Block That Standby Light on DVD Player

I like it dark in our bedroom. I mean, pitch black. I have black, energy-efficient, light-blocking drapes and mini-blinds that I close. I have a piano book on its side in front of the TV to block the red “standby light” at its base. I turned the phone sideways to keep the standby light from shining toward the bed.

Our satellite box faces the black curtains. When it faced our white walls I would be awakened by a flash of light at 2:30 am when the updates arrived. Now the light shines into the dark curtains and is not reflected back to the bed.

My husband also likes a deep, dark bedroom. Before he turns in, he throws a black cloth over the radio alarm clock to block the glow from the time.

Imagine my disgust, when I moved a DVD player into the bedroom. It has a bright, red, standby light that is piercing. I tried duct tape, but that red light penetrated through it.Red Standby Light on DVD Player

I came up with a different solution…

Aluminum Foil Tape

Plumbers use this “peel-off tape” to block gaps in furnaces and air conditioner units. I used it around all the seams on my heat ducts and to secure the pipes under my registers to the floor.Aluminum Foil Tape on DVD Player

Now it has a new use…light blocking. I cut a tiny square off of one corner and taped it over that standby light. It worked. Not a red glow came through and I could get a good night’s sleep.No Light on DVD Player

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish


Christmas Gift Projects

Christmas decorations and supplies are in stores. Some are upset and feel like we are rushing the season. But, for those of us who are crafty and make some of our gifts, we are happy to see it.

In May, the rage on Pinterest was patriotic, bandanna wreaths. I wanted to make one using my existing wreath. Imagine my surprise, when I went to Hobby Lobby a week before Memorial Day and found they were out of the red, white, and blue bandannas! I had a red one at home but had to go to 2 different stores to buy blue and white ones.

Don’t let that happen to you!

Christmas is six months away. If you would like to make gifts, now is the time to start! Get supplies while there is a good selection and you have plenty of time to complete it. I spent one Christmas Eve finishing up sewing projects and I don’t recommend it!

If you would like to make gifts, here are a few ideas:

Dehydrated Herbs

Jar of dehydrated parsley

Homegrown, dehydrated parsley.

Individual Freezer Apple Pies

Top of jar

I put labels with the baking directions on top of the jars.

Carved Wooden Statue

Man by carved wood ear of corn

It took one month from start to finish.

Blanket-Stitched Kitchen Towels

2 Christmas towels

The kitchen towels I added blanket-stitch yarn to for Christmas gifts.

Puzzle Board

Board with partially finished puzzle on it

My puzzle board.

Coffee Mug Cozie

Cup with knitted Cozie around it

Coffee Cup Cozie

Painted Picture Frames

Picture with a painted frame.

The pictures third frame


Sashay scarves on a table runner

Two Sashay yarn scarves I knitted.

Tee Shirt Quilt

Tee shirt quilt

Tee shirt quilt I made for my son.

 It’s time to go through your craft items to see what you already have on hand.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

Choosing My New Washer

My husband worked almost 30 years at the same lumber yard. It was family owned and opened in 1926. They closed its doors for the final time last year.

That was when I decided to buy only from local merchants.

I shared in a post earlier that my washer was not repairable. Saturday, I put a load in, and it would not fill with water. I shut it off, and the lights didn’t come back on, except for…

“Door is locked.”

I turned it back on, no luck.

I unplugged it, no luck.

I tugged on the door, no luck.

Finally, I plugged it back in and pushed the “start” button anyway. It went through a cycle draining imaginary water and then unlocked. After rescuing our clothes, we headed to our Hometown Sears.

Hometown stores are small hardware and appliance stores operated by independent retailers.

I watched the wife of the owner grow up. Now, I see their kids growing up on Facebook. I want to support this family business. That is why we bought our microwave there, (not at Wal-Mart), and our snow blower, and David’s new “doo-hickey” – a leaf blower with a vacuüm attachment.

I re-read the article at about choosing a washer. I looked at washers at and printed out a few prospects.

My children are grown now and our needs have changed. Our current washer is a large capacity, front loading machine. After the gasket needed replacing for the third time, I decided I wanted a top loading machine.

Following Mary Hunt’s advice, I set our budget, $400.00, and made a list of my top three requirements:

  1. Top loading machine
  2. Load size indicator
  3. G.E. or Whirlpool brand

We looked at the washers on the floor and only one met our qualifications. It was not the cheapest washer available.

I showed the saleslady the washers from and asked if the store would get credit if I purchased one of them. When she said no, I threw the list away.

We got a discount of 5% for using our Sears charge card and used the rewards money from earlier purchases. We talked about having it delivered, $45.00, and having them dispose of our old one, $10.00, but decided against it. Total cost – $427.00.

We paid for the washer and drove to a local waste management company. They said they would dispose of it for free if we brought it to their location.

David got on the phone and called a friend…who called his son-in-law…and came over. The three of them brought the new washer downstairs and lugged the old one out. (Our Hometown Sears loaned us a 2-wheel cart.) It pays to have a truck and friends with strong backs!

When I washed the first load, I set it on “Speed Wash.” I want it to last a long time. Next to it is my dryer that has lived through 4 washers, because I dry every load on “Permanent Press” and “Delicate.” It still gets really hot!

I encourage you to buy locally!

Washing Machine Panel

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.


Gifts for Administrative Assistants, Not Flowers or Candy

“My boss made the coffee every day!”

My boss spoiled me during the two decades that I was an administrative professional. Not only did my boss make the coffee, he would dump 2 sugar and 2 creams in it, and bring it to my desk. Then he would go over that day’s tasks with me. (He made great coffee! I didn’t.)

Both of my bosses spoiled me. I would get flowers and candy, not only on “Administrative Professionals Day,” but also on my birthday and other holidays, too. When my health forced me to step down from my job, I had a cupboard full of coffee mugs from them.

“But my favorite gift was…a paper shredder!”

Talk to your administrative assistants today! Flowers and candy are nice, but they might want something else instead.

According to a poll at, most bosses spend under $25.00 or under $50.00 on “Administrative Assistants Day.”

“Think outside the vase…er, box.”

  1. Software: Is there software that would make their job run more smoothly?
  2. Upgrades: Maybe they have sufficient software, but would an upgrade make them more efficient?
  3. License: You can load some software 3 times on one license: 1) Office, 2) Laptop, 3) Home. If needed, pay the extra license and let them load a program on their home computer for their personal use. The more they use it, the more proficient they will become.
  4. Electric Equipment: Another favorite item in my former office was an electric stapler. It may seem like a luxury to you, but after stapling 100 handbooks, it feels like a necessity.
  5. Equipment Maintenance: I loved the big, old-fashioned, guillotine paper-cutter we used. It could cut through several sheets perfectly. But those blades need sharpened and the screw on it may need tightening.

“An easy trick to sharpen and keep these blades sharp is to frequently cut several sheets of aluminium foil. Just pull out a sheet of foil and slice it 10 or so times into little pieces. Unless the blades are really worn out this should work. This, by the way, is official for many cheap cutters.”

“You never know until you ask.”

Money is tight and businesses may not have the funds for something new. You would be surprised how small things can make all the difference, i.e. replace the broken blind that allows the sun to shine in their eyes late in the afternoon.

“Make it personal.”

Whatever you choose to do, remember to write a personal note on a card…even a plain “Thank You” note. You cannot do your job without them. Take a few minutes to appreciate their work.

Paper Cutter

 ©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

The Dark Side of Blogging

Two of my friends have started blogging here at I enjoy reading their posts, but blogging is so much more than writing.

