Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 16, 2023 · 103 comments

  1. My 18-year-old niece and her boyfriend are visiting from the East coast, which gave me a proper kick in the tuchus to pull my son’s childhood room back in order. (He moved out last year and absconded with all his bedroom furniture.) I’d already sourced a bed frame from the Buy Nothing Group, to which I added a full-size futon we already owned. I’d added a nubby foam pad last year when my sister visited, but my son is emphatic that it was still uncomfortable. I caved in and splurged on a fluffy $28 mattress pad from Bezos, which should help. I also pulled a chair, table and decor items from around the house and the room is put together once again, but more importantly is back to full function.

    My daughter also moved out last year, taking her furniture but left piles of random stuff and a thick layer of dust. My goal for this year is to force her to go through her belongings and gradually gather what is needed to turn it into attractive and functional room. Both kids stop by the house multiple times per week, (the lure of a stocked refrigerator!) and often want the option to chill out  in their old rooms.

    Our 1914 house is sizable, with four big bedrooms, a large storage space/attic, as well as a full basement. (Plus the single bathroom!) So it would easy to let the kids’ old bedrooms lie dormant as we have no current need for them, but it bothers me to have unfinished projects and it’s good for the kids to know they have a backup place to rest and recharge their batteries.

  2. I finally broke down and got a haircut. Ideally I would’ve returned to my beloved Supercuts training center for a sweet free cut, but they appear to have changed the way they put the word out for potential clients. (It used to be a Facebook page, but it seems to have been abandoned.) Anyway, I was scrolling Facebook and came across an ad for a $10.99 haircut at Great Clips, which is apparently my price point.

    $15.99 later ($5 tip) and my freshly bobbed hair is approximately 8 inches shorter and can now stop wrapping around my throat at night.

  3. • I made a batch of Hasselbeck potatoes with some potatoes that were thisclose to hitting the compost.
    • I sold a $35 stuffed animal, a $25 security blanket/plush and a pair of Victorian style boots for $90 on eBay. Update: I mailed out the wrong security blanket and will lose some money paying for the return. I’ll mail the correct one out and eat the cost as an apology.
    • I continue to print my eBay labels at the library for free.
    • I donated a small bag of stuff to Goodwill and made sure to get a donation receipt for next year’s taxes. Sometimes people put random stuff like picture frames, bulky toys, etc in my Little Free Library, so I donate them for the tax deduction. Books, people. Little free libraries only have room for books!
    • Enjoying the seventh season of Shetland through my sister’s trial subscription to Britbox. • My son and I drove through a Dutch Bros. kiosk and redeemed my free birthday coffee, which I had them split into two cups.
    • I washed a load of my daughter’s laundry as her apartment complex’s dryer isn’t working. I found three socks with holes so I darned them for her.
    • My husband changed the oil on both cars and was even able to find sale price motor oil.

  4. My #4 is a deliberate “frugal fail.” I’ve spent a fair amount of money on restaurant meals this week, as I wanted to be able to treat my niece and her boyfriend to some of Portland’s restaurant culture. Save money where you can so you can splurge in other areas.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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.

Disclosure: This blog post includes affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me but costs you nothing extra.


Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 9, 2023 · 77 comments

  1. I turned 55 this week, which is especially exciting as I now quality for a 10%-off senior discount at Goodwill. (At least on Wednesdays.) As is our custom, we celebrated my birthday by eating stuff and doing stuff.

    Here’s what we ate:
    • Dim sum at Excellent Cuisine for brunch. (So so so good!)
    • Tacos from our friendly neighborhood Mexican food cart. (Also so so so good!)
    • A Costco cheesecake, which might actually have been cheaper than making one from scratch.

    Here’s what we did:
    • Hit up three different Goodwills.
    • Stopped at a Starbucks for a free birthday drink, which was then split into two cups.
    • Found a sopping wet fleece neck gaiter, which I washed and added to our winter gear basket.

    I prefer to not receive much in the way of gifts, but my husband did order me a two-pack of Dundee orange marmalade, (my favorite) which should arrive at any moment.

    I sadly didn’t find anything all that interesting while out thrifting, but it was still fun to scour the Goodwill shelves while on a birthday high. Wednesdays just got a whole lot more interesting!

  2. My dad spent an entire day with me as his car was being serviced by a nearby mechanic. He brought over a loaf of homemade bread, which is his signature dish. He also packed a book of Chekov short stories in case the day ran long, but instead we filled the day chatting, playing cribbage and eating toast. Very frugal.

    My mom and I spent a day together that was supposed to center on hitting the Goodwill Outlet/bins. Unfortunately the parking lot at the bins was 100% full, with six competing cars for every potential spot. We circled and circled and finally gave up. After all, we are still mid-pandemic and a crammed parking lot equals a crammed Goodwill.

    Instead I drove my mom to my house and placated her with fish tacos, McVitie’s digestive biscuits and multiple episodes of Resident Alien. I then assembled a simple dinner of omelettes with Swiss cheese, mushrooms and sautéed greens. Very frugal.

  3. I went to the dented vegetable store and scored two big-ass packages of organic mixed greens for $2 apiece and five enormous avocados priced at 5/$1 (I gave one of the salad mixes to my friend Lise and one of the avocados to my father) I found a penny and then a dime on the ground, (11¢ in 2023 so far!) my daughter brought me three packages of pancetta from her grocery store, I bought five jars of half-price Bonne Maman mixed berry jam for $3.98 each, my neighbor let me put out an extra yard debris bin with her pickup and my friend Lise brought me a birthday goodie bag filled with handmade crackers, cookies, chocolates and cheese.

  4. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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.

Disclosure: This blog post includes affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me but costs you nothing extra.


Non-Consumer Mish-Mash

by Katy on January 6, 2023 · 79 comments

Looking for a recap of 2022? Well then, you’re in luck!

In 2022 I found $7.71 in change on the ground. Not as high as the $42.65 I found in 2018, but still better than a swift kick to the tuchus! I somehow forgot to take a picture of the receipt, which had a breakdown of the specific coins. I also found a few Canadian and Mexican coins, as well as one Euro coin.

How can I even still refer to myself as Coin Girl?

I read 54 books, which is a win as my goal for 2022 was 52! I’ve put an asterisk next to my favorites.

  1. The Bookshop of Second Chances, by Jackie Fraser

  2. The Curator’s Daughter, by Melanie Dobson*

  3. Confessions of a Curious Bookseller, by Elizabeth Green

  4. Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella

  5. The Show Girl, by Nicola Harrison

  6. The Newcomer, by Mary Kay Andrews

  7. Maus I, by Art Spiegelman*

  8. Maus II, by Art Spiegelman*

  9. Anatomy: A Love Story, by Dana Schwatrz*

  10. Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan

  11. The Sea Keeper’s Daughter, by Lisa Wingate*

  12. The Woman in The Mirror, by Rebecca James*

  13. The Last Story of Mina Lee, by Nancy Jyooyuon Kim

  14. These Are Our Lives, by the Federal Writer’s Project of 1939*

  15. The Headless Cupid, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

  16. The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn

  17. Modern Lovers, by Emma Straub

  18. The London House, by Katherine Reay*

  19. The Season of Second Chances, by Jenny Bayliss

  20. Clock Dance, by Anne Tyler*

  21. Build My House Around Your Body, by Violet Kupersmith*

  22. In Order To Live, by Yeonmi Park*

  23. Christmas in Vermont, by Anita Hughes

  24. Our Italian Summer, by Jennifer Probst

  25. The Magnolia Palace, by Fiona Davis*

  26. The Flatmate, Beth O’Leary

  27. Book Lovers, by Emily Henry

  28. The Summer Palace, by Jennifer Weiner*

  29. We Are Completely Besides Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler*

  30. The Office BFFs, by Jenna Fischer & Angela Kinsey

  31. This Time Tomorrow, Emma Straub*

  32. The Maid, by Nita Prose

  33. Housekeeping, by Colleen Hubbard*

  34. Bloomsbury Girls, by Natalie Jenner*

  35. Hooked: How Crafting saved My Life, by Sutton Foster

  36. The Great Alone, by Kristen Hannah*

  37. The Bookshop on The Corner, by Jenny Colgan*

  38. The Henna Artist, by Alka Joshi

  39. Death at Wentwater Court, by Carola Dunn

  40. Lease on Love, by Fallon Ballard

  41. Cheaper by The Dozen, by Frank Gilbreath & Ernestine Gilbreath Carey*

  42. Belles on Their Toes, by Frank Gilbreath & Ernestine Gilbreath Carey*

  43. Sea of Tranquility, by Emily St. John*

  44. The Christmas Bookshop, by Jenny Colgan*

  45. French Braid, by Anne Tyler*

  46. The Four Winds, by Kristen Hannah*

  47. Aunt Dimity and the Enchanted Cottage, by Nancy Atherton

  48. Miss Benson’s Beatle, by Rachel Joyce*

  49. The Hotel Nantucket, by Elin Hilderbrand*

  50. Summer at Tiffany, by Marjorie Hart

  51. Little Beach Street Bakery, by Jenny Colgan*

  52. Sorrow and Bliss, by Meg Mason

  53. Christmas at Rose Hopkin’s Sweetshop, by Jenny Colgan*

  54. The Cafe by The Sea, by Jenny Colgan*

2022 was also the year of unwelcome high ticket expenses. Please say hello to our new refrigerator, my new laptop and our freshly pruned mega-maple tree. We also had high expenses related to the hospitalization and passing of my mother in law.

My theme words (I do annual themes instead of resolutions) for 2022 were “Read and Write,” for which I earned a C+. Lots of reading, never enough writing.

My word for 2023 is “Perfectenschlag,” which is a made up word from The Office and is described by Dwight Schrute as “When everything in a man’s life comes together perfectly.” I’m choosing to interpret it as  “Having all categories in my life as they should be.” Social life, career, home life, home organization, self.” To prioritize what’s important and then make choices to support the all important perfectenschlag.

It’s also defined by Dwight Schrute as “Perfect pork anus,” but that isn’t much of a priority for me.

How was your 2022? Did you set resolutions for 2022 or 2023? Have you read any of my 54 books? Do you have books to recommend? Do you enjoy to loudly say “perfectenschlag as much as I do? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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.


Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 4, 2023 · 61 comments

  1. I went to the dented vegetable store and bought a big package of organic mixed greens for $3 and was mildly annoyed that it wasn’t $2 like it normally is. A few days later I shopped at the Thriftway on Mt Hood and paid $9 for the same thing. No longer upset with the $3! My step mom later informed me that she refers to this store as “Theftway.”

  2. My daughter continues to gift us with random free food from her grocery store, which results in our fridge being a jumble of unrelated items. It’s quite the creative challenge as some things can be frozen, but most of it needs to be prepared in a timely manner. Just today I pressure cooked a huge batch of black beans in my Instant Pot for black bean soup as she’d gifted us with a package of thickly sliced ham.

    Here’s what else recently showed up:

    • An entire pumpkin pie
    • Baked brie
    • Smoked salmon
    • Ginger snaps
    • An assortment of deli meats
    • two packs of Beef hotdogs and two packs of turkey hotdogs

    Every now and then I end up letting the food go bad, as it’s already on its last legs. But I don’t beat myself up too badly, as the food would otherwise have been thrown away.

  3. I stopped by one of my favorite Goodwills and walked out a happy woman. Not only did I buy two pairs of half-price pants for myself, but I also picked up a ribbed cotton Uniqlo sweater for my son. This is his favorite brand and he’s a sweater guy, so this was a major score.

    Unfortunately, the sweater had an unusually strong perfume-y disinfectant stench smell which seemed to intensify after washing. (I promise I didn’t put it through the dryer!)  In the end I washed it four times, the last two times with Dawn detergent and baking soda. I then put it on a rack outside to air out for a couple of days. This finally neutralized the smell enough that my son was willing to wear his new sweater.

    I’m fine with Goodwill spraying some kind of disinfectant (deodorizer?) on their clothing, but I wish the scent wasn’t so overwhelming.

  4. I printed two more free eBay labels at the library, I started listening to The Bookshop on The Corner by Jenny Colgan through the free Libby app, I spent a little under an hour tidying, sweeping and wiping down the inside of our 18-year-old minivan, (with a few exceptions the most frugal possession is the one you already own!) I mentioned to my step dad that I wanted an air purifier and it turned out that he had one that he’d never even taken from the box and I did visible mending on a wool hoodie that had sprung a dozen or so holes. Unfortunately it turned out super goofy, so it’s now designated as a sweater to wear inside the house.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or set up a GoFund Me for a fraudulent animal charity.

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.

Disclosure: This blog post includes affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me but costs you nothing extra.


I spent time at my father’s house and mountain cabin this weekend, both of which have plug-in electric kettles. I enjoyed how quickly they boiled water, plus it’s kind of nice to not have to run across the house to stop the brain stabbing scream of the whistle. My step mother was shocked that I didn’t own one, but I explained that I value the classic design of my thrifted Revere Ware kettle and I enjoy the ritual of boiling water on the stove for my tea.

However, I’m nothing if not practical. I have a gas stove and the price of natural gas has been creeping up, which isn’t ending any time soon. We’re not as bad as Europe, where people are ripping out their beloved AGA stoves due to skyrocketing gas prices, but it’s certainly worth considering the cost of gas vs. electric. My gas company is rolling out a 25% rate increase, (14% now, upping to 25% in March after the end of supposed winter heating season) which prompted me to dive down this rabbit hole.

It’s not easy to compare gas to electric costs, as an electric kettle uses 1.5 kilowatts to boil water and it takes 6428 British therm units (BTUs) to boil water using a standard gas stove. Of course, my gas company uses “therms,” there are 1.00024e-5 therms in one BTU. 1 kWh = 0.0341296 therms and I pay 14.47¢/kWh for electricity and 61.458¢/therm for gas. So you can see why you almost need an advanced mathematics degree to puzzle out the cost of heating a kettle on the gas stove vs. a plug-in electric. Of course you also have to consider that you’re not actually boiling water for a full hour.

I never got even close to a point where I could do the math, but I did come to the conclusion that I could stop mindlessly filling the entire kettle when I’m having just a single cup of tea. Plus my low-tech kettle was manufactured without planned obsolescence and should last for a very long time. No additional purchases necessary.

And the cost of avoiding complicated math? Priceless.

P.S. If any of you mathy types wants to take a stab at this equation, please feel free!

 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.


Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 26, 2022 · 79 comments

  1. I sold a Carhartt jacket for $95, (I paid $14.95) as well as a wintery theme painting for $45 that I picked up for $1.99 last year.

  2. My friend Lise and I went to Winco Foods and the dented vegetable store, where I picked up:

    • 3/$1 avocados. Hard as a rock, but to buy them shows faith in the future.

    • A 1-lb package of organic mixed greens for $1.

    • Two boxes of Manischewitz Tam Tams for $1.79 apiece, perfect to tuck into my step father’s Christmas/Chanukah basket.
    • A 2-lb bag of organic carrots for 79¢.

  3. Christmas was both frugal and expensive, here’s what we gave:

    • Our adult kids received much wanted small kitchen appliances, (a microwave, blender and rice cookers) portable cell phone chargers, charging cords and delicious treats in their stockings.

    • We gave money to my niece and nephew, plus a hollow book for the nephew and the goofy visibly mended sweater for the niece.

    • We gave my step dad a New Yorker magazine from the month he was born, which was tucked into a basket of treats. I gave my mom a gift certificate for a “Christmas Day of Adventures” as well as one for a specific home maintenance project that my husband can help them with.

    • We gave my father in law a food basket plus money he can use towards living expenses.

    I received an oversized heating pad and some sterling silverware from my mom, plus an assortment of chocolate goodies from my husband.

    The biggest money saver is that we’ve drastically cut the number of people with whom we exchange gifts. It wasn’t the easiest series of conversations, but it’s helped to minimize holiday stress and keep the budget in check. My husband and I don’t give Christmas gifts to each other, but we do exchange birthday gifts and mine is right around the corner. However, we are spending a lot more money than we have in years past, but that’s only because we straight up give cash as gifts to certain people.

  4. I continue to print my eBay labels for free at the library, (yes, it’s a pain in the tuchus, but I’m cheap and stubborn!) I borrowed my next door neighbor’s plug-in fondue pot for our annual Christmas Eve fondue night, (thank you Nancy!) we watched Jordan Peele’s Nope through Peacock, (which is free through our internet provider) my daughter surprised me with a day-old free mezza platter from her work, as well as deli ham ends which prompted me to cook up a pot of black eyed peas, I listened to Jenny Colgan’s The Cafe By The Sea through the library’s free Libby app and my mom and step dad continued our Christmas tradition of bringing over Chinese takeout which saves me the expense of serving a fancy meal, plus it frees me up from spending the day in the kitchen.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, but I’m pretty sure that I’m about to be appointed CEO of Twitter!

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.

Disclosure: This blog post includes affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me but costs you nothing extra.


Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 19, 2022 · 61 comments

  1. My husband was able to replace a valve piece coming from the top of our 25-year-old hot water heater, which was infinitely preferable to replacing the entire thing. I’d come down to switch laundry that morning to discover the overflow pipe dribbling water all over the floor, which was a decidedly unwelcome sight. (Luckily, we have an unfinished concrete slab floor, so there was no harm.) My first thought was “well that’s another thousand bucks,” so I was greatly relieved when the entire job cost around $50 and only took a couple hours to complete, including the trip to Home Depot!

    Hooray for YouTube tutorials!

  2. I thrifted a midcentury Danish end table for $4.99 in May and finally sold it for $75. This may sound like it wasn’t worth the effort, but the hard part was finding it, identifying it, cleaning it up and then putting together the Facebook Marketplace listing. After that it’s just hitting “renew this listing” every week or so. And boom, seven months later . . . a $70 profit!

    All jokes aside, brick and mortar stores don’t expect to sell their entire inventory on a weekly basis, so why should I?

  3. I followed specific directions from this Michael Saves YouTube video to score a free year of premium Netflix for free through my Verizon account, as long as I signed up for an additional subscription service. The trick is to pick the cheapest subscription, which is the $24.95 NFL+ plan. Mind you, I’ve never once watched a football game in my entire life, but who am I to let that stop me?

    This hack will pay for itself in two months, which I consider to be worth the effort. I just need to make sure to cancel the NFL+ subscription before it renews!

  4. I read a library copy of Christmas at Rosie Hopkin’s Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan, my mother let me sneak a couple gifts into a package she was already mailing off to my sister’s family, I sold a board game for $50 (and then printed the eBay label at the library) and I lit my menorah using Chanukah candles I picked up at Goodwill.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

    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.

    Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me and costs you nothing extra.


Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 12, 2022 · 99 comments

  1. I thrifted a plain grey sweater from Goodwill to recreate the $375 “Oh Darn Sweater.” This sold out sweater features colorful darned patches that serve no purpose beyond being decorative. So elite shoppers can emulate the aesthetic of street urchins people who mend instead of replace their clothing.

    A month of groceries or a faux raggedy sweater?

    So you know I had to attempt a facsimile. Sure, the Neiman Marcus version was cashmere and not cotton, but that’s just a matter of laundry practicality. Plus Goodwill’s plain grey cashmere sweater inventory turned out to be limited.

    My cost? $3.49, down from $6.99 as mine was the half-off tag color. Sadly it’s not my size, but my 18-year-old niece will be receiving a very interesting gift for Chanukah.

    Click HERE to see the details on the original Lisa Todd “Oh Darn” sweater. And here’s my son modeling my version:

  2. My son and I stopped at the main Goodwill to browse and I picked up a $1.99 needlepointed Christmas stocking, even though it was embroidered with the name “Hannah.” I’d sold a couple needlepoint stockings in the past and knew them to be a “BOLO.” (Be on the look out.) I figured it was a Land’s End or LL Bean item, plus the name “Hannah” is very common.

    I got the stocking home and did a little investigation to find the brand to be Sferra, which was a brief disappointment. Instead, this brand of stockings sells from $75 to $250 on eBay and I made the decision to unpick the embroidered “Hannah” and get my stocking quickly listed. I ended up accepting a $100 offer from an eBay buyer and am very happy with the sale, as $1.99 into $100 is an excellent profit margin.

    Click HERE to see the stocking.

  3. My husband and I drove to Ikea for lunch and he ordered two individual kid’s menu items as it cost $2 less than buying a single adult plate. I chose their $1.15 veggie hotdog, which I ordered by the registers and then ate upstairs in the cafeteria. (I’m not a vegetarian, but this hotdog is delicious and enjoyably sprinkled with pickled beets and crunchy fried onions!) Add in mugs of free coffee and the cost of lunch for two was under $8.

    I am the definition of a cheap date.

  4. My friend Lise and I shopped together at Goodwill and Trader Joe’s, I signed up for two months of 99¢/month Paramount+ streaming service so my husband and I could binge watch all things Star Trek, (specifically Strange New Worlds, which is chef’s kiss amazing!) I set an alert on my calendar to notify me in time to cancel before the regular price kicks in, I printed four eBay labels at the library, I sold last week’s $9.99 SmartWool shirt for $40, I thrifted a box of menorah candles, and I stopped at the Franz Bakery outlet for bread and realized after the transaction that I’d agreed to pick up a lemon fruit pie for my son, but the cashier told me to just take one.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

    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.

    Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me and costs you nothing extra.


Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 5, 2022 · 62 comments

  1. I sold a few thing on eBay, including:

    • A pair of Boggs boots that I bought for $12.99 and sold for $62.

    • A Dolly Parton album that I bought for $3 and sold for $60.

    • A sterling silver bell that I bought for $4.99 and sold for $150.

    I also hit a couple Goodwills, but made just two purchases. I’ve become extremely picky about what I buy, as I try to only sell items with at least $30 profit and I prefer that the initial purchase price be as low as possible.

    • A set of three $3.99 vintage lighting globes that I ran through the dishwasher and immediately sold for $40 to a local store.
    • A vintage Steelcase tanker chair for just $4.99 that I’ve listed locally for $50.

  2. My husband had an eye appointment across town, so I tagged along and had him drop me at a thrift store that I rarely get to. Unfortunately the store had raised prices significantly since my last visit, but I did find a new looking Smartwool merino wool T-shirt for $9.99. (Not a screaming deal, but still $30-$40 less than the normal price.) I might’ve been annoyed if I’d schlepped across town for an overpriced thrift store, but my husband was driving there anyway, there was no waste.

    My husband’s appointment lasted longer than I’d anticipated, so I explored the neighborhood, hitting up a Trader Joes for 19¢ bananas and even found a penny conveniently located in a clean-ish puddle.

  3. My next-door-neighbor and I enjoyed a get together that was just the two of us in her cozy living room, catching up on each other’s family dramas and drinking tea that we’d brewed in our own kitchens. We used to go to coffee shops before the pandemic, but switched to each other’s houses when social distancing became an issue. We somehow never switched back, which I actually prefer as it draws nothing from the budget and takes less time from my day.

    This got me thinking about how my social life often centers on free activities, whether it’s grocery shopping with a friend or hitting up IKEA for their free coffee so my friend Lise and I can chat and co-work on our laptops. I certainly spend a bit of money socializing, but it’s nice to know that it’s not dependent on anyone’s bank balance.

  4. I noticed that there were Black Friday streaming deals to watch certain pay channels like Showtime and Starz for free, so my husband and I finally watched Everything Everywhere, All at Once, which lived up to the hype, I got a second free uncut pumpkin from a different neighbor, my Winco cashier realized that she’d forgotten to credit me for bringing my own bags and handed me 36¢ in coins, I raked leaves for a neighbor as a thank you for letting us put out extra yard debris cans with their pickup, I put up the Christmas tree that my husband and I garbage picked from a shuttered real estate office in Medford, Oregon maybe five years ago and I brought my mother over for a day of snacking and cozying up on the couch to watch Resident Alien, which is her favorite TV show.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

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.

Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which earns a small commission for me and costs you nothing extra.


Think Twice Before Buying New

by Katy on December 2, 2022 · 19 comments

This blog is a reprint of a previously published post, enjoy!


Consumer goods have become unbelievably cheap, so it’s easy to just buy new stuff whenever a want or need strikes. The Dollar Tree sells multipacks of socks for a buck twenty-five and Old Navy sells flip-flops for the same price, so where’s the incentive to buy used, fix what’s broken or hold off on new purchases?

But I follow The Compact and I try to buy nothing new.

Need an example?

My fifteen-year-old son collects international soccer jerseys, (which he finds at Goodwill) and carefully hangs them all in his closet. However, some recent good scores means he currently had more jerseys than hangers. I really like an organized closet and have scored enough wooden hangers through thrifting to supply both our coat closet, (no door, so it needs to look tidy) and our bedroom closet. However, my son’s closet is a visual jumble of random plastic hangers. I looked at his closet and had a flash thought that maybe I should start fresh and buy a few packs of brand new white hangers.

After all, the hanger packs are only a buck apiece.

But I feel strongly about not supporting unnecessary manufacture of new goods, especially plastic ones with a limited life span. I realized that I had plenty of mismatched hangers on the mostly-shut-down-for-winter outdoor clothesline. Yes, they were kind of grubby, so putting them through the dishwasher made them look as good as new. They’re neither austere wood, nor does he have a single color scheme, but he now has enough hangers.

My son asked for more hangers, not matching hangers!

By following The Compact and only buying used, I have a buffer period between myself and the buying of new or even used items. I have to think twice before making a purchase, and because it’s a pain in the tuchus to find specific used things, it sparks my make it do creativity.

Thinking twice before buying new stuff will never be a regret. Let’s face it, the last thing this planet needs are more plastic hangers.

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.