Non-Consumer Mish-Mash

by Katy on May 25, 2011 · 21 comments

I leave plants out, you give me money. What could be simpler?

It’s time again for Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.

The Non-Consumer Advocate Turns Three!

It occurred to me today that my blog just passed a milestone — Three years of blogging! (Sure, it was last week, but why dither about details?) Over the past three years, I’ve written 1,061 columns, approved 16,940 comments and am coming up on a million-and-a-half hits. Occasionally I feel like I’m running out of ideas, but that soon passes and I somehow find something to share on an almost daily basis.

The friends I have made through blogging have enriched my life, and the daily feedback I get from The Non-Consumer Advocate community keeps me inspired and vitalized.

Thank you one and all for your support and ideas, you make it all worthwhile!


My “Trust” Fund

In scouring my home to find enough Stuff to sell at my garage sale, I realized that the volunteer plants in my garden were a money making opportunity just waiting to happen. Luckily I still had a decent sized stash of tiny faux terra cotta flower pots leftover from my son’s dirt theme 4th birthday party. (He just turned 13, which tells you that perhaps I am abusing the large amount of storage space in my basement.) An hour or so of potting up lady’s mantle, euphorbia and valerian, and I had enough inventory to showcase my wares. Unfortunately, the garage sale was put off for a week due to rain. However, I am not one to give up so easily, so I placed all the plants on my front steps with a pricing guide and told potential buyers to “Leave money in the mailbox.” (Which is locked.)

I considered this to be an experiment in trust.

And guess what? Not only did I not lose one plant to theft, but I think some people actually payed more than the asking price!

So now I have a nice cash reserve, (which I’ve already raided once for my son’s haircut) as well as additional faith in humanity.


My Key to Happiness? Happy Hour!

As much as I am a proponent of cooking from scratch, I’m not immune to the draw of a restaurant meal. Somebody else cooks it, cleans up from it, and if you’re like me, you’re sick to death of your frequently rotated home meals. (What, burritos again?!) However, the enjoyment I get from eating in restaurants is pretty much obliterated by the cost of said meals.

My favorite solution has been to take advantage of happy hour menus. Meals for under five bucks, and if they’re in a family friendly pub, we can all enjoy a meal out without having to abandon our financial goals. The Hawthorne Hophouse is within walking distance from our house and offers their happy hour menu all freakin’ day on Sundays! This means I can enjoy a delicious meal for $4, and if I’m, ahem . . . forced into buying a nice local beer, then it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. My husband and I are so fond of happy hour meals, that we even spent the evening after our wedding enjoying $2 burgers at the now defunct McCormick & Schmick’s in Old Town Portland.

I know that Portland is not unique to this opportunity, as I have fond memories of happy hour Mexican buffets in Albuquerque.

So if you’re on a budget and mourning the loss of eating out, this is a super affordable way to get your fix without losing sight of eventual retirement. Just make sure not to drink up all your savings.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

No Debt MBA May 26, 2011 at 5:45 am

There’s a small u-pick farm near us that uses the same honor method. They leave out two sizes of containers and give prices for each container and crop. People just come and pick their produce and leave cash in the locked box with a slot. The “farm” is basically their five acre front yard covered with fruit trees, berry bushes and grape vines so I think it’s worked well for everyone.


Mama Minou May 26, 2011 at 7:12 am

Three years! Go Katy! I can’t remember when I first found your blog (it hasn’t been that long–maybe last summer?) but I have to tell you that I enjoy it so much, I have read way back in the archives. Thanks for all the great tips, ideas, and your perspective. I really enjoy your writing style too. Here’s to more years of TNCA!


Tina (Tightwad Mom) May 26, 2011 at 11:42 am

I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago, and I love, love, LOVE it! Your posts are great, and always food for thought. I had to laugh the first time I stopped by your blog. I have been living by the “Use It Up” adage forever. I quote it to my kids all the time (of course, there is eye rolling every time I do)! 😉


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl May 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Woohoo on 3 years, Katy! My 3 year anniversary is coming up this summer, and I think I’ve been following you almost since I started blogging. Crazy that it’s been 3 years.


Katy May 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Crazy indeed.



Roberta May 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Happy blogiversary! I love your blog and it’s an extra bonus for me that you’re in Portland — I am too! — it makes many of the things you write about even more relevant. Case in point: I’ve made a note to try happy hour at The Hawthorne Hophouse. 🙂


Stephanie May 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Three years! I hope I can still be going strong at the three year mark. Just passed my one year. I’ve given you a blogger award….if you have time, stop by my space and check it out. Just somthing fun…


Alison p-h May 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Congrats on 3 years. What an accomplishment! Thank you for the inspiration. You are the first blog I ever found and started reading. I was on the Compact for 2010 and so far for 2011 (with an exception in April). You’ve helped changed my mindset about earning and spending. And thanks to your post on GRS, you gave me some more ideas for our neighbourhood garage sale in 8 days. Thanks again. Alison PS. I have also caught up on my 52 letters/52 weeks. Well almost, just 2 weeks behind! yay!!!!!!


Mama Minou May 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm

a request! I have read back in your posts and in the June food stamp challenge, but I don’t see a way to systematically read back in the blog without hitting “previous entries” again and again. Am I missing an archives link somewhere? Being the huge fan that I am, I’d like to read those archives. It’s so convenient when organized by month and year….


Katy May 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm

If you look in the middle column, there is an “archives” widget. Click on it and it has all my history, month by month.

I hope this helps!



Rachel in Portland May 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Here is my 3-year-blogiversary gift to you: Ciao Vito on Alberta: all day happy hour on Sundays. You won’t regret it, even if it’s not in the ‘hood.


Katy May 26, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Thanks for the tip!



Mama Minou May 27, 2011 at 6:53 am

Thank you! I had completely missed it!


Chrissy May 27, 2011 at 7:52 am

Congrats on the anniversary. I just finished reading my way back through the archives this week, all the way back to your first post. I was actually sad when I reached the end (or begining).


Jennifer May 27, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I have been following your blog for probably 2 years now and am very grateful for the time you put into it. The information you have put forth has been so helpful. Reading Happiness Project right now! Love hearing ideas from others with similar values! THANKS!


j May 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Thank you for one of the best blogs on the net!!


Ruth May 28, 2011 at 6:07 am

Congrats on three years 🙂 — I like your blog and have been following it for several months. I also love smelling freshly air-dried laundry, shopping at Goodwill, and finding coins as I take walks. From a kindred spirit in Colorado!


emmer May 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm

raided “trust” fund for a haircut??? you could save the cash by learning to cut it yourself. i know, teenagers have their own unique idea of kool. but a half inch off everywhere is pretty easy and pretty close to the pro job. done every other time, it saves a lot and doesn’t totally freak the kid out. my 3 teens were indoctrinated from infancy, which gave me an advantage. or perhaps your haircutter would trade for some of those plant starts. i did mending for dance instruction for years. just one of the tricks i employed to avoid getting an away from home job when my kids were little.
congrats on your anniversary.


Katy May 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I was queen of home haircuts for years, but the boys now want very specific cuts, and our local hairdresser is $10 and I am happy to support her business.



lazylol May 30, 2011 at 7:13 am

Congratulations on 3 years blogging. I love reading your blog, so many great ideas and inspiration. Glad you are doing well selling your plants.

We have restaurants/pubs that do ‘Early Bird’ menus here in the UK. Usually two main meals for a set price from the menu etc. It’s a much cheaper option and I find that after eating out, I am full of ideas for different meals I can cook at home.


Angie June 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm

One way to beat the recipe repeats is to eat in season. You’ll necessarily have to change recipe’s every so often as produce changes season. (I know you’re in California so “season” is relative, but bear with me.) For instance, right now we’re eating asparagus 4 different ways in a week because we love it and because we know that this is likely the last asparagus we’ll eat this year. But by that time tomatoes will be in season and we’ll be eating them every way we can think of.

This sort of meal planning won’t work with a Meatloaf Monday/Taco Tuesday kind of system. But you can simplify it somewhat by working with a basic repertoire of recipes that can be adapted to fit the produce in season. For instance, we love quiche. Tomorrow we’re having swiss chard, onion, garlic scape, and farmer’s cheese quiche. Next month it might be tomato, basil, onion, garlic, and mozzarella because thats what will be in season. Even though you’re using the same types of recipes, you won’t have a chance to get bored of them because the ingredients are always changing.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: