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Meet a Reader | Book Club Elaine

Today we are meeting a reader that I know in real life! We didn’t start out that way, though; as you will read below, she found me online first.

But one month, we both happened to be going to the same book club; she walked in, looked at me, and said, “OH MY GOSH it’s the frugal girl!” Heh.

And Elaine is the one who gave me my little nightstand and lamp for my bedroom.

A dark wood nightstand.

Plus, her husband kindly gave me some of his extra tools, since I was mostly starting from scratch after I left my marital home.

And you may remember seeing this picture of a mug at her house from when we had coffee together.

coffee cup.

So. Here is Elaine!

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a retired scientist who was always more focused on my family than my career. So, I didn’t go terribly far in the professional world but now I am very grateful for that monthly pension check and I’m REALLY enjoying retirement.

handmade baby blanket.

I love to make baby blankets to give as gifts. This is a recent project, waiting for news of a new baby.

2. How long have you been reading The Frugal Girl?

Since Katy at the Non-Consumer Advocate recommended this blog. Quite a few years.

3. How did you get interested in saving money?

On my fifth birthday, my father gave me a small locking bank and began giving me five pennies every Friday afternoon when he got home from work. I vividly remember him opening up his hand and those pennies shining brightly at me.

You can bet that I waited at the door very excitedly every Friday afternoon!

pennies in an open palm

I think this photo pretty much sums up my financial training, allowance and encouragement to save at an early age.

I am grateful that he taught me to save money before learning how to spend it. It did, however, make me a bit of a miser until I married a guy who is my mirror opposite.

4. What’s the “why” behind your money-saving efforts?

At my age, it’s just habit. I doubt very much that I could at this point go crazy and become a spendypants, to quote Mr. Money Mustache.

(That’s not to say that I haven’t wasted a good bit of money during my lifetime, but I prefer not to dwell on past mistakes.)

5. What’s your best frugal win?

Buying a 2005 Honda Civic with no air conditioning and only 30,000 miles in 2007 for $5,000.

That little car got us through two teenage drivers with all their activities and forced them to learn to drive a five-speed, which is probably a skill they do not need anymore but at the time it seemed important.

6. What’s a dumb money mistake you’ve made?

Hmm, I wish it were just one thing!

Recently it was taking invested money out of the stock market and letting it sit in low-interest savings for a couple of years because I believed the gloom and doom headlines. Ouch!

7. What’s one thing you splurge on?

Hmm, I wish it were just one thing!

Just this morning two locally made chairs were delivered to my doorstep to complete our dining set, a solid walnut table with five leaves and eight matching chairs.

dining table and chairs.

None of that was frugal, but we planned for it, didn’t borrow the money, and took 12 years to complete the set, adding chairs and leaves as needed and even having the top refinished so it looks like new.

8. What’s one thing you aren’t remotely tempted to splurge on?

A Tesla. I know there are plenty of arguments against it, but that’s my final answer.

fridge magnet.

my favorite fridge magnet

9. If $1000 was dropped into your lap today, what would you do with it?

Put it in the travel fund. My husband doesn’t like to travel but it’s always easier to entice him if there’s a lot of money set aside for it.

10. What’s the hardest part of being frugal?

Some of my relatives seem to feel sorry for me, which is a bit embarrassing. I try to let them see that I am not a tightwad, I’m just frugal.

11. Is there anything unique about frugal living in your area?

purple flowers hanging over a wooden fence.

This is what has been greeting me as I turn in to my driveway this week.

I live between two cities in the Mid-Atlantic region, so property taxes and housing prices are relatively high and there’s not much countryside left.

However, because of overcrowding, there are two Costcos, four Aldis and five Walmart stores within short driving distances. And always a lot of yard sales.

12. What single action or decision has saved you the most money over your life?

Avoiding impulse spending whenever possible. Pressure to spend a large sum of money immediately actually gives me a stomachache.

13. What is something you wish more people knew?

Spending money unnecessarily does not make us content – something that Kristen communicates in just about every blog post.

14. How has reading the Frugal Girl changed you?


Kristen’s example and practical suggestions have made this former pessimist see the cheerful side of living on less. Plus reading the comments makes me see that I have a lot of kindred spirits. Even though I don’t comment very often, I get great joy from reading the Commentariat.

I would love to sit down over a cup of coffee or tea (or perhaps a glass of wine) and enjoy a chat with each one of you!


Elaine, your last response made me smile. 🙂 I’m really glad that reading my blog has brought so much cheer to your life!

You mentioned marrying someone with your opposite approach to money, so I am curious: what tips do you have to share about navigating a marriage with differences in spending habits? I bet readers would love to know what has worked (and if you are comfy sharing, what has NOT worked too.)

Readers, the floor is yours!

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Chris b

Friday 7th of June 2024

Nice to meet you Elaine. I love going to a book to art club at the library. It is fun to see what people create.


Wednesday 5th of June 2024

@ElaineN enjoyed your dining table! Truly a family treasure!! Baby blankets too become a family treasure to be passed down. Glad you found your happy balance, it can take awhile to get there. Meeting Kristen at a book club would also be a treasure. So nice to meet you!!

Katy @ The Non-Consumer Advocate

Tuesday 4th of June 2024

Now I'm having FOMO about your book group, it sounds like my kind of crowd!

Mary McM

Tuesday 4th of June 2024

Thanks for sharing, Elaine. Once taught how to drive a manual/stick I never went back! Bought my current stick new! in 2016 for under 20k. An electric car is not on my horizon, either.

Anita Isaac

Monday 3rd of June 2024

love, love, love your post. i am so jealous that you have met kristen irl. i want to meet her almost as much as i want to meet dolly parton. i tried the underwear recommendation. they are worth every penny and then some. they are so comfortable and there is a rewards program. i couldn't wait for thankful thursday. i forget who recommended them but she should get the reward for my purchase and maybe kristen could get some reward. with 9000 followers imagine the rewards. just saying. all the best to you and your family. thanks so much for sharing.

Heather Mar

Tuesday 4th of June 2024

@Anita Isaac, Hahaha I think I want to meet Kristen even more than Dolly Parton! If the get-together works out, we could all tell Kristen "I'm more excited to meet you than _____________."

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