There are several things to consider before you commit yourself to this treadmill:

  1. Do you write every day? I am talking about a page or two in a journal, not a paragraph in a diary. I post 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to my first blog, and twice a week, to this blog. (I’ve kept a journal since I was 13.)
  2. Do you want to write or are you hoping for fame? There are 665,000,000 blogs on WordPress alone and other platforms for blogging.
  3. Do you want to write for yourself or for others? Affiliate marketing seems the way to make millions. The sad thing is, once a blog gets on that carousel, they have to write posts with their opinion about the affiliate’s products. Two blogs I used to love, sometimes sit in my email unread because of the posts that are just about products. I used to read them faithfully.
  4. Is this something you see yourself doing 25 years from now? The raw truth is you can write for years and not receive any recognition or income. I am in year #7.
  5. Do you mind having a target on your forehead? Yesterday, there was another attempt to hack into one of my email addresses. I cannot tell you how often I have changed my passwords. Once they get through, you have to change passwords on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other service you use.
  6. Do you like using all the social media services? There are several more services suggested for I haven’t had the time, and I honestly wonder how everyone keeps up with all of them.
  7. Do you like to read boring stuff, like a users manual? Technology changes all the time. You will be making decisions about your blog in all areas.
  8. How about taking classes? Are you fluent in HTML, SEO, CSS, and others? I’m not! I’ve taken five classes, and have two reference books: “WordPress for Dummies,” and “Search Engine Optimization for Dummies.” I had to take two HTML classes to understand both of these books.
  9. Are you willing to pay for the rest of your life? I seriously considered dropping this blog and concentrating on my other blog. The only problem is my domain name is out there and linked to this blog. If I don’t continue paying for it, someone else can purchase it and post whatever they want. They could ruin my reputation. Your most important asset is your name and reputation. Protect it.
  10. How comfortable are you talking to strangers? You will be writing to strangers and they do not know you. Many will not “get you.” Which leads to…
  11. Negative, hateful comments, criticisms, and insults. How thick is your skin? Some bloggers post the negative comments and then defend them. I choose not to publish them. I am not here to debate, I am here to give you ideas to save money and live without debt.
  12. Do you have a large group of friends who also blog? I don’t. Most of my friends didn’t even know what a blog was when I started! Many blogs have several comments because they have a group of friends and they comment on each other’s blogs.
  13. How comfortable are you talking about personal topics? We share parts of our lives: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I stick to sharing the good things, although, I try to update a post when it fails.
  14. Do you like reading emails? You can receive notifications when someone: comments on your post, likes your post, likes your comments, and there is a daily post to help you improve your blog.
  15. What if your post goes viral? Then you have to worry about the next post. Will you be able to keep your audience? You may have to spend some money…like buying a domain name if you do not have one. Some who have gone viral have had to change their email addresses and shut off notifications.
  16. Whatever service you sign up for you will be paying for from now on. I purchased a website for one of my blogs. I used part an inheritance to pay for it. When it came time to renew, we happened to have a large windfall. When it came due again, my husband was unemployed. I went back to just having a blog, but now I have to pay a small fee for my domain name to be mapped back to the blog where it all started.
  17. How are your spelling and grammar? Every day I review a page from the book, “The Elements of Style,” by William Strunk, Jr. This grammar book gives the principal requirements of plain English style. It is more than knowing the difference between they’re, their, and there! (Note: Spellcheck can be as bad as autocorrect on your phone!)

Blogging is more than just sharing your awesome thoughts.

It’s a huge commitment. Sometimes, I wish I had just sent my posts to “The Penny Hoarder.” They pay for posts.

(You can also share your awesome thoughts in comments on other blogs.)

This is where it all started.

This is where it all started.

©2009-2016 All Rights Reserved.

Decoration or Preparation?

I admit it; I got the candles out for decorations for Valentine’s Day. I decided to use my snowmen decorations along with the hearts.

I got out all the wine colored candles to use in the kitchen because they would match the valance. I had a small table runner that I made using the matching napkin as on the valance at the window.

I arranged the candles so the decorative side would be between the two doors. I thought it was just decoration, but it wasn’t.


Saturday, I had just finished practicing when the power went out. Apparently, something major got broken because it was out for 5 1/2 hours.

I told my son I was going to open the cupboard doors under the sink.

