You Need to Read These Non-Consumer Advocate Cheap Stories! Now!

by Katy on June 4, 2015 · 10 comments

Free toilet seat

Yesterday I wrote a blog post asking readers to share the cheapest things they’d ever done. And boy-oh-boy did the stories come to the surface! From one woman who made herself a temporary tooth from Fimo clay to another woman who bathed in roof runoff when her water was shut off due to a hurricane!

And as much as you can read the comments by clicking here, I thought it was best to devote an entire blog post to some of the more impressive stories.

From Stormy:

Road kill vegetables.  I live in an area where they grow cauliflower and look forward to harvest.  I drive down the road and pick up the cauliflower that bounces off the top of the farm trucks.  One fall, I never bought a single cauliflower and we eat a lot of it!

From Donna:

A wealthier family live around the corner and had an annual yard sale with their high end goods. One year in particular they put out their massive pile of leftovers and I carted it all home to sort through and keep or re-home. In this pile were pretty designer undies in just my size- used but in like new condition. We were so “poor” that I truly couldn’t pay the bills and buy new underwear- which I surely could use. So I washed them and wore them for years. I am not in a position now where I can’t afford new undies and I do prefer them, it taught me to humble myself and I can honestly look back with satisfaction!

From Heidi:

We do a lot of trading and bartering. My favourites have been my husband installing a garage door for our lawyer in exchange for having our wills done and doing roof repairs in exchange for veterinary services. My farm boy/former contractor husband can fix or build anything and has saved us a fortune over the years.

From Laura:

I’ve done a lot of cheap things so it’s hard to pick one. Perhaps it’s the time when my neighbors set out a vintage bouncy horse in good shape for the trash. . the night before my garage sale. Yes, I trashpicked it and sold it for $40. Not sure if they noticed!

From Mike:

Our fridge was dying. I saw a  newer, larger fridge with defrost on the road with a free sign on it. After getting this thing home I found out it worked great. The power company picks up old fridges for free. Wait, it gets better. They will give us 25 bucks if we can show its working. Out comes the extension cord right to the curb, so I can show its working. The power company contractor arrives with some free compact fluorescent bulbs, but no they will not give us that amount. Our fridge was an older model so we got 50 bucks! (For a free fridge!?!!)

From Sandy:

Back about 20 years ago we moved into a house where the dining room rug was a very stained baby blue monstrosity that no matter how many times I cleaned it just looked terrible. To say we didn’t have the funds to replace it is an understatement. So, I went out and bought navy blue liquid Rit dye, took a toothbrush and spent evenings on my knees working the full strength dye into the rug fibers with the toothbrush. It took a lot of time but that I could afford.

I could share just about every comment, but where would be the fun in that?! You need to click HERE to read all of yesterday’s comments, and perhaps even share your own!

By the way, the above photo is a cheap toilet seat that’s currently sitting in my neighborhood. I noticed the other day that the “Free to good home” had been edited to read “Free” with the rest crossed out. I guess the owners are lowering their standards for this toilet seat adoption. 😉

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.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie June 4, 2015 at 12:03 pm

I only left a comment on a comment (an elaboration on trashpicking pumpkins) because I knew I probably couldn’t hope to match some of the “extreme sports” stories–but I’ve been enjoying the heck out of all these, and I think this should become a recurring feature.


cathy June 4, 2015 at 1:15 pm

I agree! Even though frugalism (can I make up that word?) isn’t a competition, it’s been fun and inspiring to get a glimpse into people’s ingenuity.


Nancy June 4, 2015 at 12:38 pm

When we moved from town to our acreage we needed some carpet. The people who bought our house in town were putting down all new carpeting. They let us take whatever carpet we wanted that they were tearing up. We took enough to carpet our 2 upstairs bedrooms. We still have some of that carpet, a really ugly orange, in a storage closet off one of those bedrooms. The acreage house was built in 1883. We got the house and 5 acres for $15,ooo.oo. That is really what I call using it up and making do 🙂


Molly June 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm

My husband trash picked a sofa and got it into our apartment (down outside stairs, through small doors) by himself in the rain.
Same apartment: we slept on an air mattress, and we couldn’t afford a pump, and the mattress had a leak we couldn’t find, so we had to blow it up a bit every single night. The day we had $80 and bought a used mattress was SO NICE. 😀


Heidi June 4, 2015 at 4:25 pm

I had to go back to yesterday’s post to read all the new comments. It’s just as good as reading The Tightwad Gazette!


Another Katy in Portland June 4, 2015 at 4:35 pm

I grew up in Appleton Wisconsin. When I was small my parents had an icebox. For several years, until my sister was born in 1950, they got along with a 2 burner hot plate and an electric roaster. It was unusually cold the winter of either 1950-51 or 51-52 so my dad froze ice for the icebox in coffee cans outside the back door. He was very proud to be saving 5o cents a week!


Erica June 4, 2015 at 6:54 pm

I kind of love the person who recolored her carpet with a toothbrush. <3


Elise @ Simply Scaled Down June 5, 2015 at 11:40 am

Wow! These put me to shame!! I think the cheapest thing I’ve done was had my husband bring home the left overs from a business dinner….from the whole table! ha! He made sure that everyone had left and then got a ton of doggy bags. And it’s not quite as gross as it seems…it was family style so he just took the food that was still in the serving bowls 🙂 But we ate like kings for a week!


Katy June 5, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Love restaurant food! Especially when it’s free!


Marcia June 5, 2015 at 3:13 pm

I used to sew a lot when my daughters were smaller. I’ve made them outfits from remnants of fabric when they were toddlers. I made YDD’s wedding gown for about $65. She designed it using 2 patterns. When she got married for a second time, I made her wedding cake and her sister (who was a chef) decorated it. It cost me just for the pans and the ingredients. We made the food ourselves for the reception, which was picnic style.

We have always been about doing it ourselves, or doing it cheaper. My wedding dress was ready made, no alterations, cost $18. (1962) We make our own ice cream cakes, too, using ice cream, cookie crumbs, and ice cream topping. I grow my own garden and can or freeze. I buy what I don’t grow at the farmer’s market or directly from the farm. I swap with friends, trade what I have too much of for what they have too much of. I couldn’t begin to pick out the “best deal ever.” I swap plants with other gardeners. We passed around everything from maternity clothes to kid’s clothes. We never throw out much of anything without asking if someone else needs it or could use it.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: