My frugal Valentine.

thThe other day I awakened to the sound of a vacuum cleaner, but the noise wasn’t quite right. It sounded a bit muffled, and why would DF be vacuuming anyway? We have a robot to do that.

Maybe he was dust-busting around the fireplace insert, which he sometimes does when he cleans out the ashes. Whatever. Because I was zonked on cold medicine, I went back to sleep instead of getting up to check. Later that day I found out that he was getting his ears lowered, i.e., using the Flowbee in the basement.

The sound of a man cutting his own hair…Now that’s frugal sexy. He’s been self-saloning for decades, saving who knows how much money. This is just one of the reasons I find him devastatingly attractive.

Newer readers who aren’t clear on DF’s backstory should check out “Midlife love rocks! (Ask me how I know),” the post that introduced him back on Valentine’s Day 2013. We’re still together and still entirely stupid about each other.


Last summer I finally got to introduce DF to my dad and stepmom, during their visit to Alaska. That was a relief, because part of me wondered if they thought I was making this guy up. Smart, loving, frugal, funny, kind, practical – could he be real?

Dad later pronounced DF “one of the good ones.” Yep.


Shared values

Regular readers have already heard about his wit, kindness, empathy, smile and, frequently, his frugality. Being on the same page financially is huge. He doesn’t judge my cautious money attitudes because he shares them.

Neither of us minds spending on things that matter. Yet we see no reason to overspend, and we find so much richness in the everyday that having a good time doesn’t cost us much.

We spent a chunk of Friday evening getting the new stove in place: muscling the old one out of the way, degreasing the range hood (long overdue), scrubbing the wall behind the stove and the floor under it, hooking up the stove and sliding it into position. Not everyone’s idea of Date Night, but it worked for us.

DF did most of the stove work, because he’s handled gas lines before. The fact that he was willing to do this rather than hire it out was also frugal sexy.

Afterward we stood beaming at our newly cleaned hood, freshly scrubbed wall and shiny new cooker. It’s a black Frigidaire with a preheat function that actually works, a window so we can see how things are baking, and “simmer” and “quick boil” burners. Its predecessor had labored faithfully for three decades, but it was time for a new appliance.

Not that this is the end of the old stove’s useful life span. DF’s giant sons (6’6” and 6’7”) are coming over later to haul it out to the back deck. Their dad wants to hook it up to propane so he can cook bacon outdoors when the weather warms up. Given our all-too-short summers, sunny days are made for al fresco breakfasts.


A constant giver

After that the three guys will go set a friend’s bed up on risers, in hopes of ameliorating the user’s GERD issues. This should take only a few minutes, but it is a few minutes on a Sunday. All three will do this cheerfully, which is the Alaska way: You help people because it’s the right thing to do.

DF is always looking for ways to help others. His financially challenged friends get rides, meals, Christmas gifts and, if necessary, bail money. He donates to a handful of charities and picks up extra toilet paper at Costco to drop at the family shelter. Every seven weeks he gives blood; his lifetime totals are up in the double-digit gallons.

Certainly he’s always finding ways to make my life better. To use an old-fashioned turn of phrase, he truly is my helpmate: faithful friend, stalwart supporter, cheerful choreboy, champion cuddler. DF works to get me out of the house when I’ve spent too much time alone, anticipates needs I haven’t uttered (or even realized), encourages me when I’m feeling wavery about work, sympathizes if I’ve had a troll-herding day.

Happy Valentine’s Day to one of the good ones. I will never stop thanking God that we found each other. May all of you find your own true loves as well. And if you already have, hold him or her tightly and realize what miracles life can bring.


Related reading:

468 ad


  1. As a regular reader, I have delighted in your wonderful love story, Donna. You were indeed fortunate to find each other!

  2. That was lovely, Donna. Thank you 🙂

  3. You have a real gem there. So glad for you.

    Frugal Valentines here. My fire department pager went off while I was still deciding to get out of bed. Off I went. Upon returning I was thinking about the daffodils by the driveway and headed into the house planning to grab the scissors and put some in the house for valentines day. There on the kitchen island was a glass with 6 or 7 of the little guys in all their glory. Man has a few faults but also has his moments where he shines.

    We do candy, but neither of us is willing to go fight the crowds at See’s. I’ll drop by and grab our usual order this week. Have a $5 off card. Frugal and easy.

  4. I love your stories about DF. You two are obviously a perfect match.
    My DH and I have been married for over 40 years. We spent Valentine’s morning working on our budget. And then thanking each other for what we do to keep life frugal. Now that is true love! And no roses or chocolate, but he is vacuuming right now and then is going to clean the bathroom. I love this man.
    Thanks for another great post to remind us all what really matters.

  5. Aww. this is lovely! Happy for you and DF to find each other — happiness!

    Went down the rabbit hole reading so many of the links provided here and I really do enjoy your work. Also, may have to enter the 21st century — Roombas! Flowbies! Have a great day

    • Donna Freedman

      The Flowbie is actually a 20th-century thing. As far as DF can remember, he’s been using one since 1990.

      And thanks for your kind words about my writing.

  6. Marie-Josée

    Congratulations on having found your perfect valentine. I’m so happy for you. I’ve been married almost 30 years and just love the way my relationship with my husband has settled into a wonderful easiness. It may sound boring, but it isn’t.

    We enjoyed a wonderful Valentine’s day with Emma, our one year old grand-daughter who loves to cuddle, dance, chatter jiberish and make lots of noise. No chocolate was purchased, but home-made peanut butter cookies and almond flour muffins were made and given to our daughter.

    • Donna Freedman

      “Easiness” isn’t boring if you’re doing it right. Sounds as though you are. Congratulations right backatcha.

      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

  7. Maureen C

    I also have my true love. At times a pain and not sympathetic, but also makes me smile and feel appreciated and loves me for who I am. Just like I love him for who he is. And as we get older, he becomes more sympathetic which is nice. He’s also taken care of me after surgeries and the birth of our daughter, so I know he’s a keeper!!!

    • Donna Freedman

      Indeed. Some people are nice/sympathetic/loving only when it’s easy for them, but aren’t willing to step up and do what needs to be done when you need them.

      Being loved for who you are is giant, too.

  8. What a wonderful tribute! May you and DF enjoy many, many more happy and frugal years together! Bright blessings!

  9. What a nice post Donna. So good to know there are good people like DF and his sons (and you). Hubby and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage later this year. I fished out an old valentine I gave him one year and said “Happy Valentines Day.” He paused at the card section in the grocery store and asked “want me to show you the card I was going to buy you.” We made chocolate chip cookies without yelling at each other so it was a good day. He makes me laugh almost every day. When it really counted he brought out the really good side of me and showed me that I am capable and can handle a crisis. He is good and has a kind heart. The things I was truly looking for in a partner. He only really spends money on season tickets to his favorite team and I can live with that.

  10. True love is a wonderful thing and you certainly have found it with DF. I have been in my second marriage for 11+ years and I must say that this marriage is true love. It is the type of relationship that you are there for that person no matter what. Our Valentine’s Day was spent reading Valentine’s together at the store, grabbing a box of heart sharped chocolates to have while watching a movie. The big dinner…pizza & wings. Simple but so on budget!

  11. I absolutely love your DF mentions and they seem to bring out the best in your readers! I want to add one: on the day before V Day, my guy insisted on driving me to all my birthday-freebie errand running, dropping me off at each front door, then parking (turning the car off), then watching for me and driving up to pick me up each time (6 times). What a dear! We then enjoyed our V Day catching up on Downton Abbey programming and enjoying those freebies! These guys are true keepers!

  12. Congratulations, Donna. I once read that the most respectful way a Navajo can refer to his/her spouse is to call them the one they are making a life with. Sounds like you and DF are making a great life together: the best kind of partnership.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *