Non-Consumer Mish-Mash

by Katy on May 24, 2015 · 20 comments

Free Ikea meal coupon

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

Celebrity Homing

I was reading through the Sunday paper this morning when I came across the syndicated Hot Properties column which features celebrities selling their insane multi-million dollar estates. It’s my guilty voyeuristic read, and it always reminds of Ed Begley Jr. who lives in a normal upper middle-class neighborhood. This is both for environmental reasons, as well as keeping his expenses in check in an industry where actors can rake in millions of dollars one year, and nothing the next. I remember reading that he made this choice partially in order to pick and choose his roles, and not be forced to sign onto bloated and terrible productions simply for the money. (No millionaire-files-bankruptcy narrative for him!)

The one celebrity sale that caught my eye this morning was Rhea Perlman and Danny Devito’s sale of their 14,579 square foot house which includes:

“A projection room, living, family and dining rooms, an office, an art studio, a bar, a den, a gym and a wine cellar. There are also five bedrooms and seven bathrooms.” Bah, blah, blah . . .

Hold up there, partner. Five bedrooms? In 14,579 square feet? Umm . . . my 1,800 square foot house has four bedrooms, plus an unfinished upstairs space that could easily be converted into a fifth.


Addendum: I just found out that Ed Begley Jr. is building “North America’s greenest, most sustainable home.” and documenting it on a web series. I guess he wasn’t unable to resist a bit of celebrity lifestyle inflation after all.

Driving Miss Katy

My 17-year-old son is learning to drive, which means that we’re on the road a lot more than normal. Instead of minimizing driving whenever possible, we’re looking for any and all excuses to get behind the wheel. He’s finally gotten to the point where I can unclench my sphincters trust his in-town driving, so we took the frightening, yet all important step yesterday to brave the freeway. At first I thought we’d just do a small amount, but he ended up driving all the way to Mt. Hood, where we dropped in on my father and step-mother at their cabin. In all, he logged 3-1/2 hours of freeway/highway, for which I am very proud. Almost worth the paltry two hours we spent at the cabin.

He’s taking a community college driver’s ed class, which then proctors the behind-the wheel DMV exam. My favorite part of this class is that if he passes, he’ll be given the DMV paperwork which can then be swapped for the actual license. But he has two (two!) years to bring it in and it make it official. This is important to me because my insurance agent quoted me a horrifying extra $1000 per six-months to add him onto our plan. (And this is with the discount for good grades and the official driver’s ed class!)

Yes, that actual license can wait.

I Spy-a an Ikea Coupon

My husband and son have season tickets to the Portland Timbers soccer games, which is normally not part of our frugal life. However, the season tickets come with free tickets to reserve games, which feature younger players, but are apparently fun to attend. I noticed my husband’s spent tickets on the dining table yesterday, and an upside down one caught my eye.


Because it featured the word “free,” which is my kind of fun. Specifically a coupon for a free meal at Ikea, up to $5.99! (Sadly the second ticket had a coupon for a tires, which was much less exciting.) I went and checked all the tickets and found that half featured this coupon.

Meatballs for everyone! Except me. I like the salmon.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Mand01 May 24, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Why does Danny Devito’s house have five bedrooms and seven bathrooms? Why two more bathrooms than bedrooms? Those crazy Hollywood types.


Katy May 24, 2015 at 1:19 pm



gloria May 24, 2015 at 1:25 pm

In some fancier houses, the master bedroom has his-and-hers bathrooms. Also, the 14,000sf no doubt includes the finished “lower level,” aka basement, and probably includes such things as a poolhouse. It also probably includes staff quarters which aren’t included as bedrooms.


Katy May 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm

I have a friend who used to nanny for them, so I should ask her.


Laura May 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm

I’m guessing each bedroom has its own bathroom, then there are a couple bathrooms in commen areas.


Michelle May 24, 2015 at 3:20 pm

I’ve been wondering if you added extra driving time to give your son practice. If we only did necessary errands, it would take forever to build up any kind of driving experience. My daughter has been practicing for her license and on Friday she drove from our place south of Albany up to Fubonn, the shopping center you’d mentioned in an earlier post. Thank you so much for letting us know that place exists!


Katy May 24, 2015 at 4:01 pm

He’s supposed to get in 50 hours of drive time in a fairly short period of time. Almost impossible.


Kim from Philadelphia May 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm

I live literally around the corner from Bill Cosby’s suburban Philadelphia home. It’s nice, but not crazy big. The property, though, is very pretty and quite nice sized.

Danny Devito is from NJ and, years ago, shopped in my parents clothing store. My Dad always said he was an arrogant, little man- haha!


Katy May 24, 2015 at 5:39 pm

My husband dated his niece through high school, so I guess we all have connections with him!


Lynda D. May 24, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Kim, I used to live in that area, too. We would drive by the Cosby house at Christmas time because they usually had a lovely light display. I had heard that it was primarily his mother’s house.


Betty Winslow May 24, 2015 at 7:03 pm

Best frugal score of the week: my girlfriend dropped in to the humane society rummage sale to which I’d already been twice, because it was $2 a bag day (which you have to pay upfront before you go in). She called me with the news that they had a brand-new, never been used iced tea maker like mine, complete with pitcher, that had been put out after I left the day before. We’ve used ours constantly for several years and it’s due to expire soon, in my opinion. Anyway, she didn’t find anything she wanted to fill her bag, so she bought the tea maker, thus saving me a third trip to the sale. I repaid her the $2 (!) and now am all set when the one we have bites the dust. Also, lunch was a cookout at one of our church elder’s houses, a thank-you to all the volunteers, and dinner was left-overs. Score!


