What’s Your Wasteful Confession?

by Katy on September 7, 2010 · 26 comments

In honor of No Waste Week, I am going to take the opportunity to confess my frugal transgressions to The Non-Consumer Advocate community. And no, I don’t need to back more than a month to find an example. This occurrence happened in August. I could start making my excuses now, but perhaps I should start from the very beginning.

My 12-year-old son is a slave to fashion. I had thought that I would be spared the inconvenience of parenting kids who care about this kind of fluff since I only have boys. But sadly, this is not the case. He is particular about everything from his sneakers (Vans) to his jeans, (Levi’s skinny jeans.) Luckily, these brands are popular enough that they’re easy to find from local thrift stores.

Having said that, finding used sneakers in my son’s size is always a challenge. Add to that that I only buy used shoes that look new, and shoes are usually treated as precious objects at our house.


You may recall that my family hosted a Japanese exchange student in early August, which meant I drove her around town so she could exercise her shopping muscles. We were all walking down N.W. 23rd Avenue, taking pictures and having fun when my younger son stepped into the largest and smelliest pile of dog poop imaginable to man.

Crap. Literally.

We walked back to the car, as there was a pair of Crocs in our swim bag, but the thought of leaving this poop smeared shoe in a hot car was more than I could bear. Our plans were not going to bring us home until late evening, so that shoe would be thoroughly cooked by the time the day ended.

So I put his shoes into a paper bag and threw them into a garbage can. Later, I realized that I could have put the bagged up shoes under the car. But that epiphany was too little, too late.

I cringe when I recall this afternoon, but I just couldn’t subject this sweet little Japanese girl to hot car poop fumes.

Do you have any wasteful confessions to share with The Non-Consumer Advocate community? Please confess your stories in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth D. September 7, 2010 at 8:10 am

I don’t blame you for waste, I blame the inconsiderate oaf who left dog crap on a sidewalk. Seriously? This is 2010 people. Clean up your dog poo!


Hiptobeme September 7, 2010 at 9:55 am

Poo is your waste get-out-of-jail-free card. No confession required.


Tara September 7, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Let me preface by first stating I make most everything in our home from scratch including yogurt and bread. I am hooked on Stoneyfeild chocolate underground yogurt. They only come in individual cups which I try to limit to only having a couple of times a week, and our school does participate in the recycling program but I still know it is a complete indugent wasteful thing that I can’t stop doing!!!! I eat this in lieu of dessert and it is soooooo delicious!!!!


WilliamB September 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm

It seems we have very different ideas of what’s terribly wasteful! I use pre-crushed garlic, which comes only in 1/2 c. jars. It’s more expensive, doesn’t taste as good, and generates (recyclable) waste. But I found that I wasn’t cooking as much because crushing whole garlic was too much of a hassle, so I use the pre-crushed on the theory it’s better than not cooking.


Willow September 7, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Costco has 48 oz plastic jars of minced garlic. It us a lot of garlic so lasts me about a year. I keep it in the fridge and it works great. Can’t remember the price but really reasonable. And I usually reuse the container for storing other food, odds and ends or small toys. Or it can be recycled.


Emily September 8, 2010 at 3:32 am

Do you have a decent garlic press? That is the one kitchen gadget I adore. You don’t even have to peel the garlic.


WilliamB September 8, 2010 at 4:56 am

Even with a good one it was still enough of a hassle that it was a blockage. It doesn’t take a whole lot of time to crush garlic but it was a blockage just the same. Silly, I’m sure.


Tracy Balazy September 8, 2010 at 5:57 pm

William, I agree with you. We use garlic nearly every day, and we have a great garlic press, but I prefer to mince it finely with a knife rather than deal with the blockage of those little holes! We also keep a jar in the fridge. I buy the big jars of minced garlic at Kroger.

Jessica Wolk-Stanley September 7, 2010 at 3:17 pm

I just picked up a really nice, brand new pair of name brand hiking shoes in my son’s size from the Cortes Island Free Store (a store at the Island dump where people drop off usable things they no longer want/need). The only thing wrong with these shoes? A small schmear of what I assume was dog poop. I brought them home (they were no longer smelly) and scrubbed them clean. So we seem to have a karmic shoe swap happening. Sorry for your loss.


Rebecca September 7, 2010 at 4:13 pm

We just had a somewhat similar incident. About 10 min before 30 people arrived at our home on Sat, our elderly cat peed all over 2 bean bags and a large blanket. The blanket was very old and ripped up so not a huge loss, but those bean bags were relatively new and a big part of my 2 autistic boys’ therapy room. Sadly, we really couldn’t salvage them, not with a bunch of people arriving as I was scrubbing the carpet underneath. Sigh. The worst part is I really need to replace them ASAP, and I can’t wait to find them used or on clearance. I will go shopping this weekend, they may be on sale, but way more than I usually pay for stuff.


Tracy Balazy September 8, 2010 at 6:01 pm

About 10 years ago, I had a fantastic big, orange vinyl-covered bean bag chair from the ’70s that a friend had stashed for years and gave me. My cat Sam found it irresistible — something crunchy and covered in plastic (for some reason, I’ve found that cats seem to like to pee on plastic), with a big hole in the center — bingo! I was able to scrub away the odor, but sadly, gave it away because I knew it would happen again. I’m sorry you had to go through that with your sons’ bean bags.


