Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 27, 2023 · 51 comments

  1. I sold:

    • A Donner party monument brass bookmark. I paid a few pennies (pay-by-the-pound Goodwill, baby!) and sold it for $20.50.

    • A trio of Cutco kitchen utensils. I paid $6.99 and sold them for $50.

    My stupid foot (plantar fibroma) keeps me from doing anything that requires me to walk or even be on my feet more than necessary, so I’m rarely thrifting these days.

  2. My husband and I took a day trip up the Columbia Gorge to Hood River. We stopped on the way to grab free IKEA coffees and then stare up at Multnomah Falls for a few minutes. (I always stop at Multnomah Falls as it’s free and I love how it changes throughout the seasons.) We then enjoyed lunch at a brewery overlooking the Columbia river and kept the bill under control by drinking water. I chose the salmon chowder, which was delicious and filling, yet $7 less than my husband’s cheeseburger. My secret skill is that I’m wickedly skilled as finding the best choices off a menu.

  3. • I took advantage of more Safeway loss leaders, specifically 99¢/pound chicken breasts, 25¢ Totino’s pizza rolls, (I almost didn’t nab these as they’re straight up junk food) 97¢ half-gallons of milk and 99¢ packets of sliced Swiss cheese. I stupidly forgot to use the Safeway gifts cards that I earned from participating in a study.

    I froze half the chicken and cooked up the rest in the instant pot to be used in recipes. So far I’ve made a huge pot of chicken soup and assembled what I need to make a couple pans of enchiladas for the freezer.

  4. • I sewed a name patch onto a uniform jacket for my husband. He got this jacket for free from a former co-worker who no longer needed it as he’d moved onto a new job.
    • Our minivan suddenly demanded a new battery and alternator. My husband bought the battery and installed it himself, but he farmed out the alternator replacement to a mechanic friend who does favors for friends. We paid, but it was significantly less than it would have been with our regular mechanic. To be specific, we paid $370 total for everything instead of the approximate $1000 it would have otherwise cost.
    • I turned off the furnace and opened windows on a couple of warm days. This is the annoying time of year when we either get snow flurries or sunny days.

  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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Good Things Come To Those Who Mooch

by Katy on March 23, 2023 · 36 comments

Please enjoy this reprint of a previously published post.

I have a method for getting great stuff. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I simply ask people for things that seem to be on their way to the landfill.

For example:

There’s a mini-mall a few blocks up the road that is getting a fancy-schmancy overhaul. In the 12 years we’ve owned our house, this property has been home to a series of unsuccessful Asian restaurants, laundromats, a rather seedy convenience store and a pizza joint. It’s always been poorly kept up, with lots of litter blowing around and a general air of neglect.

However, there’s always been a small, oddly kept up garden planted with pretty flowers and even a lovely pear tree. It stood out as an oasis of hope among the vista of plastic bags and cigarette butts.

With the hubbub of construction, the plants were getting sadly trampled. They were certainly no longer getting watered.

I needed to save those plants!

Cycling by yesterday, I noticed a number of people at the site and swerved my bike over.

Taking a deep breath, I asked one of the workers if I could dig up the plants. He pointed out the new owner of the complex. He told me to take all I liked. He didn’t care.

So yesterday evening I grabbed a couple of five-gallon buckets, a shovel and my ever-present Discman with the audio book of Jasper Fforde’s Something Rotten. (I’m addicted to audio books from my local library — it’s the only way I get any fiction read.)

My husband’s parting shot: “When the police give you one phone call, make it your mom.”

Thanks. Good to know.

I started with the gladiolas, and moved along to the long thin yellow iris I’ve always thought were so much prettier than the squat purple freebies lining the north side of my house.

At that point a man came along and asked if I was the new landscaper for the development. Defensively, I explained that the owner had given me permission to dig up the plants. It turns out he’s the next-door neighbor who had originally put in the garden. His wife then joined us and was over the moon that her plants were not going to waste. She also pointed out where she’d planted an expensive variety of daffodils. Cool.

(Whew! Not going to have to make that one phone call after all.)

I was only able to dig up maybe one-tenth of what was there. But I plan on going back in a day or two to salvage more of the iris for my ongoing backyard project.

Here’s the thing: I’m sure many people have walked by this spot and noticed the trampled flowers. But I was the only person to actually talk to the owner and get permission to salvage them. My next-door neighbor mentioned she had been lusting after the gladiolas herself.

Yes, it’s hard to overcome one’s natural shyness. It’s kind of embarrassing to ask someone to simply give you their stuff.

What’s the worst that can happen?

The person says no.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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 March 20, 2023 · 88 comments

A pre-pandemic photo — hence the mask-free face!

  1. I recorded a interview with the dudes Matt and Joel over at the How To Money podcast a couple weeks ago, which is finally available for your listening pleasure. I was sure that I full on rambled during the interview, but now think it actually turned out pretty decent.

    Fun facts:

    • Joel Larsgaard was my editor when I first starting writing for Clark Howard. He was an excellent communicator and processed my payments in a timely manner.
    • They very specifically told me that their podcast was “family friendly ” and to not swear. I’d like to think that this messaging was specifically for me and not a warning given to all their podcast guests. Ya’ll already know that I’m #cheapaf and not afraid to say it!

    Click HERE to listen to my interview.

  2. My son works for a tech company that needed study participants for a special program. Although I’ve done paid consumer opinion studies in the past, the location for this one was in person and so very far from home, so yeah . . . I was dragging my feet. However, I was curious to poke around his workplace, so I drove out and completed the hour-and-a-half long study.

    The “pay” was a $150 gift card to spend at 200 different corporate companies. I’d hoped that Paypal would be among the choices, but such was not the case. Instead I chose Albertsons, which can be used at Safeway. So yeah . . . the most boring choice. However, I’ve enjoyed playing their loss leader digital coupons game over the past few weeks, so I’ll pair the gift cards with those deals. Of course, I’ll continue to shop for staples at Winco for consistently low grocery prices.

  3. I’m borrowing my mother’s car while my husband and I take our time to search for a reasonably priced used car. I finally had to gas it up the other day and had a mild panic attack while waiting in line to buy discounted gas at a Fred Meyer gas station. Why? because I couldn’t locate the lever to pop open the gas tank door. I even googled the issue and pulled out the owner’s manual, but still couldn’t find the information. I eventually made it to the front of the line and confessed that I didn’t know how to open the door, but the attendant showed me that the little door opens by pressing on it.

    Good thing that Oregon doesn’t allow you to pump your own gas, otherwise I’d have been completely stumped.

  4. • I took advantage of another Safeway loss leader digital coupon by pairing a $5-off-$5 coupon with 67¢ jars of Nutella. (Limit 4) I added a big-ass bunch of bananas and spent $1.84.
    • I drove past a Krispy Kreme donut shop and noticed that their “HOT NOW” sign was lit in red, so I pulled over and scored a free glazed donut.
    • I gave away a small stack of elm firewood that’s been sitting under my front porch furniture for a last couple years. I’ve burned a few pieces in the fireplace, but my asthma protested greatly. Gotta love Buy Nothing groups for getting rid of just about anything!
    • I moved all my porch furniture off to the side and gave the porch a deep clean beauty treatment. The porch now looks great and I didn’t spend a dime.
    • My husband had an errand to run and bribed me to come along by promising a Goodwill trip to the Oak Grove store. I almost left empty handed but ended up buying a vintage brass and glass table for just $14.99. It’s not my style, but I’ve seen other people incorporate them into their homes in a super cute way. I put it up for sale on Facebook Marketplace.
    • I went to the dented vegetable store and picked up a huge package of organic spring greens for $2, as well at 39¢/lb onions.