Mary May 24, 2015 at 9:11 pm

Hi there:

We live in Portland too. When our 20 year got her license our insurance (which we had for years and yearly compared rates with other companies) quoted us a hysterically high quote to add our good grades/honor student. So we shopped around and got an oh so affordable rate with Farmers. We eventually moved all our insurance to them and saved a bundle. Now that was 5 years ago. We still compare prices with other carriers just to make sure we’ve got the best possible deal/coverage!


K D May 25, 2015 at 4:48 am

Wow, on the insurance. I believe it was about $1.00/day when my daughter received her drivers license two years ago, to add her to our policy. For her to have a vehicle, comparable to ours, it was twice as much for her to be insured, as it cost for the two of us, all on the same policy. We have had GEICO insurance for a long time, and did not shop around. It is not cheap.


Kristen May 25, 2015 at 5:29 am

I’m pretty sure that car insurance for teenage guys is more expensive than for girls (at least that’s how it used to be!).

I’ll find out soon, as my oldest is a not a girl and is approaching 16 in a few months.


Nathalie May 25, 2015 at 9:41 am

We have USAA. The one thing to remember is that the car you will designate as the car the teen will be most likely to drive also is a factor in the cost of the insurance for the teen (age of the car, safety, how often/far the car is driven…). So when you call to get a quote, ask the agent to run several scenarios. Obviously if you will be adding a car to the policy as well as a teen driver, your cost will be higher than if you just add a teen driver, but maybe not that much if the “new” car is an older car but with good safety features. Also, rates are determined by the area you live in, your credit history, and your own driving record, as far as I know. We live in a semi-rural area where car thefts aren’t all that common and there aren’t that many accidents. All our kids got the good student discount and took driver’s ed classes through their high school. Girls have been more expensive than boys in my experience, but not by much. Each of the teens we’ve had to insure cost us about $90-$100 a month. We insured a girl who was the sole driver of an older Ford Focus that we owned and she cost us about $100/month extra including the car (which didn’t have collision coverage on it). We insured a boy who didn’t have his own car and drove my Ford Expedition occasionally to go to school (5 miles away) and we paid $90/month extra. Right now my teen daughter drives my Expedition to go to school and we pay about $100/month extra. The difference in cost between her and my son, I think, was due to the fact that I had to also up the coverage on my Expedition so I would be able to be volunteer transporting her FFA team to competitions in my own vehicle. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure that apples to apples, boys cost more to insure than girls because they are involved in more accidents.
My 2 oldest sons are on their dad’s insurance now and he pays more than that for them… because they have their own cars and they now live in an area near UCF which has more crime and where car accidents are common.
One thing you want to find out is if your company offers accident forgiveness. My stepdaughter was involved in several minor accidents when she was away at college the first two years but when our insurance had to be involved, we were eligible for accident forgiveness since we hadn’t had a claim in years and had a clean driving record, so our policy rate didn’t go up.
With my middle son, he got his permit when he was 15 but we didn’t let him get his licence until he was 17. So for 2 years he was able to drive (albeit with one of us in the car at all times) and we didn’t have to add him to our policy.
Also, we make our teens pay for part of their insurance. The teens who had a job had to pay a larger part (since they were using the car more too) than the teens who didn’t/don’t. My daughter doesn’t have a job yet so she does the dishes a couple of weeks a month to earn the $30 that I’m charging her for her share of the insurance (she is a very good student who doesn’t give me grief so I give her a big discount).


Katy May 25, 2015 at 10:02 am

We’re lucky, because our urban neighborhood is well served by public transportation and is extremely walkable. My younger son takes the city bus home from school and it takes only 20 minutes or so. No rush as the license is far from a need.

We have a red light ticket that’s about to drop off our record, plus a couple of fender benders that keep our insurance high. (I backed into our neighbor’s car. Dammit!) Our agent said that she can see about finding a more “teen friendly” company mid-August after that red-light ticket comes off our record.


pattilou May 25, 2015 at 10:38 am

One of the best Ed Begley Jr. stories I have heard is that he had his toaster hooked up to an exercise bike and he had to ride the bike to make toast!


Diane C May 25, 2015 at 10:10 pm

Check out Wawanesa for auto insurance. They’re a Canadian company that does limited business in the U.S. along the West Coast. I had them for years and loved them. Funny sounding-name, great prices and great service.


WilliamB May 31, 2015 at 5:54 am

The 14,600 ft2 is so large because of all the non-bedroom spaces: art studio, den, gym, etc. FYI, servants’ bedroom are included in space calcs.


Sue G. June 15, 2015 at 3:19 pm

RE: Ed Begley Jr. is building “North America’s greenest, most sustainable home.” and documenting it on a web series. I guess he wasn’t unable to resist a bit of celebrity lifestyle inflation after all.

Having watched the first two seasons of “Living with Ed” (via Netflix, library DVDs, or free Hulu, I can’t remember now), Ed seemed content to live in his smaller, environmentally-retrofitted house. Therefore, I suspect it’s his wife Rachelle who was interested in the ‘movin’ on up’ aspect. Complete conjecture on my part, but based on interactions/premise of the Living series.

I’d recommend watching Living with Ed (at least S1-2 I saw, can’t get my hands on S3 yet). Warning/YMMV: Nonconsumerites will appreciate Ed’s outlook, but may be annoyed by wife who’s learning, but is at different transition level in the environmental/consumerism spectrum.


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