Try Shoes On Right Away

I learned a painful lesson last week!

I purchase my shoes online because I wear size 7 EE. It is difficult to find this size. I stick to New Balance and Avalon brands because they have removable insoles. There is plenty of room to add special insoles, like gel insoles, in them.

When I learned the post office recommends the walking shoes from New Balance, I decided they were the best. Every 6 months, I order 2 pairs of walking shoes: white for spring/summer and black for fall/winter. I alternate them each day.

I’ve purchased pumps, cross training shoes, hiking shoes, and boots from this same website, joesnewbalance.com. I’ve shopped there for 10 years.

They started having a “Daily Deal.” When my walking shoes are on the “Daily Deal,” I order them ahead. I received 2 pairs of white shoes at Christmas for this spring. At Easter, I ordered two black pairs for this fall.

When it warmed up enough to wear shorts, I got out my new, white shores. The style was more pointed than square. When I tried them on, they felt snug. But 5 months had passed and it was too late to return them.

I filled small, freezer bags with a little water and placed them in the toes of the shoes. I put them in the freezer overnight. As the water froze, it expanded and stretched the leather.

It doesn’t matter how long you have ordered the same shoes. As soon as they arrive, try them on. (I did try on the black ones.)

Shoes in a freezer

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. 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 Corporette.com, 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.”  boardgamegeek.com

“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 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

Stainless Steel or Silver

I own two grapefruit spoons.

The same manufacturer made them using the same molds. The only difference is the material used. One is stainless steel and the other is silver or silver-plated.

Spoon Manufacturer

One is easy to care for – you just throw it in the dishwasher. The other requires a special cleaner, and even if you don’t use it, you have to routinely clean it. You have to store it in a special place or it will tarnish.

Yes, it tarnished.

2 Grapefruit Spoons

I never use the expensive silver spoon. I also don’t take care of it as it needs. I always grab the stainless steel one.

The funny thing about expensive things is they require more work. A lot more work.

It’s the same with any riches. You have to take care of it in a particular way or you have to hire others to “polish your silver.”

When we desire lovely things, we don’t always count the cost of taking care of them. We don’t own them; they own us!

No matter how wealthy you are, the practical items will get used more often.

Form follows function.

Practical before pretty.

Practical is always frugal.

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

Saving on Surgery

“Your gallbladder is inflamed, with over 20 stones, full of fluid, infection, and possibly gangrene.”

He went on to tell me it has been sick for over 10 years, but it was hard to concentrate because I was medicated and he looked like Santa Claus! It turned out he is Santa Claus, and had his picture taken with over 400 children last year…

…and he is married to the surgeon who would perform the operation!

(Yes, I live in a small town. My cousin’s wife is one of the surgical nurses.)

The 35-minute surgery took 2 hours. He told me it was like picking up a baseball with a pair of tweezers. My sister thought I was going to die.

(Spoiler alert – I didn’t.)

I learned a few things along the way:

  1. Take the medication: They made me drink something to get my bowels to move because the regular medications didn’t have any effect on me. I had a toddler visiting and she noticed the pretty button on the bottom of the bed. She pushed it, and as I went up, so did the medication. But I drank every concoction they prescribed.
  2. Limit painkillers: A fever forced me to remain in the hospital the second day. My system still was not functioning, even after 4 doses of Milk of Magnesia, stool softeners, and 2 suppositories. The painkillers grind your digestive system to a halt. The second day I stopped taking them. I stayed still and napped as much as possible. When I got home, I took two and went right to sleep.
  3. Fruit is your friend: I ordered fruit, fruit juice, and fruit pie to try to help my system naturally. At the suggestion of my youngest son, I finally asked for prune juice! Three hours later, my body started working again and I was able to finally go home. I continued drinking prune juice, (gag) until I no longer needed the painkillers.
  4. Keep your sense of humor: 1) Before they rolled me off for surgery, they asked my birthday. I subtracted 20 years. My oldest son quipped, “Yeah, she was 5 when I was born.” 2) I told my regular doctor that the 20 stones each weighed a pound. I wasn’t really overweight…it was the stones.
  5. Eat: I ordered a salmon sandwich and it tasted like Spam. My daughter-in-law kept pushing me to eat one more bite. When my husband came on his lunch hour, he bought the salmon sandwich. I sent her a text, “David bought the Spam sandwich!” She replied with emoticons of chicken leg = something brown = house. When I asked her about the “no-bake cookies,” she explained: food = poop = going home.
  6. Walk: My first walk was short and slow. My second walk was longer and I passed two older men. They seemed to speed up. I don’t know if it was from competition or they were hoping my gown would fly open!
  7. Nap: Our hospital has a quiet time when they ask visitors to leave. Since you are going to be awakened throughout the night, it’s a good idea to sleep when you can during the day. Rest is the best prescription.
  8. Get all the prescriptions: I had been home over the weekend when the pharmacy called to say my meds were ready. I didn’t recognize the name of the doctor and called the clinic. It turned out the infection was antibiotic resistant. They tried two different antibiotics in the hospital, but when the final blood test results came back, they realized it would take a different one to kill it.
  9. Accept help: My family and church members brought over meals. That took the pressure off of my husband who was waiting on me hand and foot. (Those were his words, not mine.)
  10. Stop: Don’t do any regular activities until the doctor releases you. Delegate anything and everything. I wanted to post on this blog the day I got my stitches out, but the doctor restricted me to the couch for another week. Take it slow.

The best way to save on surgery is to have an outpatient procedure. That means you have to take care of things right away. Don’t wait until it is infected and an emergency situation.

If that is not an option…

DO WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERS!

Your goal is to go home as soon as possible.

Some of my Get Well cards included original art!

Some of my Get Well cards included original art!

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All Rights Reserved.

The Dark Side of Blogging

Two of my friends have started blogging here at WordPress.com. 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 frugalfish.org. 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 frugalfish.org. All Rights Reserved.

DIY Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas

Losing heart over what to do for Valentine’s Day?

Do you need…

  • Diamonds? No!
  • Reservations at the most expensive place in town? No!
  • A flight to Paris? No!
  • A dozen red roses? No!
  • 25 lb. box of chocolates? No!
  • A night in a ritzy hotel? No!

The most treasured gifts are gifts from the heart:

  1. Recreate your first date.
  2. Write a love letter.
  3. Make a list of all the things you love about them.

If you would rather cook, here a few ideas from us:

“Make Your Valentine Homemade Chocolates”
“A Loaf of Bread, A Jug of Wine, and Thou”                                               “Everyday Cocoa Brownies”

You don’t even have to spend money on decorations!

“No-Sew Valentine’s Day Table Runner”

Everyone understands a message from the heart.

My Valentine's Day table runner.

My Valentine’s Day table runner.

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Flame-less Tea Lights

Frugality is important to me, but safety is even more important!

When I was in high school, our family had a house fire that destroyed the upstairs. I lost everything. I don’t mess around with fire.

Once there was smoke in the laundry room and I called the fire department. One of the young guys gave me a hard time because there was no longer smoke and they couldn’t find any fire.

The fire chief jumped down his throat. He growled, “If you lived through the kind of fire she lived through you would call at the first sign of smoke, too.”

Then they moved the dryer vent and saw the burned insulation.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

I love candlelight, but you cannot leave the room when a candle is burning. That is why I love flame-less candles!

When I decorated for Valentine’s Day, I got out two small lamps that used tea lights. I was able to put them in my china cabinet because of the flame-less tea lights. I could never do that with a regular tea light. It is especially pretty at night.

Flame-less tea lights in lamp displayed in a china cabinet.

Flame-less tea lights in lamp displayed in a china cabinet.

The flame-less tea light reflected off of the snowflake paper weight.

The flame-less tea light reflected off of the snowflake paperweight.

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Enough

I was at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party and I noticed she had a “Pack and Play” tucked in the walk-in closet of her master bedroom. I remembered when my granddaughter was a baby, I would put the “Pack and Play” between the bed and the closet door.

There is just enough room for the "Pack and Play"

There is just enough room for the “Pack and Play”

I would like to have a bigger bedroom but found there is enough room.

When my daughter moved out…again…I moved a computer desk into that room. We also keep an air mattress set up for those times my granddaughter visits. I rolled the comfortable office chair in there because I spend more time writing than David spends working on the finances! I was happy that there is just enough room in there for both functions.

There is just enough room to pull out the extension to write in the spare bedroom.

There is just enough room to pull out the extension and write in the spare bedroom.

Bigger is not always better. It is more expensive to purchase maintain. I am happy with just enough.

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Ads, No Pop-Ups, No Donations

December 29th was this blog’s 6th anniversary. I thought by now I would be making a little money.

Nope.

Last year, I took a few blogging courses and my first post of the year was my most popular ever. Unfortunately, it was the post about my husband losing his job and a few months later that business, which started in 1926, closed its doors for the last time.

I would rather my husband keep his new job than to have another popular post!

One of the things recommended in these courses was to visit other blogs with which you have something in common. I visited several blogs that interested me and even followed a few. I would just start reading and a pop-up ad would ask me to follow that blog.

They were annoying.

I started blogging because I like to write. Starting a blog to make money, leads to disappointment quickly. Are you willing to write a post on Christmas Day? I spent four hours on Christmas writing a post that I just had to get down on paper.

This year I am starting with a new approach, “No Ads, No Pop-Ups, No Donations.” I never have requested donations, or set up any pop-ups, but I did have ads.

When debtproofliving.com ended their affiliate marketing, I decided to end all advertising. I didn’t make any money anyway. (It cost you to block advertising.) I went to my “word ads” page to see how much I have accumulated in the last six years.

$10.00.

They won’t cut a check until the amount reaches $100.00 and I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I set it up to keep all ads off of both of my blogs.

What’s my point?

Money is not a good motivation to start a blog. It is better to just live on what you are making now. Better, not easier…and I will be here to give you ideas, tips, and pointers.

2016 is going to be a great year!

A blank piece of paper.

A blank piece of paper. A fresh start.

 

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

pamela.frugalfish@gmail.com

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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?

EVERYTHING!

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.