Don’t Touch My Stuff

I was visiting my BFF recently and we got to talking and then, as we are want to always do, joking about our idiosyncrasies as they impacted how we got along with our respective partners during the most stringent portion of the lockdown. We found, to our mutual hilarity, that while both of us were very collaborative and known for our generous natures (just ask us) we were both also highly territorial about one thing; our baking supplies and tools.

“Don’t touch my stuff,” we both said in near unison.

Do. Not. Touch. My. Baking. Stuff.

I feel strongly about this because my partner tends to use my large metal mixing bowl for popcorn.

The horror my BFF said, the horror.

We were off treasure hunting and decided one of the things we needed to hunt down as a popcorn bowl for Bob. Yes, just for popcorn. Eventually I found one, in a thrift store. It was metal and close to the same size as my mixing bowl but could be easily discerned from ‘my stuff’. It cost me a whooping $2.99, well worth the price of me fuming every time I’d find my coveted mixing bowl in the sink, still greasy despite a thoughtful scrub by my partner.

I took it home and at some point, held it aloft, assuring my partner that I would even try and stencil it for him. Being Bob, he was mildly amused and neutral on the finding but he did promise to use it for popcorn. He’d better.

What this story is really about is finding frugal ways to deal with territory. As I said, I am not particularly territorial by nature (save for my kitchen and baking stuff) but for $2.99, I realized that I could easily thwart any resentment over such a minor thing. Minor things, as we all know, add up and up especially when locked down together.

This got me thinking, what else could I sidestep with just a few dollars and some frugal creativity? Turns out, a lot. Again, I am not territorial by nature but I do find that a dollar store set of measuring cups and spoons are also a good idea in those rare cases that my partner decides to step into my kitchen. The dollar store is a really great place to find cheap doubles of household items. Since my BFF and I always hit the mega dollar store near her for all our crafting projects, it made sense to pick up a few things that make the running of our tight little household smoother.

I never did find that pizza stone that I had on my list but that’s part of the fun of thrifting. Instead, I actually found a cephalon pan,, barely used, that would go for $100 new. I spent a mere $9.99 to add to my pot collection and given the size and depth, I now find I use that pot at least four times a week. Striking up a casual conversation with the clerk, I also learned that the store was a frequent recipient for donations of these brand of pans. The clerk was openly mystified by this, given that she knew how expensive this brand could be, but now I know and will be on the hunt for more of these gems every time I hit that store. It is my preferred brand but way too costly for me just to pick up a pot or pan whenever I feel like it. Having a second hand source, so frugal and cheap, is my go-to strategy for buying quality cookware at rock bottom prices. I also found a name brand baking pan for $4.99 which would have cost me $24.99 new and thus would be something I would not buy new. These baking pans (which yes, fall into the don’t touch my stuff category) are part of my baking passion and finding them nearly new at thrift stores is a way to indulge my love of baking supplies without spending a fortune.

Occasionally I will even indulge. I found a Waterford vase, deep emerald green and featuring a faceted design cut of stars. These vases are a total indulgence, something I would never buy new. I found the afore mentioned vase in an antique store for just $49.99. Obviously, it would have cost me far less at a thrift store but the changes of finding one there was much smaller. I snapped it up and counted myself lucky to have found it. It was my treat to myself, and I used a gift card to pay for everything.

And about gift cards. A few weeks back I found four in my purse and while thoroughly convinced that they were all used up, I was shocked to find that I actually had $400 on the books. I decided to use them for my trip treasure hunting with my BFF. Since I never knew the money existed, I basically viewed this as free money. So, another frugal tip is to gather up all your gift cards and spend ten minutes on the phone finding out how much dough you have on those cards. You may be surprised, I sure was.

So, find out what money you may have lying around by gathering up all your gift cards and be sure to hit the dollar and thrift stores to indulge your passions.

As well as keep the peace.

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