Twelve Weeks of Christmas, Week 6 (Continued): Small Business Saturday

*** “Twelve weeks of Christmas?” you say, with an incredulous tone.  That’s a lot of Christmas… or is it just enough?!  You decide: here

Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday, which falls on November 26th this year, is a an initiative of American Express, the credit card well known for supporting brick-and-mortar mom-and-pops.  It’s part of the busiest-shopping-weekend-of-the-year triumvirate, which includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  However, unlike these other two shopping holidays, Small Business Saturday doesn’t support the big box retailers; it supports the little guys!

Ok, for real y’all, just the name of this special day gives me warm fuzzies.  I love supporting small business!  However, that whole penny pinching quest of mine can get in the way of this more often than not.  However, having a specific day dedicated to this makes it even easier, and hopefully, the specified day encourages small businesses to have their own sales, sharing in the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

Here’s where you come in!  To get the word out about Small Business Saturday, first check out their website here.

No really, click on that link now.  It will open in another window and you can come back to me in a minute.

Ok, good.  If you clicked on the link, you probably noticed the whole Facebook sharing thing.  If not, there’s a direct link here.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it (and c’mon, it’s easy!) is to social-media-nudge the mess out of this!  Share it on Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, in conversations with friends and family… anyone. Get the word out!

Small Business Saturday is still a relatively new holiday (ok, it’s only two years old), so not everyone knows about it.  It’s our job, as penny pinching advocates, to promote this holiday and increase its awareness.  (I know… misuse of the word “holiday,” but that’s what the American Express website calls it, so move on, language purists.)

The more people that know about it means more people will partake in it, which means more small businesses will feel encouraged to drop their prices, take a percentage off, et al, if even for one day.

And of course, the last component of your mission:  SHOP on Small Business Saturday.  Even if a particular (small) business is not in the American Express OPEN Retail Index, patronize it anyway.  When you’re checking out and they say “thank you,” (and hopefully they do), tell them you’re just partaking in Small Business Saturday!  Hopefully they’ll ask you (or look it up) if they don’t know what this means, and you can explain to them (or Google can).  When it comes to Small Business Saturday, the more the merrier!

Well… looks like you’ve got work to do, dear GPP readers and accidentally-stumbled-here-via-search-engine folks!

In summary:

1.  Check out

2.  “Like” them on Facebook and share the link:

3.  Tweet it!

4.  Bring it up in random conversation… with whoever you randomly converse with!

5.  Put it in your calendar.

6.  Shop small on November 26th, 2011.  It’s as easy as getting coffee from that little cafe you’ve been meaning to go to… instead of Starbucks.

Happy (small) Shopping!!!


***To read the previous posts in this ongoing, twelve part series, go here.  Only 5 weeks left!


Twelve Weeks of Christmas, Week 3: DIY Tile Coaster Tutorial

Part 3 in a series of 12

Pause.  Before you read on, you should check out the previous posts of this series, The Twelve Weeks of Christmas:


Week 1: Online Shopping Tips and Tricks

Week 2: How to Make a Bowl out of an Old Vinyl Record

It can’t hurt, right?

Oh boy! Oh boy!  Since I began this series three weeks ago, I’ve been more than a little excited about this particular post as it is one of my FAVORITE and most beloved gift ideas, ever!  I thought I might save this as one of the final posts, but the sun was shining today and my fire escape, i.e., my photography studio was calling my name, so I answered!  The answer was “Yes,” clearly.

(I can’t take very useful pictures inside my apartment, so I have to wait for days when it’s not raining to get shots… something we’ve been lacking here lately.   Also, my camera has been at the residence of one Maria Aparo, being used to take pictures of her $100 apartment makeover – an exciting, future post on this in the next few weeks!)

So, after a stellar fire escape photography session with my less than stellar camera, I am ready to give you this tutorial.  But before we dive in to the how-to’s (and how-not-to’s), let’s take a gander at the things we’re going to be making:

Tile Coaster

Ta da!

