Non-Consumer Photo Essay — A #CheapAF Day

by Katy on November 27, 2023 · 37 comments

It’s time for another Non-Consumer Photo Essay, this time shining a light on a particularly frugal/#cheapaf day.

I’ll never stop appreciating Trader Joe’s 19¢ bananas. The perfect combination of healthy, cheap and yummy. Keep in mind, this location is a pretty close to the house and on my way to other errands, so I don’t feel that it’s a waste of my time and energy to stop in for nothing but bananas.

New Seasons had five-pound bags of flour for 99¢ piece, so I stopped by to pick up four bags before the sale ended. This is in addition to two bags that I carried home yesterday. This store is two short blocks from the house, so it’s no big deal to stop for this single grocery item.

I brought my foraged Goodwill store credit to the mother ship so I could check on its validity. Spoiler/not a spoiler — it did contain the full $13.48 for me to spend!

I took a look through Goodwill’s Christmas aisle, specifically keeping an eye out for hand needlepointed stockings, which have historically sold well for me on eBay. I came across a Land’s End one for $2.99. Like so many I’ve found while thrifting, this one was monogrammed.

Sure it was embroidered name with my name, but I don’t need an Xmas stocking. We have lovely hand knit ones that my sister made she made back in the early nineties, so I think we’re set.

Plus I actually enjoy the task of unpicking stitches. It’s deeply satisfying for Kate me!

Remember when I picked the “Hannah” from this stocking and then sold it on eBay for $100? Mind you, it was “Sferra” brand and worth more than a Land’s End one.


I prefer stitching to the gloppy glitter glue on this poor stocking. I had the bright idea to use a hair dryer to soften the glue and ended up singeing the wool floss. I still have it in my eBay “death pile” and think that it’s maybe time to start back up on the Emma-removal-project.

I came back from my errands to discover my son hanging out at the house, and I was able to convince him to walk with me to the library as I had a hold to pick up. Please note that it’s very on theme book.


Cheap Old Houses. Cheap Old Katy.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

K D November 27, 2023 at 5:31 am

We had a cheap day yesterday. I attended a yoga class but it is included in my monthly membership and worth every penny. We took a walk in the neighborhood. Our vehicles stayed in the garage all day.

We ate leftover chili and GF cornbread for lunch. I use ground chicken for chili which is both inexpensive, at Sam’s Club, and healthier. The beans, onion, canned tomatoes, and tomato sauce were purchased cheaply. The spices add a small amount to the cost as I buy a large container of chili powder at Sam’s Club and keep it in the freezer. For dinner we ate Thanksgiving leftovers without meat. I only cooked a bit of turkey.

I listed some items on Freecycle, mostly things that neighbors were getting rid of. Keeping items out of the landfill is a priority for me.


Jill A November 27, 2023 at 5:36 am

It sounds like a great day. It must be nice to walk for your errands. Great exercise and gas savings. My day wasn’t quite so frugal but not bad.
1. My mother was bored so I drove her and my daughter to a small town that has a really great used book store. It’s not exactly Powell’s but it’s a fun store to visit and it’s my daughter’s favorite. I brought the dog with me, so I stayed outside and walked the dog, my Mom got a nice ride and my daughter found some used Manga which is always a thrill for her.
2. Not frugal. I stopped to treat everyone to a coffee which we don’t do often. My mother insisted on paying.
3. My Mom invited us to stay for dinner. We helped her put together a quick meal with items she already had.


Bee November 27, 2023 at 3:43 pm

I live to wander around the used book store. I especially love old cookbooks. They are a wealth of knowledge.


Heidi Louise November 27, 2023 at 7:35 am

Poor Emma. Could you slip-cover a band of velvet ribbon or something across the top to cover it up if you can’t get the gold off?
Back when Wilson Leather Goods was a thing, I got a super clearance purse in the style I really liked with the initial “D” on it. I just considered it a “Hi- D”, which really amused the few people who asked.
Ordered a bathrobe online and remembered to google search for a code, (“Name of Company Promo”). Although the website was offering twenty percent off, the promo code was fifteen percent off and free shipping, which was cheaper overall.
Have enough Christmas cards from previous years to not have to buy any.
Have both the regular and the large-print version of a new release on reserve at the library. When one comes in, I’ll cancel the other hold.
I’m glad you got the blog back up! Fighting with electronics is more frustrating than just about any other repair.


Ruby November 27, 2023 at 7:59 am

1. Made up 18 reusable K cups with discounted coffee.
2. Used up the last of some surplus frozen summer fruit and some excess ground flaxseed and coconut to make an extra-yummy batch of baked oatmeal for breakfasts.
3. Continuing to rack dry sheets and good bit of laundry to avoid using our 23-year-old dryer so much.
4. Stayed home, rested, and spent no money on Black Friday. Easy as shopping is not my thing.
5. Repaired the cracked spine of the cover for my tablet with a strip of nicely coordinating tape.


Blue Gate Farmgirl November 27, 2023 at 10:43 am

Steam cleaned a wool runner rug that the neighbor asked me to put on my burn pile. Oh the horrors. I washed, scrubbed and steamed it, it dripped dry in the sun yesterday and I brought it in to finish drying by the woodstove. It will go in the foyer.
Took apart a broken table fan to recycle the parts and kept the cage for a found object garden project for next Spring.
I love the needlepoint stockings! I’ve picked up a few at GW bins.


Katy November 28, 2023 at 9:41 am

So satisfying to bring something back to life that was literally routed to a burn pile!


kathy November 27, 2023 at 10:46 am

1. Made quiche last night and had the leftover pieces for breakfast today.
2. Sold 5 things last week. Used those proceeds to buy Christmas stationary and new sweater. Still have proceeds to be credited to my account.
3. Used $75 in focus group ecard to buy great nieces and nephews gift cards
4. Because Katy posted I signed up for HBO Max for $2.99/mo for 6 months. I think Paramount + has a promo for $1.99/mo. I still have a free trial.
5. Began assembling items from home for the 3 local families Starbuck’s adopted


A. Marie November 27, 2023 at 11:48 am

Katy, I envy you that 99-cent sustainably grown flour. The cheapest I can get all-purpose flour around here is $1.49 at Wegmans during the holiday season, and goodness knows whether it’s sustainably grown or not.

Meanwhile, I’ve just gotten advance notice of what I’m going to be paying for homeowners’ and personal liability insurance next year, and I’m buckling my seat belt for a considerably tighter ride. Thank goodness my holiday shopping is done.


MB in MN November 27, 2023 at 3:05 pm

A. Marie, same here re the homeowners’ and personal liability insurance. We were able to reduce our car insurance premium with the 10% “over 55 mature driver” discount by re-taking the 4-hour training (good for 3 years) and increasing the deductible on our older vehicle.


Bee November 27, 2023 at 3:48 pm

Of course, I’m in Florida which is among the most expensive states in the country for insurance. After receiving a 400% rate increase over 3 years, I shopped my insurance before renewal and saved $3000 annually. It might be worth a look,


Patricia November 28, 2023 at 1:06 am

Same here, Bee. I have several friends (myself included) who are considering relocating because of the homeowner’s insurance increase here in Florida.


Katy November 28, 2023 at 9:39 am

It was a crazy good deal! I have a loaf of bread in the oven right now and I love knowing the cost is mere pennies!


Christine November 27, 2023 at 1:32 pm

The .99 flour! Unheard of in these parts! Great score.
1. I worked at my church’s thrift shop where a fellow volunteer brought in 25 huge bags of Skinnypop Popcorn she had received as a donation from someone who knows she is the food coordinator for the church’s outreach program that supports a local food pantry. She told us to each take one for our work that day. Paid in popcorn? Sounds good to me.
2. A friend in long term care had recently asked me to buy her Christmas bows and wrapping paper as she is unable to get them and wants to wrap gifts for her grandkids. The church thrift shop had bags of 25 bows for .50 and packages of three rolls of wrapping paper for $2. She also requested Scotch tape and Christmas cards which I will pick up at the Dollar Store. Such a small thing and it will cost little but will make things easier for her.
3. DH and I went for a walk around the neighborhood today and spotted a small flock of bluebirds. Always an “Aaahhh…” moment.
4. Like many, we’ve been eating Thanksgiving leftovers. Yesterday, the last of the pie went. Today it was the Apple Crisp. Always sad to see the end of the desserts. The turkey carcass is boiling on the stove as I write this for a soup for dinner tonight.
5. I took down and put away all my fall decorations today. I use them year after year and get a certain satisfaction from doing so. Reading library books for relaxation and entertainment. Filling my travel mug with tea when leaving the house to do errands (batched, if possible). Staying home and enjoying the coziness of the house when I can.


Katy November 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

Our leftover have dwindled as well. Even though I’ve had it for dinner every night since last Thursday! No more pies, roasted carrots or stuffing. Tons of mashed potatoes, plus some gravy, peas, turkey and cranberry sauce.

That was very nice of you to gather all the Christmas supplies for your friend.


Marybeth from NY November 27, 2023 at 1:36 pm

Hubby took 2 more aloe plants to work to put on the free shelf. Someone had put a 4 pack of Vermont maple syrups. He took them. Yes and thank you.
I had my physical. Our deductible was already met so no out of pocket. I got my flu shot and Covid shot so hopefully I stay healthy. I lost 11 pounds since 3 months ago so all of my walking is working. I have my mammo and eye doctor next week.
We set up the tree and started decorating. The kids came over to help. We had fun listening to Christmas music.
My cousin is going through a rough divorce. She has 3 young kids. She is having some problems with her car so she brought it over. My son(a mechanic) helped her with changing her head light that was out. He checked her oil and filled up her fluids. She is going to bring the car to the shop he works at one day after hours so he can do a few other things that need to be done. I played Trouble with the kids while my son showed her how to change the light and what fluids go where. Hopefully this will help keep her car on the road and the divorce is finalized.
I hit the supermarket Saturday before work. Usually there are meats marked down after holidays because people spend so much for the holiday. I got 2 steaks 75% off, 2 packs of porkchops 50% off and ground beef on sale for $2.99 a pound.


Katy November 28, 2023 at 9:33 am

Who gets rid of maple syrup?!


Marybeth from NY November 28, 2023 at 2:45 pm

Not me. It was a sampler pack. It expires in 2026. We will happily eat it.


Cindy in the South November 27, 2023 at 3:18 pm

My kid eats a lot of bananas so I wish we had a Trader Joe’s here. We have an Aldi but they are 59 cents lb.


Katy November 28, 2023 at 9:32 am

And I wish we had an Aldi’s!


Marybeth from NY November 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

I’m happy I have both and they are near each other.


Mary Ann November 27, 2023 at 3:26 pm

Your .99 cent flour is unbelievable. Credit.

1. I strained my Instapot yoghurt and saved the whey. I researched lots of ways to use it and decided to cook my Greger’s Groat Bowl grains in it to enhance nutrition.

2. I went by the ranch to transfer leftover Thanksgiving food to our house in order to not waste food. The leftover hummus, chili and crackers will be my lunch.

3. I spent 3 hours gardening at the River house we are renovating. I clear two rose trellis and a rose bed. The thorns were the size of quarters. Dangerous work but so beautiful for a fall day. DH picked the first ripe pomegranate from the tree there. I’ll deseed it under water. There is a huge tree of Hachiya persimmons. I am afraid the will feed the wild life. I have my hands full process the fuyus. Next year when I am retired, I might be able to do something more productive.

3. I donated three gift baskets I made to an AA christmas party that hosts Santa children. I love putting bargain items together and making them look beautiful. I shrink wrapped them to add a professional touch.

4. I am taking cuttings of some succulents at the River House. Apparently I put them in water and let the roots grow. This particular plant is beautiful and slotted for execution because it is detrimental to the foundation. This is one of the first creative garden acts i have ever done. I have only been on weeding and moving patrol before this.

5. I am training for a 170 mile hike. I need to practice rucking. I took some old bricks from the River house, duck taped them ( to not tear my day pack) and take my walks with them. The 13 pound stone I tried with was WAY!!!!! to heavy to start.


Katy November 28, 2023 at 9:31 am

I had a lot of whey after making ricotta cheese last week. I used some to replace water in homemade bread and some to replace water in making oatmeal. The oatmeal wasn’t the favorite, (kind of sour) but the bread tasted just fine.


Bee November 27, 2023 at 4:25 pm

I really would love to read Cheap Old Houses. I have followed this Instagram account for a long while. I know one day, they will have the perfect house for me.
My frugal Monday started at 5:00am EST.
* I took Rescue Pup for her walk — the morning mile.
* I ate leftover pie for breakfast.
* A friend asked me to help her make holiday arrangements that will be sold at a Christmas fundraiser for a special education program that she heads. These arrangements are all made from foraged greenery – magnolia, cedar, white pine, box wood, Douglas Fir, Holly, and so forth. Although I do not have much experience doing this kind of thing, I was shown how. I made 4 large arrangements and learned a lot. I can’t wait to make my own.
* I dropped off some items that I decluttered at Goodwill.
* I stopped at the library on the way home and picked up two books that I had on hold.
* I picked up a prescription from the pharmacy and used my Health Savings Account to pay for it.
* I had an early dinner made up of Thanksgiving leftovers
* I took Rescue Pup for her long evening walk
* I’m now having a cup of herbal tea purchased when it was on special, BOGO and enjoying Antique Road Trip on my PBS app.


texasilver November 27, 2023 at 7:38 pm

1. I stopped by an optical shop to make an appt. for an eye exam. I am on Medicare & a yearly exam is covered. I was told that the exam would be 110$ & I would get a refraction exam even though I don’t want or need this. I had vision correction surgery 10 yrs ago & have no need for Rx glasses. No exam for me here in FL. I’ll wait & get it in Texas.
2. I got a free Sugar Cookie iced coffee at Dunkin using my app. I had to make a purchase, so I got 3 munchkins.
3. Eating soup made from Thanksgiving leftovers. It is tasty.
4. I’ll go to the senior center tomorrow to get a free loaf of bread.
5. I have drip dried all my laundry while at my condo. My unit does not have a washer, so I have to pay to wash. I refuse to pay to dry clothes. I can put clothes on hangers & hang linens, towels on the shower door. A 50% savings on the laundry expense. I may look into one of those portable washers in the future.
6. My unit is very walkable. I can walk to the grocery, pharmacy, beauty school to get a haircut, fast food restaurants if I am so inclined. I don’t use the car unless it is raining or getting late in the day. I have a cart on wheels to transport my items.


Katy November 28, 2023 at 9:27 am

Cart on wheels? Called a “schlep cart” in NYC, which I love!

I love all your small freebies, so satisfying!


Christine November 28, 2023 at 5:33 am

Pie for breakfast is the best! DH and I have a long standing tradition of having pie and coffee for breakfast together the day after Thanksgiving. One of my favorite mornings of the year.


Katy November 28, 2023 at 9:29 am

Leftover pie for breakfast is the most decadent reward for the work of preparing Thanksgiving dinner.


Christine November 28, 2023 at 8:40 pm

100% agree! Worth every second of shopping, cooking and cleaning.


Jennifer November 27, 2023 at 5:27 pm

1. We finally picked up my dd’s new to her car. It took almost 2 weeks for the dealer to do the needed maintenance and finally after a week they gave us a loaner. We only drove the loaner for the 2nd week to save the miles on our car. The maintenance was new tires and the 100,000 mile check up, so $$$ for sure that we will not have to spend now.

2. Dh changed his own oil when dd gave us his car back. He also replaced a headlight himself – and it was not easy.

3. I made broth out of the main turkey bones. I froze a bunch and made soup too. I froze the wings and drumsticks separately so I can make broth again in a few months when I am out.

4. I found out dh’s parents wanted me to do all the Christmas shopping for them. Luckily I found out in time to take advantage of some hot sales on things my kids actually needed.

5. We finally finished up the t-day leftovers tonight. Phew! Now to get back into thinking about dinner each night lol


Ecoteri November 28, 2023 at 3:01 am

I helped my daughter replace a headlight bulb one night in a dark parking lot – it was a real challenge, as you could either shine a light or get your hands in there, but we persevered and I was so proud of both of us. She happened to have a spare bulb because they come in pairs and she had replaced the other one with her dad several months ago. Of course, two weeks later I needed to change a light on my car! I was confident I could do it, even though I figured it would be a pain (both Toyotas, but hers is even older than mine). Turns out I had a harder time with the hood (I dropped it twice before I could maneuver myself around to get it hooked up). Changing out the bulb took about 1 minute (two if you count opening the over-wrapped package). Always satisfying to do it myself!


Katy November 28, 2023 at 9:25 am

I love DIY projects like this, it’s so satisfying!


Val November 27, 2023 at 6:23 pm

I just think it’s so cool you found that Goodwill voucher. It found the perfect person for it.


Katy November 28, 2023 at 9:23 am

It was quite the coincidence!


mary in maryland November 28, 2023 at 4:48 pm

I decanted a large batch of sauerkraut today. It is not as good as most batches. I told myself it is not bad–only different. For a side to our dinner enchiladas, I mixed 2 cups of chopped cabbage and some chopped cilantro with a cup of the kraut and dressed it with mustard, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. I couldn’t even tell it was odd. By morning we’ll know if taking this one for the team is a good idea.


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: