A Tale of Two Purses

My first job was working in a waterbed store next to a shoe repair shop. It was a family business and the son would help us out after work setting up waterbeds for our customers.

Normally, you do not get fashion advice from a shoe repair shop, but they told me if I bought a leather purse, that had a cloth lining, I could use it for years. They said they could repair any part of it that broke.

I thought of their advice when I bought a purse a few weeks ago…and ignored it. Yes, it was man-made materials, but the color was perfect and it was so cute!

It broke 11 days after I bought it.

I chose it because it was the backpack style and I had one of that style several years ago. After a few shopping trips, coming home with a sore shoulder, I decided I needed to go back to that style.

The plastic zipper on my purse doesn’t always close and I knew it was just a matter of time before it broke completely. Besides, I don’t have the best posture and I believe it will help in that area, too.

After the rivet broke, I dug out my old backpack purse. It still looked fine. No wonder…it’s leather with a cloth lining! It has to be 15 years old! I am not even sure why I stopped using it.

This weekend, we went to University of Iowa Hospital to visit a man injured in a motorcycle accident. I remembered when my dad was in the same unit. I rolled up a tee-shirt, undies, a few toiletries, and that purse doubled as an overnight bag.

We went shopping at the mall and ran into some old friends. As we stood and talked for an hour, my shoulders didn’t complain at all. The weight of my purse was evenly distributed between them. We returned the new purse.

Frugal people do not make a purchase, they make an investment. Cheap items are neither an investment or frugal.

My 15 year old leather purse and my 15 day old man made material purse...with a broken rivet.

My 15-year-old leather purse and my 15 day old man-made material purse…with a broken rivet.

Your Buried Treasure

The words “Buried Treasure” make you think of precious metals underground, but sometimes they are just buried. Treasure can be defined as: wealth, rich materials or valuable things.

Last week I found a treasure that was not made of rich materials or expensive. In fact, it was free…it came with the item it was designed with which to be used.

That is what made it so valuable. I could not purchase another one. What I was using as a substitute did not do the job completely.

Where did I find this treasure?

In my storage room.

I was actually looking for a curtain rod, when I picked up a basket and saw it inside. The funny thing is I had been looking for it for months. I don’t know how I possibly overlooked it!

During my many years of being housebound, I spent fifteen minutes a day doing what flylady.net refers to as decluttering. I went through every room, closet, shelf, and drawer pulling out items to give away and throw away. When I finished the final room, I thought that was it. I no longer needed to declutter.

Unfortunately, life is in a constant change. Our granddaughter was born and I accumulated many items just for her use. Those items and toys were taken to the storage room and stacked.

She has outgrown the bouncy chair, pack and play, high chair, and baby gates. At the ripe old age of four the only item she still needs is a car seat.

When we purchased the car seat, it came with a plastic zip on cover. I folded it up and put it in a basket in the storage room.

When we bought a new van, my husband brought the car seat in the house. I set it in the entry way and looked vainly for the plastic cover to protect it from dust. I used an extra-large space bag, but it only partially covered it.

Yes, my buried treasure was the plastic, car seat cover. I have to protect that car seat because I plan on using it for many more grandchildren.

I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to the store, picked up an item and found I already had one. I’m looking at a scarf right now that I should return because I found an identical one in my closet!

The point is, we waste so much money because we let things pile up and things get buried. Decluttering is a job that is never finished. I need to put it back in my daily routine.

Only this cover fits the car seat.

Only this cover fits the car seat.

Senior Picture Gallery

We have three children and after they graduated, I wanted to display all of their senior pictures. (I do have a large portrait of each child in my living room.)

When we first moved into our 640 square foot home, I displayed family pictures in the big room in the basement. But the humidity got to some of them and they stuck to the glass in the frames, destroying the photos. I did not want that to happen to the senior pictures.

I decided to give each of them one wall in the hall. There is no furniture in the way to keep you from getting close to the smaller photos.

But by the time I had that idea, our oldest was married and had a baby! I included an engagement photo, wedding photo, and one of the first pictures of their baby on his wall.

I didn’t go to the expense of purchasing matching frames. I think the variety of frames adds to the uniqueness of the display.


My photo gallery of senior pictures.

My photo gallery of senior pictures.

Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish


This Is Not A Shot Glass

Part of my eye wash system.

Part of my eye wash system.











It’s that time of year again…tree pollen triggers watery, itchy eyes.

I’ve already woke up with one eye that suspiciously looked like pink eye. Yet, when I rinsed it out, used Patanol eye drops, and popped two Benadryl, the redness faded.

The last time I was at the eye doctor’s we had a discussion about pollen affecting the eyes. We talked about using an eye wash system. I could buy one and use purified water, but I explained to him my more frugal method.

First I boiled water, that I had run through my PUR water filter pitcher, in a tea kettle.

Boil purified water in a tea kettle until it whistles.

Boil purified water in a tea kettle until it whistles.

After I let it cool, I poured an 8 ounce glass and sprinkled a dash of salt in it. I stirred the water to dissolve the salt. I poured the water in my clean hand and blinked a few times in the water. I repeated the procedure in my other eye.

The salt and water rinse the pollen off of your eyeball! According to the eye doctor, there is more salt in my tears than the sprinkle I put in the glass.

While away for the weekend with my sister-in-law, I told her about my eye wash system and that I was looking for a shot glass to use. I thought it would be safer than using my hand. She inherited a collection from her fiance’s grandmother and gave this one to me.

Now it is not a shot glass…it is a neti pot for my eyes!

Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish


On the Fringes

Last weekend we went shopping for work jeans for my husband. It is like a treasure hunt because he is 6′ 2″ and over 200 pounds. The regular sizes are too small and the “Big & Tall” are too big!

We struck out.

But he started his new job on Tuesday and he had to have something to wear to work. I checked 2 pair of his work jeans and there were no holes; they just were frayed at the leg openings.

I cut the white “fringes” off and they looked presentable. They will have to do until he can find a pair somewhere.

The pair on the left still has the "fringe" on the leg openings. The pair on the right had the white "fringe" removed.

The pair on the left still has the “fringe” on the leg openings. The pair on the right had the white “fringe” removed.








Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish






Logo Contest!

Last week I was reading a post from “blogging101″ and realized I have never made a logo for my blog. I am not artistic and I decided to have a contest and let the artists in the blogging community help me out.

I want a fish, facing left, with the word “frugal” inside. Or the word “frugal” in the shape of a fish.

Any takers?

Oh…the prize?

I will give you credit under the logo.

I doubt I will have many responses because we want money, not credit!

Yet, that is exactly what many stores do. When you return an item, they give you credit to be used only at their store. They are keeping our money and we let them get away with it!

Sometimes, they just say you cannot return an item…even when that is not the store policy!

My point is…we need to check the return policy at any store before we make a purchase.

After all, it’s our money!


Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish


College Boy is Catching On

It is one of the proudest moments in a parent’s life when they see their child get it. All of the teaching, or preaching, finally sinks in and they respond in a manner you have been pushing for years.

Last night was one of those moments. We stopped for milkshakes on the way home, but didn’t pick one up for college boy.

When we brought them in, he tried to hide mine and accidentally hid my husband’s. (I keep a close eye on my treats!)

He didn’t get the same reaction from my husband as he would have from me! That took the fun out of it and the wind out of his sails.

He decided he wanted a milkshake. In the past, he would have grabbed the truck keys and headed out for one. Last night he went to the kitchen and made his own.

I was so happy!

This is not the first time he has shown the frugality gene. You can read a few examples below.

“Substitute Guitar Picks” http://wp.me/pKNzn-Cd
“Refinished Drums” http://wp.me/pKNzn-AS

It was also not his first time in the kitchen!

“College Boy Makes a Pumpkin Pie” http://wp.me/pKNzn-iD
“Pie Crust So Simple Your Son Could Make It” http://wp.me/pKNzn-bS

I was even happier when I saw him run the clean cycle on the blender!

I asked for his recipe, and after he listed the ingredients, he said, “Are you going to blog about it? I didn’t give you a copyright to that!”

College boy drinking the chocolate chip cookie dough milkshake he made last night.

College boy drinking the “chocolate chip cookie dough milkshake” he made last night.



Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Deadline for First Goal

Today is the first deadline for the goals I set on February 3rd, see “Facing My Giants” http://wp.me/pKNzn-Fc.

2015 Goals for frugalfish.com

1. Gain 20% more followers by March 31st.

2. Increase daily hits 30% by end of 2015.

3. Gain 6 new twitter followers by May 30th. (@frugalfishorg)

I realize the day is young, but I think I may have overshot that first goal. My goal was for 829 followers, but I haven’t reached it yet.

I am doing better on the other goals. I am halfway there on both of them!

Our finances work a lot like my goals. We may be disappointed in one area, such as an increase in salary, but pleased in another, i.e. debt reduction. The important thing is to keep going.

For over a decade we added $15.00 to the principal on our mortgage and we were able to pay it off before our 50th birthdays. Every little bit counts.

A blank piece of paper to write my 2015 goals on.

A blank piece of paper to write my 2015 goals on.


The Thing I’ll Miss the Most

My husband was offered the perfect job!

(Insert party here)

It’s perfect for him, not because there is more money, but he will be doing what he loves!

I should be ecstatic.

I should be over the moon.

But I am going to miss having him around all of the time.

We will have had 3 months together…24 hours a day…7 days a week. He did not sit around all day watching TV and playing Spider Solitaire on the computer. He helped out around the house. (I never would have been able to wash the windows in an hour without his help.)

What will I miss the most?


Many days, he made breakfast and it was not pouring cereal! He even experimented with new recipes. One recipe I plan to repeat is his Vanilla Pancakes!

Vanilla Pancakes

1 Egg

1 Cup Flour

1 Cup Milk

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 Tablespoon Sugar

1/4 Cup Vanilla Yogurt

3 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Mix all ingredients together. Cook pancakes on griddle until puffed and dry around the edges. Turn and cook other side until golden brown. They are really thick. You can add more milk to thin the batter.

Mr. Frugalfish's Vanilla Pancakes.

Mr. Frugalfish’s Vanilla Pancakes.

My Shopping Gene is Broken

It has never happened before…I went away for the weekend…went shopping…and came home with nothing.

I used to be an expert shopper. I remember going to one retreat with $5.00 and coming home with a swimming suit from a clearance rack. I wore the belt from the suit as a scarf on the second day.

I really tried. We went to all the stores from Von Maur to Wal-Mart! I tried things on, but didn’t buy anything.

My sister-in-law was with me and she found all sorts of things.

What happened?

I blame missussmartypants.com. She taught me to ask several questions before I purchased an item.

  1. Do I love it?
  2. Does it flatter my figure?
  3. Do I have three other items in my closet I can wear with it?
  4. Do I need it?
  5. Do I really have a place to wear it?

Obviously, I don’t need a prom dress! But I also don’t need those earrings that look so heavy they would be uncomfortable…or that hat that was a little too big…or that blouse in the right style, but wrong color!

I didn’t just settle. It wasn’t even about the cost. Why spend $3.00 on something I will send to Goodwill in the next year anyway.

Oddly enough, the last time I found something that was perfect was at Goodwill. It was a red jacket that was the right size, color, something I will wear often, and the price tags were still on it. I wore it to the retreat. In fact, my sister-in-law kept referring to me as “the lady in the red jacket.”

What’s my point?

I had fun last weekend…without retail therapy.

My sister-in-law guarding the men's room at Ladies Retreat. Don't judge...you all have done it!

My sister-in-law guarding the men’s room at Ladies Retreat. Don’t judge…you all have done it!