“Why?” he asked.

“If the power is off overnight, the pipes could freeze. The cupboards are not heated. If you open the doors, the air will warm up to the temperature of the room,” I explained.

When David got home, I reminded him that he could light the stove top with a match and cook soup for lunch. We hadn’t opened the refrigerator or freezer, and I kept the sheer curtains open while the sun was shining in.

I grew up in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. We didn’t have “snow days;” we had blizzards that lasted 3 days to 2 weeks. We were always prepared. My family laughs at me because I keep 4 liters of boiled water in the closet and dry milk on hand.

“What next?” my son asks.

“Report the loss of power using the landline phone mounted on the wall in the kitchen.” I dug the number out of my much-maligned DayTimer and he made the call.

I read a book while I waited for the power to come back on. After 2 hours, I decided we might be in for a long haul.

I pulled out 2 of my retractable clotheslines and hung the load that had been in the washer on them. I brought upstairs a few items we might need: 3 sleeping bags, 2 oil lamps, 2 candles in glass jars, and 1 camping coffee pot.

We had just lit the last candle when the power came back on.

My Valentine's Day Candles.

My Valentine’s Day Candles.

©2009-2016 All Rights Reserved.


Choosing a New Microwave

We were having a girl’s night and I made several things in the microwave. I foolishly had a decorative cloth on top of it that blocked the holes in the back. It died.

My microwave died.

My microwave died.

After cooling off for 20 minutes, it decided to work again. That was November, 2011 and I decided to just keep using it until it died.

It would cook potatoes for 20 minutes and it would shut off after it finished. Even though I removed the cloth, it still did not like to run for a long time. It would cool off and turn back on after several minutes.

Tuesday night, I cooked potatoes and was surprised that it did not shut off. I put in some frozen peas to cook. When the timer went off, I took them out and found they were still frozen.

The lights were on, the timer was working, but it stopped heating.

At 6 am Wednesday morning, Mr. Frugalfish said, “Hey, you want to go buy a microwave before I got to work?”


I found the one I wanted…it was large enough for a 9 X 13 pan to rotate. He said it was too big.

On the way home I explained about cooking in the microwave in the summer instead of the oven. He stuck to his guns.

Midmorning I got a text…”Do you want to look for one at Sears?”


“I’ll pick you up.”

“If you are going to pick me up, you have to buy me lunch.”


I did my homework. I wanted to buy one that was made in America and I wanted to support the local store. I called and had them measure the inside to find one that would rotate a 9″ X 13″ pan.

The salesman took us right to it when we arrived and Mr. Frugalfish said, “It’s too big.”


We looked at washers, because ours would be too expensive to repair and that will be our next purchase. Then we looked at freezers because that is on our wish list. We decided to discuss it at lunch.

It wasn’t until late in the evening that I understood what he meant by it being “too big.” The unit itself would cover the top of the dishwasher where it would sit. We would lose that little bit of counter space.

I didn’t want that. I compromised. I told him to get one the same size as our original microwave and then buy a cake pan one size smaller than the 9″ X 13″.

At lunch on Thursday he picked up a beautiful, white microwave. I secretly desired having a white one because all of my appliances are white. Of course, I plan on reducing his serving size based on the smaller sized pan! Lol (And we still are looking for a smaller pan.)

The new microwave we chose.

The new microwave we chose.

The point is, buy what you need, but the largest one may not be the best one for your space. We only spent 1/3 of the money we have in our appliance category in our savings account. Just because you have the money, don’t buy the most expensive one. Buy only what you need and keep talking it through until you understand each other.

Steamboat Dinner Cruise

Today is my birthday!

This year we did something different, when my husband’s birthday rolled around we put the money in savings. The money we would have spent on our anniversary went into savings, also. We did the same thing with my birthday money.

Instead of presents for those three events, we chose to do something on my bucket list. With those pooled resources we were able to take a “Steamboat Dinner Cruise!”

The Spirit of Dubuque Steamboat

The Spirit of Dubuque Steamboat

The SPIRIT has been showcasing the vast history and beauty of the Dubuque area for over 20 years with a variety of cruises to fit into everyone’s schedule. Cruising May through October, the SPIRIT of Dubuque has sightseeing, lunch & dinner cruises that would delight the entire family!

We boarded the “Spirit of Dubuque” at 5:30 p.m. and were seated next to the entertainment. It was a 2 man band with: an accordion, electric guitar, a pedal bass, and a preprogrammed drum kit! The singer played the last three instruments.

Our musical entertainment.

Our musical entertainment.

I was a little bummed until I noticed the cabinet next to the band marked “Life Jackets.” I decided it was the table I wanted after all! The band won us over, by the end of the night we were singing along with them!

Sitting next to the life jackets!

Sitting next to the life jackets!

We walked around the top deck while the rest of the passengers were loading. It was in the 80’s and we decided to stick to the air-conditioned dining room after that.

The Dubuque Bridge over the mighty Mississippi.

The Dubuque Bridge over the mighty Mississippi.

They served: prime rib, chicken Marsala, party potatoes, green bean casserole, cole slaw, rolls, and mini muffins shot with caramel sauce.

The hostess had a note that we were celebrating our anniversary. She asked us how many years we had been married. We told her 33.

The band recognized each couple and announced the years of marriage and then sang a special song for each one. We didn’t know the one they sang for us, but they played our song earlier, “Could I Have This Dance for the Rest of My Life.” They also sang “Happy Birthday” to each one celebrating on the cruise.

We left Dubuque and rode north until we reached the locks and turned around. We didn’t notice any motion, until a boat sped by a little too closely and we felt their wake.

We turned around at the locks.

We turned around at the locks.

We were the last table to go through the buffet line and I did not have my sea legs! You notice the motion when you try to walk. A teenager laughed at me and I laughed along with her. After all, most of the people at her table were on their third drink and were walking much worse.

We passed the dock and went just as far south as we had gone north. We watched the sun set over the bluffs of the river and enjoyed the leisurely trip back watching the lights on the shore.

Watching the sunset from the steamboat.

Watching the sunset from the steamboat.

We docked and no one was in a hurry to disembark. When the band started to yodel, we decided it was time for us to go!

The best gifts are not items you have to dust. The best gifts have a memory attached to them. Every once in a while you should pay for an experience instead of paying for more stuff.

Saving money does not mean spending less money. It means setting money aside for something special!

Crybaby in Bay #2

I didn’t burst into tears, but I did have the start of a panic attack. I don’t even know why? I had a tooth pulled before.

And then Emily began to sing and I calmed down. 

I’ve known Emily since she started preschool and I loved hearing her sing over the years. She joined her father’s practice and was singing along with the music in the dentist’s office. It calmed me down and I remembered the last time I lost a tooth…

…it was the year my dad died and my new daughter-in-law thought I was going to die, too. I felt like it!

I ended up in the ER with severe pain in my ear and neck. It was diagnosed as a sinus infection because the drainage had made my throat raw. It took four antibiotics, two pain killers, and a month in bed to get me through that infection.

I went to my dentist for a routine cleaning 6 weeks later and he said the tooth was cracked and dead. It had started to work itself out on its own.

This tooth did not!

I started feeling discomfort last week, but we were getting ready for our son’s graduation and I ignored it. Graduation was Sunday and I could not ignore it any longer! I couldn’t sleep and I could no longer tell which tooth it was. They all hurt, lower and upper!

My granddaughter rescued me.

The dentist was out of town and I could not be seen until mid-afternoon. I was going crazy when I remembered we bought Orajel for our granddaughter when she was teething. Yeah, it was old…but I didn’t care. It sufficiently put my mouth to sleep.

She rescued me again today, when the Ibuprofen was not enough. I woke up on that side in the middle of the night and there was a little swelling. My instructions were to alternate Ibuprofen and Tylenol if I was still experiencing discomfort.

We didn’t have any Tylenol in the house, but we did have baby Tylenol. I took a half a bottle…one after the other…because that was the adult dose. It helped enough that I finally got dressed at 10:00 am.

What does this have to do with saving money?


If we had not budgeted our money there would not have been anything in the “dentist” category. We didn’t spend the money we set back there on anything else and when I needed it, I was able to just go and get help.

There was gas in the van to drive to the dentist. We don’t live paycheck to paycheck and drive the last day on fumes. The tank is always half full and we fill the top of the tank.

There was soup in the cupboard. I shop the sales and the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer are well stocked. I didn’t have to go to the store for soft foods. I was able to go home and turn on Netflix.

I didn’t move for a day!

The dentist and I discussed trying to save the tooth. The root was curved and it would require a specialist to perform a root canal, $1,000.00; and add a crown, $500.00. The tooth had two filled cavities in it and he was not sure if those measures would even work.

All I could think about was another painful night while I waited for the specialist to get me in. I told him to yank it out.

Being frugal is not being cheap. It is telling your money where to go, and when you need it, the money is there.

Sorry, no pictures.

Frugalfish Goes to the Fair

We were visiting with friends and they were raving over the fun they had at the Iowa State Fair. They asked me if I was going and I replied,

“I’ve never been to the fair, because I married a St. Louis Cardinals fan.”

They are huge St. Louis Cardinal fans and didn’t want their favorite team maligned. They harassed Mr. Frugalfish for not taking me to the fair.

In his defense, a large portion of our budget went to medical expenses while we were raising our children and we didn’t have many funds for entertainment. He does not have a farming background and just thought the fair consisted of rides. He also felt it would not be a good idea because of my allergies and the struggles I have with Ragweed during the end of summer and fall.

After we discussed it, we realized we could use vacation money and I could go on a round of Prednisone for protection against the allergens.

Then his uncle passed away. We would be 45 minutes away from the fair for the funeral. He decided to get an inexpensive room for that night and then go on up to the Iowa State Fair. (We wanted to spend as much time with his family while they were all in town.)

I called the doctor, and after promising not to hang out in the animal barns, he prescribed a short regimen of Prednisone.

Top 20 Ways I Saved Time and Money at the Iowa State Fair

1. Advance Tickets: Fareway, HyVee, and HyVee Drug Stores sold advance tickets at a discount. We did not decide to go until the fair had already started, but we ordered tickets online and print them at home, see

2. Free Parking: There are three sites that offer free parking; and then you ride a city bus in to the fair for $2.00. The bus fair is half price if you have a fair ticket, see here.

3. Go early: My mother arrived at one of the free parking lots at 10 am on Senior’s Day. She waited an hour for the bus both ways. We arrived at 8:30 am when the buses first started and did not have to wait. The traffic was also thinner and the trip took only a third of the time compared to Mom’s ride.

4. Go with friends: We met up with two couples that were camping at the fair. They asked me what I wanted to do and I replied, “Butter cow and eat something on a stick.” Then I saw the “Deep-Fat Fried Oreos” and wanted to try them. They came with 6 and we each tried one. I got the taste without making my self sick.

Deep-Fat Fried Oreo

Deep-Fat Fried Oreo

5, Drink Refills: There are stands that sell drinks in a sturdy cup that you could refill for a reduced price.

6. Keep the Cup: Ken & Jill still had a cup with a handle that they used at the fair the year before. They were able to get reduced refills all day long.

Fair glasses in which you could get reduced price drinks.

Fair glasses in which you could get reduced price drinks.

7. Share the drinks: It was so hot that the ice melted quickly and the pop went flat before you could drink it all. Ken & Jill shared every drink.

8. Share the meals: Twice we ordered one meal plus a sandwich. We shared the fries.

Share the fries.

Ken, Me, Mr. Frugalfish, Paula, and Mike share the fries.

9. Ride only one ride: I had not ridden in a fair ride for years and I really wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel. I let Mr. Frugalfish pick which one…he chose the double Ferris Wheel. Every time we came down off of the peak, the seat rocked back and I felt like we were free-falling. I screamed like a little girl. When I screamed, my friend Jill, screamed from the bench on the ground where she was sitting. They ran that ride twice as long because I was drawing a crowd. Ken took pictures of us and you can see the crowd laughing at me in some of them. Next year, I am going to ride a ride at the county fair to leave time to explore more at the state fair.

Riding Double Ferris Wheel and holding on to my hat!

Riding the Double Ferris Wheel and holding on to my hat!

10. Free entertainment: One thing Jill really wanted to see was the Llama Costume Contest. They had Llamas dressed as: a bride, soldier, cheerleader, Pocahontas’s raccoon, Olaf from “Frozen,” and a “One-eyed, One-eared, Flying, Purple People Eater!”

Cheerleader and Bride.

Cheerleader and Bride.

11. Be the entertainment: Another Llama attraction was the “Llama Limbo.” They had a few celebrities, like the Fair Queen, and volunteers from the audience who would limbo with a Llama. The Fair Queen’s crown was several inches tall and she was also tall, that put her at a definite disadvantage!

12. Join the choir: At 11:30 am every day they had a hymn sing in a replica of a church built in Dubuque in 1834. It was a good time remembering the songs my grandmother sang and practicing my sight-reading! Those harmonies are rarely heard anymore.

Hymn singing in the old church.

Hymn singing in the old church.

13. Find the liquidation sale: There were two tents full of merchandise from previous years at the fair. I picked up a Christmas present there. Souvenirs are half price on the last day.

Cup my friends got me from the State Fair.

Cup my friends got me from the State Fair.

14. Free concerts: We enjoyed watching a line dancing troupe while we ate lunch.

15. Check out the nooks and crannies: Our friends wanted us to see the telephone display. There was an old switchboard and an old telephone booth in the room. I walked through the door marked “exit” and found two more rooms. They had telephone equipment from every decade. Paula, who has camped at the fair for years, did not know about the two rooms in the back.

Off the beaten path.

Mr. Frugalfish leading Paula and I off the beaten path.

16. Free Samples: Be sure to pick up a free backpack from one of the booths at the Varied Industries building because there are free samples everywhere. We picked up ground corn at the threshing display that we will put out for bird feed this winter.

Sample of threshed corn that I will use as bird feed.

Sample of threshed corn that I will use as bird feed.

17. Free experiences: By the middle of the afternoon, we tired of walking around. Jill wanted to go to the massage chairs. They were amazing! The chair massaged your feet, back, legs, and arms for 5 minutes. They even had light therapy, but I missed that because I closed my eyes!

Enjoying the Massage chairs.

Ken & Mr. Frugalfish enjoying the Massage chairs.

18. Relive your youth: My daughter-in-law, who has shown cattle at the fair for years, told me not to miss the “Old Mill Ride.” It was like the tunnel of love. Between our three couples we were over 75 years. It might seem funny to want to ride that particular ride; but as Mike put it, “I always wanted to ride this ride with someone special.”

19. Skip the grandstand show: Some people walk through the fair only to attend a show. You can see a concert anytime, the fair only comes once a year.

20. Leave early: You want to leave before the grandstand show is over. We left during the time the show was on and there were buses waiting.

Ken, Jill, Mike, Paula, Frugalfish and Mr. Frugalfish enjoying a piece of homemade pie from the Methodist Church booth at the end of the day.

Ken, Jill, Mike, Paula, Frugalfish and Mr. Frugalfish enjoying a piece of homemade pie from the Methodist Church booth at the end of the day.

Ken put it best, “A thorough study of that days fair schedule will list many free events, concerts, performances, educational talks & displays, hands on instructions, and contests a person can participate in.  The fair is much more than just entertainment, it is a place to share with friends and learn.”

Why am I sharing this with you now?

If you want to go to the fair, you need to set back a few dollars every week starting now. If you skip one cup of gourmet coffee each week, and save that money, you will have enough to go next year.

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