Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 27, 2020 · 111 comments

  1. A friend of mine posted on Facebook about how she and her husband had recently drawn up a will. She showed a photo of an notebook with organized estate planning information and my FOMO (“fear of missing out”) kicked into gear.

    • My first thought was “I wish I had the money on hand to hire an estate attorney.”
    • My second thought was “Wow, cool notebook!”
    • My third thought was “I bet you can buy a similar notebook without the expense of an attorney.”

    I went into research mode and found a well rated version on Amazon. It was $50, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to actual legal fees. I put it into my cart to let the purchase simmer. It then occurred to me that I might be able to find it on eBay. Although eBay didn’t provide the exact book, I was able to “Save” the search, which means that I’ll get a notification when an eBay seller lists one.

    At 51, I’m at an age where many of my friends are dealing with the death of their parents, and never once have I heard that it was an easy task. Clearing out houses, conflict with family members and then tracking down bank, insurance and investment information sounds like an absolute freaking nightmare. Especially while grieving. I absolutely don’t want to hand this nightmare down to my kids.

    Hopefully some random eBay seller will list one in the near future. I have deep ethical issues with supporting Jeff Bezos and his Amazonian empire, and do all I can to source from alternate retailers whenever possible.

  2. I’ve been sucked into watching multiple seasons of the TV show Alone from The History Channel. This isn’t a show that I would naturally be drawn towards. Survivalists competing to see who can last the longest out in the wilderness? Not a natural fit for an indoorsy Jewish woman.

    Only the sixth season was available on Netflix. Set in the Canadian arctic, this season has a decent mix of contestants, many of whom are women who speak about “permaculture.” This assuaged my fear that the show would be aimed towards those whose survivalism come from a place of racism, antisemitism and a culture of conspiracy theories.

    As a child I loved Island of the Blue Dolphins,  My Side of The Mountain, and Julie of The Wolves, rereading all three throughout the years. The idea of having to survive alone in the wild is an intriguing concept, and I can see why this TV show has been renewed for multiple seasons. I’m very much an indoor cat, and the two (three?) times I’ve gone camping have been unpleasant experiences. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t cuddle up on the couch and watch others immerse themselves in what nature has to offer.

    For those interested in the show — The sixth season is available on Netflix, the third through fifth seasons are on Hulu and the first and second seasons are available through the History channel app/website. The seventh season is currently airing.

  3. I stopped into Goodwill again, walking out with a $1.99 collectible Veuve Clicquot tin, a $4.99 Michael Graves for Target alarm clock and a $14.99 pair of Dansko clogs. I’m still skittish about unnecessary shopping, but with my N-95 mask and gloves I feel much more secure in my safety.

  4. My father celebrated his 85th birthday the other day. He doesn’t like a fuss, but I was able to convince him to let us come over to mark the occasion. My son and I stopped into the Murray’s Cheese kiosk in Fred Meyer and let the cheese monger recommend a selection of treats. (Needless to say I brought a reusable gift bag from home.) I mostly give consumables to family members, which skirts around my “buy nothing new” self guideline. No one complains about receiving delicious food!

    Together the three of us walked over to his favorite locally owned bookstore, (Broadway Books) where the owners wished him a hearty “happy birthday!” (I’d already stopped by to let them know it was his birthday.) We then sat apart in the backyard and chatted until our bladders called an end to the afternoon.

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

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

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

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{ 111 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 21, 2020 · 113 comments

  1. I donned mask and gloves to pop into my local Goodwill and picked up a couple of items that at first glance appear boring.

    • A $3.50 golf bag.

    • A 99¢ Star Trek Discovery mug.

    • A $4.99 Settlers of Catan board game.

    • A $1.99 plastic milk crate.

    The golf bag was bought with an idea for resale, as were the mug and board game, (which then quickly sold on eBay.) But the milk crate? It’ll replace the one under my kitchen sink that spontaneous combusted.

    I’m pumped to have an excuse to organize the cupboard under the kitchen sink, which somehow devolved into a bottomless pit of filthy cleaning products.

    I joke about curating a blog called “The Inoffensive Decorator,” that solely publishes boring household makeovers to “beautify and elevate your home without attracting a second glance.” This project will be featured over on that blog. I expect it to go viral.

  2. My husband and I completed our taxes using Turbo Tax, and we’ll be receiving both state and federal refunds. For pretty much the exact amount of our son’s summer tuition payment. Easy in, easy out. Sigh . . . .

  3. I noticed that someone in my local Buy Nothing Group was offering a sealed box of gluten-free chocolate macaroons. I offered to take them off her hands and then immediately got a text from my friend Lise asking if I was in the mood for a walk.

    Kismet.

    The two of us, (three, if you count her dog “Daisy”) then walked the half mile or so to pick up the cookies. A delicious treat for my family, which we quickly demolished. Lise didn’t want any.

  4. My raspberries are bearing fruit, my husband switched from pricey deli meat sandwiches to Mexi-bowls for his work lunches, I hosted my mother and step father for a socially distant backyard event, (which featured zero food or beverages as we kept our masks in place) my son’s summer university tuition was discounted for diminished on-campus services, my next door neighbor gave me an extra head of lettuce from her C.S.A. box and I gifted a large box of miscellaneous Japanese items to a neighbor whose kindergartener is enrolled in a Japanese language immersion program.

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

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

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 affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 113 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on June 8, 2020 · 88 comments

  1. Again, I didn’t sell much. Although I did receive an offer for 50 free eBay listings starting June 1st, which I’d been waiting for, and had already some set stuff aside for the new month’s listings and will start working on them today or tomorrow-ish. You know . . . maybe.

    Here’s what sold:

    • A Pendleton wool blanket that I picked up at Goodwill a few months ago. It wasn’t the prettiest pattern, so it took awhile to sell.

    • A Nightmare Before Christmas plush that I’d had listed since November 2018. A Goodwill bins find, so it couldn’t have set me back more than 20¢ or so.

    • A double set of the Ticket To Ride train pieces that I’m continuing to part out. They’re on their way to Canada and I’ve made $65 from this single game so far.

    • More of my daughter’s Shonen Jump magazines. They only sell for five bucks apiece, but it’s adding up for her.

  2. I saw that one of my favorite Goodwill stores (The S.E. Portland Woodstock location) was opening back up, so I grabbed my mask and gloves to scope it out. I was mostly curious to see how they were handling donations, as I’d read that donors would be asked to presort their items rather than being able to hand over bags full of miscellaneous items.

    Donors were indeed sorting their own stuff into huge bins labeled “Shoes, Books/Media, Textiles/Linens/Accessories and Small electrical wares.” No one seemed to be making a fuss about the extra work and the parking lot had even been rearranged to direct traffic in a logical manner.

    With my N-95 mask firmly in place I entered the store and was relieved to recognize the masked employees that I hadn’t seen since March. (Which concurrently feels like a million years ago and maybe just yesterday?) All cashier stations featured newly installed plexiglass shields, and the cashiers were disinfecting their stations between each transaction. Floor stickers placed six feet apart instructed customers in line to “Please Wait Here,” and I was in and out within ten minutes.

    What did I buy?

    A queen-size Marimekko Unikko Poppy duvet cover. I’ve thrifted products in this pattern at least a dozen times, and I’m always tempted to keep them, but usually succumb to the siren song of eBay. (My son has enrolled in summer classes, so we don’t have the normal six month break from tuition hell.) Not too shabby for $7.99!

    Remember when I took apart a thrifted Marimekko tote bag and used the fabric to cover a lampshade? Still one of my favorite projects.

  3. I watched a YouTube video from the Delish test kitchen manager June Xie titled “I Lived On a $5 A Day Budget for A Week In New York City.” I’ve watched similar videos in the past, but they invariably end up as frustrating clickbait. This one was different. Her ingredients were simple but nutritious, and it inspired me to spend an hour or so prepping simple food that can be used to assemble later meals. (Beans, rice, broccoli, sweet potatoes, lettuce.)

  4. I cancelled our CBS All Access subscription (Picard!) right before it charged us for a new month, I was able to get a $200 refund for the FinCon conference, (even though I was initially refused) I’m almost done listening to the audiobook of How To Build a Girl on the free Libby app, I’ve been checking out the bakery clearance rack in the back of Safeway during my weekly trips and have been rewarded with 99¢ bags of bagels, (which I then pre-slice and stick into the freezer) my husband and I binge watched all three seasons of Broadchurch on Netflix and a neighbor brought me a small stack of books to read.

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

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

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 affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 88 comments }

My White Privilege

by Katy on June 3, 2020 · 52 comments

It’s been a stressful and mentally demanding week. Not just for America, but our entire world. The murder of George Floyd by a police officer while his partners looked on has sparked necessary and important protests. Long held beliefs are being challenged and a lot of people are taking a good hard look at themselves.

I know I am.

I’m a liberal middle-class white woman raised in a family that abhors racism, and I end each blog post since November 4th, 2016 with a dig against Donald Trump. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t benefit from white privilege. This hard truth is a difficult pill to swallow. I grew up attending public schools, all of which were racially diverse, especially my high school which was in the “black neighborhood.” (I attended as it contained a specialized dance program.) I can’t count the number of times that people, both adult and my own age asked if I wasn’t “scared to go to school.” I always answered in the negative, but I didn’t have the language as a teen to hold an in-depth conversation about how this assumption was deeply offensive.

I grew up in Northeast Portland, but on “the right side on 15th Avenue.” Portland, Oregon has a shameful history of redlining, a history that doesn’t reach very far into the past. So even though I may have matriculated with black students, I didn’t live near any. I had one black friend. One. And if you want to get technical, she’s actually mixed race with a black father and a white mother.

Northeast Portland’s schools were diverse, but our neighborhoods weren’t.

Those racially diverse schools? They enrolled me in the advanced classes, although in retrospect I was a spectacularly average student. These classes in no way mirrored the school’s ethnic population, and I distinctly remember that my Advanced English class included just two black girls.

My current neighborhood is considered ultra-liberal, within a city that itself is considered one of the most liberal in the entire country. Heck, the entire premise of the TV show Portlandia is that we’re a politically correct joke gone too far. (I could only watch a few episodes as it was a little too much on the nose.) There are precisely two black people on my long street, both of whom are in inter-racial marriages. This may sound creepy, like I’m counting people, (and I suppose I am) but there’s no way to not notice. I retired from working as a labor and delivery nurse last year, a career I held for 24 years. A job where I worked with two black nurses out of hundreds who came and went. A couple of black doctors, but they also came and went. I was shocked by the whiteness of the nursing staff when I was hired in 1995, but gradually stopped noticing.

Suffice it to say that I rarely interact with any black people, but nonetheless felt comfortable putting a Black Lives Matter sign in my front yard as early as 2016, even mentioning it in a blog post to normalize this action. I make sure that my Twitter feed includes multiple accounts dedicated to race and social justice.

I’d done my part and could move on. A single sign in my front yard and a curated social media feed, it was enough.

It was a start, but it wasn’t enough.

I don’t know the answers, (and I’m certainly not the person that people should look to for them) but I can use my meager platform to let people know that now’s the time to take stock in one’s own background, face uncomfortable truths about ourselves and move forward.

I have white privilege, which means I can walk through the neighborhood carrying free curbside finds without anyone thinking that I’d stolen them. My high school took for granted that I needed college preparatory classes and I’ve never once worried about being killed by a police officer.

Admitting that we benefit from a system that’s inherently racist is an uncomfortable truth to face, but these are the times to stand up against inequality. However painful it is to our own self image.

{ 52 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 26, 2020 · 136 comments

Hoo boy, it’s getting harder and harder to write these posts. Although I’m certainly practicing the extremist of extreme non-consumerism, it’s super boring stuff like “prepared all meals from scratch, most of which were bean based” and “used almost no gasoline.”

Far from gripping material.

SO BORING! Boring to write and boring to read.

  1. I sold a few things here and there, not impressive “found it on the side of the road and then sold it for $1000,” level of narrative, but still respectable. Especially since a number of my sales were items just sitting around my house. While others may see “clutter,” I see “inventory.”

    Here’s what sold:

    • My experiment to piece out a Ticket To Ride game and sell the component parts individually has been a success. So far I’ve sold the wooden player pieces, the game board, plus two categories of player cards. $50 from a single game with many more bits and bobs still to sell. (eBay)
    • A Fiestaware mini disc pitcher that had been collecting dust in my built-in buffet. Not something that I used or appreciated, so I’m happy to send it off to a new home. (eBay)
    • A vintage ceramic rooster that I picked up at Goodwill right before the quarantine. (eBay)
    • Two Ikea new-in-box slipcovers that had been stored in my spare bedroom closet since I thrifted them over year ago. I’d been sitting on them for ages, and had assumed they’d never sell, but was wrong. Just had to close all the brick and mortar Ikeas to make it happen. (Facebook Marketplace)
    • A new-in-package curtain panel. (Ebay)
    • A handmade craftsman-style bookshelf that I’d thrifted, and would have been happy to keep had it not sold. (Facebook Marketplace)
    • A macrame wall hanging. (Facebook Marketplace)
    • A dozen or so of my daughter’s Shonen Jump magazines. (eBay)

  2. My most important non-consumer news is that we finally found someone to take over on our son’s apartment lease down in Eugene, Oregon! Covid-19 turned the lives of university students upside down, which emptied out my son’s large apartment complex. All in the middle of countless 12-month leases.

    Getting to this point took attention to a thousand details related to readying the apartment, communication with the property management office, attending to apartment details and emailing back and forth with a multiple prospective tenants. We ended up paying rent on our son’s empty apartment for the months of April and May, and are now spared from paying for the months of June, July and August. (When the lease ends.) The new tenant even paid us for the last week of May, so we even got a bit back.

    The task of finding a new tenant has been an almost daily task since early April, and I feel an Atlas-level weight off my shoulders. And the $2400 that we just saved? Not too shabby!

  3. Although my husband and I cancelled cable TV, we still have Comcast internet. They sent us a free streaming converter box, which has a nice intuitive interface. I would’ve been content to continue using the frustrating first generation Apple TV that someone gave us a few years ago. But it’s nice to not swear under my breath every time I awkwardly scroll through streaming options.

  4. My husband and son both celebrated birthdays last week. Our normal birthday routine is to stage a Birthday Day of Adventures that relies on the ability to hop from location to location, and would be the current definition of an Infection Adventure Day™. Instead, I arranged for nice treats that put neither in danger. I’ll write up a blog post in a few days with more details.

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

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

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 affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 136 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 12, 2020 · 98 comments

  1. My eBay sales were dismal, which seems to be the theme lately. However I did sell a few things.

    • The tree pieces from a Ravensburger Enchanted Forest game. This is part of an experiment to see if it’s possible to piece out a board game and make significantly more than if I’d sold the complete game. I’ve now made $20 from this $3 thrifted game, and could conceivably make an additional $20.

    • An Ikea duvet cover with matching pillows cases that I pulled out of a Goodwill bin. Since I paid by the pound for these lightweight items, I know my initial investment was just a couple of bucks.

    • A Fiestaware mini disc pitcher that I remember was just $1.99 from a suburban Portland Goodwill. (I have an almost photographic memory for my thrifted finds!)

    • More of my daughter’s Shonen Jump magazines. I utilized my son’s college apartment bookcase to organize the manga, which greatly helps when trying to find single magazines from the 100+ that I listed on eBay.

    • A five-panel baseball cap that I pulled out of a neighbor’s free box last summer. My son was going to keep it, but changed his mind. I was asking $20, but accepted a $15 offer since my initial investment was zero. Just happy to put unwanted items into the hands, (or onto the heads) of people who value them.

  2. I pieced out a thrifted Ticket To Ride board game to continue the experiment with maximizing profit from a supposed single item. (I’d tried listing the game on Facebook Marketplace, but it got flagged as prohibited as it included the word “ticket!”) There are enough finicky little pieces included in the game to conceivably make over $100. Who knows? Can’t hurt to try!

  3. After years of feeling like a Frugal Fraud™, I finally convinced my husband that it was time to cancel our cable TV service! Granted, we’d chosen the lowest possible package that included sportball, but it’ll still save us $60/month as I was able to bring our internet service down an additional $10/month with the same phone call. My husband is an avid soccer fan, but since spectator sports stopped existing, this was a no brainer.

    We still get Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, plus Sling, (currently free every evening) through our Roku box, which allows my husband to watch CNN live. We also have an old digital roof antenna, which provides additional local options. It seems like there really are endless free streaming options including the library’s Kanopy service.

    Not too shabby, considering that I grew up with just ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and a single local channel. If we’re un-entertained. It’ll be our own damned fault!

  4. I confirmed that we were credited the $50 for returning our son’s extra electronic key fob to his apartment building, I started reading Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman, which is one of the three physical library books that I had randomly checked out when our branches closed. (I’d started it when I first checked it out, but didn’t have the focus at the time.) I finished listening to a library audiobook of Celeste Ng’s excellent Everything I Never Told You, I scored two 5-pound sale bags of black beans at Safeway, my friend Lise is giving me a couple of tomato starts and I sit at home going almost nowhere and spending no money.

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

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

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 affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 98 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 7, 2020 · 65 comments

Life putters along here at casa Wolk-Stanley. My husband continues his full-time work as a paramedic, ironically less than normal. (911 call volume is drastically lower in Oregon due to fewer car accidents and people’s understandable reluctance to venture into an emergency room.) I’m running the household and selling a few things here and there, although it’s mostly stale merchandise due to the inability to hit up my favorite thrift stores. (I know it’s trite when compared to the big picture, but I sure do miss my Goodwill!)

Mine is a simple life that would normally be considered enviable, but the daily onslaught of deeply upsetting news does not invite a restful mindset. These are confusing times, and there’s no instructions manual on how to handle the emotional repercussions of quarantining.

My husband’s lessened paychecks shine a light on how it’s more important than ever to practice non-consumerism. Extreme frugality and waste avoidance were already in our wheelhouse, and these skills are more important than ever.

So “Five Frugal Things?” You betcha!

  1. My eBay sales dribble in, although they’re mostly my daughter’s old Shonen Jump magazines from when she subscribed from 2003-2012. I also sold:

    • A Fiestaware mini disc pitcher.

    • A “Dundie” award for “Whitest Sneakers.”

    • A Ralph Lauren teddy bear.

    • A pair of Oakley sunglass replacement lenses.

  2. I’m focusing on financial tasks to put money back into our bank account. For example:

    • I’d registered for a fall 2020 financial conference, so I sent an email asking for a refund. Not going to attend, even if they somehow figure out how to safely organize it.

    “Money, please!” <– Mona-Lisa Saperstein voice from Parks and Recreation.

    • We paid $50 to replace our son’s lost electronic key fob awhile back, and then found the lost one when we packed up his apartment. I spoke to the property manager who agreed to refund our money if we mailed it back. You know I immediately popped that bad boy into the mailbox!

    • Dealt with our daughter’s non-refunded apartment deposit from 2018. It involved some tricky detective work, but in the end we got her entire deposit back.

    • I called Comcast to see why our cable/internet bill had increased. I spent almost an hour talking with a customer service which was not a great use of my time. (Please note that the call was this lengthy due to his upselling tactics and him being deliberately unclear.) I think I finally have my sports obsessed husband convinced to cancel cable, which we’ll do after he can fix our roof antenna this weekend. Until then, we got $10-per-month knocked off our bill as well as speedier internet.

    • I continue my attempt to sublet my son’s college apartment. I check in a couple times per week with the management office and communicate with potential tenants through Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist ads. It might be a bust in the end, but it won’t be because I dropped the ball. Argh, I hate wasting money!

  3. I’ve gathered all my kids’ random video game component pieces in the living room. We now just need to test everything to see what works and what can be sold “for parts.” Either way, this falls under the category of “crap out of the house, money in,” and is long past due.

  4. Our meals have been prime examples of both “use it up” and “make it do.” A potato salad used up two bottles of mustard, a jar of olives, the scrapings from a jar of mayonnaise and three strips of bacon; and then Pad Thai made use of an almost empty jar of peanut butter and the last of a bag of broccoli. Other meals such as Mexi-bowls and omelettes lend themselves well to this loose recipe mindset. Now is not the time for dropping by the grocery store for last minute ingredients.

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

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
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Disclosure: This blog post includes affiliate links, which may earn you a discount, as well as a small commission for me. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 65 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 30, 2020 · 77 comments

  1. My eBay continues to putter along, and although no individual sale will knock your socks off, it still added up quite respectably.

    My favorite sales were:

    • A new in box Ikea slipcover that I picked up at Goodwill a couple years ago. I bought two that day, and still have one to go. Turned out to not have been such a great find, but I’m happy to have finally unloaded this one.

    • A Patti Smith concert hoodie that sold to a friend.

    • A cool vintage classroom style clock, that sold through Facebook Marketplace.

    • An Under Armour brand visor that I found washed up on my sister’s Bronx, NY beach. (It cleaned up perfectly.) I deeply love that I found a new home for this abandoned item.

    Most these sales had been listed for months, which is a good example of how reselling often requires a hefty dose of patience.

  2. My husband and I drove down to Eugene, Oregon with our son to clean out his college apartment. We’re eight months into a twelve-month lease and are hoping to find someone to sublet and take over this financial responsibility, as he now lives at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    We 110% micocleaned the apartment to give ourselves the best chance of finding a new tenant. If we continue to pay rent on an empty apartment, it won’t be because we didn’t give it our best effort.

  3. My husband and I cut his hair and it actually turned out pretty good. He did the part with the electric clippers and I batted cleanup with a simple pair of scissors. We were both pleasantly surprised with the results and my husband can once again venture out in public with his head held high. (He works as a first responder, so he’s not housebound like the rest of us.)

  4. We got our son a free McDonald’s first responder’s meal through my husband’s work ID, I finished listening to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek audiobook through the library’s free Libby app, I honed my thrifting eye by watching hours of reselling YouTube videos from ReadySetResell, I gifted a jar of yeast to a friend, I listed some fabric on eBay that had been languishing in my sewing basket and I may have created enough homemade meals to time travel back to the oppressive 1950s.

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

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

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.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
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{ 77 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on April 23, 2020 · 56 comments

  1. My eBay sales kicked into gear over the past few days, and I’ve made a couple of juicy sales including:

    • A bolt of unbearably cute cowgirl-style fabric that I picked up at the Tillamook, Oregon Goodwill.

    • A George Mpata painting that I bought at the Goodwill on S.E. Powell’s Blvd. This was sold through eBay’s Global Shipping Program and appears to be on its way to Italy.

    • A new old stock 1970 latch-hook kit. I purchased this either at the Salem or Albany, Oregon Goodwill in early March on a day that I drove down to Eugene to take my son out for dinner. Ahh . . . that was a fun day.

    • A piece of cute Ikea fabric from the Goodwill on S.E. 52nd Avenue, off of Woodstock Blvd.

    • An antique floor lamp that I sold through Facebook Marketplace. Although I liked the lamp, (and had it in my living room for twenty-plus years) I replaced it with a $12.99 Goodwill lamp that was more streamlined/less fussy.

  2. I grabbed my mending pile and spent an hour or so winnowing it down to just a few odd socks. I usually enjoy mending my family’s clothes, but it felt more like drudgery than a enjoyable chore, which I attribute to the self-quarantine.

    Before quarantine: Mending = a rationalization to watch an hour or two of luxuriously stupid TV.
    Mid-quarantine: Stupid TV is no longer a luxury.

    Luckily an enjoyably darned sock is just as functional as a sock darned with resentful boredom.

  3. My husband switched our phone service over to a less expensive carrier. Still too much money, but any savings is good savings.

  4. I lent three Star Wars Lego books to a neighbor’s twin sons, we let our next door neighbors use our internet for the couple days when theirs was down, I continue to play the windows open/furnace off game on warm days, I’m showering every other day, my husband signed up for a free week of Apple TV+, (which prompted five straight hours of us watching The Morning Show!) I’m cooking entirely from scratch and I went nooooowheeeeerrrrreeee!

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

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

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 April 16, 2020 · 92 comments

  1. Reselling income has been down, but this makes sense as thrifting no longer exists and I have yet to optimize my “death pile.” (A term used by professional resellers to describe the pile of unlisted items that plague even the best of us.) Of the things that have sold, only one item followed a logical track of what you’d think would sell during a global pandemic. (Unopened vintage West German sewing machine needles.)

    • Sewing machine needles.

    • A vintage pool cue.

    • A studio made glazed vase.

    • Two vintage tiled trivets.

    • A 1970s Scrabble set.

    • A lot of 2005 Shonen Jump magazines.

    • A set of game pieces from a Ravensburger board game. (This was an experiment to see if I could maximize profit from a quality board game by selling the component pieces separately.)

    • A gorgeous, (if a bit scratched up) silkscreen of Oregon’s Mount Hood.

    • A vintage metal patio chair that I grabbed a few months ago from a neighbor’s free pile.

    This may sound like an impressive number of sold items, but keep in mind that I haven’t posted about sales since March 15th.

  2. There’ve been two incidences where I’ve come across items at home that I didn’t realize existed — so yes, I’m categorizing them as “frugal things.”

    1. A favorite pair of sweatpants. These lightweight sweats not only fit me perfectly, but feature deep pockets, ideal for brick-a-brack or balled up fists of rage. Sure, my husband insists that they’re technically “men’s pajama pants,” but I don’t let the existence of a single button-fly sway my opinion.

    Why are they a frugal thing?

    I thought I’d left them at my sister’s NYC apartment during one of the five trips that I took to visit her over 2018-2019. Instead, they hid neatly folded at the back of a dresser drawer that mostly holds my husband’s track pants.

    In this essay I will postulate how the perfect pair of sweatpants holds more value than hard currency . . . . 

    2. A bundle of bubble wrap. As an amateur eBay seller, I’m able to source all my bubble wrap needs from a local music shop and my husband’s employer. That was, until the Coronavirus shut down all non essential businesses! I’m loathe to buy new packaging supplies as A) I don’t want to prompt the manufacture of plastic products; and B) My sales are generally pretty low and paying for packaging cuts into my somewhat meager profits.

    I sold the aforementioned pool cue, which sent me into our attic in search of a large box that I could Frankenbox into the right configuration. I grabbed a huge box that previously held a vintage electric guitar that my son ordered from Japan last summer. At the bottom of the box was a mushed up, but perfectly functional wad of bubble wrap that should get me through the next week or two of shipping.

  3. My husband and daughter are both essential workers and I’m currently running the household full time. (Plus watching TV — so much TV!!) I’ve been disciplined about self-quarantining as I know that earth’s only chance of stopping this pandemic is to go home and stay home, which turns out to be an extremely frugal endeavor. My husband has been tasked with all grocery shopping, as he’s already being exposed to the outside world due to his job as a first responder.

    Going nowhere, cooking from scratch and buying nothing beyond groceries is extreme, even for me. With next to no gas station fill ups, “grabbing a bite” while out and about and minimal impulse purchases will hopefully keep our heads above water.

  4. Some businesses are refunding and decreasing fees, which for us includes our auto insurance and our son’s university.

    Specifically we’ll be receiving “A 20% credit on two months of premiums in the coming weeks” from USAA, and a refund of activity and on-campus fees from the university. Plus my son dropped a PE class, as it made zero sense to take a rock climbing class from afar.

    We’re waiting for the inevitable moment when the Portland Timbers soccer team admits that they need to refund season ticket holders, which’ll put a nice chunk of change back into our pockets. Sadness for husband, happiness for bank account.

  5. I gave my thrifted Hydroflask to my daughter, as hers was stolen at work last week, (It’s not like I’m utilizing any travel related items right now) I lent out some cream of tartar and a puzzle to a neighbor, I make endless frugal meals for my family, (including this Bibimbap!) I remember to turn off the furnace whenever I open the windows to enjoy Portland’s sunny weather, (technically . . . I remember after I wake up shivering in the morning) and I sit at home, day after day.

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

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

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

{ 92 comments }