  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 March 13, 2023 · 80 comments

  1. I stopped into Safeway for a gallon of milk and noticed that their half-gallons jugs were $1.27, which was significantly less than the half price of a full gallon. I reluctantly downloaded their app to get the price. The next day I received a Safeway circular which advertised Haagen Dazs ice cream for just 97¢ apiece, so opened up the app back up for the deal. Guess what? They also had a $5-off-$5 coupon which was perfect, as you could buy up to five pints. I added a bag of carrots to up the total and spent a total of $1.84.

    I actually don’t love “gamification” of grocery prices, as I feel it doesn’t align with saving money in the long run. Yes it was super fun to score this loss leader price, but gimmicks are, well . . . gimmicks. I appreciate no frills stores like Winco and my beloved dented vegetable store, whose everyday low prices don’t involve customer manipulation. Sure, I’ll probably keep an eye on the Safeway app for the occasional screaming deal, but it’ll be just that — occasional.

  2. My mother and I spent an afternoon together, which predictably involved a trip to Goodwill and then a couple hours cuddled under blankets watching Resident Alien. I did splurge on tacos from my friendly neighborhood Mexican food cart, but it was $10 well spent! Quality time on a budget is my love language.

  3. I splurged on three sets of brand new Pyrex snap-lid food storage containers. Yes, you read that right — brand spanking new! However, I feel perfectly mostly fine with these purchases as Pyrex is manufactured in Charleroi, Pennsylvania and their employees are even unionized! I did order from Amazon*, (normally my last choice) but only because Target was charging $40 for the same thing and Bezos had it for $22.99. I just couldn’t justify the higher price.

    Why three sets? My son has been meal prepping for his work lunches and our leftover containers seem to have devolved into bottoms with no lids and visa versa. Plus I figured that my daughter could also use a set, So yes, I bought three sets.

  4. • I stopped into Dollar Tree to pick up toothpaste and dental floss and wasn’t able to resist a grocery basket filled with Godiva chocolates packets for 25¢ apiece. I exercised a modicum of self control and only bought six.

    • My daughter brought me a day-old rotisserie chicken and some gourmet cheese from her schwanky grocery store.

    • My friend Lise and I went to IKEA and enjoyed cups of their free coffee.

    • I listened to The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams through the library’s free Libby app.

    • We rearranged our spare bedroom to function as a TV room to accommodate our neighbor’s hand me down couch. I slipped them some Godiva chocolates and will also have them over for dinner.

    • I spent a non-rainy afternoon tidying up the yard, which was a bit overdue. It’s not my favorite chore, but not too painful once I get going. The yard still needs attention to deal with some overgrown perennials, but I should be able to get the garden in order without spending any money. I don’t enjoy gardening, so I try to keep it as straightforward as possible.

    • I gave pints of ice cream to my daughter and my friend Lise.

  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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*Please note that there’s no link to Amazon, as Jeff Bezos has enough money.


Five Frugal Things

by Katy on March 6, 2023 · 113 comments

I am not a boob light.

  1. We lent our Sawzall reciprocating saw to a neighbor to cut through a stubborn root from a long forgotten tree, and when he returned it I reminded him that he was welcome to borrow anything from us at any time. He responded with “as are you.”

    This isn’t because we live in some naturally occurring utopia, where belongings are all shared amongst neighbors. It’s because I started by giving out bouquets of hydrangeas, (we have so many in the summer!) sharing excess baked goods and watering plants when neighbors were out of town. This resulted in the neighbors feeling comfortable enough to then borrow from us. I guess it helps that we’ve lived on the block longer than anyone else, so we were in a unique situation to set some of the culture.

    It’s not transactional, there’s no “one A” for two of your “B’s.” It’s just neighbors knowing they can trust and count on each other.

