My name is Laura, and I am addicted to gourmet coffee. I knew I should have declined the bag of Arabian Mocha Sanani that Kilby brought as part of her wedding gift. I was already hooked on Starbucks but was going to try and downgrade for the pocketbook’s sake—never mind that I had tried this once before and was absolutely disgusted with the other options. We stocked up on the Good Stuff when it was on sale last month, and I just opened up my last “stash bag.” Yes, I suspect I am, and rather hate, merely paying for the Starbucks name. I don’t think I need gourmet, per se, to make me happy; I just need drinkable, ideally slightly pleasurable coffee. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

I don’t mean to make my first post off-topic. I see this as a matter of frugal shopping, something I am pleased to use some of my time to accomplish while my husband is laboring away to keep us fed and sheltered. My strategies so far are: 1) make weekly grocery lists from the sales circular, not the gourmet cookbook; 2) shop around, but sensibly—gas prices now easily offset any minute savings from the store further down the road; and 3) try to make everything possible from scratch. It does help to “cost out” the actual bargain if I make something myself rather than buying it ready-made to any degree. For example, I can make pretty good scones, which are also pretty healthy for scones, for $.29 each, or $2.32 for a batch. A certain favorite cafe sells scones for upwards of $3 a piece, and if you ask me they’re better off sticking with coffee anyway. Maybe I am just compulsive, but doing this sort of math makes me feel powerful and useful—and is consequently a bit addicting.

I have been a full-time housewife for exactly two months, currently residing in my native South with a displaced (and endearingly disgruntled) Yankee. I will try very hard not to show you all up with my, as one has already put it, vast expertise. … Really I am hungry for all sorts of housekeeping wisdom, and as I come across particularly ingenious tips I will share them here.