Today I Am . . .

by Katy on December 26, 2014 · 57 comments

Roz Chast drawing

Today I am . . .

  • Drinking a cup of Red Rose tea, and happy that my father let me scavenge a handful of teabags yesterday since I ran out on a day when the stores were closed!
  • Very pleased with the one gift I received yesterday, which is a pair of Ugg boots. They’re my birthday/Christmas present from my mother. (My birthday is next week.)
  • Pleased that the gift bags which we used for all of our gifts yesterday are already folded and back in their bin.
  • Extremely happy that I remembered to make reservations for our Chinese restaurant dinner last night. I got P.T.S.D. when I walked though the crowded lobby and remember how we waited at least two hours for a table last year. We were immediately seated after arrival.
  • Content to stay home the day on December 26th without the compulsion to take advantage of after-Christmas sales. I used to love to go shopping to scoop up bargains after Christmas, that attraction is long gone.
  • Annoyed with the stick-on bows that came with some gifts my kids received. They are straight-up garbage. I know they can be reused, but I’m simply not going to hold onto them out of garbage-guilt.
  • Going to the grocery store, but only after my husband gets back from Costco. This one car thing sure takes planning.
  • Still ruminating on the Roz Chast memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? about caring for her aging parents. I highly recommend this wonderful and honest book.
  • Deciding that in 2015 I will be more deliberate about where I spend my dollars. I already avoid Wal Mart, box box stores and the mall, but am adding the thrift shops for Deseret Industries (Mormons) and Salvation Army to my list. Gay rights are extremely important to me, and I refuse to give my money to organizations that have active policies against LGBT people. (Even though their thrift stores are cheaper and less picked through than Goodwill.)
  • Realizing that the mend job I did on the spare bedroom blanket has torn clear through. I could mend it again, but essentially it needs to be replaced. I’ll start keeping an eye out for a replacement when I thrift, and will try to keep it under $5.

Now your turn. What are you doing today?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Janna December 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Interesting about the thrift stores. How do you know if a thrift store is run by Deseret Industries? Are they actually called that or something else? I’ve never seen one in Portland, is why I ask.

I love Better Bargains Thrift Store on NE Sandy. Great prices, nice employees and I can almost always find what I need there.


Katy December 26, 2014 at 4:11 pm

There is a Deseret Industries thrift store on S.E. 82nd Avenue.


Megg December 26, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Yes, they’re called Deseret Industries (like, that’s the name of their stores). My husband grew up in south Idaho and just calls them DI!


A. Marie December 26, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Funny you should mention the Roz Chast book, as I am reading it this very minute. IMHO, she’s got the whole aging-parents thing covered. I’m a long-time admirer of Chast, but far more so now.

Re: the Salvation Army/LGBT issue: I hear you, but at the same time I don’t have a lot of choice here. I do also shop at/donate to my local Rescue Mission stores (whose LGBT policy I do not know), but the only Goodwill in the area is at the other end of the county. So it’s complicated.

Re: Christmas: On the one hand, I’m delighted it’s over. On the other hand, several wonderful neighbors have given us gifts far beyond what I think was called for (my husband and I have helped them out in various ways this year, but heck, we’d have done that no matter what). So, again, it’s complicated.


PL December 26, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Determined that 2015 will be the year I get rid of the unnecessary stuff – which is terribly hard for a bargain shopper, sentimental, messy hoarder to say. I am still going through many boxes following the death of my stepfather last year – and finally being allowed to look at the things of my mother and father’s, grandparents, etc. (stepfather wouldn’t allow me to take anything.) I can NOT put my children through this when I am gone.


nalani December 26, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Thanks for this post! I patronize an array of resale and thrift shops including charitable organizations that do pay employees fairly and are open to all: Hadassah, O.R.T. and a gay and lesbian comprehensive medical care center.

I do not patronize Salvation Army because of their anti-LGBT positions. Goodwill has made it to my list because of their treatment of workers. Indeed, people are being employed but why should the organization pay these individuals crap wages? I have issues.