  2. We hosted my step father’s 73rd birthday at the house, complete with a chicken dinner, rice, roasted carrots and a gluten-free birthday cake, plus a couple episodes of Seinfeld. Why Seinfeld? My step dad is a native New Yorker and loved the show back in the day. His gifts included a chocolate babka and a bag of fusilli pasta, thus giving the night a Seinfeld theme.

    The simple frugality of the meal didn’t lessen the evening whatsoever. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to create a special meal for the people in your life.

  3.  My mother is going to let me borrow her car, as we’ve been putting off the purchase of a used car until prices came back down to earth. (She stopped driving a few months ago, so her car isn’t currently being driven.) My husband and I have been sharing a single minivan since last summer, when we lent the Prius to our son for his long commute. He’s going to buy it from us, but we’re having him wait until he turns 25 in a few months, as insurance rates for an under-25 year old man are outrageous. We offered to sell it to him for half the value.

    We have the money to buy whatever car we’d want, but that doesn’t mean that we’re eager to overpay. Ideally we’d like to buy another used Prius, as our 2007 model is the best car we’ve ever owned. Borrowing my mother’s car will allow us to be patient and deliberate with the unpleasant task of used car shopping.

  4. • My husband and I installed the new-to-us ceiling fan/light that we scored through our local Buy Nothing group. Buh-bye, boob light!
    • I gave away a garment rack, a tote bag and the booby ceiling fan through the Buy Nothing group.
    • Our other next door neighbor let us recycle a gargantuan piece of styrofoam with their Ridwell pickup, a service that otherwise costs $12 – $16/month.
    • I bought $1/package strawberries and 3/$1 yellow peppers from the dented vegetable store, (Everyday Deals on S.E. 82nd) and quickly chopped and froze them for future use.
    • I stocked up on spaghetti noodles at Trader Joe’s as their price of 99¢/pound is now less than Winco!
    • I watched a bunch of the ShabazSays Instagram reels, where he points out some of the more ridiculous wealth divide differences. You may have seen his “you can’t do this, you’re a povvo” content before, which always hits the nail on the head.

  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 February 27, 2023 · 98 comments

  1. Portland got slammed with a dramatic storm, which dumped close to a foot of snow on a day that had been forecasted to receive a “dusting of snow.” This led to nightmare traffic, especially on our hilly streets and freeways. My son’s normal 30 minute commute stretched into two hours, although he was luckier than so many others! The guy across the street? 16 hours sitting immobile on the freeway and eventual abandonment of his car!

    Luckily we didn’t lose electricity and had ample supplies on hand. We’re now a couple days past the drama, but are still hovering at the freezing level with dramatic wind gusts so I’m happy to hunker down at home with a cup of tea and my favorite cozy sweater.

    Here’s how we kept things frugal:

    • We share a snow shovel with our next door neighbors and we took turns using it.
    • I wear the same size shoes as my son, so I lent him my heavy duty snow boots.
    • I shoveled porch steps for the people across the street, as well as our other next door neighbors.
    • A pulled together a big pot of chicken soup, using the last of a Costco rotisserie chicken.
    • I hunkered down inside and saved myself an emergency room bill from an avoidable “slip and fall” injury!

  2. My eBay woke up and I made seven sales, despite not listing anything new. I’m utterly and completely baffled with these sales, as they’re all the dustiest of stale inventory and I don’t understand what made them sell mostly on the same day.

    • A pair of CB2 curtain tie backs, which I bought for $5 and sold for $50.
    • A Lego instruction manual that I pulled from the recycling awhile back. Sold for $11.
    • A pair of vintage VW hubcaps, which I bought for $15 and sold for $30.
    • A set of Journey To The Center of The Earth 3-D glasses, found in the house and sold for $8.
    • A video game controller doohickey that I bought so long ago that I don’t know what I paid. Sold for $16. Good riddance!
    • An empty box for a Nike Fuel band. Sold for $11.
    • A single Adidas shoe. A totally random find that I listed as a “what weird thing can I sell” experiment. I probably took three (four?) years to sell. Sold for $15.

  3. I scored a new to me ceiling fan for our living room through my Buy Nothing group. Yes, I did just curb pick up a perfectly good one just last year, but it’s a “boob light.” It turns out that I can’t stand to look at it, as it features a chain coming directly out of the nipple! I spent 24 years working as a labor and delivery nurse, which included extensive breast feeding education, and I am here to tell you that for me, this ceiling fan is deeply disturbing.

    So yes, I jumped on the chance to replace this light fixture with one that won’t give me flashes of intrusive thoughts. But you know, in a frugal fashion.

  4. • I stopped by the Franz Bakery Outlet store and nabbed four loaves of bread, three sleeves of bagels and some English muffins for just $14.
    • I listened to Nora Goes Off Script by Annabelle Monaghan through the free Libby app and I read a physical copy of Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey from the library.
    • I propagated and planted a couple spider plant starts.
    • My husband worked a paramedic shift at the Bruce Springsteen concert, which saved him the cost of an overpriced ticket, plus was a tasty “premium overtime” shift!
    • My neighbor across the street gave me two adorable bottles of her homemade vanilla extract.

  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 February 20, 2023 · 107 comments

  1. I watched a 5-1/2 hour YouTube video series about farming in 17th century Wales. This Tales From The Green Valley BBC video sent me down the deepest of rabbit holes to unapologetically binge watch Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm and am now four episodes into Tudor Monastery Farm, all of which are thankfully on Amazon Prime.

    The featured participants in these living history shows are deeply knowledgable archeologists and historians, which make these shows educational but also utterly fascinating. There’s absolutely zero false drama or interpersonal conflict, which is a sharp contrast to how an American version would be produced. Just gently informative content.

    How is it that I’ve been able to consume such a gluttonous amount of TV? A combination of an extended cold that knocked me off my feet and cloaked me with brain fog.

  2. I haven’t been thrifting at all and possess zero energy to list on anything on eBay, (I can’t oversell how much this cold has sapped my energy, which is already minimal this time of year) this equates to selling almost nothing on eBay.

    • I did sell this handmade wooden boat for $75, which I thrifted at least a year ago for $15.

    • I sold a huge stained glass hanging light fixture that my parents commissioned in 1977 for their dining room. My step mother was going to donate it to Goodwill, so I brought it home and listed it on Facebook Marketplace. It took a long time to sell, but it finally went for $250 to someone for his soon to open Cuban restaurant, which I love. I look forward to being able to visit it again.

    • I sold the bamboo bar stools that I thrifted earlier this month. I paid $9.99 apiece and sold the pair through Facebook Marketplace for $175.

    I may not have sold much, but I’m always happy when the physically large items I bring home to sell actually leave the house. Bringing stuff home without actually selling it is a slippery slope to being a hoarder.

  3. My husband and I spent an afternoon running multiple tiny errands, none of which warranted their own trip, but together added up to a worthy accomplishment. Not only did it save gas to batch our errands, but it was nice to actually leave the house have a buddy for what would’ve otherwise been a dull endeavor. Together we dropped off plastic recycling, returned a glass milk bottle for a $2 deposit, returned and checked out new library books, stopped at a uniform store to order his baseball team’s customized jerseys, dropped off lightbulbs and batteries at Ikea to be recycled, enjoyed Ikea’s $1.15 veggie hotdogs and free coffee and finally stopped at Costco for a $5 rotisserie chicken and food for my husband’s work lunches.

    I hate when these tiny tasks build up, so it’s cathartic to cross them from my to-do list.

