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Frugal in New York City – Bee Thrifty: It’s Getting Serious

Posted Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 at 3:00 pm by Christine in Media Buzz. More in 10019

Hi Folks! I have a few things to tell you about this week. First off, let me just say for all my snarkiness about Black Friday, I was absolutely horrified to see the news that day and find out about Jdimytai Damour being trampled to death at the pre-dawn opening of a Long Island Walmart. I am not going to vilify Walmart, or the people who did the trampling. That is not my job, but I do want to clarify that being thrifty is an attitude, a lifestyle that values the beautiful and not the expensive. One of the basic tenets of being thrifty is tossing away the idea of keeping up with the Joneses. You live with what you need and if you can get some pretty things and enjoy nourishing food while being good to the world, well that is the best deal in town. Being thrifty is the absolute opposite of stampeding at Walmart.

I love a good deal, but I have been horrified for some time by the society we have created. Don’t let anyone tell you that we simply ARE monsters and that we act out of instinct in some sort of survival of the fittest nightmare. We are smart enough to understand what it is we are doing, and we were smart enough to intentionally create the system that is currently breaking our backs, and we should be smart enough to stop our own creation.

I am ALL about the free market, lest anyone mistake me for a commie, but I do want to point you in the direction of a post I wrote almost a year ago which points to a few other smartie pants who inspired me to say hey, what’s going on? Why do I want that cashmere sweater so baaaad. And why doesn’t that cashmere sweater make me happy once I have it?

Well, I won’t rehash all the details here, but suffice to say that marketing was created by Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays, and Edward knew that the libidinal drives that Freud pointed out in all those books he wrote were, for all intensive purposes, unfulfillable, and could drive people to buy, buy buy. Bernays not only used Freud’s theories, but also crowd psychology and Pavlovian theories. So, I won’t stay on the soapbox long, but are we surprised when we act like animals for things? No. Should we be shocked and ashamed? Yes. But now you know why you want things so bad, and knowing is half the battle.

Two more things before I get off my soapbox.

Verizon Wireless aired a commercial the weekend after Black Friday in which two women discussed going to get a Verizon phone. One woman says to the other “So, if there is only one phone left, which one of us gets it?” The other woman says, “Me,” to which the first woman replies, “Wrong answer,” and shoots her in the neck with a poison dart. So, we are surprised that even when we are bombarded with this kind advertising we can’t respect life more than products. Are we surprised? Not exactly. Are we shocked and ashamed? We should be.

Next, is this beautiful speech given by Louis CK on Conan:

So, folks, let’s get it together

Or we could get it together,

Or if you prefer we could get it together. One, Two Oh My God.

OK, off the soapbox, here’s the thrifty news for the week.

NY Cares Coat Drive: Giving coats to coat drives can be a lucrative ordeal. I mean, you should give your coat just because you are not wearing it and someone is cold, but New York Cares is giving back to its donors. Check it out here. The best of the bunch? Paragon sports will give you a free Marmot hat and gloves. Nice. There are lots of other deals too, but only until SUNDAY!!!! Check it out

Also, I’d like to call your attention to Earshot’s Holiday Fiesta which is taking place THIS FRIDAY in Williamsburg. Now, this reading series is not free, which, I know, makes you think, why are you recommending this one? Well, A) it’s good, and B) your $5 admission fee gets you a free drink! Voila! Thrifty!!!

December 12 // 8 PM
$5 + one free drink
345 Grand Street (b/w Havemeyer & Marcy)
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 599-0069

Nearby Train Stops: L (Lorimer/Bedford), G (Metropolitan/Grand), J/M/Z (Marcy Ave)


The One O’clock Poets (This Full Green Hour)
Guillermo Castro, Amy Lemmon, Katrinka Moore, Joan Lauri Poole, Elizabeth Poreba, and Sarah Stern
Tennessee Jones (Hunter College)
Michelle Brule (Brooklyn College)
Marina Kaganova (Columbia University)

Pretty Ladies, pretty expensive things

Pretty Ladies, pretty expensive things

Finally, I have a brainchild I’d like to share with you. When I was uptown at a deli near Columbia University, a casting director approached me and asked me if I would like to appear in Lucky Magazine’s “My Foolproof Outfit.” I, of course, was really flattered. Wearing my $5 skirt, my $10 sweater and my $25 boots, I thought, yeah, a magazine that wants to feature a girl with style and the smarts not to pay big bucks for it. Boy was I wrong. The people at Lucky were fantastic and fun and helped me find all kinds of pretty clothes from their rack to wear in the mag, they put makeup on me, they cut my bangs for free, and they fed me all day. Fun fun fun. However, it wasn’t until the magazine printed that I knew how much every thing cost. AWWWOOOGA! I couldn’t afford any of the stuff that they had me wearing! Apparently, I am not alone in this experience. Good news is, Glossed Over says Lucky Mag is lowering its standards.

I loved the look that Lucky Mag gave me though, and I am pretty sure I could create it for less. So as part of my dedication to thrift, I am accepting challenges from my audience for (Nearly)FreeStylin’. What does that mean? It means you send me an outfit you like, say from Vogue or Elle, or some other magazine and I will try and recreate it for you at bargain basement prices. If you’d like to participate, send me an email at [email protected] with a picture of the outfit. I reserve the right to refuse outfits on the basis of taste.

In the meantime, please try and ignore the message from the media that you are not good enough until you have their stuff. I’m not saying don’t buy the stuff, I’m saying don’t buy the hype. But, Christine, you ask, how do I know whether I am buying the stuff or the hype? I ask myself a question every time I buy: How is this going to affect the direction of the life I am leading? Is this a direction I want my life to take?

It’s a very personal question. Next week, I will touch on the worthy things I like to spend my money on (food, wine, art, clothes, gifts, etc.) and why it’s important to think before you buy.

Abundance is possible. Excess should be avoided. Know the difference.

Your friend in thrift,


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