Tile coasters

Sassy and askew. Silly coasters.

Tile coaster cork bottom

Work it, cork contact paper.

Tile coasters

Sassy and askew, part 2

Ooh… ahhh…. These coasters are of one of my favorite gifts to give because nearly always the gift recipient says something along the lines of “Wow!  Cool!  Where’d you find these?”  To which I reply “I made them, silly!”  (Actually, that’s not true… more often than not, I initially reply with “Not telling you, but you should know they were VERY expensive and I will not be spending this much money on you next Christmas.”  Actually… that’s not true either.)

I also love these coasters because they cost nearly NOTHING to make.  In fact, a set of four coasters puts me out about $3.  No, I know.  For real.  A cost-effective, yet high quality gift like this makes me sing opera notes spontaneously.   (Ooh! -what if one of those words from that last sentence was a link of me singing an opera note?  Fun!  Sorry, you’re just going to have to imagine it for now).

So… without further ado, I give you:

The GPP’S DIY Tile Coaster Tutorial

Supplies needed:

4 X 4 Tiles (my tried, true, and tested, personal fave)

Aluminum foil

Hair dryer (optional)

Photocopied images (more on this below)


Elmer’s Glue

A foam brush or small paint brush

Varnish: Mod Podge, Minwax Polycrylic, whatever strikes your fancy, as long as it’s non-yellowing and weather-proof, i.e., WATERPROOF

Cork contact paper or felt/cork furniture pads

A rockin’ coaster making playlist (optional, but highly recommended)

tile coaster supplies

Supplies. Don't be overwhelmed -- you do not need ALL of these necessarily. Keep reading...

Step One: 

First things first – You need to decide what you want on your coasters.  With an amazing thing out there called Google Image Search, the sky’s the limit, really.  Of course, if you are making these coasters to sell them, that’s another matter entirely, as many pictures have trademarks, copyrights, or royalties attached to them.  Going forward, I’ll assume you are making these coasters as gifts, so again… sky’s the limit!

Here are some ideas for coaster images that I have done (or plan to do one day):

Family photos

Movie poster images

Fine art images

Comic books

Vintage ads

Beverage related art


Once you figure out what images you want to use, make a photocopy of these.  Typically, what I do is find four images, download them into my computer (you know: right click, “Save as,” etc.), and format them in Paintbrush and/or Microsoft Word so that they are only 3.5” X 3.5” each.  As you can tell, I am NOT particularly high-tech, BUT you absolutely do not have to be for this project.  Most everyone has Paintbrush and/or Microsoft Word, and with both of these programs you can resize or crop an image easily (let me know if you have trouble with this in the comments below, and I can put together another tutorial J ).  Since my color printer leaves much to be desired – and honestly I don’t like to waste color ink – I usually send these images electronically to a copy center website and pick them up in the store (ink jet pictures will NOT work).  After trial and error, I have found that Staples is the most cost-effective resource, and I am always pleased with the end results.

Simply go to, make a free account, and click on the “Copy and Print Services” link.  Click on “Start a Copy Project” and upload your document or images (for me, it’s always a MS Word document with four images on each page, as this minimizes paper usage).  After your image or document uploads, they will give you a series of options: the most important ones to pick are “color copying” (as opposed to black and white), and the cheapest paper option which is the “Letter Standard White (24 lb.)”  — only 59 cents a page!  Once you get your confirmation e-mail, you can pick it up in the store.  Easy.

Here are some of my pre-cut images I have in mind for future projects.

Step Two: 

(Wow, that was a long Step One, but I assure you the others will not be quite that verbose.)

Clean your tiles.  Just get a damp cloth to brush away the dust that is inherent in these types of tiles.  Let dry completely.

Agora Tiles

Step Three:

Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil and place your tiles upon it.  This is to protect your work surface from the varnish you will use in future steps.  I have found this to be the best solution because when I am done with the project, I can simply throw away the aluminum foil and nothing has been damage by dried globs of varnish (they’re almost impossible to clean up).  The aluminum foil acts a lot like wax paper does when you’re making chocolate covered pretzels or the like – when dry, you can peel things off of it without sticking.

Aluminum foil: varnish-tastic projects::wax paper:chocolate covered pretzels. There, I just used my SAT skills.

Step Four:

Attach the images to the tiles.  Cut out the images so there is no white border showing, then use Elmer’s Glue or Mod Podge (or an off brand version of either) and glue the images to the tiles. Make sure you coat the entire surface using a foam brush to spread the glue so there are no lumps later.  Then, center the image on the tile and smooth out to the best of your ability.  This is a crucial part of the waterproofing process, because if there are lumps or bubbles, especially at the edges, water, i.e., sweat from your glasses will be able to seep under these vulnerable places and ruin the seal.  I like to use a clean towel to rub the image and work it into the nooks and crannies of the stone façade (these tiles are not perfectly smooth on the top, but that will add to the character later, I promise!)  After that, I use a blow dryer on a low setting so that there is no opportunity for moisture to seep in – if you don’t have a blow dryer, place the tiles on the floor in front of your refrigerator  (this is a Teresa Foster tip and it always works if you want to dry something quickly, especially wet shoes).

Dollar Tree Represent!

Step Five:

Apply 4-5 coats of varnish.  My preference is a foam brush because they leave behind no brush strokes.  I allow at least 30 minutes in between coats, but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to wait longer.  In between coats, I wrap a Ziploc bag around the foam brush and seal with a rubber band around the handle, that way I can reuse the same brush for each coat (because I promise, the foam brush will dry just as fast as the coasters).

Step Six:

Allow tiles to cure over night.  Very important because if a tile is even slightly tacky, it will not be a functional and waterproof coaster.  (If you used a glue-like varnish like Mod Podge, I recommend spraying with a sealant of some sort.)

Step Seven:

Once tiles are completely dry, attach cork contact paper or furniture pads to the bottom.  This will protect whatever surface you place your coaster on and will also prevent scratching other coasters when they are stacked on top of each other.  I am a big fan of the cork contact paper because: it can cover the entire bottom of the tile; it’s already sticky so it requires no glue; and it just has a more finished look this way… but furniture pads are okay, too (you can get a pack at Dollar Tree for… a dollar.)  But contact paper is better.  Just so you know where I stand on the issue.

Step Eight:

Sign the bottom of the coaster.   After all, it is YOUR work of art!  I like to sign my name on the edge (that isn’t covered by contact paper), and then put the occasion and the date, e.g.,” Christmas 2011,” “Happy Birthday!,” “25th Annual Dragon-Con,” whatever.  Put a note in the gift box/bag that offers cleaning instructions (by the way, ONLY wipe with a damp cloth – no soap or cleaning products, no abrasive scrubbers, no immersing in water).

And… You’re done, and it was super easy and cheap!  So cheap in fact, I felt compelled to do a price list.

After the initial purchase of varnish, which usually runs somewhere between $4-$10 a bottle, you’ll have enough varnish to make a hundred coasters (really).  Same goes for the Elmer’s glue, which is usually no more than a dollar a bottle (and if it’s more than that, go to Dollar Tree where it’s always…a dollar.)  Cork contact paper is usually $3 a roll, but it will also last you a while.  Assuming you have aluminum foil somewhere in your kitchen, the only purchases per project you’d have to make would be:

4 tiles X 33 cents/ea. = $1.32

I page of images from the Staples Copy Center = $0.59

I foam brush = $0.25

For a grand total of:   $2.16, plus tax

So, not counting staple items that will last you for MANY projects to come, each set of coasters is less than $3!  YES!!!  GPP approved — Especially considering similar coaster sets can run anywhere from $15-$30 in most gift shops.  Better still, you can personalize these to fit the taste of the gift recipient (so, you only have to give them coasters with kittens and butterflies on them if you really want to).

One more time...

Tell me what you think in the comment section below!  Does this seem like a gift you’d like to give someone (or keep for yourself)?  If so, who will be your gift recipients?  Will you give ME any presents?  (You don’t have to answer the last one.)



“Books and Nooks”: The Living Room Edition

We here at The Ginger Penny Pincher—and by “we” I mean me—feel strongly that you do NOT have to have a lot of money to have a beautiful home.  It usually just takes time, creativity, and a little search engine action!  Needless to say, I apply this philosophy to my own life, most recently as this past August, when my husband and I moved to Brooklyn.

Honestly though, I’ve had a lot of practice:  We have moved four times in less than three years of marriage.  Due to that whole starving artist thing we got going on—and we got it goin’ ON!—we have always been in apartments that were perhaps a little smaller than what we really needed.  As performing artists, we have a lot of work-related “stuff”:  plays, sheet music, music books, more books, lots of dance clothes, dance shoes, many notebooks, musical instruments, a surprising array of office supplies, extensive record-keeping systems and folders of receipts (since we usually work as independent contractors), two dogs…  well, the dogs are unrelated, but they do take up a bit of room… and still more books.  Lots of books.

All this stuff needs a place (“A place for everything, and everything in its place”), but with smaller living quarters, this poses a challenge.  Not to mention the challenge of trying to make our home not look cluttered.   And providing storage for all the stuff.  Oh yeah, and there’s a budget, so…

Ok, so I thought I would take you on a tour of MY home and hopefully offer some suggestions, advice, perhaps a few anecdotes, and by doing so simultaneously inspire you to go forth and revive your own home – without breaking the bank.  Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so if you do not love my apartment, that’s OK.  You don’t hurt my feelings :-)  (I LOVE my apartment!), but perhaps some of my tips and tricks can be of use to you, anyway.

Welcome to my home, “Books and Nooks”:  The Living Room Edition!!!

 (That’s right, I named our home “Books and Nooks.” )

Living room

PaintOne of the most cost-effective and easiest ways to make a major change, and it sure beats contractor white.  I used satin finish, but opted for the cheapest mix.  You have to request this, otherwise they’ll usually give you the medium-priced or highest-prices one.  (1 gallon, $22)

Couch:  Not my favorite thing we own, but it works!  The couch was a hand-me-down — from a friend of the family– and I added a slipcover from Wal-mart.   ($32)

Houndstooth rug: This is where a search engine comes in handy — I Googled houndstooth rug under the shopping option and had BY FAR the best deal.  And the quality is great!  ($125, a splurge in GPP land, but worth it for the big statement it makes, and FAR cheaper than many of the full priced dopplegangers that can run as much as $1,000.)

Throw pillows:  The paisley one was made from fabric out of the remnants bin at JoAnn (most fabric stores have these).  The green one on the couch is silk with real down filling (ooh la la!)  and I totally got it at Goodwill. The two white pillows were painted by the incomparable Teresa Hyke Foster — my mom!  They are actually separate covers that were made to cover two other pillows that I’d used in a previous apartment.  Not everyone can have a mother with mad artsy skills, so if you are not feeling the free hand thing, just use a stencil.  You can buy these or BETTER yet, find one and print it off from the computer.  (app. $20 for all pillows)

Another view of the living room

Painting:  By Teresa Hyke Foster. I am really spoiled.  It was a Christmas gift, and it is of Preservation Hall, a jazz club in New Orleans, where Josh and I honeymooned  — not in the jazz club, in the city.  (Cost = free! Santa is the best.)

Stacks of books:  I mentioned we have lots of books. One can only have so many bookshelf units in their home (we have four!).  Instead, I have chosen to “feature” some of the prettier hardback books in various stacks throughout the apartment (and yes, I try to color coordinate the stacks of books — it’s prettier that way!).  Update:  Since taking this picture, I have reduced the two short stacks to just one tall stack.  (I don’t factor in cost, because these were not originally bought for the purpose of decor).

Entertainment Center

Entertainment Center:  It was being thrown away, so we took it!  After re-painting it and adding some faux crystal drawer pulls, it’s as good as new!  (Paint = $30, Faux crystal drawer pulls = $1/each.)

Old Suitcase:  A friend of the family was getting rid of this, but we took it because… that’s what we do.  It’s easily tucked away and is also a good storage container (right now it is full of all kinds of things).

Old timey movie camera pillow:  Another THF original.  She’s a rockstar.

Large TV:  Free from a hotel that was upgrading to flat panel TV’S.   (By the way, I don’t know when we as a society got so obsessed with the size of our TV’s rear ends, but that does seem to be the trend.  Whatever, I got a free, big-screen TV out of it.)

Storage containers above entertainment center:  Pretty storage!  All purchased on clearance at a home decor store.  I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for something.  (app. $20 for all three)

I thought I was so clever, making a reading area for myself; Margeaux got to it first. Silly humans and their plans.

Old timey movie camera pillow:  Another THF original.  She’s a rockstar.

Corner by the front door

Hanging paper lamp:  Ikea, $29.99.  I love Ikea.

End table:  It was being thrown away = free for me!

Stackable chairs: Target, $15.99 ea.  Things that stack are smart!

Beautiful hardwood parquet floors:  The perks of living in a pre-war apartment building.

Wall art:  I really need a close-up of this — I took a framed “inspirational quote” from Goodwill (I bought it for the frame), took out the inspirational quote (“Reach for the stars!”  Really?), and put in my own picture — ransom note style, with various F’s and D’s cut out from magazines and glued on a piece of white paper (those are the letters of our last names, in case you were trying to work it out).  Cost = the randomly chosen Goodwill price of $1.88 for the frame.

Behind the couch

Vase, flowers:  Ikea is my baby’s daddy.  ($10, total… though I know this could be done for less.)

Baker’s Rack

Baker’s Rack:  I grew up with this piece of furniture in my childhood bedroom, and it housed all of my toys.  It started out black, then was painted fire engine red, then hunter green, then the color things get when they’re dusty, as it sat in the basement for 11 years, barely being used.  I knew in NYC we’d need as many kitchen storage options as possible because:  a) I love to cook, and b) I have a LOT of kitchen utensils and appliances that I will NOT be parting with any time soon.  Going with the vertical tradition of NYC, I took this baker’s rack and –six cans of spray paint later– it is definitely not hunter green (a color I despise), but rather lime green.  (I know this color isn’t for everybody, but I love it — it’s like caffeine for the eyes.)  Of course, I have some cabinet space, but very little, so I decided to showcase my prettiest plates and stainless steel appliances and hide the less pretty things in the cabinets.  I used various crocks and flower pots to store utensils and flatware, since my kitchen drawers were actually too narrow for a standard size drawer divider.  I stuck a rod through the curlicue holes on the sides of the baker’s rack to offer a place to hang a roll of paper towels.  The two boxes serve as storage (a packing box and a shoebox) and I just covered them with scrapbook paper that I’d previously found in the clearance section at Hobby Lobby (wrapping paper would’ve been even better, but I didn’t have any).

Appliances:  Ah, the wonders of a wedding registry :-)

S hooks:  I added these into the grated shelves of the baker’s rack.  Coffee mug storage = 10 cents each!


Barware:  Wedding registry win!

Bookcase:  Wal-Mart, $10.

Mirror:  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure…

Dining “room.” Quotation marks were essential.

Dining room table:  This is one of my FAVES!  Idea by Teresa Foster, follow-through by Courtney Foster-Donahue, demolition by Harold and Derek Foster, and assembly by Josh Donahue (we should really take our show on the road).  I knew I wanted a dining room table in NYC, but the most important things were for it to be small and… pretty!  My mother had found an antique (circa 1920’s) Singer sewing, but it had been collecting dust in their basement since my family moved to Atlanta.  I did some Googling and found this table, and by coincidence, I already had the exact same chairs, so I just copied the idea! We took a pre-made Ikea table top ($20) and affixed it to the sewing machine base (my father and brother removed the original top).  Of course, not everyone has a mother with an eye for antiques, but it is possible to find these sewing machines in a lot of unexpected places, in addition to antique stores.

Spaghetti hanging lamp:  Oh you know, someone was getting rid of it… story of my life.

Framed poster: If you still have unframed posters up on your walls, the only acceptable reason for this is that you’re still in college.  I’m not passing judgment, I’m just tellin’ you like it is. (This is where I add an emoticon so you don’t think I’m a rude word.)  :-)   There, I did it.

YUM letters:  $1 ea. at Hobby Lobby and I spray painted them with leftover spray paint from a past project.  I reeeaaalllyyyy like spray paint, but don’t worry, I don’t huff it — that’s bad news.

Textured table runner: $3.99 at Ross (Dress for Less).  And I did.

The quality of this photo is pretty rough.

Kitchen/wall:  It’s a kitchen, it’s a wall, it’s a kitchen/wall!  It’s NYC Livin’ at its finest.

Kitchen utensils:  Oooh, orange!  These were all purchased at TJ Maxx or Ross, so you KNOW I didn’t pay full price.  They have been hung using a tension rod.  Tension rods are the best.

Artwork:  These two prints above the sink are both from an old picture book all about food (thrifted, of course).  I cut them out and put them in frames from the Dollar Tree.

Hard hat sign:  Josh found this while walking in the park in Atlanta one day.  That’s called free, folks!

Kitchen nook

Kitchen nook:  You cannot see this alcove unless you are in it, so I was OK with a little more clutter here.  The magnetic knife rack is perfect for apartments (Ikea, $8.99, but really I got it at a spring cleaning clothes swap, so it was FREE).  Again, I love me some tension rods, and I have used them here to hang even more utensils (they are hung with paper clips).

Hope you enjoyed the tour of my living room!  Bedrooms pics will come very soon, but in the meantime please feel free to comment (below) or e-mail me with some pics of your very own; I’d love to feature them on this blog!

Oh yeah, SUBSCRIBE!  (to the right, to the right…)

FREE DONUTS! Or Penny-Pinching Practice and Pastry Perks (a play in one act)


Or Penny-Pinching Practice and Pastry Perks

A play in one act

By Courtney Foster-Donahue


Courtney:  Protagonist, mid 20’s, redhead, cunning, clever, capitalizes on the bored vulnerability of Dunkin Donuts cashiers by employing her slight Southern accent.  Note: Actress only uses accent out of necessity, i.e., the acquisition of free food. Otherwise, she has virtually no dialect.  Also possesses acumen for alliteration, but employs this skill only when typing.

Josh:  Slightly goofy sidekick and husband to Courtney, mid-20’s, strangely tall, dashing, has a newly found fondness for his Fedora hat.  Quite adept at letting Courtney take the lead in all thrifty endeavors, especially those involving free food, particularly sweets.

Armand: Dunkin Donuts cashier, early 20’s, of nebulous ethnicity.  Easily susceptible to the Southern wiles of Courtney; worlds like “y’all” are a particular weakness.


September 2011, late evening.   New York City, “the City that Never Sleeps,” in a quiet Brooklyn neighborhood that goes to bed at around 8:57 p.m. EST.

Lights come up on a Brooklyn street , a pleasant evening at the end of summer; the kind of evening that makes  lovers yearn wistfully for the days of their youth… and other, overly poetic things Eugene O’Neill would have said in his stage directions.  Our hero and her husband roam Cortelyou Road in search of sustenance.  (A recent cooking malfunction has rendered their oven useless for the time being and with no microwaveable food, they have taken to the streets for their evening nourishment.) 


Scene 1

Less than interesting dialogue ensues as the couple walks along:

Josh:  How about this place?  They look open.

Courtney:  They just closed.

Josh:  (a few steps down the road) Ooh, this one!  There are people sitting down inside.  Oh, but their “closed” light is on.

Courtney:  Schmehhh…..

Josh:  What about Superior Deli?  I really liked that sandwich that one time… Yeah, let’s go there.

Courtney:  Don’t they have a debit slash credit minimum?

Josh:  Oh… yeah.

Courtney:  Do you have any cash?

Josh:  I’ve got a dollar.  (Non-Pinterian pause.)    Do you have any cash with you?

Courtney:  Never.


Courtney:  I think the only place on this street that takes debit cards with no minimum is Dunkin Donuts.

(Sound cue:  Unnecessary honking of car horn on street.)

Josh:  (disinterested)  Hm… How about this place?

Courtney:  That’s a bar…I don’t want to drink my dinner…  (smiles)  This time.  I think Dunkin Donuts is gonna be our best bet.  They have a totally decent chicken salad croissant.

Josh:  (quasi-ignoring Courtney, per usual)  What about here? (realizing)  Oh… they’re closed.

Courtney:  Yeah… (repeating verbatim for effectiveness):  I think Dunkin Donuts is gonna be our best bet.  I mean really, the chicken salad croissant is pretty good.

Josh:  Let’s just go to Dunkin Donuts.

Courtney:  (slightly peeved) Uh huh.


Scene 2

(Fluorescent lights up on a local Dunkin Donuts, shiny, clean, recently opened to the great joy of the Monday-through-Friday-A.M.commuter in the area.)

(Armand, DD cashier of nebulous origin and accent, waits for the ever- approaching closing time.  He is slightly depressed that he will have to throw out the baked goods that were not sold or eaten at the end of the night…  Slightly depressed, but mostly bored.  Note:  He is  unusually polite for a New Yorker.)

(Enter our hero, and her husband.  They have a spring in their step as they approach the counter.  They are hungry and, after all, Dunkin Donuts is the only eating establishment on their street that does not have a debit card minimum.)

Courtney:  What are you gonna get, sweetie?

Josh:  I don’t know.

Courtney:  I’m gonna get the chicken salad croissant.  It really is pretty good, did I tell you I got it one time?

Josh:  Uh huh.

Courtney:  (spies newly hung pumpkin donut sign)  Ooh, pumpkin!

Josh:  Yeah, that sounds good.

Courtney:  Yeah!

Armand:  Welcome to Dunkeen Donu’s, How-are-jou-dis-eveneeng-may-I-take-you-order? (with curiously rolled “r”)

Courtney:  Uh…yeah.  I want the chicken salad croissant and a Diet Pepsi. (Beat.)   Since you don’t have Diet Coke.

Josh:  I want the same.

Courtney: (aside to Josh)  I really think you’ll like it.

(The couple pays and proceeds to sit down, waiting for their order.  Increasingly less interesting dialogue ensues:)

Courtney:  I wonder what they do with their leftover donuts at the end of the night?

Josh:  What do you mean?

Courtney:  Well, you know, most bakeries have to throw away their baked goods at the end of the night if they weren’t all sold or eaten.

Josh:  Oh, because they might get stale or something.  (recalls:)  Like when we were at Shorter and we would go to Panera at closing time and get all those bags of bagels for rehearsal.

Courtney:  Yeah.  I should totally go ask that guy what they do with their left-over donuts.  You know, in the name of research… for the blog.

Josh:  You should!  But I’m not gonna get in the way of your Courtney/woman magic.  If I was up there when you asked he’d be like “Nooo….”  (Beat.)  But if you do ask, I want a chocolate cake donut.

Courtney:  Ok.

Courtney crosses down stage center (where else?) and moves with confidence.  For reasons unbeknownst to her, she suddenly takes on the speech patterns of a Southern Belle.

Courtney:  (to Armand)  Hiiiii……

Armand:  Jase?

Courtney:  Hey, whaddy’all do with yer leftover donuts at the end of the niiight?

Armand: (unable to stifle a smile)  Oho!  Heard jou talkeeng about duh pumpkeen ones!  Here!  A pumpkeen one for you!

Courtney:  (surprised)  Oh!  Thanks!  Uh… can he have one?  (points to well-concealed husband, sitting in a booth)

Armand:  (As if noticing him for the first time)  Oh… jase.

Courtney:  Great! I think he wanted a choc—-

Armand:  (interrupting)  A pumpkeen one for him, too!

Courtney:  (slightly disappointed) Oh… (Always the gracious penny-pincher:)  Thanks!!!  (testing the waters:)  Hey, do you always give away the leftover donuts at the end of the ni—-

Armand:  (interrupting, while abruptly exiting to the backroom:)  Enjoy it!  G’night!

Josh:  (after a bewildered moment:) Sweet! A free donut!

Courtney:  (while taking a bite:) And it’s really good.  (decides:)  Yay!

Josh:  And it was free:  yay!


(Playwright’s Note:  Any resemblance to actual historical events is entirely intentional and accurate, with the exception of the Dunkin Donuts’ cashier’s name, which remains a mystery.  Josh totally made the “Armand” part up.  Like his name, the DD guy’s ethnicity also remains a mystery. 

The playwright encourages the reader to go out and take advantage of these opportunities, like the one described in this play.  Many bakeries and cafes follow this same policy, either greatly discounting their unused food prior to closing, or giving it away all together. Become familiar with the closing hours of your local bakeries, whether they are chains OR mom-and-pops.

 The playwright also would like to remind readers that IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK.  Who knows? Perhaps you’ll end up with an “Armand.”  And… maybe even a spontaneously generated, yet surprisingly useful Southern accent.)

Okay, but seriously folks, all playwrighting attempts aside, do YOU know of a bakery, cafe, somewhere that doles out their leftovers???  Please comment and let us know! (The “leave a comment” link is below after the tags and it is very small.  Click on it. Then comment.  Then rest assured).)

If you mention a mom-and-pop store, don’t forget to mention the city/state… And of course, SUBSCRIBE! It’s that widget in the upper-right hand corner!

“Welcome frugal friends and bargain hunting brethren!”

I am Courtney Foster-Donahue, the “Ginger Penny Pincher” and as the self-appointed title indicates, I am a thrift thrill seeker and redhead extraordinaire (the red hair having little to nothing to do with frugality, unless you think redheads are magically adept at finding good deals– in the way that leprechauns are magically adept at finding pots of gold — in which case I might agree with you . . .  more on that in a future blog, I’m sure).

I’m a Gulf Coast native, hailing from Atlanta, and having recently relocated to the beautiful borough of Brooklyn, New York City, NY.  When I’m not blogging, I work as an actress, singer, dancer, and choreographer on the stage and screen.

See? I have a headshot -- that proves it!

<——–Check me out!  Website:

Fueled by a frugal fashion-finding fervor, a deftly driven desire for deals, and an all-around excellent handle of alliteration — I mean did you read that sentence? — I started this blog as a way of providing info and tips for those hoping to save money, but not dramatically alter their lifestyle – champagne taste on a beer budget, realized!

In addition to saving money, I will also explore ways to save non-monetary resources through various outlets, including up-cycling, antiquing, re-purposing, and energy saving — Caring: Mandatory; Tree-Hugging: Optional.

Armed only with a starving artist’s wallet and an acumen for savings and style, I look forward to blogging about my penny-pinching adventures while living in one of the most expensive cities in the nation in the midst of a recession!

PLEASE check back as I get this thing off the ground – Bookmark me now!

Upcoming categories:

  • Frugal Fashion
  • A Cheap Date
  • Tightwad Travel
  • Thrifty Thoughts
  • The Re-Purpose Driven Life
  • Courtney’s Kitchen: The Recession Edition
  • Doggie Deals
  • Champagne Taste, Beer Budget – featuring articles on wedding planning, home décor, and more—on the cheap!

. . . And more!

(You read that whole thing?  I like you already!)

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