Anne Marie @ Married to the Empire September 9, 2010 at 11:42 am

We have an old, sick cat, and he pees on stuff whenever he gets a bladder infection, which is way too often these days. I’ve had to throw away my husband’s memory foam pillow because it couldn’t be cleaned. Also had to toss a giant pillow my MIL made for hubby back in his college days. He liked to use it for watching TV while lying on the floor. Ordinarily, I just take pillows to the laundromat, but this one was just too big for even the giant washers. So… garbage. *sigh*

Since your boys need those beanbags, you might want to keep them locked up away from the cat when not in use. I remember a discussion on a bulletin board years ago in which several people were saying how their cats are attracted to peeing on beanbags. Guess it’s a weird cat quirk.


Practical Parsimony September 7, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I really love pimiento and cheese sandwiches. However, I should not buy the large jar since there is only me eating this stuff and I will just eat twice as much. So, I buy the small, teeny, tiny jar that will be just right for 8 ounces of cheese that I shred. The small jar is 2 ounces and costs $.68. The large jar is 4 ounces and cost $1.24. If I buy the large jar, I save money, but it might spoil before I use the second half. I tried growing my own, but neither my gardener friend could produce pimiento peppers from our two plants we purchased. You can see I really tried to save money. Now, I just feel guilty buying the little 2 ounce jars and wasting a jar that I cannot give away and has no reuse value. If I could find a huge jar of pimientos, I could freeze it in ice cube trays. There is no solution except to quit buying pimiento. If I did this, maybe I could lose weight from the exclusion of pimiento and cheese sandwiches from my life=two wins for me. Oh, I really need Ruffles to go with these sandwiches.


My Roman Apartment September 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I just threw away four pounds of HOME GROWN cherry tomatoes that were hiding in the back of my tiny refrigerator. They were black with mold.

I’m burning in food waste Hell right now.


namastemama September 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Food Waste Hell, now there’s a thought. Thanks for making me laugh.


Tracy Balazy September 8, 2010 at 6:04 pm

That IS funny!


Rebecca September 8, 2010 at 7:47 am

Our massive cucumber plants went crazy over producing this year, only for me to realize that I am very picky about pickles and hate homemade pickles, all kinds. I can only eat so many raw cucumbers, and the rest of my family doesn’t care much for them. I actually just stopped picking them several weeks ago. I have about 4 dozen enormous cukes out there rotting in my garden right now. sigh


Willow September 8, 2010 at 9:30 am

You should consider donating your extra produce to a food bank or just give away to friends.


Christy September 7, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I like to buy whipped cream in aerosol cans. The shame…


ArdenLynn September 8, 2010 at 3:00 am

I actually bought something from the Home Shopping Network. Blame it on the fever I had while I was flipping channels. It is an electric pressure cooker. The instruction/recipe book is sketchy and the reviews are frightening. I took it out of the box, put it back in and that has been it. $90 down the drain.


Going Green September 8, 2010 at 8:35 am


Check into returning your pressure cooker. Being able to return items is a big thing to HSN. It’s better than just wasting $90!


Going Green September 8, 2010 at 8:38 am

My biggest waste is salad greens. (I don’t grow anything right now, but I plan to start next year). It doesn’t matter if I buy packaged greens at the supermarket, or fresh greens at the farmer’s market. I NEVER use them all up.

I hate waste! I have a special tote bag for the farmer’s market, and bring my own smaller plastic bags for the produce. At least I’m re-using the plastic bags.


"A" September 8, 2010 at 9:27 am

Going Green, if you’ve ever been tempted to “juice”, here’s another reason. I don’t consume a lot of salad, but love to make a couple of dishes that call for fresh parsley. I wasn’t making them so often because the rest of the parsley inevitably devolved to slime in my fridge. Now I just juice the rest of the parsley along with whatever juice I’m making…most leftover raw veggies and fruits can be dispatched in this way. (And I can take the pulp to community compost.)


Louise September 8, 2010 at 9:36 am

We buy the el cheapo kitchen mats at Wal-Mart because once a dog or cat has pooped on them, they go directly into the garbage. I will not wash them.

I excuse this wasteful behavior because we live full-time in our RV without a washer and dryer. That means the grossly dirty mat has to be stored somewhere inside our small living space until we can get to a laundromat. And even if it is laundry day, I think it is inconsiderate to wash a poopy, gritty floor mat in a shared washing machine.

We do try to shoo an animal on the verge of throwing up off the mats and onto easily-cleanable vinyl floor. But they seem to poop stealthily, under cover of darkness, and always target the mats. Better than the couch, I guess 😛

Sorry for the gross imagery!


Tracy Balazy September 8, 2010 at 6:04 pm

No problem here, Louise. With four cats and two dogs, I can relate to animals projecting disgusting body fluids onto indoor surfaces, that’s for sure!


Julia September 16, 2010 at 9:16 pm

When we were in San Diego in June, I ended up leaving a pair of Nikes in the hotel room garbage can. They were about 4 years old, a few small stains, yet comfortable—I’m embarrassed to say I wore them on the plane down because I’m really into comfort. And I thought I might wear them at Legoland. However, I was having trouble fitting stuff into my suitcase for the flight home and thought it might be overweight and I certainly did not want to pay $50 at the airport. So I dumped them. Of course when I got home, I wished I had them to keep as an extra pair in the car in case of emergency, or for mucking about in the yard, etc.


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