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Meet a Reader | Pharmacist Ali

Hello, everyone! This week, we’re meeting a midwestern reader who works as a pharmacist. Here’s Ali:

1.Tell us a little about yourself


a sunset off the porch of my apartment

Hello! I’m Ali and I grew up in a suburb of a metropolitan city in the Midwest. I went to college out-of-state and then decided to move back to the area I grew up in. I currently work as a pharmacist.

I’m single and live alone but visit family often. I’ve lived in apartments since my Junior year of college.

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

I’ve been reading Frugal Girl for a little while now. Probably since 2018 but for sure since 2019 (because I know it was before the pandemic).

feet in lake water.

my feet in Lake Huron- my 3rd Great Lake I’ve visited!

I’ve been a long time lurker but only just recently have gotten brave enough to comment within the last year or so.

3. How did you get interested in money saving?

I grew up in a middle class household, my parents are big planners and savers.

I remember my dad driving older cars most of my childhood and we had my mom’s Oldsmobile from when I was in second grade all the way through my sophomore year of college.

Car in a parking lot

a car I saw recently saw at the post office that reminded me of the Chevy Caprice my dad had when I was growing up

My parents did not really have car payments for a really long time. So they were able to save some money.

Most of our family vacations have been in my home state at various state parks. Campsites are cheap and the car used less gas since we were usually only 2-4 hours away from home.


a sunset on Lake Michigan from yet another frugal tent camping adventure!

I guess my frugality has been inherited as I enjoy local vacationing now on my own! I was also taught growing up that sometimes paying a little more for a better quality means something will last longer.

I still have and wear child size XL mittens from REI (from the late 90s-early 2000s!).

a pair of gray REI mittens

the infamous REI children’s mittens

The importance of taking care of your things so they last longer is another thing my parents taught me, I have not gone through near as many cell phones as some people I know.

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

a green road sign.

a Road sign from when we tent camped at a state park in Michigan ( yes, I’ve been to paradise and it’s lovely!)

I want to pay off my school loans. My family was in a pretty bad accident before I graduated from college and so I had to pay a good portion of the last two years of pharmacy school with grad PLUS loans in addition to the regular grad loans.

I am also saving because I would like to buy a house or a town house(semi detached) sometime in the next 1-5 years. It would be nice to have my own space and not worry about people coming in all the time like you have with an apartment.

5. What’s your best frugal win?

I earned $750, and saved $1040! My mom and I scrubbed my old apartment from head to toe and so I got my whole $750 deposit back!

There was a new renter who wanted to move in early so I made sure I was moved out 1 month before I had to (I had to give 2 months notice) so he could move in and he paid my last month of rent!

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

Not maxing out my contributions to my HSA during the first 2 years of working out of school (I missed out on matching from my employer and large tax deductions because of this). I was more concerned about having the money in my savings account and so I was only contributing small amounts and missed out on the full employer HSA match.

Having late payments with my federal loans, because of this I could have had saved a couple hundred dollars due to a program I never knew about. Always try to pay bills on time!

7. What’s one thing you splurge on?

I like to get nice haircuts/blow outs about 3 -4 times per year.

Also, I buy (usually on sale or with a discount) expensive, high quality,name brand clothing because I feel like it lasts longer.


A pair of Silver Jeans, I know they are expensive but they are good quality and hold up really well. This pair I wear pretty regularly and I’ve had since 2019!

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

Salon services like waxing, getting my nails done etc, for so many reasons, including fears of un-proper cleaning of nail utensils and getting a fungal or bacterial infection. Also, I had a very bad past experience with eye brow waxing.

I’m also note tempted to buy the latest and greatest technology. Like other readers I upgrade my devices when I have to but I try to get as much usage (mileage) out of them as possible.

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

I would use it to pay off or pay down one of my student loans.

10. Share a frugal tip with other Frugal Girl readers.

When on vacation and staying in a hotel with a continental breakfast, try to get a filling breakfast. Bring along a few snacks (that you packed from home) for during the day and then plan on going out to eat for an earlier (4:30-5 pm) dinner. This will save you a lot of money because then you are only eating out one meal per day!

Always check for discounts from memberships that you are apart of like AAA or if you work for a large employer. I saved lots of money on tickets for theme parks and on hotels with these types of memberships and employer perks!

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

birds in the snow

a cardinal and some other birds from one of my visits to a county park near by my apartment

The state I live in has amazing parks, trails etc. There are lots of activities that you can do for no or low cost.


Ali, thanks so much for sharing! 

I so agree with your vacationing tips, and I wanted to tell you that like you, I grew up camping.

A question: how did you get interested in being a pharmacist? It’s a LOT of school to get through, so I’m guessing there must have been some keen interest on your part.

Readers, the floor is yours!

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Wednesday 6th of April 2022

Very nice to meet you! I really respect most pharmacists so much! My three pharmacists at Osco are almost like friends, since I see them so often these days. They are so busy but professional and nice. It’s a long and hard road to become one, which some people don’t realize. I’m right here by Lake Michigan and I love living near a huge body of water with no salt and no sharks or jellyfish. My area is between Chicago and Milwaukee. It warms up enough to swim in August and September, but I wade from May to November. It’s my happy place. I’ve been able to visit and swim in all of the GL except Ontario. The south and east sides of Lake Michigan are so different, as is the north part up dere, yah! I’ve snowmobiled around Newberry/Paradise. On my honeymoon years ago we did a road trip around the lake and up into Canada. It was wonderful. And frugal!

Ruth T

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Hi Ali! I will be going to Paradise this summer! My parents camp at the falls every year and this year we will join them. It's been about 10 years since I've been there, so I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for sharing with us! It's always a bonus to me to meet other readers from the Midwest!


Monday 4th of April 2022

Hi Ali- Greetings from another pharmacist, but I'm in Canada. It was nice to get to know you a little bit!


Monday 4th of April 2022

Hi Ali, Thanks for letting us meet you. I hope all FG readers will participate in her "Meet The Reader" feature. It has been so much fun to read about people I see commenting on FG's blog.


Monday 4th of April 2022

I really enjoyed this post - just to see some different choices - like paying for quality clothing brands and hair cuts/blow outs, but not spending on mani/pedis. Variety truly is the spice of life!

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