffet. And if all goes well, there should be leftovers for tomorrow. Update: my son had a friend over and there was precisely zero leftover pizza.

    I love indulging in an occasional restaurant meal, but sometimes enough is enough. Especially when not all restaurant meals are worth the splurge.

  4. I found a slightly rusty Westhof knife on the Oregon coast that I brought back to life with some Barkeeper’s Friend, my husband and I have been watching Only Murders in The Building through my friend Lisa’s Hulu subscription, I’m listening to The Personal Librarian through the library’s free Libby app, my husband and I each enjoyed a free Krispy Kreme donut thanks to our Covid-19 vaccination cards, my friend Lise and I have been going on evening walks, which ticks my “social life” box, I bought tickets to see a play that my friend is directing, as non-consumerism is about being deliberate with spending rather than being cheap for cheap’s sake.

  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.

{ 106 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 16, 2021 · 83 comments

  1. I stopped at Goodwill after a dental appointment and picked up a $6.99 blue Westclox Moonbeam clock, which I decided to keep. I then went onto eBay and sold the green one I already owned for $35, as the blue one looked prettier in my soft grey bedroom. Literally — one thing in, one thing out!

  2. My husband and I schlepped 1,200 pounds of garbage to our waste transfer station. (Sorry, minivan shocks.) This may sound like an excessive amount of stuff, (and frankly it was) but the weight was greatly influenced by a huuuge pile of dirt that had been sitting in our driveway for so long that it’s actually visible in our house’s Google Earth photo.

    Everything else was broken and un-fixible stuff from the our basement, backyard and attic that we’d held onto for some unfathomable reason. I believe that we do-gooders have a tendency to hold onto our stuff long after it’s become unusable, as we feel guilt from having transformed something useful into straight-up garbage.

    However, it’s not a healthy mindset to allow useless crap to crowd our lives. My husband and I repair and mend our possessions, but some things simply can’t be fixed and reach the point of no return. (I’m looking at you, cheap plastic!)

    It’s best to admit defeat and get rid of the stuff and then set a goal to do better moving forward. To buy used whenever possible, fix what you can, forgo low quality un-fixible stuff and most importantly think twice before buying impulse items that serve no purpose beyond that momentary dopamine release.

    Curious about what we took to the dump/hazardous waste site?

    • A 32-gallon garbage can that had split down the side.
    • A rock hard bag of cement that had somehow gotten wet.
    • A broken floor lamp.
    • Concrete chunks from who knows what?
    • Empty paint and stain cans.
    • A broken plastic milk crate.
    • A twin mattress that was too gross to give away.
    • So. Much. Dirt!

    It goes without saying that you should do what you can to find new homes for still useful items. Buy Nothing Groups are an amazing resource for this goal, as is the lowly “free” sign taped onto a curbside item.

  3. I sold a ton of stuff through eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, including:

    • A pair of ass-less leather chaps, which I bought for $14.99 and sold for $52.

    • A Herman Miller Aeron chair, which I bought for $25 and sold for $350.

    • My beloved, (but extraneous) library card catalog coffee table, which went for $260.

    • A distressed vintage STOP sign, which I bought for $5 and sold for $25.

    • An antique mirror, which I bought for $2.99 and sold for $34.50.

    • Two vintage lighting globes, which cost me $1.50 and $4.99 and then sold to a local store for $45.

    • A 1965 Barbie case, which I bought filled with dolls and clothes for $15. The case alone sold for $45. The rest is listed separately.

    • A Guitar Hero controller, which I bought for $4.99 and sold for $40.

    • A marble, which was part of a $2.99 jar and sold by itself for $28.80.

    Three yards of wool fabric, which I bought for $2.49 and sold for $25.00.

  4. I washed my car in the driveway, (it was impressively filthy after driving through that wildlife sanctuary) I was gifted a bag of fresh figs from my father’s tree, I returned some supplies to a hardware store after realizing I’d bought the wrong stuff, I threw a neighborhood potluck using non-disposable dishes and silverware, my son and I picked free blackberries from my secret spot, my husband and I drove to the beach for the day to celebrate our 28th anniversary, (day trips are so much cheaper than renting a motel room!) and I listened to both Crying in H Mart and The Chicken Sisters through the library’s free Libby app.

  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 22, 2021 · 88 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.

{ 88 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.”

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.

{ 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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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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