Betsey December 26, 2014 at 5:26 pm

I look forward to receiving mail because I did not put one cent on credit cards!
I needed a new are rug for my living room because the current one is not big enough to place furniture on. Hence, the poltergeist comes every day and moves my sofa and chairs all over. I blanched at the prices, but then I thought if I could put something no stick under the legs, that might work. I found a thin bath mat, cut pieces, and voila! We will see if poltergeist visits tonight (I think not).
Katy, with all due respect, you are free to spend your money where you choose. But are you sure that these companies have such policies?
I have refused to support most of Hollywood for years because of the leftist leanings and horrible, violent, sexually themed movies. I go to occasional Christian moves and some G rated ones, but for the most part I would rather just stay home.


Katy December 26, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Yes. The Church of Latter Day Saints runs the Deseret Industries thrift shops. They put huge amounts of resources into fighting against gay marriage initiatives. The Salvation Army has anti-gay policies as well. So no, I will not be helping their fundraising efforts.


Trish December 26, 2014 at 8:00 pm

thank you for the information about Salvation Army’s LGBT policy. very disappointing. I so despise Walmart, but they are my closest shopping option. When I am closer to a local chain, I shop there, but they tend to be so much more expensive!!! such a conundrum!!!! and very oddly, Walmart is the only store where I can find my dog food ( Iams food for mature dogs). gah.


Rachel January 6, 2015 at 9:24 am

Trish, you may be able to find dog food online with free shipping if you auto-subscribe (which I also find to be super convenient, once you figure out how often you need it). I use but have also used when they had a huge discount on Blue Buffalo. Just a tip from a fellow owner of a mature dog 😉


Another Trish :) December 26, 2014 at 8:25 pm

I’m with you, Katy, on not shopping at the big chain stores and wanting to chose the thrift stores that I support carefully. Its tough. We have one thrift store that’s a for-profit chain, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, another religious one with anti-gay leanings, and the humane society thrift shop. I try to give the bulk of my donations and business to the humane society, but it’s 40 miles away from my house. The Goodwill is my next choice. I agree that it’s kind of lame that they pay wages below minimum wage to some workers, but some money is better than nothing, which is what most of those employees would be making otherwise. The Goodwill couldn’t afford to help as many people build their resumes with work experience if they had to pay them more, and it’s intended to be a scaffolded stepping stone to better things, not a career. With that said, the CEO makes more than his fair share, in my opinion. At any rate, all thrift stores are keeping stuff out of the landfills, so I don’t feel too terrible spending $3 here and $2 there if they have what I need, even if I disagree with their ideals– but I try to shop the humane society first.


Randi December 26, 2014 at 10:45 pm

As a lesbian in a same sex marriage, I thank you.


Randi December 26, 2014 at 10:46 pm

I hope you don’t eat at chick fil a


Katy December 26, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Nope! 🙂


Diane December 27, 2014 at 4:30 am

Took my aging vehicle to Auto Zone for a free diagnostic on why the check engine light comes on. Got the code and was told the fix would not be an expensive one. But, will have to wait until the new year for a trip to the mechanic.

Otherwise, staying out of all stores except the grocery store…making items for my newly revamped etsy shop to open on January 1, 2015 and preparing for an arctic blast this coming week.


Bellen December 27, 2014 at 4:35 am

While we try very hard to shop at locally owned stores we are very limited for food shopping to Walmart simply due to the price. A can of Green Giant corn is 1/3 the price compared to Publix, an employee owned store. Being on a limited income with some big medical bills to pay off we just don’t have a choice. That said, we are choosing to buy the BOGO deals at Publix as long as it is something we need.
Thrift stores – mainly we buy at a shop that supports Rape and Abuse victims with no other political agenda. We are checking out some thrifts sponsored by local churches, pet rescue organizations and one that funds a homeless coalition. We will not support any store, organization that has a LGBT policy or any policy we disagree with.


Jill December 27, 2014 at 6:27 am

We had some friends call and say they were coming through our area on vacation, so we offered for them to stay at our house and I am proud of myself for cooking dinner instead of meeting them at a restaurant. I made baked ziti and salad and offered baked goods for dessert. Offered them “continental” breakfast this morning – bagels and fruit- before they left. I almost caved and ordered pizza as we had lots going on but so glad I didn’t.


Gina December 27, 2014 at 6:46 am

Isn’t Costco considered a big box store?


Katy December 27, 2014 at 10:35 am

Costco is a biiiiig box store. However, they treat their employees very well with amazing benefits and an average pay of $20.89 per hour.


