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Frugal in New York City – Bee Thrifty: Even if the rest of the world seems to suck with $$$

Posted Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at 4:15 pm by Christine in Media Buzz. More in 10002

My new favorite radio show is the The Takeaway. I love the snappy back and forth between John Hockenberry and Adaora Udoji (best name ever!). Sometimes it is the beginning of this show that wakes me up. Sometimes the news sounds like a dream (President-elect Obama). Sometimes it sounds like a nightmare (economy, economy, economy).

So this morning, when I heard John say that the U.S. Treasury Department and The Fed bailed out AIG, I thought I had traveled through time.

And then I heard the word hanging on to the end of that statement. “Again.”

I woke up immediately.

Again? This can’t be good.

Even worse, my friends on the Takeaway, invited Stephen Dubner to talk about the additional funds for AIG, and this is what Dubner had to say:

John Hockenberry: Who are we bailing out here at AIG?

Stephen Dubner: I have no idea.

Oy. We’re screwed.

I like the way my friend Jay Smooth at Economics and Annoying Smart Guys puts it.

Hopefully, as Jay suggested, we voted for the smartest guys and the new administration has some more qualified Economy Doctors.

Needless to say, it seems like being thrifty ain’t going out of style anytime soon. So stick with me kids, I’ll lead the way.

Last night at Brooklyn College, I had the pleasure of attending a reading by Rick Moody. He was funny, charming, warm and moving. All of us writers left feeling warm and fuzzy, ready to get back to our poor abandoned stories. Unfortunately, many of these free events are part of a college program and you need to be on the mailing list or have an ID to get in, so if you want to go to the really intimate readings, you should enroll in an MFA program.

What is that you say? Oh, yeah, MFAs are not very thrifty it’s true. Well, if you can’t afford an MFA program, you can get a pretty well-rounded education by attending the right readings and events. I recommend the following curriculum:


Bowery Poetry Club, Book in Hand Reading group. They get together every Tuesday from 5:30-7:00 to discuss a tome of literature. The group is currently working on Homer’s Odyssey. Soon they will move on to the Poetry of Wallace Stevens and then on to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. All are welcome.


The Happy Ending Music and Reading Series: “Where even the stories climax.” Writers are required to take a public risk and musicians are required to play one cover, for which they are to encourage sing-along. Held the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month. Hurry and catch this while it is still at Happy Ending Bar (302 Broome Street at Forsythe 212-334-9676) because in January of 2009 they will move to Joe’s Pub. I think that might mean no longer free.


KGB Bar has it all, a lit mag and a well rounded group of reading series: Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction. Also if you want to hear what students in MFA programs are writing, KGB features students from NYU, Columbia and Hunter, so you can see what you would be writing if you were paying for an MFA.


It only took him 44 years, but Paul Simon has written a book. His new book Lyrics 1964-2008 is a collection of –you guessed it–his lyrics from 1964 to 2008. Lyrics, published by Simon and Schuster, was released today and on Thursday, Paul himself will be at the Barnes and Noble at Union Square.

Don’t like the classes I’ve picked for you? This is one of those crazy hippy liberal schools: no grades, no requirements. You can make up your own schedule using New York Magazine’s nifty literary event finder.

Speaking of New York Magazine, these guys are good to the miserly lately. I have to point out that the November 10th issue has taken a page out of my book (they must be reading Bee Thrifty). They go for broke with this thrifty edition.

NY Mag Cover

I love it that thrift is so en vogue now.

Pick one up. Or, if you want to be really thrifty, in a day or so your local newsstand will throw it in the one dollar crate and you can snatch it up. Or you can read it here. The rag is worth a look, but as is typical of New York magazines, the assumption is that $400 shoes for $100 is a steal. I don’t even have $100 for shoes. And there is more than a third of a page dedicated to how much money you can save if you brew your own coffee.

Well, duh.

My fellow thrifties, my hope is that I will never insult you that way. We know that buying Starbucks is a waste of your money, and sometimes we like to do it. We know the difference between a luxury and a necessity. Suze Orman has been telling us this for years.

Oh man Suze. Sorry. We shoulda listened.

Well, at least we can have a laugh together.

Suze on SNL

Until next time. Spend Wisely.

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