Wednesday, October 16, 2013


M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2013

Plentiful - that describes the mood in my home today.  Thanks to the generosity of friends, the above pictured food was acquired at absolutely no cost to my frugal family.  The apples, which fill the bowl and overflow on the counter, were dropped off by a neighbor with an apple tree. This year she had more than she could handle, and a Facebook comment brought a bag to our home.  The rest was the CSA share that my associate at work could not pick up this week (she is away, getting married).  She didn't want to go to waste, and thought we'd be able to put it to good use.  Yes, we will!

Over the years our frugal ways have been boosted by the generosity of friends and neighbors.  One area in particular has been children's clothing.  Given so much, rarely do I have to shop for the children.  Wanting to give back and nurture the giving spirit, today I dropped off a large bag of boys clothes for a friend who has a 6 month old son.

And tonight, as I type, I wonder if the frugal karma gods will continue to shine our way.  Earlier this evening the Board at the school where our children once attended met to discuss our request to the finance committee to refund part of the tuition we pre-paid.  After 13 days of enrollment we determined we were unsuitable for the school.  Our hope is to part on friendly terms.  Sadly, the school immediately turned to contractual language stating if we decide to leave, we still owe 60% of the annual tuition.  That is a steep price for 13 days of service.  Our last meeting with them was a bit tense -- "we don't understand your legalese" was their reply to my comment that "your liquidated damages clause is unreasonable because it does not require you to mitigate your damages."  Maybe it was legalese, but I still think it is true.  This experience and protracted contract dispute continues to underscore my new found belief - it may not be frugal to pay for a service in advance.  Whether it be a gym membership, apartment rent, or school tuition, if you hand over your money and things do not go as planned, you'll have have fight for a refund.  Businesses close, work moves become a necessity, and sometimes a service and a customer are simply not a good fit. We "saved" $150 by paying in advance.  If we have to hire an attorney for the balance we feel is owed us, that savings will be gone in about 45 minutes of a lawyer's time.

Thanks for the frugal boost dear friends -- it was a dose of loving kindness that warmed my frugal heart. And I vow to continue to pay it forward, handing down perfectly good kids clothes to other families a few years behind us in growth.

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