Last night M and I finished up watching the TV series The West Wing. It was sad to see our friends leave our living room, but I, who loves a good rebound, immediately went to my computer and re-ordered our Netflix queue. Netflix just happens to be one of my absolute favorite everyday parts of my life that are here simply because I was trying to save $.
So here's a list, in no particular order, of my favorite things I can't live without, and how they got there to begin with; by saving me money.
*Netflix. I love that I have access to the worlds largest cache of DVDs. I love zenning out to queue accumulation. I love finding great flicks off of my Netflix friends' queue. And the cost benefit? Prevents me from getting cable, and if you could have only seen the Blockbuster fees I was racking up every month! Sure, I could have been better about returning my movies on time, but hell wasn't freezing over anytime soon.
*The Park Slope Food Co-op. Okay, this is a tough one, and anyone who lives here will laugh at me, but I am hardly above group riddicule. Food Co-ops serve their community with stocked shelves of goodness, and they are a fraction of the cost of the over-priced Whole Foods. So the Russian breadline-like checkout aside, I eat better for a lot less money.
*TJ MAX and Marshall's outside of the city. While I don't do it frequently, I do like shopping. I know the Marshall's exit off the highway between New York and Boston, I know there's one in suburban CT near M's folks, I know that I can drive 70 mph and dodge traffic and be mid-sentence and still spot one off the side of the highway. And I know that there's nothing like grabbing a coffee (shopping outside of cities seems to always happen in shopping plazas), and losing a good two hours of my life in that elevated state of elation that shopaholics know all too well.
*Matinee Movies. In downtown Brooklyn there is a large movie theater that has $7.50 matinee movies. With my free Regal Cinema card, I get points for buying tickets. One of these days, perhaps after I see a thousand films, I will get a free movie ticket. The only real benefit to the card is the free popcorn. And the fact that seeing an afternoon movie for under eleven bucks, eating free popcorn, guzzling down the water I brought from home because I just ate a pound of salt, and sneaking into another movie afterwards, is what I call blowing an afternoon with a smile.
*Downloading CDs from the public library. Last month I downloaded Iron & Wines's new album, an old Wilco album, Dinah Washington, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, and an African hip-hop compilation. I don't know if it's legal, but it sure is fun.
*Blogs. Last but not least. The information highway is free. Sure, there's some tolls to get on it (ie Verizon online), but for the most part it's an inexpensive way to kiss hours and hours of your life goodbye. It also holds an incomprehensible amount of information, and it's bloggers who break it down for me. I love writing about things I would normally never write about. Ditto that for reading blogs. And if writing and reading things isn't just the happiest thing a person could do, then I don't know what is.
So what makes your list of favorite things you can't live without, that you got by way of trying to be frugal?