Tag Archives: The Frugal Musician

The Frugal Musician falls off the wagon


We had The Big Event in June and in addition to falling off the frugal financial wagon, I also fell off the composting, recycling and reusing train as well.

As the date of The Big Event approached the rapidity of money draining from my resources was only matched by the  pouring out of effort and energy to get our house and grounds in good order to host 40 people. Everything we did in the house and in the garden was something that should have been done YEARS ago, so I’m not whining about spending monetary resources on stain for the deck, paint for the bath and upgrades to fixtures and the like.  I know everything could have been done cheaper, but not as fast as it had to be accomplished.

It bothers me that we had The Big Event and didn’t recycle plastic, glass and aluminum. It bothers me that in the week before TBE, I didn’t compost my vegetable scraps or put out my coffee grounds and eggshells to dry for mulching the tomato plants.

On the upside, I washed and plan to reuse the big aluminum serving pans with the nice fitting plastic tops we bought and I had enough plastic cups, utensils, paper plates and napkins to host another Big Event.

And this time the house and grounds will be in order and time, effort and energy will be intact for maximum enjoyment of the hostess!


The Frugal Musician wants a lunch wagon


Winter in the music business is never what one might call easy.  Boyfriend is a sound technician and I’m a music publicist and we both rely on touring and entertainment to provide us with work. Typically, both of our businesses grind to a slow crawl from the week before Thanksgiving to mid January. 

Partner the big slow down with bouts of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a lack of warmth and sun and the ground’s barren and frozen status and we both start to think of alternative ways to make a living. My alternative idea this particular winter is to make a career of selling sandwiches out of a lunch wagon. It seems a reasonable and sane way to make a living. After all, people gotta eat.

 In 2009, I released four booklets about the music business. To see how Divine Intervention made this happen you can read this http://alunatunes.wordpress.com/2009/01/27/january-27-backstage-pass-seminar/. 2009 also marked my exit from the music booking business and the build a band business, into full-time publicity and writing. Now the freelance writing business is experiencing a shake up and publicity often demands underwriting funds as publications try to keep afloat in the digital age.

Essentially I’ve spent 15 years intimately involved in building the careers of other people, while my own, sadly, sat neglected and ill-fed in a dank, dark and cold corner. “SSSHHHHH!” I warned Dream Girl when she cried no one was paying any attention to her. “Too much whining in the monitors! ” I’d hiss ala Jeff Mosier.” You are not as valid as band a, b, and c and are not as talented as singer a, so just knock off the complaining and let me get back to WORKING on the dreams of others! GEEZ!”

A week ago, a lot changed. It was sudden and unexpected.  For a week, I’ve mulled it over, not obsessed or whined or complained about it, just quietly reflected on the change as a major part of my work life becomes not so major anymore.  And it is good because I truly believe change is good all the way around.  Without change, we’d never grow or develop or learn to count our blessings more fully and fervently on a minute by minute basis.

This morning, I picked Dream Girl up out of her dark corner, sat her on my knee, wiped her tears, gave her some warm tea and honey and brushed her hair. Strangely, she looked dazzling in the sunlight streaming through the window and I realized what a pretty little thing Dream Girl always was. How she loved to write and sing and how she adored the art of creation. As she become nourished and clean, she giggled. “We can do this.” she reminded me, then gave me a hug around the neck, as if I had never neglected her or let her down or ignored her at all.

So it’s time to pay attention to me and Dream Girl and pursue the things we’ve always loved, our own hopes and ambitions, all the things that have taken a back seat to the dreams of others for so many years.  Although our pockets might be threadbare for a bit, we’ll be like a Dickens character. Maybe a little ragged and worn, but full of the goodness of life and content to find our new place in it.

The Frugal Musician gets transparent


For the third weekend since December 18 we’re snowed in. Great masses of the white stuff pile at our driveway and ribbons of windblown snow weave around our window panes.  I have never seen snow like this. It would be remarkable and enchanting but my enthusiasm for it is tempered by a solid dose of winter work woes. When the weather is bad, Boyfriend’s work closes and he goes unpaid. It’s winter and most bands tour sparsely and close to home during the cold months. And I rely on touring to make a living.

This scenario is not new and each year I try my best to prepare for it. Unfortunately, in January, I lost what I considered my “day job”. I was a public relations gal for a regional act and it took up nearly all my time. The pay was good, contributing nearly two thirds of my income. So I was rather shocked when touring didn’t let the group to renew my contract for another year.  Then panic set in followed close on the heels of despair, discouragement and downright despondency.

