Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 24, 2022 · 73 comments

  1. Our freezer stopped keeping the frozen food, well . . . frozen. We do have a basement chest freezer, but it was already close to full. I’d normally punt this task to my husband, but he was at work, and I’m inordinately pleased to announce that I fixed it by myself by simply scraping frost off the back wall and running a hair dryer over some blocked vents.

    We’ve had this refrigerator for 24 years, which I’m aware is a very long time for a modern era appliance. I was worried that it was a big picture repair which would require a big dumb new purchase, (B.D.N.P.) but occasionally a simple fix actually works!

    Update: Pride comes before a fall. My husband spent a couple fruitless hours trying to figure out why the refrigerator also stopped working properly. To the point where our milk prematurely curdled and the eggs smelled like Dante’s seventh cicle of hell. (Violence, they smelled like violence.)

    My husband and I found a bare bones white refrigerator on Costco.com for $649, which includes delivery and removal of the old fridge. It’ll be delivered on Monday between 7 A.M. and 9 P.M., no joke. Big. Dumb. New. Purchase.

  2. I’ve spent the last week ferrying visiting family members around the Portland area. My mother turned 80 this week, so my aunt and uncle flew in from Nebraska, as well as my sister from NYC. As such, I’ve been treated to a tremendous number of restaurant meals and hosted a party at the house. I filled my minivan with octogenarians for a day trip to the beach and planned out a week of meals.

    The week was a huge success, even though one night’s main dish was dropped to the ground before reaching its destination. Leftover homemade lasagna stepped up to the plate, which luckily lived in my aunt and uncle’s functional AirBnb refrigerator. There’s no such thing as everything going smoothly, but sometimes these glitches make the best memories.

  3. My husband finally completed our backyard deck, which was mostly pieced together using wood from our disassembled treehouse. He did end up buying seven decking pieces, plus two lengths of treated lumber as he accidentally cut two of them too short. (Oops!) We also shelled out for a roll of landscaping fabric, new screws and metal support thingies. We luckily had enough waterproofing stain leftover from building our Little Free Library.

    The overall cost was around $450 for a 10′ X 10′ platform deck, which hardly sounds like a bargain, but the price of wood these days is astronomical. I initial entertained a goal to keep the project under $100, but was quickly snapped out of that hallucination. Nothing is cheaper than you think it’s going to be.

  4. My college friend Diana flew into town and instead of going out instead we visited at the house, I rooted rosemary stems and planted them in a garbage picked planter, (I need plants for the deck!) my aunt and uncle insisted that I take all the food that they didn’t eat from their AirBnb, I was treated to multiple restaurant meals this week, (Bob’s Red Mill restaurant!) my neighbor gave me a bag of rice when I realized that I’d somehow forgotten to add it to my shopping list and I mended my son’s mohair sweater.

  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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P.S. I wasn’t able to go to the library’s tech help session, but have arranged to go this week instead. Again, I’m sorry about the crass pop-up ads!

Update: I drove across town to the library tech session with their WordPress expert only to find that she’s taken a personal day off from work.

{ 73 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 17, 2022 · 60 comments

I’m fully aware that the current advertisement configuration on the blog is the absolute worst at the moment, and I promise that I’m trying to fix it. I do want a couple of ads to cover expenses, but this is ridiculous! I’ve unclicked for popup ads, but it seems to make no difference whatsover. Please know that however frustrated you are, I’m a thousand times more so! I’m meeting with a WordPress expert on Wednesday and am crossing my fingers that I can get the blog back to normal.

Sorry.

  1. I sold just a few things, but I haven’t been listing so low sales makes sense.

    • A pair of vintage wooden wall ducks that I bought for a couple bucks and sold for $37.50.
    • A Brio Builder set through Facebook Marketplace for $20.
    • A Fiestaware teapot through Facebook Marketplace for $20.
    • A Wizard of Oz scarecrow costume through facebook Marketplace for $30.

  2. My next door neighbor let me borrow her car for a last minute errand, and it really hammered home how valuable it is to have strong neighbor relationships. I’ve let this same neighbor borrow our cars when they’re in a pinch, which ends up being maybe twice a year or so.

    I cut her a bouquet of hydrangeas as a thank you.

  3. My beautiful daughter turned 27 last week. She threw herself a birthday party at her new apartment with friends, although it was definitely wasn’t the kind of party where parents are invited. However, I’m not going to let a family birthday pass by without planning out a Birthday Day of Adventures.

    Here’s what we did to celebrate:

    • I took the kids, (adults, I guess they should be referred to as “adults.”) out for brunch at an area restaurant.
    • We then went to a local video arcade where you pay a $3.50 entry free, but the games are cheap, mostly 15¢ – 20¢ per play. (This activity was nostalgic for the kids, as we used to go here a lot.) I loaded ten bucks for each kid onto swipe cards, but try as they might, they were only able to spend them down to about $5 apiece.

    I didn’t want to leave money on the cards, especially since you have to pay to return and spend any leftover balance! So I figured out a hack to spend down the cards. There’s a single solitary game that still takes physical nickels, which is the “coin pusher.” When you swipe your card for the game, it decreases the total by 25¢ and spits out five nickels to play. Or . . . you can swipe repeatedly until your cards are empty and your purse weighs a thousand pounds. Luckily our credit union has a free coin counting machine and was just a few blocks away!

    • Our next stop was the Academy Theater, where we watched the original 1993 version of H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, which was amazing and refreshing break from modern Hollywood films.
    • Our last stop was a nearby food cart pod, where we each chose our own dinner to enjoy at home.

    These birthday adventure days are some of my favorite days of year. Especially now that family togetherness has to be scheduled. My husband wasn’t able to join us, but I did text pictures throughout the day. Creating these family memories are so much better than anything I can buy from Amazon.

  4. My son thought he needed to replace the charging port on his iPhone 8, but it turned out to require just a couple puffs (squirts?) of canned air, my daughter moved out but still works at a high end grocery store just a few blocks from the house and often drops by on her lunch breaks to graze leftovers and brings day-old treats like pies, cakes and ciabatta in return which I consider to be a a fair trade, I transplanted my fast growing snake plant into last week’s free pile flowerpot, I listened to an audiobook of The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand through the free Libby app and I read a library copy of Miss Benson’s Beetle, by Rachel Joyce.

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

{ 60 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 10, 2022 · 98 comments

  1. My 27-year-old daughter moved out last week, which was an almost seamless process. She took her childhood bedroom furniture to her new apartment, which differed from her college apartments, which were wholly furnished from thrift stores. After all, we still needed to keep her room a functional space for when she came home on breaks.

    Here’s what she took:

    • An antique dresser that my husband refinished to use as her changing table in 1995. It came to us after the passing of a family friend.
    • An antique full-size bed which was a hand me down from my late aunt in 1991 or so. My husband and I slept on it until we switched to a queen, and then put it in her room room after she moved home from college. (Very few adults enjoy sleeping in their childhood twin bed.) My husband has repaired both side rails through the years, but unlike a particle board piece, the solid wood is almost infinitely repairable.
    • A thrifted wooden bookshelf that I painted when my daughter was little.
    • A pretty wood and upholstered chair that I curb picked a few years ago. It later sustained some cat scratches from our naughty feline, but a few minutes with my sweater shaver erased most of the damage.

    These quality items are all classic designs that’ll stand the test of time and should continue to do so throughout her life. I think of all the cheaply manufactured  furniture that has come and gone over that past 27 years and wish that more consumer goods were designed for longevity. Whether it’s flimsy construction or falsely rapid design cycles, people now replace their furniture in a way that would be inconceivable to our grandparents.

  2. I curb picked a new looking ceiling fan for the living room. The Portland, Oregon of my childhood had a few hot summer days here and there, but that infrequency is long gone. 2021 and 2022 tell a different story of multiple 100°+ days, plus endless 90°+ days that are melting both me and my 108-year-old house.

    My husband and I quickly installed the fan and are quite satisfied with the results. It’s not a complete eyesore, (some ceiling fans are U.G.L.Y.) and the “oil rubbed bronze” color actually coordinates with the dining room chandelier.

    I know a single ceiling fan won’t magically chill the house, but I know it’ll help and the price was definitely right.

  3. I broke my buy-nothing-new rule to buy my daughter a new pair of sneakers for her birthday as her old ones were embarrassingly raggedy. Portland is the North American headquarters for Adidas, which means that we have an employee-only store where merchandise is 50%-off retail. However, the passes are relatively easy to procure if you dig through their app. So I downloaded the app, located the pass and drove across town to grab the sneakers.

    50%-off and I was in and out of there faster than you can say “their music is so loud it’s surely a OSHA violation!” Seriously, the thumping music was entirely too loud for the poor employees who must go home to ringing ears.

    Then I deleted the app off my phone.

  4. I used a digital coupon to get a free box of macaroni and cheese from New Seasons, I grabbed four 48¢ bottles of Newman’s Own salad dressing from the Winco clearance shelf, I defrosted some old pie dough, which I then chopped into chunks, rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked on top of cut cinnamon sugar apples and was *chef’s kiss* spectacular, I sold a Kitchenaid bowl for $30 and a $25 framed print on eBay, I listened to a so-so audiobook through the free Libby app, (I won’t link to it) I accepted an orchid plant from a neighbor who didn’t have a good spot for it, my daughter took a number of miscellaneous items from the house which she would otherwise have needed to buy, (silverware, a TV, dishes, etc.) and I nabbed a sofa table for my daughter and a huge glazed flowerpot for myself from a tasty free pile.

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

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on October 3, 2022 · 61 comments

  1. I received a large postcard of coupons for a high end grocery store that’s normally too pricey for my cheap blood. It included a coupon for a free jar of pasta sauce, which I promptly snipped. This coupon was dated for a week or so out, so I added it to my calendar to make sure it wouldn’t slip my mind. I then gave the rest of the postcard to my next-door neighbors as it had multiple coupons for 10%-off this and that, and they do shop there.

    This may sound like a lot of trouble for a single food item, but it involved just a few minutes out of my day. I normally make my own pasta sauce, but this pantry staple will serve as a time saver on an inevitably busy day in the future. It’ll bar me from to succumbing to takeout’s siren song and feed the people I love. I do love me some free food.

  2. I cooked multiple frugal meals from scratch, (endless, is the word “endless?” Because that’s how it sometimes feels.) This includes red lentil soup, cheesy grits, tacos with bulk purchased pinto beans, baked potatoes, twice baked potatoes, thrice baked potatoes and even a $5 Costco roasted chicken that snuck a bit of meat into our diets.

    I buy our produce from either Winco or the Everyday Deals grocery liquidator, although I’ve been trying to hit the liquidator more often as their prices are at least 75% less that any traditional grocery store. Unfortunately the store is a schlep from the house, although it’s literally next door to a big Goodwill, so I’m able to rationalize it as “combining errands.” Worth it though, as the above cart of produce set me back a mere $13.

  3. I saw an Instagram ad for a bra that might work for me, so I gathered all the details and instead bought from eBay. Not only did I save money, ($14 vs. $36) but I also supported a small business person and my purchase didn’t prompt the manufacture of a brand new item.

    Choosing eBay or similar keeps otherwise unwanted goods back into circulation and puts money in the hands of people who spend money in their communities instead of hoarding wealth or spending it on ego driven rocket ships. Officially, “bras” are on my self-approved list of items I’ll buy new, but there are millions of new and “like-new” items available on the secondhand market. Already manufactured, just waiting to be put back into use.

    And no, it’s not gross.

  4. I gave away a piano keyboard, a fabric sunshade, a magazine holder and some random pantry items through the Buy Nothing Group, I listened to The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah through the free Libby app, I asked for and received a pair of pruning shears for gardening, I walked my laptop over to the library for a free tech help session, my next door neighbor gave me a huge tomato from her garden, I lent her a shovel and bin and I sold a pair of sneakers on eBay that never fit right. 

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

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Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 26, 2022 · 69 comments

  1. My husband replaced the motor on our clothes dryer this summer, so we were super bummed when the drum suddenly stopped spinning. Luckily my husband was able to identify that the culprit was a simple broken belt. $8.91 for the belt and fifteen minutes of labor and we’re once again in possession of a functioning appliance.

    Whenever this kind of thing happens, I think about all the people who replace appliances without even attempting a repair.  It’s not as simple as “If I can do this, anyone can,” (which grossly oversimplifies people’s lives) but I shudder to think of all the appliances in the landfill that could’ve been fixed instead of trashed.

  2. My older sister gave me a pair of hand-me-down Birkenstock clogs a few years ago, as they were too big for her. (It pays to be the big footed sister!) Unfortunately, the suede tops have a hard time staying adhering to the sides of the cork footbed. Luckily, it’s just a matter of gluing the sides back together, which I’ve now done twice. Just squiggle on the super glue, clamp them tightly and they’re basically as good as new.

    This $155 “Boston” style shoe is apparently  on trend for Fall 2022, which I find to be pretty hilarious as they’re the primary shoe of choice for my decidedly unfashionable 87-year-old father. Perhaps he’s on the cusp of being an international style influencer. Tony Wolk — retired professor and fashion icon.

  3. My husband is doing his level best to build a nine-foot square platform deck out of the leftover component pieces from our disassembled backyard tree house. He did buy new screws, bolts and a few other miscellaneous pieces, but we should be able to complete the project for under $200. Considering that the supposed average price of building a deck is $30 per square foot, we’ll be saving over $2000!

    I already have a small outdoor table and chairs, so I should be able to set it up nicely without having to shell out any money.

  4. I scored a $1 bag of random produce from Fred Meyer that included two zucchini, one orange, two jalapeño peppers, one lemon and two red peppers, I worked on my laptop at Ikea and took advantage of their free coffee, I got a free case of chocolate covered marshmallow snacks from my favorite grocery liquidator and then donated all but two of the packets to my neighborhood’s free pantry, I grabbed an extra pound of $2 organic salad greens (reimbursed) and a 79¢ container of blueberries (a gift) for my friend Lise, I listened to The Christmas Bookshop, by Jenny Colgan through the free Libby app and then read a library copy of French Braid by Anne Tyler, I planted some propagated rootings and then started new ones, (wandering Jew, ficus and another plant whose name alludes me) and I was inspired by how nice my father’s house looks after having been power washed, so I took a bucket of soapy water and washed the siding from my front porch, which brightened it up considerably.

    I got the police to take a bike that a neighbor found abandoned on their property. They’d stuck a “FREE” sign on it, but I knew that it must be a stolen bike. This way there’s a chance that the original owner can get their bike back.

  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.
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{ 69 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 19, 2022 · 72 comments

 

  1. I sold a number of things through eBay and Facebook Marketplace.

    • I thrifted a goofy “Bun in The Oven” maternity costume for $5 and sold it on eBay for $40. But not before wearing it around for a bit. Not sorry at all, it was delightfully comfortable!
    • I thrifted a kid’s Trek bicycle for $15 and sold it locally for $50.
    • I thrifted an antique typewriter for $20 and sold it for $75.
    • I thrifted a licensed Wizard of Oz Scarecrow costume for $4 and sold it locally for $30.
    • I thrifted a Pottery Barn pumpkin costume for $3 and sold it on eBay for $35.
    • I thrifted a set of Eddie Bauer flannel sheets for $7.50 and sold them on eBay for $35.

  2. I took the two $1.99 glazed flowerpots that I picked up from a Tacoma, Washington estate sale and potted them with peace lilies. I knew I wanted to plant them with something for indoors the house as we’re only a month or so out from frost, but I also didn’t want to spend any money. I have a peace lilly on top of the piano that’s grown quite large and this was the perfect opportunity to transplant some of it. I grew up with a greenhouse plus a lot of houseplants, so I wasn’t worried about damaging the lilly, and confidently took a knife to separate out the roots. I now have two “new” peace lilies and all I paid was $3.98 for the pots.

  3. My husband and I stopped into Costco to pick up a rotisserie chicken and gas up the car. This guy is a diehard coffee drinker and has very much not enjoyed whenever I’ve attempted to reign in our coffee expenses. Although, he does point out that he always brings his own coffee to work instead of driving through Starbucks.

    Anyway . . . we were headed to the register when I noticed that the 2-1/2 pound bags of Starbucks beans were on sale (“instant rebate”) for just $14.99, limit six per customer. So we bought six. After all, $6/lb is a screaming good deal for high end coffee.

    I’m relieved to be at a point in my life where I can shell out an unexpected $89.94 and still pay my bills. I’ve certainly lived through times when I wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of this sale price, and would’ve ended up paying more in the long run due to not having funds to cover the cost. The issues of poverty and food insecurity are part of the daily news cycle more than ever and my heart goes out to those in the midst of their struggle.

  4. I glued my aged dish scrubber back together, I listened to the audiobook of Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John through the free Libby app, I baked a batch of pumpkin spice muffins using the last of last year’s pumpkin puree, (which was baked from a neighbor’s uncut jack-o-lantern) I shared a plate of muffins with those neighbors, I hung multiple loads of laundry on my backyard clothesline, I grocery shopped at Winco with my friend Lise, which ticked off both “socialize” and “grocery shop” from my to-do list, my backyard hydrangeas are still blooming, so I’m assembling bouquets for friends and neighbors, (I planted them 24 years ago from starts my father propagated in his greenhouse) and I washed my Prius in the driveway instead of paying for a carwash.

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

{ 72 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on September 12, 2022 · 104 comments

  1. My husband and I used our local Buy Nothing Group to give away two outdoor chair cushions, a guitar shaped cake pan, a cardigan sweater and a full-on drum set that my husband had great plans for, but had unsurprisingly collected an impressive amount of basement dust.

    We then scored a full-size bed frame that a neighbor offered through the group. I’d been passively keeping an eye out for a new bed frame as our son’s had followed him when he moved out. (Also a Buy Nothing find!) We’d unceremoniously dumped a futon onto the floor as a stop gas measure, but that’s simply not an acceptable option for aging house guests. Luckily the new bed frame is the style that doesn’t require a box spring, so it’ll support the futon without issue. For the very low price of $0.00.

  2. I somehow erected a mental barrier to putting up new eBay listings. I’d built it up in my mind as difficult, even though I’ve been selling on eBay since 2005! Every day I’d write “List five items on eBay” on my to-do list and then accomplish everything except that task. I finally wised up and wrote “List one item on eBay” which narrowed it down enough so I could get over myself.

    So I listed a single item on eBay. Something both easy to photograph and simple to describe. And then two days later I assembled all the things I needed to list and got to work. There’s a term in the reselling community called a “death pile,” which is essentially all the stuff you’ve bought, but never list My death pile wasn’t actually all that impressive, but the guilt clouded my brain. Things are starting to sell again, which is both a relief and the perfect motivator to continue listing.

  3. My husband had a two day work class in Tacoma, Washington last week, which  we forced somehow blossomed into the perfect getaway. The hotel reservation was for Thursday and Friday, so we left Thursday morning and checked into our room and immediately drove up to Seattle where we enjoyed a somewhat crappy meal, (we’d eaten at this restaurant a number of years ago, but apparently they’ve taken a nose dive.) and then took the ferry to Bremerton and back.

    The round-trip ferry tickets were just $9.25 apiece for the two hour trip, which was both the perfect length and price. Add in that our waiter had slipped me extra bags of oyster crackers and I even came prepared with snacks!

    The rest of our trip was equally satisfying, as we were able to meet up with multiple Antioch College friends, (Hi, Lisa, Ed and Ben!)  as well as hit up multiple thrift stores, (Hi, Tacoma and Seattle Goodwills, American Cancer Society Discovery Shop and that one estate sale!) I do value getting out of my routine, or as I shared with my friend Lisa,” It’s just nice to look at something that’s not my living room walls!”

  4. My husband fixed a broken side rail on our daughter’s bed, I was twice able to eat enough at the hotel breakfast buffet to skip lunch, I fed my friend’s cat while she was out of town and she gifted me with tea and honey from her travels, I brought home three impressively sturdy takeout containers from one of our meals in Seattle, I scored a few things from a Seattle free pile, (the above Daenerys Targaryen wig, a cute pair of earrings and some Yakima rack component pieces) I returned two tubes of expensive sunscreen that took two weeks in transit, I went through my closet and identified a dozen or so pieces of never-wear-em clothing and donated them to Goodwill, I helped my mother shampoo a filthy rug and in return she fed my family some delicious barbecue takeout as a thank you, I took my sister’s excellent advice and listened to Death at Wentwater Court through the free Libby app  and I took a Griswold Dutch oven that wasn’t selling on Facebook Marketplace for $125 and listed it on eBay, where it sold overnight for $150!

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, and my ego-driven rocket ship didn’t explode after liftoff.

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

{ 104 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 28, 2022 · 126 comments

  1. I drove to my trusty Everyday Deals grocery liquidator and scored big time. The store is a bit like a thrift store, as the inventory is pretty random, although it always seems to have cheap salad mixes. I brought home:

    • Two bagged salad kits for $1.29 apiece.
    • Two Persian cucumbers for 50¢ apiece.
    • A huuuuge bag of spinach for $2. Like seriously huge, think pillow case sized! So big that split it with my friend Lise, who luckily doesn’t blink at my extreme frugality.
    • An entire flat of strawberries for $6. <– my favorite deal!

  2. A neighbor set out a couple of rickety old kitchen cabinets from a remodel, and I drove past them for almost a week before noticing that the vintage chrome drawer pulls were the same as the ones in my kitchen. I gave it another day or two before walking over with a screwdriver and removed each and every one of them. (Six, I removed six.) I promptly replaced my broken drawer pull and then stashed the other five as back ups.

  3. My son continues to borrow my Prius for his Monday through Friday work commute. We make this work as my husband can mostly ride his bike and it’s not the worst thing in the world for me to be occasionally housebound. Used car prices are through the roof right now and this arrangement should allow him to save enough money for a late model car instead of a total junker.

  4. I exchanged a completed Franz Bakery outlet punch card for five free loaves of bread, I 100% didn’t feel like cooking dinner last night, but buckled up and made a batch of The Prudent Homemaker’s rosemary white bean soup, (which also used up some accidentally overcooked navy beans!) I returned to my secret spot and picked another 4-1/2 pounds of wild blackberries, I filled my little free library with new books that my mother sourced from her Buy Nothing Group, I ordered a free Domino’s pizza using points from previous purchases, which then prompted an offer for another free pizza as the delivery apparently took too long, my next door neighbor offered to let me put plastic bubble mailers in her Ridwell recycling box and I scored a free hose nozzle that somebody put out for free.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, and instead borrowed one from Kylie Jenner.

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.
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{ 126 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 18, 2022 · 64 comments

  1. My husband and I used credit card/airline points to book a single night at the Hotel Elliott in Astoria, Oregon for our 29th anniversary.

    I’m always trying to find that thin line between spending, without being too painfully tight with money. If it were up to my husband, we’d eat each and every meal in a brewpub and order $17 bacon cheeseburgers and wash them down with $10 pints of beer. If it were up to me, we’d bring rice and beans from home and splurge on a single food cart meal. Instead we ate at Fort George brewpub, where I convinced my husband to split an order of fish and chips, as the servings looked enormous. (They were, and it was plenty of food.) He enjoyed an IPA while I sipped my refreshing glass of water. This truly is us in a nutshell.

    The hotel had a free breakfast buffet that was actually quite good, definitely a step (or two) above your typical Best Western version. Plus there was also free coffee and fruit available throughout the day. We availed ourselves.

    Although the trip was just a night away from home, we left relaxed and happy.

  2. We got a notice in the mail that our mortgage broker’s office had been burglarized, specifically the drawer that held our records. I took this as an opportunity to freeze our credit with all three major credit bureaus, using this guide from Clark Howard. lt took maybe twenty minutes for the two of us, and I’m happy to know that it’s now extremely unlikely that anyone can open accounts in our name.

  3. I picked enough free wild blackberries to make six jars of jam and even fill a bag for the freezer. It took about an hour and I only got mildly scratched up, which I consider to be a win. This location is in the very far back of a store’s parking lot and just a 15 minute drive from the house. I plan on going back again, but am waiting until the Portland temperatures aren’t in the high nineties.

    I do love me some free food!

  4. I mended a blouse that had split along a seam, my daughter brought home a variety of free cheese and eggs from work, my husband’s friend took all the wood from our tree pruning to use as firewood, I picked up two organic salad kits for 50¢ apiece from the grocery liquidator, my husband and I spent the day at a family member’s mountain cabin, I’ve been preparing mostly vegetarian meals as the price of meat is simply too much, I listened to The Henna Artist through the library’s free Libby app and I thrifted a cute used pair of cotton socks for just 49¢.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, and instead borrowed one from Taylor Swift.

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.
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{ 64 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on August 2, 2022 · 92 comments

 

  1. I’ve continued to inexpensively cook from scratch even though I’m sick to death of the endless routine of it all. Black bean chili, vegetarian tacos, stir fry, pasta dishes, soups, burritos, breakfast for dinner, sandwiches, rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

    Update: I wrote the previous paragraph last week when I’d been exclusively cooking from scratch. However, I apparently snapped and have since dined out for brunch three times. Once with an out of town friend, once with my husband and lastly with a local friend who invited me at the last minute to a restaurant in the neighborhood.

    I guess it all comes down to balance. Cook inexpensively at home so you can later enjoy the occasional meal out with friends. I regret nothing.

  2. My foot keeps me mostly at home, which does save money but is far from socially engaging. I did get a proper diagnosis with an MRI, (it’s NOT plantar fasciitis!) so hopefully should start to see some improvement over the next few months.

    The best way I have to describe the pain is that I feel like I’m constantly stepping on a Lego, but that Lego is inside my foot. My foot Lego.

  3. We finally hired an arborist for our imposing backyard maple tree who not only replied to emails, but efficiently completed the job! This is in direct opposition to the guy we hired to come “the first week of March,” and then ghosted us. You may remember that Portland experienced a freak snowstorm the first week of April, which brought down three major branches.

    I’m aware that hiring an arborist has been a dull subject over the past year, (sorry!) but it’s damned expensive and the bids were all over the place. We ended up paying $1440, which was a full two thousand dollars less than the highest bid!

    I know that the standard advice is to never pick the lowest bid when hiring contractors, but this guy did amazing work and I’m 110% happy with the work. He knew we were trying keep the budget in check, so his bid specified leaving all firewood size logs in the backyard. No worries though, as my husband’s friend was happy to snap them up.

  4. I scored six boxes of clearance priced fettuccini for 25¢ apiece from Fred Meyer, I used the free Libby app to listen to The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, my husband borrowed his brother’s truck to schlep rotten boards from a disassembled treehouse to the recycling facility, my son and I prepared every single one of his decidedly unwelcome Hello Fresh meal kits, a friend brought me unopened Tabasco and pasta sauce she wasn’t going to use, my friend Lise and I brought our laptops to IKEA to work and fuel ourselves with their free coffee, the motor for our clothes dryer pooped out, so my husband watched a couple YouTube videos and ordered a $70 replacement motor, and then we rehung a backyard clothesline that had been snapped to pieces from the April snowstorm/falling branches fiasco.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet, and instead borrowed one from Taylor Swift.

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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