  4. • I gave each of my young adult kids a hundred dollar bill for Valentine’s Day. These were from selling my parents’ hanging light, which felt right.
    • My daughter continues to gift me with random high end food items from her grocery store job. This recently included a glass jar of milk and some protein bars.
    • I lent my son our new Eufy robot vacuum for his apartment bedroom. This room has wall-to-wall carpet, and although it seemed clean enough, it always smelled a bit stale. He ran it for four or five consecutive nights, each time sucking up an impressive amount from what had seemed like decently clean carpet. His room suddenly smells fresh and clean again and I can only imagine is a healthier breathing environment.
    • My husband clamped and glued our son’s roommate’s dining room chair back to functionality.
    • I cut some forsythia from the garden to force into bloom. No overpriced Valentine’s Day roses here!
    • This cold has turned me into an absolute and utter couch potato, which is a boring but frugal existence. Seriously, just concentrating on writing this blog post is making me feel a bit lightheaded and I think I need to cue up another living history video.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, not even one from the Tudor period.

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 6, 2023 · 77 comments

  1. I stopped by Goodwill on my way to the dented vegetable store and scored two Ballard Designs counter stools for $9.99 apiece. They’re currently on sale on the Ballard website for $265, but are an almost exact dupe of the $450 Williams-Sonoma’s version.

    How did I know to buy them? They stood out as quality pieces of furniture, so I examined them and saw the manufacturer information on the bottoms of the seats. A quick internet search gave me the value and a quick wiggly “sit test” sealed the deal.

    I’ve since listed them on Facebook Marketplace for $150 apiece, but will lower the price if I don’t find a buyer after a couple of weeks. Patience is key.

  2. I convinced my doctor to switch me from a name brand medication to the generic. He was hesitant to do so, but the price difference for a 90-day supply is $107.09 vs. just $14.87 for the generic! This is an annual difference of $368.88, so it’s at least worth a try.

  3. I was chatting with my across the street neighbor as she unloaded her grocery order, and she complained about how she’d need to run an extra errand to return the plastic bags back to the store for recycling. Mind you, these were the heavy duty bags designed for multiple use, so I asked her if instead I could have them to use as garbage liners. She happily agreed.

    My family doesn’t put out a lot of garbage, which means that we’re able to get away with a small kitchen bin, and this style of grocery bag works perfectly as liners. However, we’re pretty good about remembering to bring reususable bags when shopping, so we don’t actually get plastic bags that often. We are now the proud owners of a half-dozen or so sturdy bags and should be set for a month or two.

  4. • I lent the across the street neighbor a fat stack of Pokémon “early reader” books for her son.
    • I remembered to cancel our Paramount+ subscription before the 99¢/month deal expired.
    • I scored a huge butternut squash for a buck at the “dented vegetable” store!
    • My next door neighbor asked if we’d be interested in taking their TV room fold-out couch, as they’re switching to recliners. I gave it approximately two minutes of thought before accepting their generous offer. I know from experience that anything from their house is sure to be immaculate, and I’d been puzzling how to turn our adult daughter’s old room into a spare bedroom without spending an arm and a leg. A hide-a-bed couch is the perfect solution, as it allows us to reconfigure our current spare bedroom into a TV/family room, yet still have a backup bed for guests. The bed from the old spare bedroom can then be moved upstairs for our daughter’s old room.

    Luckily the recliners won’t be delivered until April, which gives me enough time to wrap my brain around the details.

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


Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 30, 2023 · 85 comments

  1. My son was tasked with picking out a houseplant for his office, so the two of us drove to Portland Nursery to browse their selection. I tagged along to ogle their pretty wares and maybe get a few ideas for my own horticultural menagerie. I have a wide variety of house plants, although most of them are cuttings I’ve snipped and then propagated on a windowsill.

    One of my favorite plants to propagate is the above picture, as it grows fast and easily. It thrives in low light and isn’t too picky about how often it gets watered. My mom gave me a cutting a couple years ago and its since provided enough babies for multiple plantings. However . . . I hadn’t known its name until today! Say hello to “Fuzzy Bunny.”

    Propagating plants is not for those who need instant gratification, but it is an easy frugal hack for people who enjoy plants but hate wasting money. Want more info about how to propagate? Click HERE for specifics.

  2. I bought two books on eBay:

    • The Forgotten Arts & Crafts, by John Seymore. I can thank Rajiv Surendra for this one, as he recommended it in one of his informative YouTube videos. This Dorling Kindersley book is filled with detailed information on everything from the details on historic roof thatching to how peat was cut, dried and then burned to heat homes. The pen and ink illustrations are exhaustively detailed and I highly recommend this fascinating book.

    • A blank baby book that’s an exact match to the one I filled out when my oldest was born in 1995. I was leafing through the kids’ baby books the other night and realized the information in my daughter’s book no longer matches her proper name and gender. By recreating the original book, she’ll be able to enjoy this record of her babyhood.

  3. My friend Lise and I hit up Goodwill on 10%-off senior discount day and I bought:

    • A pair of $19.99 Blundstone boots in my husband’s size.
    • A pair of Museum of Modern Art mugs for 99¢ apiece and a pair of Anthropology mugs for $1.99 apiece.
    • A pretty Rejuvenation glass shade for $4.99.

  4. My daughter brought over a pound of bacon and two tubes of biscuits from her grocery job, I cleaned out the fridge and only had to toss a couple of things, I’ve made all meals this week from scratch, I’ve been listening to Agatha Christie Tommy and Tuppence stories through the Libby app, I printed another free label at the library and I mended a split seam on my son’s sweatshirt.

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


Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 24, 2023 · 88 comments

  1. My daughter continues to gift me with random groceries from her job at a high end grocery store. This week it was two huge hunks of pre-cooked ham. Ham’s not my favorite, (so rubbery!) but I do like how it adds a smoky richness to bean soup. My friend Lise had panic bought a survivalist amount of black eyed peas at the beginning of the pandemic and later foisted a big bag on me.

    Free ham + free black eyed peas = a tasty combination.

    I cooked up the black eyed peas and added onion, rice, diced carrots, celery, chicken bullion and chopped ham, which created a flavorful, albeit heavy meal. (Or four meals!) I then diced and froze a gallon-size bag and thinly sliced the last of the ham for my husband’s work sandwiches.

  2. My mother gave me $100 for my birthday, which I used to purchase a robot vacuum cleaner, which I’ve secretly coveted since they first rolled off the assembly line. I follow John and Sherry over at Young House Love, and they recently mentioned on social media that the Eufy vacuum they recommend was on sale for just $96. John is an obsessive researcher of products, so I felt I could trust the product.

    I’ve used the same plain Jane vacuum cleaner since 2001, with no plans of replacing it for something cuter. However, I’ve grown sensitive to dust and pet hair and felt that a robo-vacuum could better clean under our bed, which collects a shocking amount of dusty grey matter. For reference, the above photo is from the second cycle of cleaning of our clean looking bedroom!

    I’m only on day two of using the robot vacuum, but am unabashedly ecstatic with it. The amount of crap that it vacuums up is impressive, not just from areas I know to be dusty, but from other rooms in the house as well. To quote my neatnik father, “It’s not a chore if you’re a clean freak.”

  3. My niece and her boyfriend visited Portland, and although they mostly stayed with my father, I still had them for a couple nights and spent multiple days ferrying them around and hosting dinners at my house. My mom did spring for takeout one night, but I also cooked, including a frugal yet delicious taco buffet night that accommodated their vegan lifestyle.

    Thank you, versatility of black beans!

  4. My daughter also brought home three tubes of Pillsbury croissants, I can’t find my laptop charger, so my son is bringing me an backup one to borrow, (which is directly correlated to the lateness of this blog post) I lent my niece some extra hats, gloves and scarves to go cross country skiing, my husband was able to fix our whiny bitch non-functioning oven with a $40 part, I’m almost done listening to Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin through the free Libby app, and one of my husband’s co-workers gave him a dozen eggs from his backyard chickens.

  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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