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Katy Wolk-Stanley
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Katy Wolk-Stanley writes the popular blog The Non-Consumer Advocate and has been featured in the New York Times, U.S.A. Today, The Happiness Project, the National Enquirer and many other publications. She describes herself as a labor and delivery nurse, utility bill scholar, library patron, laundry-hanger-upper, teenage boy parenter and frequent napper. She uses it up, wears it out, makes it do and does without.

Entries by Katy Wolk-Stanley

Buy Nothing Day . . . But What About The Other 364 Days?

(1) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 8:02 AM

For most Americans, the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday, a day dedicated to shopping, a day to take advantage of one-day only deals. It's become controversial through the years, as customers crowd the stores and trample one another for cheap electronics and consumer goods. Few can argue that it's anything...

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Uh-Oh, I Think I'm a Freegan

(12) Comments | Posted November 4, 2015 | 2:40 PM

I worked one of my long 12-1/2 hour RN shifts at the hospital yesterday and along with my tired and draggy body, I brought home a fancy Asian pear and a bagel with cream cheese. How did I end up with these free goodies? A doctor brought in a big...

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A Dream Home Inside a Nightmare House

(8) Comments | Posted July 21, 2015 | 9:58 PM

I've had an anxiety dream on repeat ever since we bought our overwhelmingly difficult fixer-upper house in 1996. In this dream my husband and I buy a falling down house and put all of our time, money and energy into the house only to give up and sell it at...

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10 Ways For a Zero Dollar Christmas

(2) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 12:58 PM

Zero Dollar Christmas

I'm from the school of thought that believes that having limitations in life breeds creativity. Sometimes those limitations are yours by choice, but more often they aren't. Either way, you can choose to bemoan your limitations or you...

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Goodbye, Cousin Joan

(1) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 6:04 PM

Last week found me surprised with how I affected I was with the death of Joan Rivers. From the outside I would not appear to be her average fan. I have zero interest in celebrity fashion and I'm as likely to watch the Kardashian-centric E! Network as I am to kick off...

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100 Things to Do During Screen Free Week

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 11:14 AM


Monday, May 5th starts Screen Free Week, which means that thousands of people will turn off their TVs, video games, hand-held devices and computers. Yes, computers have become necessary tools, but they're also a major distraction that suck up hours upon hours of our daily lives. So reset your...

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How Going Undercover Reminded Me to Appreciate My Privilege

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 1:58 PM

My 15-year-old son and I just had a very interesting experience volunteering for his annual school auction. As a parent of a two high schoolers, I was surprised at how few people I recognized at a school event for a program my kids have been attending for 13 long years....

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Is 2014 Your Year to Join "The Compact" and Stop Buying New?

(4) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 4:56 PM

We're already into our second week of 2014 and if you're anything like me, your New Year's resolutions are already starting to fade. Your vow to work out three times a week was interrupted by foul weather, your diet's been hijacked by your co-worker's daily tins of too-good-to-resist goodies and...

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Government Shutdown Got You Down? Here Are Fifty Ways to Save Money

(6) Comments | Posted October 3, 2013 | 8:54 AM

  • Learn to cook. It's doesn't have to fancy, but meals prepared at home are almost always going to be cheaper than eating out.

  • Don't be afraid to swap out expensive ingredients for their cheaper counterparts. Recipe calls for prosciutto? It's okay to use smoked turkey, and ricotta is easily replaced...
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    When Your Income Suddenly Goes Away

    (0) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 5:11 PM

    Because I've been in my job as a labor and delivery nurse for over 18-1/2 years, I'm guilty of taking my employment for granted. However, my unit recently restructured, which has affected how much I'm able to work. I won't go into detail, but suffice it to say that my...

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    Frugality? It's All in Your Mind

    (6) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 8:30 AM

    You and I both know frugality is as much about mindset as it is about the math. Frugality is mostly about your attitude. Being satisfied with less expensive options, enjoying free and almost free entertainment and keeping as far away from the Joneses as humanly possible.

    I think about how I...

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    Everything I Needed to Learn in Life, I Learned From Star Trek

    (15) Comments | Posted July 25, 2013 | 3:40 PM

    I am a geek.

    I am in fact a super geek. Not only do I think that everything related to frugality is fascinating. (Have I told you about my homemade laundry detergent? Really, I already did? Can I tell you again?) I also have exactly zero interest in being cool. Clothing,...

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    Bangladeshi Garment Factory Collapses: The Price of Your Cute Clothing

    (2) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 12:22 PM

    I am heartbroken to write another blog post about unsafe garment worker conditions in the country of Bangladesh. Because yes, there is news yesterday of the collapse of an eight-story garment factory that has killed "at least 87" workers. This building had known structural cracks and "workers told...

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    How to Remove Demonic Spirits From Your Thrift Store Clothing -- A Tutorial

    (26) Comments | Posted February 27, 2013 | 10:09 AM

    If you're a fan of bargain hunting in thrift shops, then you already know that demonic spirits can inhabit that pennies-on-the-dollar pair of Lucky brand jeans or even that adorable sweater. Televangelist Pat Robertson recently even advised a caller to The 700 Club on how to deal with evil...

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    In The Midst of Mourning I Hold My Sons Tightly

    (8) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 11:13 AM

    It's been a difficult three days for America, as we've gone from shock to deep mourning for the children and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School. And however you feel about the growing debate surrounding gun control, one consensus has come out of this tragedy, which is to hold your...

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    Ten Free and Almost Free Gift Ideas

    (1) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 3:03 PM

    Does the holiday gift shopping season make you want to bury your head under the covers until December 26th? Well, you're not alone. But just because big box retailers get all the press doesn't mean that the only gift giving options involve the words "big screen and "TV."

    There are...

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    Coin Girl to the Rescue!

    (2) Comments | Posted September 17, 2012 | 11:34 AM


    I possess a secret talent. And no, it's not the juggling of flaming chainsaws while whistling the Star Spangled Banner. (I'm actually a pretty poor whistler.)

    I find coins on the ground.

    Wherever. Whenever. Always have and always will.


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    Fifty Ways to Save Money -- Now

    (5) Comments | Posted August 14, 2012 | 6:25 PM

    I feel like I've been finessing the art of spending less money without crossing the line into insane-cheapo-lady for, well, my entire existence. Like everything in life, it's both an art and a science. Zero-ing in on that sweet spot where the delicious joys in life can be found in...

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    Unhappy With Your Family's Gift-Giving Culture? So Do Something About It Already!

    (9) Comments | Posted August 13, 2012 | 10:06 AM

    Do you spend the month of December annoyed and stressed out because your family's gift-giving expectations are out of control? Please take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. With the exception of your Great-Aunt Sally, there are very few of us who excite at the thought of shopping...

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    Could You Go a Year Without Buying Anything New? How About Five Years?

    (4) Comments | Posted July 25, 2012 | 1:18 PM

    If you viewed my life from the outside, it would seem pretty damned normal. I live in a generously sized house in a lovely Portland, Ore. neighborhood. I work part-time as a labor and delivery nurse, attend my teenage sons' soccer games and generally don't stand out too much.


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