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Frugal Find: Smile

   Posted On: October 18, 2013  |    Posted In: Saving  |     Posted by: Broke Millennial®

As a young girl, I frequently bopped around our house to various oldies. Well, not really oldies, but they were oldies to me. When I wasn’t rocking out to “Uptown Girl” or “Lights” I would dance and sing “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.” I would plaster a big smile on my face, point my index fingers into the place I always wanted dimples and toss my head from side-to-side to flip around my Shirley Temple curls. The curls may have been the result of hot rollers and a patient mother. I may not have understood the references to Beau Brummelly or Saville Row. But at an early age I learned two things. 1) I was a natural-born performer and 2) a smile goes a long way.

cailin's 21
My sister and I both have big smiles and my hair sometimes Shirley Temples on its own now!

Yes, sometimes a smile can help secure something for cheap or free. As a young woman who isn’t hard on the eyes I will admit to using my smile and tossing my, still sometimes Shirley Temple, hair for a free drink. Other times a smile, a kind word or a simple “how are you” to the right person has gotten me a free coffee or pastry.

Most recently, I went to a long-standing Italian pasta shop in my neighborhood. While buying a bag of gnocchi, I asked the older woman working the counter how to properly cook the potato dumplings. While giving me instructions, she tossed in a extra bag of plain pasta, free of charge. I’d like to credit that exchange to my smile and general interest. But it could’ve been a result of an Italian woman looking at girl who seemed like a novice in the kitchen, clearly of Irish heritage, and bound to mess up something as simple as boiling water and tossing in gnocchi. She wanted to make sure I had a back up plan.

I do feel it’s important to state that I did successful cook the gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce I made from scratch.

Other than getting the occasional freebie, a smile can bring joy to a friend, family member or especially a stranger. As someone who has worked in the food services industry, I can tell you there were mornings that a smile and a simple “how are you doing today?” from a customer actually brought a tear to my eye.

Today, I try to always make eye contact and smile at folks who look like they might need a pick-me-up. Whether it be the homeless man who occupies the corner near my train, a waitress taking my dinner order, the TSA agent checking my ticket at security or the bus driver when I ride the Greyhound, everyone can use a smile.

It feels great for them and it’s free for you!

What has your smile done for you or others recently?

LINK LOVE: The Stop Sitting Around on Your Ass and Do Something Edition [inspired by the fact I’ve started running again]


Like any good nominee, I had my smile, nod, I’m glad he/she won face all ready to go. Granted, I was sitting at my computer in NYC wearing my sweatpants while the awards were happening in St. Louis, so only I would get to see my smile and nod in my full-wall mirror (seriously, I have a wall in my living that is a mirror). I was monitoring Twitter for news and relying on other PF bloggers to tweet updates to me. The first category I was nominated in, Best New Personal Finance Blog, went to the incomparable Empowered Dollar!

I looked in the mirror and did my nod and smile.

Minutes later I saw the tweet come through from Luke Landes of Consumerism Commentary.

I jumped up from my chair and started doing my “I’m excited dance” around my apartment. Mostly, I wished I could’ve been there to jump up and down with some other bloggers (I’m thinking Red Debted might have joined in with me)!

I started this blog back in January and I’m continue to be beyond thrilled with all the positive responses to my writing, story-telling and attempt at educating my peers.

Thank you to everyone who nominated me and to those currently at FinCon, I’ll be seeing you there next year!



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14 responses to “Frugal Find: Smile

    1. Thanks, Jacob!

      Smiling not only can improve your mood, but really just does wonders for the people around you. I try not to forget!

  1. CONGRATS ERIN!!! SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!! WOOHOO!!!!! And yes, a smile does really go a long way. I have read stories where a smile can save somebody from suicide. It’s amazing what people can do. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Matt! Hey, I’m a narcissistic millennial. I gotta post tons of selfies! Or…just avoid any copyright issues by using my own pictures. Hmmm…which could I be doing?

  2. I had a buddy in college who always greeted servers in a restaurant (fast food or sit down) with a big smile and would ask about their day. I was talking to him about it and he said more often then not, he got a lot bigger portions for his meals. Even if he didn’t, he still felt better about brightening their day.

  3. I’m with you on smiles but I take it a step further too. Sometimes just being nice to people goes far. I help out and am nice to my fellow coworkers and just talk to them, asking them about their day/week/etc. As a result, when I’ve gotten into minor jams, they’ve been more than happy to help me out and when I can, I reciprocate the help. It’s amazing what being nice and smiling can do for you!

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