Non-Consumering Everywhere I Go

by Katy on December 6, 2016 · 33 comments

Jessica eBay

I’m day four into a week long trip to visit with my sister in NYC, and although that sounds very exciting, it’s mostly engaging in the same kind of activities that I would be doing at home. For example:

  • I taught my sister to sell on eBay so she can start to sell the excess cool stuff that she and and her husband don’t really need in their home.
  • We stopped at her local library to pick out books. (I got the newest Marian Keyes book.)
  • We shopped at Goodwill after buying groceries at Trader Joe’s. (I bought a lovely Lord & Taylor gift for my mother!)
  • Our plans today include going to the main library on Fifth Avenue for an official (and free!) tour. You know the library, it’s the one with the famous lion statues!
  • We’ll walk over to the Mood Fabrics store to geek out over Project Runway. And why yes, I will say “Thank you, Mood” when I leave the store!
  • We’ll then walk down to the Herald Square Macy’s to be herded through Santaland and get our picture taken with Santa. I worked there as an elf in 1988, so it’s not just David Sedaris who knows all the behind the scenes machinations and shenanigans! I’m excited to bring back the memories.
  • Although we’ll grab lunch, it’s likely to be something simple, maybe Korean food?

Note a trend? Nothing is expensive, a lot of our activities are free and I’m not planning on shopping as an activity.

It’s just me, in another city, pretty much doing what I do at home.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherri December 6, 2016 at 5:48 am

Katy, We are going to NY on Thursday, and I was planning on going to the Library for the tour. I know they begin 2 times a day, but the website says they are limited to 25. Does that mean only 25 or several groups of 25 if there is overflow? How early are you getting there before tour begins?


Katy December 6, 2016 at 5:50 am

It looks like it’s a single group of 25, at 11:00 A.M. and 2 P.M. I’ll let you know how it went.


Kristin December 6, 2016 at 6:11 am

The Morgan Museum has the original manuscript of Jane Eyre on display. Not sure if it’s a frugal adventure, but I sure think it would be cool!


A. Marie December 6, 2016 at 11:35 am

Yes, the Morgan does charge admission. But I’m very lucky to have a BFF who lives in Manhattan and is a member of every museum in sight, so she gets me in as a guest on her membership for free. I’ve seen some great stuff there, and would be down to the Morgan in a New York minute for this exhibit if I hadn’t already seen the JE ms. several times at the British Library in London.


Kristin December 7, 2016 at 6:41 am

Jealous!! I love me some Jane Eyre.


Carol in CT December 6, 2016 at 6:13 am

Ha! years ago, I needed some large serving spoons, I hit the thrift shops and found what I was looking for, one of which is the Flint golden harvest wheat design you posted, above!


JD December 6, 2016 at 6:27 am

Oh my gosh, that is my late mother-in-law’s set of cooking utensils! I have everything but the knife/spatula thingy, which she lost or broke before I ever met her. I use them all the time, though, so they definitely are more worn looking than those.
1. Thanks to one of the commenters here, I now know to check my pets’ prescriptions to see if Walmart has them on the $4/month list. Our old rescue dog is now on two prescriptions, and I asked the vet for a written prescription for this new med, to take to Walmart. He is fine with that, and even wrote it for 90 days so I could get it for $10 for 3 month’s worth. It would have been $30 a month if buying it directly from him.
2. My sister’s rescue cat came to her declawed (boo!) and apparently, it was a poorly done job. So, even though my sister detests declawing, she had to take the cat for further paw surgery to take care of the constant pain the poor cat was in. The rescue organization paid for the surgery, though! I’m glad I told her to call them first before taking the cat for the surgery. They quickly offered to pay when she called them; she didn’t even have to ask.
3. I finished one of my handmade gifts for a grandchild. I have another gift to start this week. I got the supplies at 50% off with a coupon at one store, and 40% off with coupon at another.
4. We finally have rain after two months of no rain, but it means my laundry can’t dry outside, so I’m drying what I can on the folding rack inside and holding off washing on heavier/larger items that need to hang outside. No running the dryer just for a few days of much-needed rain.
5. Speaking of hanging clothes, our old line is finally snapping or about to snap at multiple points on our umbrella dryer outdoors. We are going to re-string that thing ourselves, even if it kills us. It has 12 rows on each of the four sections and we estimate will take almost 200 feet of line. But we can do this!


Carolyn S December 6, 2016 at 8:17 am

Regarding #1 – Can you tell me where to find this $4/month list you mentioned? I’ve never heard of that. But having just paid $50 for my cat’s prescription yesterday, I’d love to see if there’s a more affordable option, as it’s medicine he’ll be on the rest of his life. Thanks!


kathleen December 6, 2016 at 10:30 am
Carolyn S December 6, 2016 at 11:06 am

Thank you!


JD December 6, 2016 at 6:57 pm

Yes and our Walmart posts a printed copy of the list at their pharmacy. It changes from time to time so check before assuming!


Karen December 6, 2016 at 6:05 pm

JD, I’m glad your sister got help to pay for her poor cat’s paw surgery but honestly, there should be a special hell for the former owners who declawed the cat. Thank you and your sister for rescuing animals and making their lives better! You are good people! ❤️


JD December 6, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Thanks! We’ve owned a lot of cats between us and this is the first declawed cat in our family. We would never do that to a cat on our own. It’s so mean!


Ruby December 7, 2016 at 3:47 am

If the drug is not on the $4 list, you can get a free GoodRX card and get a discount on the med at a pharmacy. GoodRX works for people and pets. Or ask the pharmacy tech if they have a discount card there.

We went through five months last year/this year of having no RX insurance, and the techs at the pharmacy were great about digging up every discount they could find.


Chris December 7, 2016 at 3:32 pm

My daughter asked me to go to our local Walgreens for her cat’s meds and the woman there suggested I check GoodRX – got it for 1/2 price. Had no idea – so thanks to her!

I will suggest she check Walmart’s discount.


Susan Bloom December 6, 2016 at 7:21 am

The best memories that I have from childhood involve NYC during the holiday season. My mom worked full time but she never forgot to take time off to take me from Queens to Manhattan so that we could see all of the Christmas displays at the department stores. Back then B. Altman had the most whimsically beautiful ones… Followed by Lord and Taylor and Saks5th Avenue… Then we would go to the Charleston Garden at B. Altman for lunch. Just seeing the city with all of the decor and also Rockefeller Center with its tree and skaters was so exciting to a small kid from Queens! Central Park also! Not much money was needed… It was all about the beauty of the season! Have fun!


A. Marie December 6, 2016 at 11:43 am

My NYC BFF mentioned above still makes the rounds of all the department store window displays and Rockefeller Center; she’s not a bit jaded after 65 years. She also likes the Christmas displays at the Met, although again that’s an admission/membership thing.


Baro December 6, 2016 at 9:36 am

I found the “$4/one month, $10 three month” list at:

It’s very easy to navigate and has drop-down lists for various meds.


Carolyn S December 6, 2016 at 11:07 am

Awesome, thank you!


Jennifer December 6, 2016 at 11:15 am

Ok Katy – we need a full report about your 1988 stint as an Elf! Give us all the dirty details!


janine December 6, 2016 at 12:44 pm

I love museums! When we were in NYC several years ago we happened upon the actual home of Alexander Hamilton in Harlem. Fascinating place.
The “money tree” is visiting us today:
1. Opened mail and found 11c from a charity that wanted $$ from us. We have already made our contributions this holiday season (mostly) and don’t like this type of mail solicitation so kept the money all the while wishing they had used it for the poor youth they say they are helping.
2.We also got a request from our local university to participate in a ‘neighborhood environment’ survey which will yield a $50 gift card for Target . This will come in handy this holiday season.
3. In addition, the animal shelter where we adopted our dog last week sent us a photo of our pooch with Santa taken shortly before we adopted him and also enclosed a $250 gift certificate for a bed or mattress from a company in another town. I called them and they said that yes indeed, they did offer these as raffle items and they would honor it, My son needs a new mattress so this will be a hefty discount if we like their merchandise.
4. Found a JC Penney certificate for $10 and used it to buy socks – total cost just over $3.
5. Not frugal, but a good experience: Went to a fundraiser yesterday and listened to a local newspaper columnist give us a pep talk about women eventually breaking the political glass ceiling. On the way home my carpool decided that we would initiate a series of conversations/visits with outstate women so we could better understand their lives and they could get a peek at ours. In our state like so many others, the cities and countryside yielded far different election results and that divide wasn’t lost on us. As a side note, my carpool group all grew up outstate so we have some background knowledge to get us started.


Nancy/MPLS December 6, 2016 at 1:10 pm

What state are you in? This is a marvelous idea.


janine December 6, 2016 at 5:17 pm

We are in Minnesota.


Nancy/MPLS December 6, 2016 at 5:49 pm

Would love to connect. How can we do that?


Diane C December 7, 2016 at 8:47 am

Sorry, what does “outstate” mean?

Lynn/St Paul December 7, 2016 at 10:12 am

‘Outstate’ means the parts of Minnesota outside the Mpls/St Paul metro area.

janine December 8, 2016 at 12:53 pm

We are just in the beginning stages. When we have progress I will post it with a place where you can connect with us. Thanks for the interest.

Marybeth December 6, 2016 at 3:56 pm

1. Work needed someone to run to another theatre to pick boxes up that was a half hour away. I offered. Got paid mileage;$26 for less then a quarter tank of gas. Thank you.
2.Pulled out bits and pieces of veggies from the freezer and threw them in sauce with pasta. Dinner Done!
3.Hanging clothes on drying racks.
4. Made enough food for our dog for the week.
5.Kids brought lunch to school, I brought it to work. My husband works 5 minutes from the house so he comes home for lunch and lets the dog out.
6. My sister offered us a week of her timeshare for 2017. Looking at places within driving distance and with a full kitchen. So many choices.


Mrs. Picky Pincher December 6, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Great job staying frugal in a city that’s infamous for its spendy-ness!


Yvette December 6, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Hi from Australia, my daughter lives in Portland. 5 frugal things I did this week
1. Changed car insurances saved $117 per year, received $50 gift card for signing up with new company
2. Used comparison company online to get cheaper deals on energy (28% off on next bill) , car insurance (#1), and health insurance (new plan has more extras on policy and slightly less per month)…. received 3 gift cards of $50 each for using the company
3. Purchased groceries on half price sale spent $100 saved $50
4. Was overcharged $5 on item worth $25 and took it to manager who gave me $25 cash back as per their policy , you get item free if overcharged!!
5. Shopping trolley at supermarket still had $2 coin deposit in slot which I retrieved after doing my shop
TOTAL savings last week $252 plus yearly savings on insurances and energy. WOW


Mariana December 7, 2016 at 5:13 am

Katy, which Goodwill did you and your sister go to? The one in union square is so overpriced is pretty ridiculous.
You may want to check out Crossroads Trading in Williamsburg. Bedford stop. They have lots at 50% now and I was able to get some almost brand new silk tops (brand names!) for less than $8 a piece


Katy December 7, 2016 at 6:36 am

The Goodwill we went to was actually up in New Rochelle, which is where my sister does her grocery shopping.


Amy December 7, 2016 at 6:15 am

I just started watching old seasons of Project Runway with my daughters, and I hope you thoroughly enjoyed Mood and had more time there than the contestants normally do!

I’m adding the author you mentioned to my read list. I’m always looking for new reading material!

Enjoy your trip and thank you, thank you for the frugal and fun inspiration your blog provides! and btw Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is so good! I would never have thought to give it a try, but so glad I did.


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