Frugalfish Gets a Fitbit?

Anyone who has read many of my posts knows I am NOT a fan of exercise, see here. (That title alone will make my friends think I fell off of the deep end.) Sweating makes me break out and I avoid it, but I do want to be healthy and used a pedometer for years to track my steps.

On the other hand, my husband is a jock. He loves to exercise and plays every sport. A month before his birthday, I found an offer from that I could not refuse. It was “Buy One Get One Free” for a “J-Style Health” activity tracker for $60.00. That was a little more than I normally spend on a birthday gift and I made up the difference out of my spending money because I would be getting one, too.


I ordered the tracker to use a pedometer but was fascinated by the other features. Of course, this generic version does not work as well as the Fitbit brand that sells for $100.00.

Heart Rate Monitor

I never was able to get the heart rate monitor to work. Every time I tried to sync that feature to my phone I got the same message, “Good Morning” which is equivalent to…


I guess my heart rate is what other people’s heart rate is when they are asleep. I decided I didn’t really need that feature. Both my husband and I have had our hearts tested with EKG’s and he had a stress test. Our hearts are healthy and we do not have a murmur or irregular heartbeat.

The funny thing is my tracker would give me the same message when we were practicing for church and the guitar player went off on a tangent playing blues or country. My tracker must not care for that type of music.

Alarm to Wake Up

The alarm feature works really well. It wakes me up every time but I set it on 5:00 a.m. and it refuses to reset! When the clocks turn back on November 5th, my tracker will probably go off at 4:00 a.m. I stopped using it as an alarm.

Sleep Monitor

I no longer use it to monitor my sleep patterns during the hot weather because the wristband made my wrist sweat and I broke out. This time of year, when the Ragweed pollen is in the air, I have to take Benadryl at night along with my regular antihistamines. There is no way I can wake up at 5 after taking Benadryl.

I keep track of my sleep in my DayTimer anyway. Sometimes the only clue that I am fighting an infection is I suddenly start sleeping for 11 or 12 hours a night. The symptoms of a bacterial sinus infection are the same as a bad allergy reaction.  (I rarely run a fever.)

Calories Burned

This brand of tracker records the KCALs but I do not pay too much attention to it.


It seems to record the movements of my arms as steps. I would be playing the keyboard during the Wednesday evening service and in the middle of it, the tracker would buzz announcing I reached my goal of 10,000 steps. Amazing since I had sat down for the last hour!

I decided to keep the tracker in my pocket. Then it only records the movements of my legs and that is more accurate. Also, I didn’t want to wear it because of my sensitive skin.

Activity Alarm

I decided not to activate the activity alarm which goes off every hour to remind you to get some exercise. I don’t want to have to shut off the buzzing every hour. I use a timer to keep me on task. It is set for 15 minutes. I use it for some activities that I lose track of time doing: cleaning, reading, etc. or for things I can’t wait to finish – like exercise. The timer lets me know I have sat for too long.


I talked to a few friends who have the original Fitbit brand of a tracker. They both were given the trackers by their employers as part of their health program. I would take it if it were offered to me by an employer. I did save a lot of money buying this generic activity tracker. I will keep it because it is serving its purpose as a pedometer.JStyle Fitness Tracker, "Frugalfish Gets a Fitbit?"

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

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8 Tips For Buying a New Cell Phone

A migraine woke me up and I spent the morning with all the curtains closed. I thought about staying home, but David promised me a new phone in August. (Yeah, August was really busy.) We had a doctor’s appointment that day in the town where there was a corporate U.S. Cellular store.

Yes, U.S. Cellular is my service provider. Why? Because U.S. Cellular covers country. In my neck of the woods, the other providers have too many holes. Southeast Iowa is not densely populated. In fact, the county south of ours does not even have one traffic light! When we looked into cell phones, U.S. Cellular was the only one that completely covered our area.

The last time David shopped for phones, he found out you can get a better deal if you go with a corporate office. He checked with the local offices and they couldn’t offer him anything. He called U.S. Cellular and was able to get 2 free phones because we have been with them since 1994.

We told Ezekiel, the representative who waited on us, that we were their oldest customer. I’m not sure that is true, but many of my friends have moved from one company to another and we chose to stick with the one we had. (Unfortunately, even after all the nice things I have said, I do not get any money from U.S. Cellular. I do not participate in affiliate marketing.)

Back to my story….the days of free phones and penny phones are gone. Now, you buy the phone on time and they give you a monthly discount of $20.00 for buying the phones from them.

We started by looking at iPhones, but I use a Samsung and a Chromebook, which are both Android products. I told Ezekiel I wanted a big phone because I am near-sighted, and I needed one that took great pictures. We looked at the LG phones next, because there was one model with a good camera. I didn’t fall in love with any of them.

Finally, we looked at the Samsung phones. I am not one who has to have the latest product. We looked at older models and found one with a “Stylus,” a small pen-shaped instrument used to input commands. Earlier I shared how I would rather write with a pen than type, see here. That was the one I wanted!

The cost of covers surprised me; most of them were $29.99 to $39.99. I asked if we could use our points to purchase a cover, but the points reward program ended last year. They did have a cover for this phone that was a flip cover for $9.99.

That’s when the debate started.

I told David I could buy the flip cover and just cut the flap off. He said the phone would not be secure because the flap had to snap into the cover. Ezekiel reminded me that I was purchasing a $535.00 phone and I should protect it. He also recommended the glass screen protector. If you drop the phone, the glass breaks, not the screen. The glass has a lifetime warranty, as long as you own the phone, and they send you a new one if it breaks.

I was overwhelmed. I like to be frugal, but I don’t want to be cheap. I knew I would hate the flip cover, but didn’t want to buy the expensive ones. I left the decision up to David because he pays the bills now. He ordered a regular cover and the glass.

I’m sure I could have gotten the phone on Ebay for less, but I could not pay for it over several months. The monthly payment is less than the $20.00 credit.

David was also eligible for a $20.00 credit on his line. He likes his phone and did not want a new one, but we asked them to add that credit to our account also because we were afraid that program might end before he needed a new phone. So his credit will offset the cost of the cover and glass screen protector. It’s a big phone and I plan on using it for several years.

Before leaving, I gave Ezekiel my business card and told him I would be blogging about buying my new phone today. He walked us to the door and opened it for us.

(Hey, Ezekiel, show this post to your boss and tell him I said you deserve a raise! Thanks for your help!)

Phone buying tips:

  1. Choose your provider based on coverage. Do you travel often? Rural area?
  2. Call or go to a corporate store.
  3. Remind them how long you have been with the company.
  4. Change phones when you are eligible for a discount. End of contract?
  5. Find the phone that fits you. Look at older models.
  6. Don’t buy something you will hate or won’t use.
  7. Do protect your investment.
  8. Take advantage of any perks, discounts, and programs offered. They don’t last forever.

How do you save money when you need a new cell phone?New Cell Phone, "8 Tips For Buying a New Cell Phone"

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish


September Decoration Flip

Derek was not impressed when I got out my flag for September. He was hoping for colorful leaves and pumpkins. He was not expecting the apples!Fall Flag, "September Decoration Flip"

But September is still warm; it was 80° yesterday. Everything is still green and you can run around barefoot.Barefoot girls on Vase, "September Decoration Flip"

It is also when the fruit ripens; pears, apples, and grapes are on sale.Pear Candle, "September Decoration Flip"

Rubber grapes make a nice bow on my plain wooden wreath.Wooden wreath with grapes, "September Decoration Flip"

Apples and leaves are my themes for this month, mainly because I had a new, flameless candle, embedded with leaves. I set it on my apple runner and put “Apple Salt and Pepper” shakers on each side.Leaf candle with apple salt & pepper shakers, "September Decoration Flip"

Instead of putting my decorative dishes in the china cabinet, I put them on the shelf leading to the basement and filled them with apple/cinnamon potpourri.Dishes filled with apple cinnamon potpourri, "September Decoration Flip"

Now for My Secrets!

There are three leaf-shaped votive candles on top of wooden napkin rings on the tiny shelf by the door. Underneath, a mug with gold leaves on it.Leaf-shaped votive candles on wooden napkin rings, "September Decoration Flip"

On the windowsill between the kitchen and dining room, I put a plaque and two votive candles.Plaque and candles, "September Decoration Flip"

The candles were not tall enough. I filled the votive holders with cornmeal to raise them up!Cornmeal raises candle, "September Decoration Flip"

On the dining room table, I put a burgundy tablecloth and a red runner for the two different shades of apples. This runner is tone on tone and the backside blended with the tablecloth better. I removed the tag and you cannot tell it is the backside. Apple, acorn, candle, centerpiece, "September Decoration Flip"

A leaf brooch dresses up the towels in the bathroom.Leaf brooch on towels, "September Decoration Flip"

Without a washcloth in the color I desired, I used the “spring” washcloth and folded the decorated side over the back.Tuck decorated portion of towel behind, "September Decoration Flip"

Those are my “September Decorating Flips:”

  1. Use a napkin ring as a votive candle holder or small pine cone holder.
  2. Use cornmeal, or popcorn, to raise a small candle up to the desired level.
  3. Flip your table runner and remove the tag.
  4. Tuck the decorated side of a washcloth behind to have a plain colored washcloth.

I didn’t spend any money to decorate for September; since I picked up the leaf candle last winter on clearance. You can see different ways I used these same decorations on my Pinterest page!

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

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Frugalfish Friday

I blame Paula…and Michele. I had blogged for a week and they both told me I should start a blog about saving money.

“You have the best tips.” 

“You can stretch a dollar further than anyone I know.” 

But starting 2 blogs in the same month is crazy. I foolishly started a third blog, which I later discontinued, and a month later bought a website.


It was too much, too fast. I was writing posts for my first blog,, every day, and posts for on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. My plan was to post on the third blog on Tuesday and Thursday, but I also had to learn all the technicalities of blogging.

Adding to the chaos was taking an HTML class, which taught me enough to lock myself out of my website…twice. I was studying the book, “WordPress for Dummies,” and making decisions about the nuts and bolts of two blogs and a website. (The rules are different for a website than they are for a blog.)

Last week, I read the most discouraging article, “Get More Blog Traffic,” which said he wrote 3 posts and then spent 90% of his time marketing and writing on other blogs. If you count the posts in my third blog, I have written over 3,600 posts. Sigh.

I patterned this blog the way I like to read blogs: no pop-ups, no ads, no donation requests, no affiliate marketing. I even allow you to view the entire post in your email. I did that because sometimes you have time to read a short post, but not a long one. It takes time: to hit the link, wait for the website to open, and see how long the post is.

That makes it nice for my followers, but they never have to visit the blog. That translates into no visitors and invisible comments.

My comments are invisible because they are all on my Facebook pages. Most of my followers read my posts on Facebook.

So, I took a break.

There are steps I need to take to make my blog visible. When I started blogging, I was on page 1 of Google. But now everyone blogs, and I am way down on their list. (I stopped looking after page 23.) Anyway, there are things I can do to correct that, but it will take time…lots of time.

A few years ago, I started posting to Frugalfish on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This week, I decided to post to this blog only on Fridays, at least until I can do my homework. There are 600 posts for you to read should you have withdrawal.

But that means my Facebook friends will have to actually go to my blog!

I’ll see you next Frugalfish Friday!

Office for two.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

What’s in the Frig?

We had just returned from a weekend away, where we ate at really nice restaurants. We even tried new foods! I wanted something fancy for dinner. I asked the all important question –

“What’s in the frig?”

There was pork thawed out and fresh peaches. There was also some fresh kale the mysteriously turned up. (Sometimes, my daughter leaves things she decides she doesn’t like, but this time, it was from my son’s girlfriend.)

I went online and found a recipe for “Pork with Peaches” and another one for “Sautéed Kale.” I followed the directions a felt a bit like a chef. I baked a potato to go with those dishes. I was pleased with the results. My meal was just as colorful as the ones in restaurants.Potatoes, Pork, Peaches, and Kale on a plate.

The next time you want something fancy, start by asking the question, “What’s in the frig?”

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish