Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 27, 2021 · 93 comments

  1. I slowly but surely sold some stuff on eBay, including:

    • A $25 Chantal tea kettle that I bought for $4.99.

    • Seven yards of fabric that I bought for $3.50 and sold for $45.

    • A Blues Brothers mug that I bought for 99¢ and sold for $20.

    • A Guitar Hero Rock Band guitar that I bought for $12.99 and sold for $90.

    • Four bags of Bailey’s Irish Cream chocolate chips that I bought for 10¢ apiece and sold as a lot for $22.

    • A pair of Ugg’s slippers that I bought for $4.99 and sold for $27.

  2. I was super annoyed that my husband’s schmancy pillow was wider than standard size and annoyingly stuck a good two inches past the pillow case. I even went so far as to put up a request in my local Buy Nothing group asking if anyone had an extra white king-size pillow case to gift. (I’m fully aware that this minor issue doesn’t matter, but this goddamned pandemic is skewing my priorities.) Then I realized that all I needed to do was unstitch the wide hem and re-stitch it with the extra released fabric.

    The unstitching-restitching process took at least an hour, but spare time is far from scarce these days, and this project gave me a much needed sense of accomplishment.

  3. I discovered that there are some decent free-with-ads full-length movies on YouTube, so my son and I watched “That Thing You Do” which I’d been wanting to rewatch ever since the songwriter Adam Schlesinger died from Covid-19 at the beginning of the pandemic. It would have cost $3.99 on Amazon Prime.

    This got me thinking about how much free streaming content is available, such as:

    • Free trials, which are only a bargain when you remember to cancel your subscriptions on time.

    Kanopy, which is a free streaming platform available to most public library patrons and university students.

    Six months of Discovery Plus, (if you have Verizon wireless) which I signed up for and have been taking full advantage of. There are no commercials, (hip-fucking-hooray!) and my husband and I have been enjoying Rehab Addict Rescue and a few other shows.

    • Free Hulu subscription, which seems to be available with most of the major cell phone carriers. (Verizon, Sprint and T-mobile)

    • Sharing streaming services with friends and family members. For example, my sister and I share her Amazon Prime membership, and her family uses our Netflix.

    I could go on and on with all the free available streaming content (PBS! Peacock! Tubi!) and the options seem almost endless. So I ask for you to share your favorite free streaming services in the comments section below.

  4. I was able to enjoy the 10%-off “55-and-better” senior discount at Goodwill because my husband (who is two years older than I am) was shopping with me, (Wednesdays, for those who are local to the greater Portland area.) I was able to source a nice $35 desk through Facebook Marketplace for my 22-year-old son who had outgrown the one I bought for him in third grade, my husband and I watched one last BritBox TV show before my sister’s subscription ends and I cooked and then cleaned up from 7,433 monotonous meals.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 93 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 18, 2021 · 124 comments

  1. I sold just a few things, including a $20 curb picked boom box and a $75 Nintendo Wii system which were apparently worth trekking through the snow to pick up in person. Needless to say, there was no thrifting.

    Here’s what sold:

    • A $55 midcentury floral painting that I picked up at Goodwill a million years ago, but had moved on from.

    • A $20 teeny tiny Benjamin Franklin plate that had been in my eBay inventory for at least a year.

    • A $25 set of midcentury silver rim “Dorothy Thorpe” glasses that are hopefully very well packaged.

    • A couple more of my daughter’s $5 Shonen Jump magazines.

    • A cute and goofy $15 two-faced flowerpot. (Facebook Marketplace)

    • Another pair of Dansko “Professional” clogs that I’m supposedly selling for $50 on Facebook Marketplace this afternoon. Edit: They didn’t fit her, so they didn’t actually sell.

  2. Portland had a multi-day snow and ice storm that left thousands without power for days. Somehow we never lost electricity and didn’t experience any damage to our home or property. (My husband and I were remarking on how we were the only people we knew outside of our immediate neighborhood that kept power. Seriously, even our next door neighbors lost power for a short period of time!) A friend of mine works for an arborist and has been burning the candle at both ends from the endless calls from homeowners with tree damage.

  3. I stopped into Winco as soon as the roads were safe enough to stock up on a few necessary items such as bulk beans and produce. We’re actually walking distance from two grocery stores, (a Kroger and a Whole Foods type store) but I prefer to drive to employee-owned Winco as they’re massively cheaper and appear to be an ethically run company. I don’t have a standard pantry for backup food storage, although recent weather events might nudge me over the edge to get creative about where I can store shelf stable dry goods.

  4. I worked my way through my mending basket to darn eight individual socks while watching “The Good Place” reruns, my husband and I rotated our new mattress to encourage even wear, we watched the Wild Bill British TV series through my sister’s “Britbox” Amazon Prime subscription, (I promptly thanked my sister, to which her response was “I hope I’m not paying for that.” Indeed she had accidentally subscribed at some point, so I cancelled her monthly $6.99 subscription per her instructions) and then I ate countless bowls of homemade soup. I am the soup and the soup is me. Soup.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or fly my family down to Cancun for a fun getaway.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 124 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 10, 2021 · 85 comments

  1. I sold more (mostly) thrifted items on eBay at a satisfyingly steady pace.

    • A $35 stainless steel Kitchenaid bowl that I thrifted for $4.99.
    • A $35 pair of LL Bean shearling slippers that were gathering dust in my closet.
    • A $75 weird exercise strap thingy that I bought for $20.
    • A $30 Stumptown artist collaboration coffee mug that I picked up for $1.99.
    • A $60 Guitar Hero Rock Band guitar that I snagged for $6.99.
    • A $25 pair of LL Bean fleece slippers that were $4.99.
    • A $35 vintage wooden chess/checkers/backgammon set. I picked it up at Goodwill for $4.99, even though it was missing a few of the chess pieces.
    • A $30 Calico Critters car that I bought for $4.99.
    • Two pounds of Pendleton Wool fabric scraps for $30 that I bought at the Pendelton Wool outlet store for a couple of bucks.

  2. I bought 44 bags of “Bailey’s Irish Cream” chocolate chips for 10¢ apiece. (Yes, you read that right!) These were tucked away in Winco’s clearance section, and initially I bought four bags, but then returned the next day for the additional 40 bags. I immediately donated four bags to a Little Free Pantry, and then made a batch of cookies to ensure there was nothing wrong with them. As you can see, there wasn’t.

    My plan is to resell these seasonal items on eBay, and if my wacky plan doesn’t pan out I can always donate, gift or add to my pantry.

  3. I snagged this vintage corner cupboard from someone’s curb pile. It’ll take some love to bring it to its full potential, but it shouldn’t require the purchase of any supplies. I think it’s super cute, so I’ll make sure to post more as I get going on it.

  4. My mother and step father dropped off a couple bags of books for our Little Free Library, we treated ourselves to $1 tacos from Su Casa Tacquería, I started listening to Emma Straub’s All Adults Here through the free Libby app, I boiled up a leftover Costco roasted chicken, which provided enough broth and chicken for a huge pot of soup, plus enough chicken and broth for additional meals, I gave away some extra Christmas ornaments through my Buy Nothing group and I used the discount USPS Pirate Ship website to mail off a bunch of mediocre birthday gifts to my sister even though her birthday was IN DECEMBER!

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 85 comments }

I love shining a light on all the amazing valuable treasures from Portland area Goodwill shops. But if it’s the weird stuff that gets your juices running, you know . . .  the “questionable” stuff? Today’s your lucky day, as I’m choosing to aim that light towards the weird, the wonderful, the bizarre. The questionable.

Can I interest you in some Clamdy Canes? Sure, this food item was sitting on a thrift store shelf, but they were technically in their original shrink wrap.

Maybe you’re drawn to caricature pottery pieces? The one on the left is giving me major “Cliff Clavin” vibes.

You see it too, right?

Perhaps you’re wanting to bring a little bit of that Playboy Mansion razzle dazzle to your dinner table?

Because you’re “Keepin’ It Saxy!”

Sometimes the “questionable” is completely literal. For example, this vintage wooden object. What is it? Seriously. I don’t know, and it’s driving me crazy.

Do you know what this is?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I question the choice of any shoe designer that decides that a black animal print against an cowhide orange background is a defensible decision.

Then again, they could have been part of a secret government psychological test, as there’s a certain “Rorschach” quality to the pattern.

This whiskey barrel cupboard caught my eye.

It was . . . a drinks bar!

I seriously regret not buying this for resale. It was priced at just $9.99, and turns out that these mid century whiskey barrel bars are worth a whole heck of a lot more than ten bucks!

C’mon, Katy. Recognize treasure when you see it. Even when it’s questionable.

Am I the only person who shops at Goodwill hoping for both treasures and weird stuff? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Learn more about Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette and the important services that they provide for our community:

MeetGoodwill.org

• ShopGoodwill.com

GoodwillJobConnection.org

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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This has been a sponsored blog post.

{ 34 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 4, 2021 · 62 comments

  1. I didn’t sell much on eBay, then again I didn’t thrift much last week. I did try to stop at the N.E. Broadway location after hitting the Franz Bakery outlet, (high end $1 loaves and bagels!) but there was a neighborhood blackout and all the businesses were dark.

    • I parted out a marble chess set, and sold the pieces for $40 and then the board for an additional $15. Not too shabby considering that the set was $4.99!

    • I sold a $3.99 inflatable “Rody” horse for $25. I tried to sell it locally, but had no luck and then sold it overnight on eBay.

    • I sold a few more of my daughter’s $5 Shonen Jump magazines, which have been slow but steady sellers.

  2. I signed up to get six free months of Discovery Plus,which includes HGTV, Discovery, History, The Food Channel, Lifetime, Animal Planet, OWN, TLC, plus a bunch of other channels. I’ve been enjoying Alaska: The Last Frontier, which is surprisingly addictive for this indoorsy city gal.

    This was an amazing tip, especially since it’s the commercial-free version. I made sure put a reminder in my iCal to cancel it on August 1st before it switches over to a paid subscription. Thank you, Jill!

  3. I built a nice fire in the fireplace using wood that I’d gathered after a neighbor’s trees were cut down last summer. These were long burning logs, so two lasted through the entire evening. I have a couple dozen more logs, so we might be enjoying more frequent fires.

  4. We’ve been snacking on bulk purchased air-popped popcorn, I drove my son through McDonald’s a couple times for free McNuggets after the local NBA team scored more than 100 points, I redeemed Kroger coupons for free pasta sauce and cheap eggs, my husband brought an armload of bubble wrap home from work, I glued a broken shaving brush back together, my husband sharpened my good kitchen knife, I took plastic bags to the grocery store recycling bin, (I used to give them to a friend for dog poop bags, but her pup sadly passed away) I gave away a couple things through my Buy Nothing group and I pretty went nowhere and did nothing.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 62 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 1, 2021 · 51 comments

  1. I sold a steady stream of things, my favorite of which were free items dragged home from other people’s curbsides and “free boxes.”

    • A sweet antique cupboard that I sold through Facebook Marketplace for $100.

    • A slightly ratty and entirely soggy Carhartt sweatshirt that a neighbor had dumped into a “free box.” Laundered and then sold for $22.50 on eBay.

    • A set of what I termed “industrial” drawer pulls that I removed from an otherwise worthless curb desk. Sold for $15 on eBay

    • A remote control that I grabbed from someone else’s “free box.” Sold for $7 on eBay.

    Of course I sold other things, including a $100 Arcteryx jacket and a $50 Michael Graves tea kettle, but I wanted to shine a light on how it’s possible to make a bit of money with zero cost of goods.

  2. I continue to cook all meals from scratch, with a weekly exception for “Taco Tuesday.” ($1 tacos from a local Mexican food cart!) I do try to vary the menu, and the past week has seen such meals as:

    • Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas. This meal incorporated two frozen pieces of gluten-free bread, plus multiple individual packets of ketchup, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, barbecue sauce and A-1 sauce. I normally make a ketchup/brown sugar paste for the top, but ran out of ketchup which is how this meatloaf happened to use A-1 for the topping. This was delicious and I will never go back!

    • Enchiladas filled with rice, scratch cooked black beans, cheese, onion, canned jalapeño, frozen corn and a handful of leftover green salsa containers from previous “Taco Tuesdays.”

    • Chicken soup and potato-bacon soup.

    • Reuben sandwiches. This was prompted by the purchase of a $1 loaf of marble rye bread from the Franz bakery outlet.

  3. I repaired a pair of Birkenstock clogs as the upper had pulled apart from the sole. I’d been meaning to check off this task since the fall, so I gave myself a huge pat on the back even though the job itself took no more than five minutes. All it took was some clear Gorilla glue and a couple of clamps. Then I rode that pat-on-the-back momentum to repair some slippers and a shaving brush.

  4. My friend Lise dropped off a box of bubble wrap, I gifted a couple of items through my Buy Nothing Group, I started rooting another batch of spider plant babies, I boiled up a small batch of cranberry sauce from a 50¢ bag of cranberries, I went for a dental cleaning and then batched errands as I was across town, (such as stopping at Trader Joe’s to pick up their nothing-beats-it Mediterranean hummus and 19¢ bananas) and I started a new audiobook through the free Libby app.

  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 Twitter.
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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 51 comments }

My 2020 Reading List

by Katy on January 27, 2021 · 62 comments

I love books. I love fiction, nonfiction, books with pictures, hardbacks, paperbacks, mass market, short stories and even serious literature. I value the weight of a physical paper book in my hands, but truly believe that e-books and audiobooks also fall under the umbrella of “real reading,” and will fight anyone who says otherwise. I may have studied nursing in college, but I snuck in an English minor.

It’s normal for me to have a couple books going at the same time. This used to look like a stack of library books as well as a Libby audiobook that I listen to while driving, thrifting or puttering around the house and garden.

2020 was not a normal year. Not only were my county’s libraries rightly closed for many months, but they opened back up solely for scheduled pick ups that would take so long to come in that I wouldn’t even remember having put the books on hold.

2020 became the year of the audiobook. This served three purposes:

  1. Audiobooks were usually immediately available.

  2. Audiobooks were a contactless transaction.

  3. My brain was a mushpot throughout the 743 days of 2020, and I couldn’t maintain the required focus to read words on a page.

I didn’t want to read anything that added additional stress into my life. I made a decision to read books written by women authors, as I’m done with cliché two-dimensional female characters, and wanted to support the countless ah-fucking-mazing women who put effort into creating full fledged characters. I read less than normal, and certainly in fits and spurts as my aforementioned ability to focus ebbed and flowed without rhyme or reason.

Not every book was a winner, but that’s okay. There was something of value to almost every book on this list. The asterisks are next to the books that I especially recommend.

  1. “Save Me The Plums,” by Ruth Reichl.

  2. “Bad With Money,” by Gabby Dunn.

  3. “The Distant Hours,” by Kate Morton. **

  4. “Maisie Dobbs,” by Jacqueline Winspear.

  5. “Wonderland,” by Jennifer Cody Epstein. **

  6. “Scrappy Little Nobody,” by Anna Kendrick.

  7. “The Lake House,” by Kate Morton. **

  8. “The Forgotten Garden,” by Kate Morton. **

  9. “The Woman in Cabin 10,” by Ruth Ware.

  10. “The Island of Sea Women,” by Lisa See. **

  11. “One More Things: Stories and More Stories,” by B.J. Novak <– Oops, a male author slipped in.

  12. “Unsheltered,” by Barbara Kingsolver.

  13. “Not Becoming my Mother,” by Ruth Reichl.

  14. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” by Lee Israel. **

  15. “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane,” by Lisa See. **

  16. “Where The Crawdads Sing,” by Delia Owens. **

  17. “A Kim Jong Il Production,” by Paul Fischer. <– Oops, another dude.

  18. “Agatha Raisin and The Wellspring of Death,” By M.C. Beaton.

  19. “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,” Kim Michelle Richardson. **

  20. “All The Things I Never Told You,” by Celeste Ng. **

  21. “The Downstairs Girl,” by Stacey Lee. **

  22. “The Magician King,” by Lev Grossman. <– I guess this guy is a “guy” as well.

  23. “The Vanishing Half,” by Brit Bennett. **

  24. “Still Me,” By Jojo Meyers.

  25. “The Other Woman,” by Sandie Jones.

  26. “Love and Treasure,” by Ayelet Waldman. **

  27. “Something in The Water,” by Catherine Steadman.

  28. “How About Never, is Never Good For You?” by Bob Mankoff. <– this was my last physical library book.

  29. “The Assistants,” by Camille Perri.

  30. “One Day in December,” by Josie Silver.

  31. “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill,” Abbi Waxman.

  32. “Mrs. Everything,” by Jennifer Weiner. **

  33. “The Lions of Fifth Avenue,” by Fiona Davis. **

  34. “Evvie Drake Starts Over,” by Linda Holmes.

  35. “Beach Town,” by Mary Kay Andrews.

  36. “Island of The Blue Dolphins,” by Scott O’Dell ** <– This man gets a pass, as this book is a classic for a reason!

  37. “Ask Again, Yes,” by Mary Beth Keene.

  38. “Winter Solstice,” by Rosamunde Pilcher.

  39. “The Shell Seekers,” by Rosamunde Pilcher. **

  40. “I Want to Be Where The Normal People Are,” by Rachel Bloom.

  41. “The Lieutenant’s Nurse,” by Sara Ackerman.

  42. “Searching For Sylvie Lee,” by Jean Kwok. **

  43. “The Actor’s Life,” by Jenna Fischer. **

  44. “Love Your Life,” by Sophie Kinsella.

  45. “The Scent Keeper,” Erica Bauermeister. **

  46. “Mambo in Chinatown,” by Jean Kwok. **

  47. “Big Summer,” by Jennifer Weiner.

I wish 2020 has ended with a satisfyingly tidy number like 50 or 52, but such was not to be. I am already on book #5 for 2021, having just finished “Before We Were Yours,” by Lisa Wingate, which was amazing! **

I mostly post what I’m reading on Instagram, (which gets more frequent content that the blog.) So if you’re looking for reading inspiration, I invite you to follow me over there.

Did you read any of the books on my list? Do you have books to recommend? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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{ 62 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 21, 2021 · 103 comments

  1. I combined a few necessary errands with Goodwill trips over the past week and came home with some nifty items to sell both on eBay and Facebook Marketplace. My favorite flips were a trio of Rockband Guitar Hero controllers. I’d seen other sellers do well with them, so I took a gamble as they were priced at just $6.99 apiece.

    I like to think of this as “market testing a category.”

    All three sold in under 48 hours for $60, $60 and $55. So yeah . . . I’ll start picking these bad boys up whenever possible.

    Oh, and for those who wonder how I ship such unwieldy items, I used the free USPS large flat rate boxes that are designed for board games.

  2. I’ve started making a deliberate effort to always have a tub of homemade soup in the refrigerator. All four of us enjoy soup, so it never gets wasted. Plus it’s my favorite trifecta — delicious, healthy and cheap as hell!

    Want to know the secret to my delicious soups? I sauté chopped onion and then purée it with chicken broth before adding the other ingredients. This imparts a deep layer of flavor that only intensifies the savory goodness. For anyone who may wonder about “the why” behind this step, my daughter has a lifelong aversion to the texture of onions, so we purée whenever possible. It being tastier is an accidental side effect.

    Here’s my recipe for Red Lentil Soup.

  3. I cross posted a couple of eBay items on Facebook Marketplace, which I always think is going to be a pain in the tuchus but actually takes just a few minutes as the photos are already taken and the description is written. This resulted in one quick $65 sale.

    I also looked through my expired Facebook Marketplace listings and put together fresh new listings from otherwise stale merchandise. This resulted in quick $30 and $20 sales!

    Minimal effort with a $115 reward.

  4. I’m listening to an audiobook of Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate through the free Libby app after having finished Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid; I borrowed a manual air pump from someone in my Buy Nothing group, I made a Costco trip and bought just the cat litter, olive oil and roasted chicken from my list without succumbing to any impulse purchases, (I’m talking to you, $1.50 hot dog!) I found two dimes and six pennies while out, masked and about, I picked up two big bags of free packaging supplies from a local business, I finished reupholstering a thrifted midcentury foot stool that I’d started and apparently lost interest in completing, and lastly I sold two curb-picked items — a wooden planter for $10 and then a cupboard that garnered me a sweet hundred bucks!

  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 Twitter.
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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 103 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 10, 2021 · 95 comments

  1. I put a massive effort into selling stuff over that past month and it’s really paid off, as I sold over $2500 through eBay and Facebook Marketplace. I enjoy selling for the increased income, but mostly I value ensuring that still usable items stay in circulation instead of being dumped into landfills.

    Here are five of my favorite sales, not just because of the money, but because these unique items would have otherwise languished.

    • An empty Game Cube “Teen Titan” box. Because someone had the game disc but no box!
    • A “Collette” plush from the 2007 movie “Ratatouille.” Because it went to Norway, and I love that this specific Goodwill toy was exactly what some Norwegian person was looking for.
    • A pair of antique framed botanical prints that used to hang above our bed. Because it would have been easy to set them aside after my husband and I renovated our bedroom, but instead I listed them and quickly got them into the hands of someone who’d love them.
    • This vintage aluminum roaster lid. Because there had to be someone out there with the bottom but not the top.
    • This vintage 1980s ski suit. Because it looked like a wardrobe piece from Hot Tub Time Machine, and made made laugh. Also because it weighed almost nothing which made it a Goodwill Outlet “bins” bargain.

  2. I’ve been really good about cooking from scratch, as well as avoiding food waste. Being at home almost all the damned time means there are few opportunities to rationalize take out meals or drive through.

    It turns out that never going anywhere is an insanely frugal life choice. Also boring. Super boring. Yes, I’m willing to do it for the sake of humanity. But boring.

    My most recent impressively frugal meal was a large pot of delicious black bean soup that incorporated:

    • A cup or so of leftover rice.
    • Four or five tiny cups of leftover hot sauces from our Taco Tuesdays.
    • A quart of homemade chicken stock from a Costco roasted chicken.
    • Chopped pickled jalapeño peppers and carrots, also from our last Taco Tuesday.
    • The last of a bag of frozen corn kernels.
    • The shards from the bottom of a tortilla chip bag.

    Needless to say, the black beans were a bulk purchase from Winco, and we continue to hit up Su Casa Tacqueria for their $1 tacos on Tuesdays. Because there’s only so much cooking I can do before my brain implodes.

  3. I turned 53 last week, so my husband and I masked up and spent the day hitting different Goodwills. I scored a ton of great stuff, mostly for resale. (A rattan chair for $1.99! An entire new-old-stock bolt of IKEA fabric for $12.50! A $30 like-new pair of Doc Martin boots for my daughter!) My husband bought a “new” snow shovel to replace our broken one. You’d have thought he won the lottery from his excitement.

    We also drove through Starbucks for a free birthday caramel macchiato, which I shared with my son as it was enormous and cloyingly sweet.

    My husband then made dinner at home (salmon, rice and brussels sprouts) and we spent the evening watching “Star Trek: Discovery” through our free 30-day trial of CBS All Access.

  4. My husband built me a Little Free Library for my birthday from our basement’s never ending supply of woodworking leftovers, I hauled home an antique shelf that someone put out for free, I then used wood glue and clamps to fix the aforementioned shelf, I went for a couple walks with my friend Lise as she was dog sitting over the weekend, I finished listening to Recipe For a Perfect Wife through the library’s free Libby app and I sold the $1.99 rattan chair for $35.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or incite insurrection from my gold plated bunker in the sky.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 28, 2020 · 96 comments

  1. I’ve sold a ton of stuff through both eBay and Facebook Marketplace. My son’s very last college tuition payment is due on January first and I’ve been madly scraping together all I can to pay this looming bill in full.

    It would be great if I could source a couple of thousand dollar items at Goodwill, but so far this holy grail has eluded me. Until then I’ll have to enjoy the sales of these $90 shoes, this $45 vintage fabric or these $50 antique botanical prints. Better a fast nickel than a slow dime.

  2. I had a plan to hold out on haircuts during the pandemic as an experiment to see how long it would grow, but I reached my snapping point today as it was constantly tangled and braids made my scalp ache. (How Willie Nelson does it I’ll never know!)

    So I handed my 22-year-old son a pair of haircutting scissors, (a splurge from when the kids were toddlers) and gave him loose instructions for a below the shoulders blunt cut. I’ve had my son trim my hair before, but this chop job was a matter of eight or so inches. I have to say that he did a terrific job and I am 100% satisfied. No more “sister wife” aesthetic for me . . . well, except for my demure and respectful calico smocks.

  3. We gave minimal gifts for the holidays, and most of what we did give were consumables or practical gifts. Our son had asked for an expensive digital drawing tablet in November, and we’d said “sure” as it was school related. However, we let him know that this $300 purchase would serve as his “anchor” gift. (We’ve traditionally done an “anchor” gift, along with a smattering of “satellite” gifts.) He was super happy to receive such as substantial item, and my husband and I decided to gift the same thing to our daughter who also studied digital art in college. This electronic tool will help both kids to level up their skills and digital art careers as they transition into adulthood.

  4. My son and I drove through McDonald’s for some free McNuggets as the local basketball team had scored more than 100 points, I paid the bi-annual $86 to my neighbor as our half of the shared garbage bill, I cut off the back of my shredded Keen slippers and sewed blanket stitches over the raw fabric to transform them into “slip-ons,” I signed up for a free 30-day subscription to CBS All Access so my family could watch the latest season of Star Trek: Discovery, (I also made sure to add “cancel CBS All Access” onto next month’s calendar) my husband fixed a leaking spot on our roof rather than hiring out the job, I gave away a calendar and some card games through my Buy Nothing Group and also received a couple bags of bubble wrap from said group, my husband brought home catered leftovers from his all-day Christmas shift and we’ve been keeping up with our Taco Tuesday tradition with $1 tacos from a local cart, even though I’ve mostly abstained as I’m happy to eat what we already have.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold plated apartment in the sky.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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