Vickie December 27, 2014 at 8:03 am

Thanks for the heads up on SA. I didn’t realize they had such policies. Of course I haven’t shopped in an SA store in years – they are pretty pricey and I can get better prices at the GW stores where I shop.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought some of the lower wage issues at GW had to do with those who were receiving disability, assistance or social security?
If they make too much money they can lose their housing, etc. and I was under the impression GW helps train them and works to help them keep the assistance they are getting in the mean time.
As expensive as rent, child care and groceries can be – I prefer to see a company that will work with people on those things, instead those like Walmart who take complete advantage of their workers and assist them with nothing.

BTW – Hobby Lobby has the same type of policies as SA. They are even worse when it comes to the way they treat their workers. My daughter has a friend that works in one of their factories. When Moore was devastated by an F5 tornado over a year ago, they wouldn’t let their workers who lost homes take off unless they had vacation time to cover it. If they took off anyway, they fired them. Some people lost everything and had nowhere to live and some people lost loved ones. I’ve boycotted them ever since. IMO – if you sell t-shirts and bracelets proclaiming WWJD (What would Jesus do?) and you don’t have Christ’s compassion, you don’t deserve my money.

I stayed home Friday and enjoyed a relaxing day watching old movies, drinking Irish Creme coffee and snacking on the food our daughter got us for Christmas. For the past 3 years, at my request, she’s bought us walnuts, popcorn and gotten me pain patches from the Dollar Tree that I use all the time. No waste!


Katy December 27, 2014 at 10:34 am

Thank you for clarifying the Goodwill thing. The only time they pay less than minimum wage is when a client they’re working with to train receives SSI and other disability benefits. It’s carefully crafted to ensure that they don’t lose their life saving government benefits. It’s decided with input from the client, their guardians and a social worker. Goodwill has ZERO actual employees who receive less than minimum wage. The less than minimum wage thing is only for clients receiving who participate in a paid training programs.

Whew . . .

I never shopped at Hobby Lobby, so it’s no change for me to no longer shop there. Of course I believe in safe access to birth control, I’m a women’s health care worker!


Vickie December 27, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Thanks for adding to the info on GW, Katy!

Yes, I feel the same way about the birth control issue too.
Also, while HL denies those benefits to their workers, they’ve been exposed for investing funds in companies that manufacture the very thing they say they are opposed to. The owners are hypocrites. I shop local craft stores, or Michaels, if I need something I can’t find what I need second hand.


Elizabeth B December 27, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Oh my goodness, that is totally different from the way I’ve seen the GW issue reported. Does that apply only to the Portland-area chapter or to the whole country? Either way, thank you so much for the info, Katy.


Lucy December 28, 2014 at 5:48 am

I have seen the same info reported in the Twin Cities area of MN, too.


Betsey December 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Hobby Lobby does not object to paying for safe birth control. What they objected to was the morning after pill. Just saying…


JD December 29, 2014 at 9:08 am

Thank you Betsey. I’m glad to see someone clear that up.


Robin R December 29, 2014 at 9:23 am

They also object to IUDs, which are a perfectly safe form of birth control.


Betsey December 29, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Not sure about that one. I have heard doctors saying that the device was delivered with the baby.

Robin R December 29, 2014 at 3:09 pm

I’m not sure of the utility of responding to an internet troll – since their “argument”is less than even anecdotal – but IUDs are a reliable, safe form of birth control.


Rachel January 6, 2015 at 9:27 am

Wow Vickie, thanks for the info… I live in Oklahoma but did not know that about the workers in Moore! I disliked HL anyway for other reasons, but that is really sad.


Julia December 27, 2014 at 9:33 am

Mostly I am cleaning up and doing the massive pile of dishes. However, I will also take a walk to the shoe repair guy and get my beloved vintage cowboy boots back after sending them for repair. These fit perfectly and walked me all over Europe. I plan to have them for another 30 years. And now they’ll have heels and the tears will be fixed. $50 well spent.
I’m with you on SA and GW. There are a ton of thrift stores around here. Thrift Town is our fave in this county, and the animal shelter thrift in the next county has fantastic deals on vintage wool blankets, etc. Love them.
I need to go over our budget this week and look at the new year plan to eliminate three credit cards from the list. Zippo. Disappear! We took a line of credit against our (paid for) house to pay for improvements, so I want to pay extra on that and keep it manageable so we will win by this plan, not lose. So credit cars must go away and thrifty shopping is back in style.
ps Our 16 yo son is SO MAD that we got him a nonstick frying pan and spatula for Christmas instead of an XBox. We told him before (and all the kids) it would be a simple Christmas and not to expect big things. And he loves to cook eggs, but always burns the bottom. His own pan is a start on his grownup life, plus he can cook w/o burning the bottoms. it’s a grownup gift. He is not amused. Oh well. I guess he’ll live.


