Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cheap or Frugal? There is a differnce

Wednesday before Thanksgiving -- many people are in cars, planes or trains, zipping from one end of the country to the other to be with loved ones.  This year, as most, we will stay put here in cold and quite Madison.  A simple meal, with only one guest, my mother, is on the agenda.  But it will be a day filled with baking, cooking, and lots of pots and pans.  Seeking an easy dinner the night before the cooking storm, I thought I was pulling off a frugal move.  Turns out I was wrong.

Armed with a coupon for a 1-topping large carry-out pizza (valid on Monday - Thursday) for $6.55 and a gift card with a $7 remaining balance, my daughter and I headed out into the dark to the nearest Pizza Hut.  As I pulled into the parking lot I noticed that La Baguette was still open!  If you have never been, well you are missing a true French experience.  We dashed inside and I picked up a croque monsieur, an almond croissant, and something my daughter pointed to that was labeled opera.  Thank goodness I had cash in my wallet, because La Baguette does not accept credit cards.  Total cost for our splurge, $13.20.  Back to the car we went, dropped off our spontaneous goodies, and then headed off to claim our frugal pizza. At the counter I handed over my coupon, gift card, and $0.59 to cover the tax. Then it was back home before the pizza got too cold.

Before leaving we had put some pasta and peas on to boil.  An apple waited on the counter to be sliced and shared.  And thank goodness I had a few other things to round out the meal.  Upon opening the box it hit me, this pizza is not frugal, it is cheap.  Essentially it was way too much dough, not enough sauce, and a scant amount of cheese.  I ate one slice, and decided my dinner would be the almond croissant!  Wow -- what a difference in quality.  Frugal to me is not just about spending as little as possible, but more about getting the most value of my dollar.  Obvious to me, my dollar went farther at the Parisian bakery.  For dessert we all split one decadent piece of opera, and the croque monsieur waits in the fridge to be warmed up tomorrow and served with creamy tomato soup -- my very American approach to a simple lunch before the Thanksgiving feast.

A random evening meal, but our stomachs are full.  Tomorrow we'll start the day with cranberry walnut muffins (which I'll back as soon as I finish this post), sausages, and fruit.  Lunch will be the grilled sandwich and tomato soup (to warm us up after a holiday family walk), and then the dinner.  A turkey tenderloin will simmer in the slow cooker, and the rest of the dishes will be variations of veggies -- mashed potatoes, baked squash, green bean casserole, pumpkin cake, and apple pie.  A relatively inexpensive meal when compared with what some families spend.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the long holiday!

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