Non-Consumer Photo Essay

by Katy on December 16, 2023 · 18 comments

Today’s photo essay is a bit hodge-podgey, but just how life is this time of year.

I thrifted this American Girl doll (with A.G. branded clothing and shoes)for just $2.99. I’ll try to sell her locally on Facebook Marketplace.

I also thrifted a brand new Schlage doorknob lever set for just $4.99, which was a perfect find as the previous basement doorknob is the literal worst. Too small, hard to grip and a special kind of ugly. Yes, the door is dirty, it’s not visible unless you’re standing directly in front of it, which apparently I don’t do all the often.

I’d been wanting to switch to a lever style handle, as I often have my hands awkwardly full of heavy laundry and struggle to open this door. The lever handle makes it 72.6% easier to open the door.

I even had it on my to-do list to stop by the Habitat ReStore to shop for a better knob.

Another example that there’s almost nothing that can’t be thrifted. By the way, I’m fine with the brass/brushed nickel combination. It doesn’t matter.

My husband and I stopped  by Costco for a few items and we bought six 2-1/2 pound bags of coffee as it had a $7 instant savings rebate. I don’t drink coffee at home, but my husband does, so this’ll keep him inexpensively caffeinated for a good long time.

Being able to spend $89.94 at one go without blinking an eye is a privileged place to be, and don’t think for a moment that don’t appreciate where we are in our financial journey.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Queen of Fifty Cents December 16, 2023 at 4:37 pm

You will love that doorknob. So does my cat Millie – she can open every door in my house. I have to bungee-cord handles together if I need to keep her in a particular room for a while. Hope your cats don’t figure it out!


Katy December 16, 2023 at 8:38 pm

We have a lever handle on the front door and so far no cats have figured it out. *knocking on wood*


Ashley Bananas December 17, 2023 at 4:07 am

Our very tall cat Princess also knows how to open our door knobs and we have the same or similar lever handle. She often lets herself and the other cats onto the porch. If it’s not locked she opens it.


texasilver December 16, 2023 at 9:29 pm

1. I found some kids’ clothes behind a CVS dumpster. They had leaves stuck to them. I washed them and& folded them. I will take them to a local elementary school and donate them next week. This school keeps a clothes closet.
2. My sister brought over a bag of clothes. I pulled a few things out for myself. The rest will be donated. I found some casual women’s shoes on a curb. These will go to donation also.
3. Frugal fail. My employer used to pay for CPR training, TB test, N-95 fit test. No more are they free. I had to pay for 2 of these. Someone at school did my fit test.
4. I am making meals using odds & ends from the freezer. My husband eats most anything. I think he is just grateful for a hot meal on a cold day.
5. I have pulled out the electric blankets. I can turn off the heat at night with a heated blanket. The cat loves it too.
6. My friend was decluttering. She gave me a mini smoothie maker, a food processor, and an electric skillet. She gave my sister a white storage bench w/ 3 storage baskets that was in very good condition.


mary in maryland December 17, 2023 at 8:19 am

I married a man who’s mother didn’t cook. He sees every meal I make as a blessing.


Teri December 16, 2023 at 9:34 pm

May I ask how much you are selling the American Girl for? I have one listed on FBMP and so far no interest. I had to lower too much if I can sell for more on eBay.


Michaela December 17, 2023 at 10:37 am

I sold a vintage Samantha I had for about $100, and I have been told I could have got more for it being vintage. However I knew the little girl who was getting it, and she absolutely LOVES it. Like it’s her pride and joy. So. maybe I could have gotten more, sure?!? But a little girl got a doll she loves, and I got rid of something I hadn’t played with since the 90’s.


Bee December 17, 2023 at 5:51 am

Life is a bit random this time of year. There always seems to be a strange assortment of errands that need to be done.

I brew a pot of coffee at home every morning. When I joined Costco a year ago, I also started to purchase my coffee in bulk. The savings on just this one item more than pays for my Costco membership. The nerdy math looks like this. The coffee I buy in 12-ounce bags at the nearby grocery store is $12.99. On occasion, it would be on sale, but quantities and stock were limited. We used one bag a week spending approximately $650 (50 weeks@12.99) annually. I buy the same coffee in 40-ounce bags at Costco for $14.99 when it’s on sale which is every 3 to 4 months. I currently have 4 bags in the pantry. I now spend approximately $225 a year (15 bags @ 14.99 a bag). That’s a savings of $425!

Being able to take advantage of offers such as this is definitely a privilege. It took me years to have the budget to be able to stock up on good deals. But it also took me a very long time to make the transition to being an efficient and effective bulk shopper. I remember reading the Tightwad Gazette years ago and trying to grasp the concepts of the pantry principle and the price book.

On another note, I also had a big Tom Cat that could open doors. My little calico that I have now is much to small and frightened to attempt this. Also, it never occurred to me to check the Restore for door hardware. So smart!

Wishing everyone a lovely Sunday.


Bee December 17, 2023 at 5:53 am

**too small


Michaela December 17, 2023 at 10:33 am

Is it silly I look forward to your frugal posts??? Well I do!

This week I pulled a “free” kneeling stool from a curb, right before a foul rainstorm. I sold it the next day, and technically I probably could have asked for more IF I had known what it was. However the girl I sold it to was absolutely STOKED to find one, and I was happy she was happy to find one for an affordable price. I still made some EASY CASH, and saved it from being soaked and most likely ruined – if it had sat there another 5 minutes or so.

I also clean for an older gentleman – who was going to burn a vintage side table with a lid. I asked him if I could take it right before he torched it, and then promptly sold that too! YEAHHHHHHH!

Also I had to go round and round with two different companies who for some reason took nearly a MONTH to refund my money after doing a return – PROMPTLY after they were received! If you return anything by mail/UPS/FedEx MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR REFUND! I used to never have issues with this, but for some reason the last few months companies have been awful with returns! It was even more annoying I got bills which should have been wiped out doing the returns, and had to pay them to avoid interest 🙁

Other than that I make sure to scan all receipts I find for Fetch, and I hit one the other day that got me 11,000 points. Needless to say, I can order a gift card now – and for more than I expected! YEAHHHHHH!


Wendy December 18, 2023 at 9:53 am

I also absolutely love the frugal posts! I find them so inspiring, and try they encourage me to be more frugal. The posts help me see more possibilities in everyday things.


Blue Gate Farmgirl December 17, 2023 at 12:45 pm

I picked up a free 70’s cosco styleaire step stool w/rotted foam seat. I took it apart, scrubbed, scraped and painted it surf blue and shined the chrome. I took apart my dad’s gel filled wheelchair seat and took a pair of large GW bin/lb levi’s and covered it, screwed the seat back in place and now my Mom has a wished for kitchen stool.
The best neighbor took down an oak tree that was blocking the driveway, I got quotes for removal $2800. I rented a person lift and $345 and 4 hours later I have 4 cords of wood in the barn and the tree is down. We then used the lift to trim a sequoia making a mess of his garage roof. Then another neighbor asked for help with the lift, so we went there and got his dangerous tree trimmed before the sun went down. My big 30 lb Maine Coon can open any round door knob, he learned how to open the lever handle when he was a kitten.


Kara December 17, 2023 at 12:50 pm

I’ve been on a “spiff the house up” kick-for no reason other than I want to. We are our kids are all now well established on their own (a huge blessing at ages 24. 27. and 28) and we are finally able to pass on the ‘college dorm’ type pieces that we’ve had for 30 years of marriage. It feels like time. I’m not going overboard, my husband built a headboard which I will upholster. We found a new dining table on FB marketplace for free. I sewed a Christmas tree skirt from a cream brocade tablecloth that I’d thrifted for $4. A good bit of the spiffing up is just getting rid of the “maybe we or a kid will need this” so that the place looks less random and cluttered. It has been a satisfying time.


Ruby December 17, 2023 at 3:18 pm

1. I found my favorite Gevalia coffee at clearance price at the grocery store and jumped on that deal. Does coffee just go on sale at Christmas?
2. Used up a spool of funky orange thread gifted to me by a long-ago neighbor to make extensive repairs to the dogs’ stuffed toy fox. Also mended two other toys gnawed on by our new pup, who has jaws like a set of pinking shears.
3. Finally used up the last of a bag of coconut as topping for blueberry baked oatmeal.
4. Came across a screaming deal on Farberware freezer containers at Ollie’s Outlet and bought 35 of them, saving $14 on the purchase by getting them there. I make and freeze kibble topper for my dogs, baked oatmeal for my breakfasts, and turn leftovers into freezer meals, so the containers will see a lot of use.
5. DH restrung a broken wind chime for me, using some waxed cord from his fix-it stash.


Lindsey December 17, 2023 at 3:34 pm

1. My leg brace rubs up against the material in the shoe on that foot. When that spot wears through, I can no longer wear that shoe. The husband saw my shoe graveyard and figured out how to reinforce the inside of the shoe before it develops a hole, or if the hole is still small. He took all my wool based Allbirds, old and new, and hand stitched a patch over the starting to wear areas The patches are inside the shoe, not the outside). I had two pairs of leather shoes with holes starting to develop and for those he put patches that he glued on with some sort of glue he swears could reapply a wing to an aircraft. He resurrected six left shoes so I won’t have to buy shoes for a long time.
2. Someone bought unsalted butter without meaning to and offered it for $2 a pound on FB. I snagged 4 pounds and husband picked them up while doing other errands so no extra money spent on gas. $2 a pound is an absolute steal these days!
3. Got a gift card to Starbucks as a gift from a non-profit agency where I volunteer once a week; all of the volunteers got a $25 gift card. I don’t drink coffee and the husband prefers to make his own. (Bacon and coffee are two things that smell wonderful but taste terrible to me!) I turned around and gave it as a gift to a friend who adores the fancy coffee there. I was going to buy her a card from there for Christmas anyway, so this saved me money and it is not like the non-profit will have hurt feelings that I recycled its gift.
4. library visit netted two books and a puzzle.
5. Used an apron, which I seldom do, while making Christmas cookies. This is frugal because I always make a mess when using frosting so no shirts were ruined this time. (Later went into the bedroom to find that Pound Hound had tipped over the dirty laundry basket, pulled out the apron, and was licking globs of frosting off it. A canine prewash, you might say, although that was not what I said when I had to pick up all the dirty clothes that had fallen out with the apron. It was a wheelchair day and I ended up catching fabric in the wheels…)


Anne December 18, 2023 at 6:53 am

Love the “canine prewash”.


A. Marie December 18, 2023 at 9:52 am

Lindsey, I’m sorry that your #5 ended up with clothes getting caught in the wheelchair wheels–but I had to laugh at Pound Hound giving the frosting-globbed apron a “canine prewash.” Friends of ours long ago had a Labrador retriever who used to like to give their underwear a canine prewash. His favorite party trick was to drag a pair or two of Mom’s undies out and do this while the humans were entertaining guests.


K D December 18, 2023 at 4:35 am

We went to the Habitat Restore to donate a few items. While there we browsed and enjoyed seeing a lot of older but well made furniture. We did buy three seemingly never used Corelle mugs for $1 apiece. We like larger mugs and DH has been into drinking tea lately.

I gave away several items on Friday and Saturday using Freecycle. A few were curb picked from a house in the neighborhood that we decided not to keep.

I helped DD wrap holiday gifts for her in-laws. Gifts are their love language so there were quite few. One of my grandkitties was thrilled to play with the curling ribbon that was being used, it was fun to see him so frisky.


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