Non-Consumer Photo Essay

by Katy on December 5, 2023 · 28 comments

My son and I went to a grab pizza at a newly opened Italian market and they gave us a free extra slice as they were about to close. The employee then told us that we should come again at closing as they often have extra slices at the end of the day.

Portland has been experiencing another “atmospheric river,” with dramatic stormy nights. The whipping winds dropped more apples from my neighbor’s tree onto their sidewalk. Bruised and a bit nibbled, there was still enough good apple on each one to assemble a pie.

It helped that I had a freezer bag of leftover pie dough scraps, so I all that was required was to defrost and roll it out. As easy as pie!

I stopped by Goodwill to return a sweater my son didn’t want and perused the aisles for hidden treasure. I didn’t actually find any “treasure,” but I did pick up this half-gallon canning jar as it was priced at just 49¢.

Not a particularly brag-worthy find, but I use these specific jars for bulk food storage and 49¢ is easily justified.

This particular Goodwill is next door to my beloved “Dented Vegetable Store,” so I ran in to peruse the wares. You can see why it’s my favoite:

I do like me a food bargain!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Selena December 5, 2023 at 8:14 pm

I’d have been gorging myself on avocados. Guacamole, slices, BA* sandwiches (bacon, avocado, and *=lettuce or a not totally tasteless store tomato – which are hard to come by but better half has found two in the past few weeks).
Apples are like strawberries – a soft spot or bird peck (strawberries) do not deter the frugal. Or those from a long, long line of farmers.
I see you are getting a deluge of precipitation – be glad it is rain not snow. I’ve lived thru more than one blizzard. Six to eight inches of rain is not as dangerous (IMHO) than eight/eight+ inches of snow + wind + usually cold.


Katy December 5, 2023 at 9:25 pm

True, rain is safer than snow. However, it’s not as pretty.


A. Marie December 6, 2023 at 4:32 am

Here in Central NY, we’d probably prefer 8″ of snow to 6-8″ of rain. Eight inches of snow, we can deal with–but the last time we got 6″ of rain all at once, most of our basements and many of our roads flooded!


Lindsey December 6, 2023 at 12:09 pm

Ditto from Alaska, A. Marie!


Bee December 7, 2023 at 9:03 am

Just before the Christmas of 1989, it snowed hard – 3”- in North Florida. Temperatures were below freezing for several days and the roadways became a sheet of ice. The entire area was completely shut down. You could not cross the bridges or de-ice the planes. Most of us have electric HVAC systems, so there were rolling blackout. It was a memorable mess.
I still preferred it to a tropical system that drops 8” of rains in just a few hours. Flash flooding is no joke!


Selena December 7, 2023 at 8:08 pm

Flash floods occur to poor zoning/planning – toss in a measure of lack of understanding of science/weather.. I have little sympathy or empathy for those who buy/bought in an area that was/is driven by greed (and a bit of stupidity). As with those in my area that bought lots in former farm land (sold by heir/heirs of the farm owners) that the wise farmer NEVER planted due to it being a waterway. Do your homework before getting sucked into Pleasant Valley Sunday land. A few Chicago ‘burbs have had the same flooding issue – too bad, so sad. You have nothing but asphalt and cement, where do you think the water will go? You build on a ledge or at the bottom of a hill mountain – where do you think the water will go? Bottom line, don’t complain about your homeowners insurance rates (or the eventual taxes to subsidize said rates).


Marybeth from NY December 6, 2023 at 3:58 am

Free food is my love language.
1. We are dog sitting my sister’s dog. He is having some tummy issues. I cooked up some rice with homemade turkey stock for him. He is doing better. My dog was jealous so she got some added to her dinner.
2. Paid all of our bills online saving me stamps.
3. Made a batch of banana chip muffins using my silicone cup cake holders.
4. For breakfast I made steal cut oats. Leftovers for today. For lunch I made homemade mac n cheese. I will be taking leftovers to work today. Hubby had some leftovers for lunch.
5. For dinner we had homemade pizza. I made 2 doughs in my bread machine. I had homemade sauce with sausage and meatballs in the freezer. Hubby added some peppers and onions to his pizza using up veggies that needed to go. Dried oregano from the garden was added. Cheese from Aldi was added to mine. I had texted the kids to let them know we were making pizza. My son came for dinner and left with some leftover pizza.
6. Hubby had some days to use up before the end of the year. It is a use it or lose it situation. So he took off yesterday. He spent the morning being lazy(he deserves it) and the rest of the day cleaning up the basement. With setting up Christmas decorations and working on the heating system, it had gotten to be disheveled.


A. Marie December 6, 2023 at 4:36 am

(1) Good score on the half-gallon Ball jar for 49 cents, Katy. As I’ve noted in the past, these can rarely be found for under $3 around here.

(2) Good score also on conserving the fallen apples. Apple-picking season here is over, but I did pretty well (for fresh eating only; I didn’t make any pies) from the two neighborhood trees that produce tasty fruit.


Mary Ann December 6, 2023 at 8:01 am

I am turning 60 this month. I figure it is time I get a skincare routine. I have been blessed with good skin genes and learned early on to put on sunscreen
( which is something since I grew up in Malibu and loved the beach.) However, I firmly believe it is never too late to start something healthy. I did some research and discovered beauty product manufacturers rival timeshare salesmen in ethics. This is my frugal version of piecing together what will work for me.

1. I chose the simple method of morning/ evening routine. Like brushing my teeth, I tell myself. Morning is Cleanse, Nourish, Sunscreen. Evening is Polish, Cleanse, Nourish.

2. Cleanse is baby shampoo. Super cheap and the “cleanest ingredients” possible since it is meant for the babies delicate skin. Costs just pennies a day.

3. Polish . Exfoliator. There are are two kinds: chemical or natural ruffage of walnut shells, papaya seeds, bark, ect. . . The latter was the cheapest for again maybe a nickel a use. I did splurge on Dr. Gross’ Peel which 30 day supply for about $90. My plan is to use the expensive peel 2x a week and the cheap five times a week. That gives 4 months for a little more than $20. i will see if it is worth it.

4. Nourish. Again I matched ingredients with super expensive remembering that the active ingredients have to be in the first 5 items of the list to do any good ( vitamin C and E especially.) Also, retinol should be closer to 1% but they don’t put that on the bottle. Sheesh. After much research and actually having to sit in Grocery outlet in the aisle while I took ten minutes to find what I needed on my phone, I found a nice $12.00 bottle. It feels great on. So I should be set for at least 4 months for around a $100 . That might be expensive for some but not even close to what others spend on facials and botox. Good with me.

5. Sunscreen is a great find at grocery outlet that is 20 SPF and feels very light. Before that I was spending a bundle on Aveeno spf 30 but it is the only one I could stand on my face. BTW the difference between SPF 15 and SPF 30 is only %4 more coverage so you might be able to score some bargains with that info.


Heidi Louise December 6, 2023 at 8:26 am

What a lovely routine to take care of yourself!

My director of theatre husband would advise his students to just take a shower with baby shampoo to get make-up off their faces and eyes.


Liz B. December 6, 2023 at 3:28 pm

Mary Ann, may I ask what the $12/bottle product is? I probably need to improve my skin care regen, but am scared off by those high priced products.


Mary Ann December 7, 2023 at 7:44 am

Delfanti Hyaluronic Acid with retinol. It is currently at grocery Outlet but you never know how long it will be there. Looks like $1900 at Amazon. So far so good. I can see a difference in my skin just in the week I have been adhering to the method.


Mary Ann December 7, 2023 at 7:45 am

19.00 not 1900 🙂


Selena December 7, 2023 at 8:11 pm

Retinol is the key ingredient. The less other-ingredients-not-recognizable the better. Have to admit I do not use my not $19.00 a bottle (not sure of your size) every day but daily use on problem areas does do the trick. IMHO, not having baked/baking in the sun is second in line of genetics.

Mary Ann December 8, 2023 at 7:46 am

I have had to be careful with retinol because in the past it turns my skin red. I am not having a problem this time. On the days with the Dr. Gross peel, I am spraying an old bottle of Vitamin E Bodyworks product and it feels great. The other part of all this trial and error is I am using up and tossing samples that have been around forever.

Teri December 7, 2023 at 2:48 pm

Thank you for sharing this valuable information! I have an appointment with my dermatologist for a consultation and will compare her suggestions w/ your recommendations as I want the most effective for the most frugal price !


Ruby December 6, 2023 at 8:14 am

That is some yummy-looking pizza! And great save on the fallen apples.

We’ve had a couple of cold and rainy (much needed) days that I spent giving our kitchen a long over-due deep clean and light reorg of every cabinet and drawer. This turned up a few items to donate.

I used a can of returned paint bought cheap at the hardware store to paint the recess around the kitchen window, a roll of grasscloth-printed adhesive vinyl given to me by the clerk at Habitat to cover a number of unfinished wood shelves, and repurposed various boxes and baskets from decluttering the house. Also put fresh labels on the baking jars and canisters from a pack of vinyl labels that turned up in my work desk when I cleaned it out at retirement last year. It looks so nice and fresh now.


K D December 6, 2023 at 8:31 am

The black olive pizza slice looks delicious.

DD has requested an apple pie for her birthday later this month, in lieu of cake/cupcakes. She and SIL really liked the apple pie we made for Thanksgiving.

Avocados have been cheap around here lately. They are $.49 at Aldi starting today. I like them but I’m conflicted since there is a large environmental footprint related to their production.

I am a glass jar queen when it comes to using them for storage. Almost all of mine are leftovers from food products we’ve consumed.


Blue Gate Farmgirl December 6, 2023 at 11:23 am

Great jar find! The estate sale this past weekend did have jars, but at $$$, so they got to keep them. I like the half gallon size for making my various vinegars.
Your posts on the scratch and dent produce makes me excited to go shopping tomorrow. I haven’t been since mid November.
With the rains (Oh my word!) I went around the house looking at downspouts and gutters to take pics of problem areas. My rain barrel is filling at 40 gallons per hour. I have a veritable deluge from the barns to the slough and creeks. The beavers are in high heaven! I had an old oak tree fall and they have carried off all of the branches saving me the work! Ha!
I went to Habitat and picked up a dozen glass light fixture bulbs to make terrariums with the littles in the family. We get together for framily craft nights each weekend during December. I am teaching a hand pieced quilt project and a “Get your Wellies on and tramp” terrarium/nature walk project. So fun!


Selena December 6, 2023 at 8:13 pm

Everything old is new again. Terrariums were the “in thing” in the late 70s. I remember having one but could never part with my hard earned cash from my high school job to buy a Papasan chair. While I see they are a *bit* cheaper, they look cheaper these days too. Now I have to see if I can remember what happened to my terrarium (gads it my be in my parents basement for all I know LOL).
There are far too many houses built in areas where there should not be. And in some areas, far too much asphalt/concrete and not enough green space for precipitation/melt. Of course a few areas would be okay if not for climate change and for those folks, I have sympathy and empathy. There is a good reason in my area for “green belts” in the middle of soybean/corn/hay/oat fields. Yet too many buyers had no idea it was a waterway when the kids sold mom and dad’s farm.


Jill A December 7, 2023 at 8:01 am

Looking at the pizza and the pie is making me hungry. I like that you were able to use the apples which would probably otherwise gone to waste. Do you have a large population of deer there? I think deer probably eat a lot of the fallen produce here.


Katy December 7, 2023 at 8:07 pm

No deer here, as I live in the middle of a city.


Selena December 7, 2023 at 8:16 pm

I suspect you have raccoons and possibly possums/groundhogs aka woodchucks. All like apples and on the nights where nothing on TV/streaming, you might just see any one of them. Woodchucks (and skunks!) like apples and soybeans (which I know soybeans do NOT exist in the city).


Katy December 9, 2023 at 1:19 pm

We definitely have raccoons!


Marie December 8, 2023 at 3:39 pm

My neighbor a few years ago, collected all the fallen apples from his tree in a 5 gallon bucket. Was awoken A few nights later from raccoons claiming the apples for themselves!


Katy December 9, 2023 at 1:18 pm

Smart raccoons!


Ashley Bananas December 9, 2023 at 9:38 am

Free and cheap food is always nice!!!
1. I entered a sweepstakes at and was surprised when I won 8 Maui gold pineapples. We received them Thursday and they are the sweetest pineapples we’ve ever had. My son said, they taste like pineapple flavored candy. I agree!! Thank you Mavis!! We gifted two so far, my son said to keep the rest for us. lol
2. I have been working on eating down our cabinets and freezer. It’s got to be the slowest process ever. However, I am a third of the way through the month and have only spent $150 on house hold goods and groceries which I lump into the same budget. Tonight I plan on making spaghetti sauce to tide the hungry teen over for a few days.
3. My best friend and I launched a sale for a neighborhood ornament we created, then sold out of over 100 of them in two weeks. The proceeds are going to buy trees and plants we will then give away through our neighborhood Facebook group for people to plant in their yards. I’m ridiculously excited and planning and plotting to do it again next year.
4. I have started Door Dashing again in the last month. I have not been going as strong as I was before, but have had some limited success. Yesterday I went out and earned just over $200 which I will use to go toward debts. My goal is $250 a week. We will see how this goes over with holiday busyness however.
5. I purchased a pair of new to me sneakers through a local online auction group for $10. They are my favorite brand, Brooks, and the right size etc. I am wearing them for the first time today and excited that they fit. I was going to buy new shoes after Christmas on sale, but these worked out perfect. I will save about $150-200 by buying these used of new.

It’s been a minute….nice to catch up with everyone’s Frugal Fives!


Katy December 9, 2023 at 1:18 pm

Very impressive list! I love the neighborhood ornaments for trees, that is so cool!


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