Monday, February 11, 2019

This is Why We Are Thrifty

I've long been aware that one of the best reasons to shop on driveways is to save money. I mean actually save it, as in put it in a savings account and watch it earn interest and grow. So that when those big ticket items come along we can handle them without fear or (horrors!) debt. Not that debt doesn’t have its place, but earning interest just feels SO much better than paying it.

One of the biggies is buying a car. Not in the same category as house buying but adrenaline-producing enough. My beloved green convertible was purchased almost 17 years ago, so it's been a very long time since I participated in this sport, but the time had come. I tried, but just couldn’t make a sport car work for hauling a couple of dogs every day. So for several months, waiting for the divorce to be final, I've been monitoring car ads in our local Craigslist and figuring out what I wanted to buy – and how much it would cost.

It's the first time I've bought a car all by myself. There’s an old saying, I believe from WWII, that “time spent in reconnaissance is rarely wasted.” It certainly felt true in this case; by the time I was ready to test drive I was familiar with prices and pros and cons of various makes. I ended up test driving only two cars, and would have been happy with either, and I discovered a car-buying option that worked well for me – the used rental car. No salesmen! The downside was I could only see one car a day; you book a test drive, and if you decide you want that car you make all the arrangements over the phone.

The place was in Portland, so my lovely assistant was my SIL Linda, who knows the city like the back of her hand. While we were out in the first car, she told me the story of how she and her friends as teenagers would blindfold one of the group, drive around to some unfamiliar spot, then take off the blindfold – and that person had to find their way home! She could hire herself out taking people on test drives. We found hills, curves, freeways; she even knows where the worst railroad crossings are to test the suspension.

So this is what I bought: a 2017 Nissan Rogue. Yes, I have joined the ranks of SUV drivers, and I love it.

Personally, I think she looks like something a soccer mom in a mafia clan would drive, being shiny and black, but she’s perfect for an old lady. And I have a shiny black dog and cat as well, guess it's my look. 

I have a tendency to name everything (I'll tell you all about Adelaide, my left knee one of these days), and what popped into my head for my new car is Nelly. Which I quickly realized was harking back to an icon of my early childhood – the jeep Nellybelle on the old Roy Rogers TV show. So now me and Zoë and Fannie and Millie can drive around in Nelly; guess we’ll all need to squeal “Eeeeeee!!!” from time to time, just because that’s who we are.

One major expenditure should last me for quite a while; I've already returned to frugality with more mending. I believe I've mentioned before that Zoë has a thing for cloth napkins; ripping them up is one of her favorite activities. Though maybe she just feels the need for a new outfit from time to time.

She had her way with one of my favorite napkins the other day, hand block-printed cotton from France (I even have the matching tablecloth). 

Spent an enjoyable twenty minutes or so patching it. It's funny, but my patched napkins are the ones I reach for first.

I also mended – make that re-mended – the slipcover on this chair. The fabric around an earlier patching had worn through, so I patched the patch. I was going to take a picture of the work, but there was Zoë ensconced upon her favorite chair, and I wasn’t going to disturb her.

After all, that might have inspired her to go looking for another napkin to ravish!


  1. OK your Zoe ravishing cloth napkins is the cutest thing to me. Love that you mend them. Congrats on the car. I have a 2007 Honda CR-V that is still trucking along and I love it. I still tote Grandkids and have room for junk!

    1. Now you know why I don't like to spend more than a quarter for a cloth napkin! Your CR-V was one of the models I've had my eye on, but got a better deal on the Nissan. So far I love it!

  2. I love the dog in the napkin, so funny.

  3. Very nice little "grocery getter" that you've purchased. I'm sure it will serve you and your critters well. I enjoyed your continued theme of mending/patching. I have a cat that like to scratch and so from time to time things like furniture covers need a bit of "sprucing up".

    1. And groceries is exactly what we got today! Of course it's main job is 'dog park transport' since that happens daily. And I already have the mud in the back to prove it!

  4. Congrats on new car!! Its beautiful. Love your patched napkins. That fabric is so pretty and I can see why your dog was drawn to it. LOL

    1. I really love the car! Of course I guess one seldom buys a car one doesn't like, though I never did care for my ex's current car.

      Zoe has excellent taste in napkins. Handmade and vintage are her faves!


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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