July Food Stamp Challenge — Day Eight, Life Goes On

by Katy on July 8, 2011 · 20 comments

Although this month is dominated by the July Food Stamp Challenge, it’s actually pretty much life as usual here at casa Wolk-Stanley. We go to work, hang out and run our errands. But we’re doing this with an uber-focus of making sure to not spend too much money on food.

Just yesterday I needed to venture to downtown Portland to bring our iMac notebook computer in to the Apple store to get some warranty work done. Going downtown is kind of a pain in the tuchus, so I decided to bring my 13-year-old son and make a day of it. I knew the Apple store would validate our parking, and was pleased to see that it was for a full two hours. (But let me back up here and share that before even leaving the house, I made sure that neither my son nor I were hungry, and that we brought a snack, (apples) and bottles of tap water.) I also had a coupon from the Chinook Book for a free pair of socks from the Keen store, when accompanied by a receipt for Keen shoes. Luckily, my husband chooses to wear Keen shoes for work, (which his employer reimburses him for) so I tucked the coupon/receipt into my purse.

First stop was the Apple store, which was crazy busy. I asked an employee, and apparently store-being-mobbed is their day-as-usual. (No recession for MacIntosh!) We didn’t have to wait too long, and were entertained by watching the members of the Club America soccer team, (who were in town to play The Portland Timbers) gobbling up iPads. This was very exciting for my son, who is a huge Portland Timbers fan. Unfortunately, he was feeling very shy and was unwilling to ask for an autograph or even a photo with the players. And he most definitely did not want his mother asking for him. He did finally condescend to allow of picture of himself with a few players in the background:

See those those guys in yellow? They're soccer players from "Club America."

Computer issue now taken care of, we set a brisk pace to walk over to the Keen store in the fancy-schmancy Pearl District for my free socks. I suppose this may seem odd, but I only go downtown every couple of years. It’s not that it’s particularly far from the house, but there’s usually no reason to go there. Enjoyable neighborhoods provide everything I need and want, so it’s always kind of otherworldly to go there, as it is definitely a grittier side of the city I choose to live in. However, I did force my son to take a photo of me drinking from a Benson Bubbler, as there was an Oregon Food Bank truck in the background. (Free water and relate it to the food stamp challenge? Excellent!)

Mmm . . . municipal source water.

I would guess that we walked a mile and a half, which was enjoyable as the weather was mild and the company good. The employees at the Keen store were super friendly and even gave me the elastic and plastic pieces that I need to fix my husband’s sandals. And when I asked to get a photo, posing with the normally $16.95 socks, I got this stunner:

Somebody's mother is super embarrassing.

Free socks in hand, we hoofed it back to the parking garage, where we made it out in under two hours to score the free parking. We then drove over to N.W. Portland, (while munching our apples) and stopped in to the William Temple House thrift store. I found a free parking spot directly in front of the store. (Truly, a divine miracle.) I chose this thrift shop, as I was in possession of a $20 gift certificate leftover from Christmas. I quickly found a brand new pair of super cute $120 shoes marked at $8, (which are currently attempting to be sold on Craigslist) as well as a small lidded Pyrex dish marked for $1.50. I could have stayed much longer, (this store is in a trendy area and gets fantastic donations) but my son was not in the groove and thus was begging to leave.

Last stop was Grand Central Bakery, where we scored a free large decaf mocha. This local chain of bakeries tweets out a freebie at least four days a week, and I keep a close eye on them as they’re usually quite generous. Finally, I got a happier picture of my son:

Big ol' free mocha . . .yum!

The day was really fun, and having a goal of spending no money made it guilt-free. There is no reason why having a small or even nonexistent budget should limit your fun. Use your imagination and take advantage of the opportunities within your community.

Embrace your frugality and have fun with it!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl July 8, 2011 at 11:56 am

It’s crazy that over there on the other side of the country, it’s actually cool enough to wear a long sleeved jacket.

*pushes humidity-drenched bangs out of the way*


Katy July 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I was not in a hoodie, as I value comfort over style, but such was not the case with “the lad.”



Jonathan @WastedFood July 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I wish you had challenged those Club America dudes to a 2-on-2 battle (soccer, angry birds), yielding more free fun!

Glad you coaxed at least one smile from the lad…after all that motherly embarrassing!


Jinger July 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Your son is adorable!


j July 9, 2011 at 2:51 am

ditto!! what a precious young man… and he was a good sport :O)


Carla July 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I love his face — working very hard to be tolerant of Mom. LOL. (Do all kids with blogging mothers go through this same pain?)


Elaine July 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm

You go, girl! Spending money should be as much work as earning it.

I calculated how much money I bring home for one hour of work, and use that as my “unit of measure” for everything I buy. Sometimes I do need to get what I’m comtemplating, but most often I decide the item is not worth however-many-hours I had to work to get that much money.

Free pleasures are really the best!


j July 9, 2011 at 2:53 am

don’t forget that you must also pay taxes on each dollar earned and each dollar when it is spent… so add anywhere from 30-50% to the cost of an item


Jennifer G. July 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm

hahaha i LOVE those pics of your son! he is soooo 13! sounds like a fun day!


molly July 9, 2011 at 2:23 am

Looks like a nice day! I’m not sure what is more fun – great freebies or the cute “I’m dyin’ here” expression of your son! 🙂


Katy July 9, 2011 at 9:45 am

I guess I should point out that my son actually had a great time, he just didn’t want his photo taken.



Lisa Under the Redwoods July 9, 2011 at 5:35 am

In my book, if my teenagers aren’t at least occasionally embarassed or annoyed by me, I am not doing my job right 😎

Plus it gives them sooo many things to right about in school. My daughter has written on three seperate occasions about how I humiliated her in front of a Tennessee Titan football player.

I consider myself to be her muse 😎


Lisa Under the Redwoods July 9, 2011 at 7:03 am

I shouldn’t try to WRITE before i have my coffee.


Bellen July 9, 2011 at 5:53 am

And my neighbor tells me I can’t have any fun without spending money – will make her read your post. She’s also anti frugal blogs because “it just won’t work with my lifestyle”.

She does give me her unwanted clothes, extra produce and home baked goods – I truly benefit by her compassion as she’s making up for my not spending money unless it’s a necessity.

Your son is adorable and has those looks my kids had at 13 when out in public with me.


Kariann July 9, 2011 at 5:57 am


What a fun day!! I love those shoes. As you would say “I want to take them to Sear and get my portrait with them”. 🙂



Katy July 9, 2011 at 9:49 am

I’m not getting any nibbles on the shoes from Craigslist buyers, so I think I might swing them by a consignment store today.



Kariann July 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm

If they don’t sell at the Consign (I doubt that!) and you feel like shipping feel free to shoot me an email.


Kariann July 10, 2011 at 12:48 am

ok, I am over it now as I shouldn’t be spending money on shoes anyway. The stalking/swooning has passed. 🙂


Lilypad July 20, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I hear you on not wanting to go downtown. I live outside of Seattle and only go in once or twice a year, and I whine and stress about everything, and hate it while I’m there. This does have an impact on family closeness though—my sister lives on an island and to get there, I have to take a ferry. Blech. Expensive, time-consuming, and boring. (Well, the ride itself and the view of downtown and Elliott Bay are incredible, but the wait is so LOOOOOONG.) So I make her visit me. 😉


Tracy July 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Ditto! I never go into Seattle unless I have to. Crowds, parking $$ and finding a space…somewhere are just not appealing to me.


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