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Help me think of a new question (plus four other misc. things)

Hey everyone!

I have five small-ish things to share, so I figured a miscellaneous post was the best way to do that.


1. Help me think of a new question for interviews!

I got some helpful feedback from readers about the questionnaire, particularly about #10, which is, “Share a frugal tip with your fellow readers”.

After over a year of running these interviews, some readers are feeling like, “Oh, everyone already shared my best frugal tips!” and then they are hesitant to participate.

That makes sense to me. So, help me come up with an alternative.

What question would you like me to ask readers instead? It doesn’t even have to be a frugality question!

Also: if you are not particularly frugal, you can still participate. Remember Rose? She labels herself as non-frugal and we all had fun meeting her. 🙂 

2. Yes, I got a tattoo.

Several readers noticed it in the picture of my shoes yesterday:

Kristen's feet in black vans sneakers.

Here’s the story: when Lisey came home for Thanksgiving, she was like, “Mom! We should get a cute matching tattoo, and then I will always have a little connection to you no matter where I am.”

I told her I’d think about it and decide by Christmas, so on Christmas break, she and I got matching cat ankle tattoos.

a cat ankle tattoo.

Someone in my real life said, in all seriousness, “Well, if you want to have a party lifestyle now, go ahead…” 

So I just want to assure you: I am not about to go crazy. I may never get another tattoo in my life. My decision to get a tattoo is 100% about my love for Lisey and is also 100% not about any major shift in my personality. 

And the only related-to-my-tattoo party in my future is one where there are lot of cats involved. 😉 Like…shifts at the cat shelter. 

Kristen with a shelter cat on her lap.

3. I added three medical memoirs to my review list

My rate of non-school reading has slowed during the spring semester, but I have added three memoirs to the ongoing list I shared with you (the list has titles, cover photos, and tiny reviews).

You can see the updated list in this post; the top three are the newest ones I’ve read.

I still have a large stack of interesting to-be-read books in this genre, but it will be slow going until the semester is over.

stack of medical books.

My as-yet unread stack!

I do set aside time to read a chapter or two before I go to sleep at night, though, so I am still squeezing in a little fun reading even in the midst of Anatomy and Physiology.

4. The American Frugal Housewife

I recently got out my copy of this little book, published in 1832.

Cover of the American Frugal Housewife.

Some of it is terribly out of date:

“If your husband brings home company when you are unprepared, rennet pudding may be made at five minutes’ notice; provided you keep a piece of calf’s rennet prepared soaking in a bottle of wine.”

Imagine: Oh, you want pudding? Right now? No problem; let me just pull out my calf’s rennet.

But there are good gems in here too:

“The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost. I mean fragments of time as well as materials. Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it.”

I have a physical copy, but you can also read this book online via the Gutenberg Project.

5. A Vitamix sale

My contact at Vitamix knows my readers like to save money, so he reached out to let me know that there’s a sale on a reconditioned Vitamix model right now through Sunday, 3/20!

Four vitamins on a countertop.

This sale is for the Certified Reconditioned V1200 Blender.

Normally it’s $449.95 but right now, it’s marked down to $329.95 (a $120 discount!).

Vitamix ventures blender with accessories.

This set comes with:

  • a 64oz container
  • 20 oz. blending cup and blade base
  • Simple Blending cookbook
  • a standard 5 year warranty

I have not personally tried this model; mine is the older style with the super tall container, BUT I can definitely vouch for the Vitamix brand of machines (mine is going strong after many years) and the 5-year warranty is hard to beat.

Vitamix even pays the shipping both ways if you need to use the warranty.


Of note: I make a practice of buying reconditioned items, especially when they come with a great warranty. A lot of times they are just as good as a brand-new item; sometimes the box is just a little damaged, and that is totally worth a discount to me!

Comment on anything you wish, but definitely do share your interview idea questions. 

Thank you!

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Ann Odegaard

Thursday 17th of March 2022

I love your tattoo! Adorable!❤️


Thursday 17th of March 2022

What I would really love to hear you & your readers respond to is how you & they balance living life now with preparing for the future. I visualize a continuum with “living now” at one end and “preparing for the future” at the other, and I would love to hear how others choose where to be on that continuum, especially when there are children involved. For example, my parents were very, very careful with their limited income, which allowed them to retire early and comfortably (and I’m so grateful they are both healthy and have been able to enjoy their retirement!). The flip side of that is that my siblings & I were quite limited with what extracurriculars we could pursue, outings/travel as a family, etc. Thank you so much for the light you put out into the world, Kristen! I’ve faithfully read your blog at least 10 years, but this is my first time commenting :).

Heidi Louise

Thursday 17th of March 2022

@E, Excellent de-lurker point-- How does one balance the needs and wants of all members of a family, over time? Adding in people with special needs certainly affects that equation, as my husband and I know well.

Thinking more broadly about time, another question is whether people find the small moves really matter, or if they go for the big scores, and how people value their time. (I suspect readers here are using lots of small actions).

Hawaii Planner

Thursday 17th of March 2022

I'm definitely not the most frugal of your readers, but would be happy to participate, if you are still looking for guests.

As for questions: 1) How do you balance frugality with your other priorities? How have they shifted over time? 2) What is your biggest frugal regret? 3) What do you think had the biggest impact on your current financial habits? 4) What one piece of advice would you give teenagers on frugality? 5) Do you & your family/spouse/partner agree on frugality? If not, how have you compromised?


Thursday 17th of March 2022

What is the one frugal thing you would never do?


Wednesday 16th of March 2022

Delurking for this one. Keep up the great work. So enjoy the engagement the series has brought about. :)

1. Love, love, love the matching tattoos with your daughter. I have several and both my boys have floated the idea of matching or coordinating tattoos. One is old enough now and the other isn't far behind. Youngest already has a concept but we've got to figure out the execution. (Mehna Mehan skit from original muppets. It was our thing when he was a toddler.) 2. How about creating a questionnaire for your unfrugal readers who want to be frugal but struggle? Things like areas they can't get a handle on or ideas for ways to be successful that they may not have thought of. I know I personally want to be frugal, but there are lots of hurdles for me. Maybe I(we) just haven't found the right method yet...

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