Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll: No Money, No Problem

Dear Readers, we’re all stuck in this recession together. To start off this hump day, let’s brainstorm a list of ridiculously fun things to do that cost next to nothing. 

I’ll start us off with my go-to list for when times are tight.

1. Window shopping at fancy online stores, complete with judging the taste of strangers, stylists and those with expendable income. (“That orange chair is going to be completely dated in five years. Your children and your children’s children will hide all the photos.”) The fact that I might buy said orange chair myself is completely irrelevant.

2. Cinnamon Toast ala MacIntosh. Take a slice of regular old bread. Spread it with softened butter from edge to edge. Sprinkle with sliced bananas, sugar and cinnamon (brown sugar for wheat bread), brown under the broiler for 4-7 minutes. We ate this all the time when I was a kid and money was tight, it’s still a treat I can live with. Using generic or store brand everything, a serving of two delicious slices costs 13 cents.

3. Inventing new board games by mashing up two from the closet. This has mixed results, and tends to work better with some sort of party beverage, but I’d challenge any of you to a game of BattleTwister.

How about yours?

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

16 replies on “Lunchtime Poll: No Money, No Problem”

-No one mentioned exercise activities? I like running, and that’s pretty cheap. I go running- or walking- at local parks and that costs pretty much nothing.

-Museums. My college town has plenty of free ones, but many have “Free Tuesdays,” etc. Art galleries often have free opening shows as well.

-Local coffee shops. Sometimes I like to hang out in them and just read. But some have literature/poetry readings, music shows, and even film screenings in the basement.

-Volunteering. Local food banks, community centers, and charity events (e.g. walks or runs). I’ve sorted & organized food, tutored kids, helped with sign-up, and so on. Want to support that charity hosting 5K but don’t have much money to pay that $40 registration fee? You can usually volunteer to help check people in, hand out water, and so on.

I’m a big fan of the library too, or hanging out in Hastings (it’s kinda like if Barnes and Noble and Blockbuster had a baby that was better than they are)  getting a small cup of tea and looking at magazines or using the wi-fi. Or I sell back some books to get store credit and pay for my drink that way!

ooh there was nothing better in college than getting really hammered on cheap beer and watching Iron Chef.  The Japanese dubbed original ruined it for me – I can’t watch the American version at ALL.

OH the tension – how the hell is Sakai going to make desert out of spiny lobster?!  And God damnit if he doesn’t do it!


ME EITHER.  I tried watching the American version once and it was so full of itself!  It didn’t have the overly earnest hilarity of the Japanese version, and wasn’t nearly as intense.

When I first started dating my dude, we used to curl up in my tiny apartment and watch Iron Chef all evening.  Best way to win a lady’s heart ever.

oh tell me about it!  that’s how my husband won me!  well that and evenings full of eddie izzaard, but that’s another story.

BTW – what would you have given to be one of the English voice over people?  Where did they find those guys?! to be given lines like: “the texture . . . of the fish . . . is pleasing in my mouth . . . it reminds me of springtime . . .”  They had the greatest job ever.

Oh god, yes.  I’m so impressed that they all manage to maintain character throughout the show (and between episodes!) — I’d totally be giggling the entire time.

“This dish is TOOO SAAAAAALTY” is now a household favourite phrase, courtesy of the fortune teller lady they often have as a judge.

To be entirely fair, American versions of most of any non-American show are entirely crap.

In more broad and sweeping generalizations, I also do not like any regular show on Food Network other than Chopped, but the BF will watch that channel incessantly, so I’ve been tolerating it. A lot of times I feel like these American shows are trying to do things Reality TV style and make it super dramatic and conflict-ridden. It really grates on me after a while.

For example, despite the fact that Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares is one of the few shows I will immediately want to watch when I see it on, I hugely dislike the American version. Not only does it try to create artificial tension by adding dramatic music to everything (Food Network shows are some of the biggest offenders of this that I’ve ever seen, but I also don’t really watch Reality TV), but it always makes it sound like THIS episode is GORDON’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE YET ARGARGARG.

I wish that, sometimes, American programming (and movies too) would take into account more often the idea that less is more, and sometimes what makes a show really enjoyable is its lack of bells and whistles.

I got super obsessed with Kitchen Nightmares for a bit and watched all the American episodes first. Then I moved on to the British version and was like…wtf am I watching? I enjoyed them both but it’s like two completely different shows. In the British version, it felt like Gordon really enjoyed hanging out with the kitchen staff but in the American version, he was 100% exasperated with everyone all the time. Not that I can blame him.

Living a neighbourhood or two over from the snooty part of town makes ample opportunity for doing #1 in person.  (Though the preponderance of yappy pooches in purses is a surefire trip down Irritation Avenue, with right turn at Judgement Street.)

Iron Chef marathon!  (Many episodes available here: )  Freezie in the park under a tree with a (library?) book!  Adventures in public transit!  (Take a bus you’ve never ridden before, get off when you see something intriguing or someone starts clipping their fingernails — whichever happens first.  Putter around and window shop for a bit and take the return bus home on the same fare.)

I go on House Adventures. My favorite game is “What’s in my Yarn Stash?” or, “What Can I Make with This?” I also like going through my iTunes to make playlists out of all the awesome songs I forgot I had, or replaying old video games. Basically, my cheap fun is to look around my house for all the things that are so old, they are new again.

yesterday i googled t shirt restyles and found tons of cool stuff.  then after work i made three new shirts out of old ones that didn’t fit.  if i get brave, i’ll post pictures.  but it’s awesome when you don’t have money for shopping then suddenly  . . . NEW CLOTHES where old ones had been!

Cinnamon Toast A La MacIntosh sounds super tasty. I’ve made it sans banana, but I am totally going to add the fruit. Also, I’ll play you in BattleTwister any day.

My cheap treats are library visits for books!, playing with sidewalk chalk [$1.07 can buy enough chalk for about a weeks worth of doodles and can double as a fun way to study (for the broke/ bored med student)], and borrowing a projector (from school) for a movie on the lawn night. That’s my favorite. There’s a big field next to my house, so we bust out blankets and pillows, and a bunch friends come over with their favorite movie snacks and a few movies. We usually put on a classic, but at Halloween we do terrible horror movies or Rocky Horror and have Fright Night. It’s super fun.

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