Carole R December 27, 2014 at 11:34 am

Loved the Roz Chaste book too.
All the thrifts in my shopping orbit are getting too pricey or don’t have anything. No Salvation Army or DI.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary December 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I just finished the Roz Chaste book, and have informed my husband that he has to read it too. I can tell I’m going to be thinking about it for a looooong time. My grandparents passed away a few years ago, and I watched my mother go through something very similar to what Roz went through. And I see it in my own future, too. Scary stuff.


Jenne December 27, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Katy, you might want to reconsider shopping at DI. I live in Salt Lake, so I don’t have any other thrift options. DI is part of the LDS Welfare Program, and proceeds go ONLY toward job training refugees and the homeless, as well as humanitarian aid, both here and in other countries. They do have massive corporate holdings, but they are completely separate financially.

The bulk of what the LDS church spent contributing to Prop 8 and National Organization for Marriage came from its members’ tithing donations.


Diane C December 28, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Sorry, Jenne, this feels like hair splitting to me. Just think of the many and better uses the member’s tithing could have been directed to. Also, though I have some wonderful LDS friends, I think that conversion is always at the forefront of their minds. Not a lot of live-and-let-live in the Mormon community.


Jenne December 29, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Being at the epicenter of those values, I really can’t object to that. But the revenue streams are in fact separate. We all have to choose how to direct our efforts, and I have no problem with the choices other people make.


Jennifer December 29, 2014 at 11:52 pm

I totally agree with you Jenne. I’m a former Mormon and gay rights issues were my #1 reason for leaving that church. But there is no arguing their work on all types of disaster relief & assistance to the poor. I have not seen an organization that does more. I would not hesitate to shop at a DI.


cathy January 2, 2015 at 10:19 pm

I’m also in SLC and we have LOTS of thrift store options besides DI! If you haven’t checked them out, there are several locations of Savers, at least two Goodwills, Mountain Thrift and the Assistance League thrift store (both on 33rd South), and close to downtown there is Our House which supports AIDS research.


Robin R December 27, 2014 at 3:35 pm

THANK YOU for standing up for LGBTQ rights. I stand with you & shop accordingly. Although my family is a family of consumers, reading your blog does make me think a little more about each purchase. Baby steps. Happy New Year.


Maureen December 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Today I am trying to get my head squared away so that I can pay all my bills and save the amount of money I want to save come 2015. I have more than enough to do that, so why don’t I do that? Why don’t I eat at home every night so that I don’t have to go out to eat? One thing I have cut back on is buying clothes so that is good, but I really need to work on the food part. I’m going to have to really think of cooking on the weekends so that the leftovers are what’s for dinner.


HeatherS December 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm

My frugal things for today –
– made deviled eggs to take to a lunch gathering tomorrow. Time consuming but pretty cheap.
– stocked the freezer with some good meat deals
– planned out some freezer cooking to do next week before Christmas break is over and we head back to school/work
– organized and set up a “lunch packing” station to help streamline daily lunch packing for the kids, DH and I. If this works the way I plan, no more hunting for containers every morning or grabbing a baggie because I can’t easily find the containers.


Charli December 28, 2014 at 3:14 am

I love the salvos and have seen much of the good work they do first hand. I have seen them take in and love and care for those folk suffering addictions when they are at their worst. They treat these people with the some love and respect no matter their sexual orientation and religious belief. Salvos consider homosexuality a sin, but they truly show their Gods love to every homosexual.


Alison December 28, 2014 at 11:12 am

Looking up the programs offered by the SA just in the Portland area, there was a seniors center, veterans centre, various women’s shelters for homelessness, domestic violence and at risk/pregnant teens, a camp for underprivileged kids, disaster services, food bank – all at least partially supported with the money made from their thrift stores. These services are available regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.


Katy December 28, 2014 at 11:27 am

It’s hard because yes, they do great work for the most vulnerable in our communities, but then they also put out internal memos saying that any SA members who wear their uniforms to a gay wedding will be excommunicated.


Barbara H. December 28, 2014 at 4:31 am

Today I am purging my attic. An on-going project. I thought of a new way to save space with the framed family pictures I inherited from my grandmother and parents: unframe them! Most of the frames were relatively ugly, and I really only saved them to protect the pictures. I have reduced the attic by 3 HUGE boxes, and stored the pictures in photo-safe sleeves. This also brings the pictures into the climate-controlled house, instead of the hot/cold attic.


debra December 29, 2014 at 4:38 am

I vow to not but any tea in 2015. I have tons and got more as gifts!
I plan on selling more stuff on ebay. I did well in November and December.
I’m getting my basement waterproofed in January so i plan on rearranging my fabric/craft bins so i can park in the garage.
I’ve been reading Walden on Wheels. Very good.
I’m feeling bad about not sending Christmas cards, although i received just a few.
I picked up some free magazines at the Library. After i read them i will donate them to our Crisis Center for the lobby.
I’ve had these debates with friends about which stores are anti gay anti feminist. I do hate that their corporate policies impact the local staffers.


Marie December 29, 2014 at 4:38 am

I respect your right to feel how you do regarding the LBGT community. But what about those that feel the opposite way and subscribe to you? Do you think they should unsubscribe from your site now, knowing how you feel politically? Wouldn’t it be the same thing as your choice? Or should you keep your political views private being that your site is about frugality?


Katy December 29, 2014 at 10:54 am

My blog is about being a conscious consumer, and I feel that one of our most powerful ways to exercise our opinion in this country is how we spend our dollars. Whether you choose to continue to read The Non-Consumer Advocate is your choice.


Diane C December 29, 2014 at 11:55 am

Dear Marie,
Why are you confusing this issue with politics? Total non-sequitur, if you ask me. Groups like HL may choose to plead their case to politicians, but they are merely trying to enforce their views on others via any means possible. Katy’s blog doesn’t strike me as the least bit political. Her concern for human rights and dignity is glowingly apparent, but political? Oh my heavens, no!
Your friend in thrift,
Diane C
P.S. It’s okay, I’m straight and am a child of God. I firmly believe the Lord loves all His children, or he wouldn’t have made them in His image. All of them. ALL of them.


Yankeegal December 29, 2014 at 4:19 pm

HL is not a group. It is a private business owned by Christians who want to run it according to those beliefs. They are not trying to force their views on anyone-just trying to protect their own religious freedoms. Like what America was founded on. I for one support any private businesses’ right to run it as they see fit. No one is forced to work there. And Katy has made political statements. Read past posts about what she thinks of the Koch brothers and the evil 1%. But it is her private blog-she can say what she wants.


Diane C December 29, 2014 at 7:50 pm

HL brags about how their employees are treated like family. Then they say if the guv’ment doesn’t make a special exception for them and their beliefs, they will shut the business down. Nice way to treat family, eh?

“No one is forced to work there.” is disingenuous. Why are employee’s birth control choices any of an employer’s business?

As to Katy’s political “statements”, she can’t express her opinion on her own blog without someone calling it politics? Since when is a statement of fact a political statement? I’m so happy you agree that she can say what she wants. Go Katy!

Meredith December 29, 2014 at 6:04 am

Thanks, Katy, for not supporting SA. It means a lot to a lot of us queer folk.


Kate December 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I agree!


Gina December 30, 2014 at 7:34 am

If anyone choses to not follow you anymore due to your consumer activism, know that you have gained a new supportive follower here! So happy to have discovered your blog today. 🙂


lauralei December 30, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Now that I am aware of your views on human rights, I will be reading your blog even more. There are a million and one right wing frugality blogs out there. Your writing is a much needed breath of fresh air. Thank you.


Amanda December 31, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Today I am
-looking forward to cheap Mexican takeout to celebrate New Years. My mama tried to talk my husband and me into a $150/couple bash. You’ve gotta do you.
-glad we have (almost) made it though december without an emergency room visit. Luckily no one in my family has had a serious illness, but we still had a million colds this year and a couple of times the nurse line recommended we spend too much time and money in the ER.
-dreaming about our now more certain 2015 trip to Bali! It’s never too early to start planning!
-looking forward to quilting while listening to an audiobook from the library tonight. Heaven!


Sadye December 31, 2014 at 4:15 pm

If it’s not too late, you could always save a gift bow for your cat — my kitties and friends’ kitties think they’re fun toys.


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