Deriving an income from music and those who make it is tenuous in the best of times.  With that in mind, I keep an emergency fund quickly accessible. I am lucky. But the next few months will be some of the toughest I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve decided to share this and share it now after pondering my situation for over a month. I didn’t know whether I should talk about this sudden change of affairs or simply keep it to myself and let people continue to wonder what the heck is wrong with Tammy.

Transparency is a big deal.  I am the strong, silent type, always more content to bear whatever comes along with the stoicism of a monk and the full recognition that The Universe knows what it’s doing. I may not understand it, but I trust that this is how things are at the moment.

 It occurs to me a blog is a web log and perhaps I can share my scary moments and triumphs on this new journey with you. After all, you’ve always been so kind to read and comment and I value your friendship more than I can say.

So here’s to transparency and the stinky smelly side of slap me in the face reality.  It’s like a rollercoaster here right now. Hop in but remember to keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times and don’t exit until the ride has come to a full stop.

Ready, Set -GO!

The Frugal Musician cuts up


“Tis the season of the Christmas catalog.

These are not catalogs I subscribe to, but rather the ones that are deposited frequently in everyone’s mailbox. Along with the catalogs arrive numerous sale papers featuring Christmas decor, gifts and all manner things “very shiny, very sparkly, looks like a holiday”- to quote Raymond in Rainman on seeings a hooker wearing a diamond necklace.

When the catalogs arrive, I go shopping.

Shopping involves scissors, a glue stick and my Happy Book. My Happy Book is a red – blank 8.5 x 11 book which contains my vision maps and dream boards. I shop with a pair of scissors, a glue stick and a large dose of imagination. 

This morning I shopped Pier 1 for my holiday decor for my (imaginary) lake house. I chose a lovely table and chair set, napkins, napkin rings, plates, glassware, tree decorations, and clipped any color or color combination I found pleasing.  Rugs, runners and rum jiggers became mine with a snip of scissors and a swipe of glue stick.  I also clipped every sweet word I found: all seasons, JOY!, perfect, bless, awesome, colorful, wonderful, essential and glued the words into my Happy Book on the page I’ve devoted to words I love.

I shopped, pleased the woman tugging at my sleeve for something not from the thrift mart, and started the day off by remembering to recognize the soul needs a bit of frivolity from time to time.

I shopped in my PJs while sipping coffee and listening to ocean music. I didn’t spend a dime, stress over mall traffic or get sore feet.

I know I should call and stop the catalogs. After I am finished cutting them to shreds I do recycle. To me, they are serving a valuable service.  They quell the yearly urge to splurge and soothe a spirit yearning for beauty but living on a budget.

Do you subscribe to catalogs?

The Frugal Musician feeds a hardworking band…


SDT TRACTOR 2009www.myspace.com/soldriventrain

Sol Driven Train, from Charleston SC, is one of the bands I work with.  I admire their tenacity, ethics and LOVE their music.

The band came to stay with us Friday as they played here in Richmond.  For Fridays dinner I made a big pot of STOUP, the soup that eats like a meal. Friday stoup was a combination of keilbasa, lentils, tomatoes, corn and pasta and it was excellent. I served it with crusty sweet bread and the guys loved it.

Next day, I made a southern bruch with bacon, scrambled eggs with cheese, biscuits, gravy, and grits. Joel brought in a watermelon the guys had picked up in South Carolina and we had a feast before the boys piled back onto the bus and headed out for West Virginia.

If you ever get a chance to offer a band room and board for the night, do it. Musicians are one of God’s most excellent creations and they never fail to give of themselves and their talent to brighten our lives.

The Frugal Musician catches up on 27 things



I wanted to catch you up on my bag items, since last week was so hectic.

I added the above office supplies. I once had a cool wipe off board but now I work in a sunroom (I AM SO LUCKY) and there is only one small wall, so I no longer use the board making the  eraser and wipe off spray useless. The staples don’t fit my stapler and I don’t have any idea where they came from

I’ve also added a few more camisole tops that just didn’t look right on me this season, a puzzle and a few children’s toys I had upstairs in my gift drawer. I have over 27 items in the bag now so Monday it will be time to donate these to the thrift store and start a new bag.

Try moving one thing a day out of your life. Reduce it, reuse it, or recycle it or donate it. Clearing physical clutter really helps clear mental clutter as well!

The Frugal Musician and the Clever Casserole (Simple Dollar)



A really clever post about assembling a casserole. I love it. Trent always writes something timely, relevant and useful!