Five Frugal Fails

by Katy on March 28, 2019 · 86 comments

  1. I somehow thought I’d paid my son’s March rent when I actually hadn’t, which resulted in a $50 late fee. I called the front office in an effort to reverse the penalty, but it was straight up non-negotiable.

    I could set up automatic payments, but he’s towards the end of a nine-month lease and I worry that it would be tricky to undo the payments.

  2. I’d planned on taking the family to see Castle in The Sky on half-price night, (and I even wrote about it in this blog post!) but instead we went on a regular price night. This was a minor frugal fail as it was $4 per ticket instead of $2, but it that’s still an $8 difference. However, this choice was made to accommodate our disparate schedules which made it worth the extra expense.

    I’m as cheap as they come, but not so cheap that I won’t throw eight bucks for the four of us to enjoy a rare evening out together.

  3. Having my son home for spring break has meant that we’re eating in restaurants, (yum) bakeries, (double yum) fast food joints, (meh) and then driving here, there and just about everywhere. It would be a grossly unsustainable habit were it to infect our regular routine, but since it’s a single week, we can absorb it into our normal budget. I like to reframe it as “spending as if we’re on vacation without the expense of actual travel.” Suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.

  4. My cat peed on our new couch, which is why we had to get rid of the last couch! Luckily it was a $50 Facebook Marketplace find, but it was/is a high quality piece of furniture that I’d allowed myself to bond with. I washed the cushion covers and then hosed the cushions and back down with enzymatic spray, but let’s be honest . . . it’ll never be the same.

    I spent $300+ in January to confirm that there’s nothing physically wrong with either cat, so I guess the next step is to continue to explore other reasons for this fuckery meshugas.

  5. I may have bought a goddamned Lear Jet.

Now your turn. What frugal fails have infected your life?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Mand01 March 28, 2019 at 8:49 pm

1. I’m paying for a more expensive streaming service for six weeks so we can watch GOT.
2. I’m on a mini break with my sister and will be breaking my clothes buying ban.
3. I’ve eaten out multiple times this week.
Not five, but that’s enough!


Karen B March 28, 2019 at 9:05 pm

1) Forgot the tasty juices left in the bottom of the Instant Pot from making pot roast. Had intended to use them to flavor rice or soup. Nope. Sat out too many hours.

2) Spent $60 on an impulse item (fancy vintage cast iron bakeware), one I’ve been drooling over and coveting for the past year, but the expense does not equal the number of times I’ll use it.


Lisa M. March 28, 2019 at 9:11 pm

Having experienced a series of challenging life situations recently, I returned to the Non Consumer path. If one adheres to a frugal lifestyle on the regular, it makes it easier to weather dips & bumps in the road, make adjustments as necessary & soldier on past setbacks, thereby making it possible to enjoy the freedom & possibilities that a frugal lifestyle provides.


Jen Eldredge March 28, 2019 at 9:54 pm

Ugh, sorry about the cat pee. Meshugas!

Thanks for the tip on free coffee at IKEA with a card. Took advantage of that today when my daughter and I made a mad dash there to get a needed light fixture at a great deal…….and managed to buy some other deals that I can’t even go into because they are frugal fails but it was so much fun.


Cindy in the South March 28, 2019 at 10:44 pm

1. Sent my daughter 2000 dollars to help fix her electrical system. It snowed in Sunday where she lives. 2. Bought my youngest son a $500 laptop. He is a senior in college. I spent less than a hundred dollars on my daughter’s entire college career through her undergrad and masters. I have spent less than a thousand on my youngest son during his entire time I’m college. I am willing to help both out because ya know, that is why I save money, to be able to spend it on things I feel my kid’s need. The Tightwad Gazette and Your Money or Your Life book talk about spending according to your values and needs. I was happy to help both of them. 3. I finished my murder trial and stopped at the grocery store on the way home. I bought celebration shrimp. I have no excuse but it sure tasted good….lol


Cindy in the South March 28, 2019 at 10:47 pm

OMG the typos and grammar errors I made in the wee hours of the morning…lol


Cindy in the South March 28, 2019 at 10:57 pm

Obviously typing in the middle of the night is not a good idea for me. I forgot to say my daughter had full scholarship undergrad and the GI Bill paid for her masters. My son’s dad and scholarships helped pay for his college. My other two kids have not chosen to go to college and that is fine.


Kate O'Brien March 30, 2019 at 6:41 am

You were acquitted, I hope


Cindy in the South March 30, 2019 at 2:28 pm

LoL. I was the prosecutor.


Emily Grant March 31, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Loved this comment!


l bryant March 28, 2019 at 10:55 pm


If you do not have 2 separate litter boxes please try that. As cats get older (even if raised together) they will mark (pee) other items in the house as a way of establishing territory. In addition try the new silica cat litter. It will eliminate odors and should reduce the cats need to mark. It dries out fecal material so it makes cleaning the box much easier. I have many years experience working with a veterinarian and this is what we tell our clients.


JC March 30, 2019 at 2:11 pm

I’ve tried that litter and it actually caused my cats to pee everywhere. As always, they are individuals and their reasons for going outside the box are varied with varied solutions. :/

I remember Katie saying she’s brought the cat to the vet for a medical check up and I think there is more than one box? Was there a territory issue with another cat at one point over boxes? I can’t remember. I vaguely remember that it sounded stress-related?

For stress elimination, these is the stuff we’ve tried that worked (most of it was behaviorist recommended):
– Feliway plug in for stress (or spray)
– Calming treats
– Making sure the cat has a routine, including attention (especially if it’s a cat who feels insecure – which can manifest as aggression sometimes so you have to watch their body language)
– Making sure the cat has appropriate hides (whether low to ground or high up, depending on cat’s preference) where they can fully conceal
– Reduce overlap with other animals if that’s the issue (with outside cats either visually or by using motion activated deterrents outside to keep them off your property esp if they’re spraying or approaching the windows)
– If a high energy cat, regular play time and possibly clicker training (we did clicker train our stress sprayer, which seemed to help)
– An option for marking near the spot where the cat goes (scratcher, whether vertical or horizontal loaded with catnip to start), with verbal reinforcement whenever the cat scratches there (positive reinforcement)
– We did a Mambe waterproof blanket on the couch where the cat would go to be able to block the scent from getting into the couch
– Treat train on the couch where the cat would go (cats don’t mark where they eat unless they are WAY WAY stressed)
– Prozac as necessary (for the cat)


Katie March 29, 2019 at 1:58 am

I’m so sorry, cat pee is so vile! Ive personally had better luck using vinegar and baking so soda to get rid of the smell (or maybe I mean, get to a manageable level). Good luck!


ginger March 29, 2019 at 2:59 am

Get Natures’Miracle for cats from pet store. It works. Pricey but worth the cost.


Marie March 30, 2019 at 6:57 am

I tried that before with an elderly cat.
She’s been gone over a yead, and still smell nature’s miracle every time I go into that room. Blech!


Jill A March 29, 2019 at 3:08 am

Where to start. LOL (her father died and she’s been a little off her game) and my ignorance I now have to pay a fine to the IRS on top of my taxes.
2. I broke down and bought Wendy’s for daughter and I. Not a huge expense but $18 for crappy food is not a good use of my money.
3. I had a weak moment and bought a new Columbia rain jacket online. I should have waited at least 24 hrs. It felt more like an emotional purchase than something I had thought out.
4. I spent money on two overpriced glasses of wine at the Dog Park bar. I like to support this business. It’s a bar you can take your dog into and is owned by the person who owns the dog park I belong to. It was a nice warmer day and I sat out with other dog park members and enjoyed the patio and view of the dog park. One glass would have been sufficient.
5. I didn’t start my hybrid car which has been stored over the winter and even thought I’ve charged the battery it still will not start. Now I’ll have to have it towed to the mechanics. Bummed.


Kate O'Brien March 30, 2019 at 6:44 am

So sorry to hear about your dad. You are allowed to cut yourself some slack.


Jill A March 29, 2019 at 3:11 am

I don’t know what happened there but #1 was meant to say:

#1 Due to a mistake on my CPA friends part (her father died and she’s a little off her game) and my ignorance I now have to pay a fine to the IRS on top of my taxes.


Jill A March 29, 2019 at 3:14 am

Grrr!! So many typos. I have to type so fast and get my thoughts in before it tells me I need to reload the page. I end up not proof reading before I submit.


Jennifer March 29, 2019 at 5:00 am

That’s why I don’t post FFT’s as much anymore. I have to think too long, proofread, or I get interrupted. Then I have to reload or worse than that, lose my whole post!


Cynthia in Vermont March 29, 2019 at 5:24 am

I write my posts on my computer, on Word, then save and copy to this site. This gives me all the time I want to write, edit, proofread, and it loads instantly.


Roberta March 29, 2019 at 6:32 am

I just plan to refresh. I type my thing, copy the whole text I write, and paste it.


Jennifer March 29, 2019 at 7:25 am

I do the same thing, just some days, I don’t want to fool with extra steps. I know this sounds extremely lazy and it’s because it is, lol.


Danielle March 29, 2019 at 7:26 am

The struggle is real!

I type mine in my email then copy it over.


Christine March 29, 2019 at 12:10 pm

I scribble some thoughts down on scrap paper, reload the page and then type like crazy before I get the boot. I stopped posting for awhile in frustration but really missed it. So far this system seems to work okay for me.

Melanie March 29, 2019 at 3:39 am

I’ve been a loooooooong-time reader and lurker, but did want to encourage you to hang in there with the cat-pee issue. Our kitty peed everywhere for about 8 years; we got a second litterbox and put it across the house (now one upstairs and one downstairs since we’re in a two story (bleh)), and we used “Feliway” diffusers for a while (supposed to be some homeopathic calming thing, blahblahblah), and those both helped. We’ve been pee-free (other than in the appropriate boxes) for almost two years now. Good luck!


JC March 30, 2019 at 2:13 pm

Feliway is a synthetic pheromone, not homeopathic?

But I agree – I had to work on the inappropriate elimination thing with various cats over the years and it did eventually work out. (Though you kind of manage your life around it for a while!)


Cynthia in Vermont March 29, 2019 at 3:48 am

I’m glad we’re doing frugal fails today, though I’m sorry we all had them. I’ve been home sick this week and, well… I cut myself all kinds of breaks by throwing money at anything that would help. This has meant:

1. I spent over $100 on Amazon for kindle books and 2nd day delivery on Prime books. I was too lazy to even check out my library’s ebook section. I read about a book a day lying in bed, but a lot of it was trash since my attention span was two seconds at most.
2. Ignored the woodstoves and turned up the heat. Put laundry right in the dryer and didn’t hang anything. (Lots of laundry as I kept needing fresh sheets and pj’s due to fever).
3. Left two (?) opened cans of cat food out overnight, rendering them inedible. (She says so and I don’t argue with the cat. I certainly don’t have any sense of smell to overrule her verdict.)
4. Threw out an entire pizza which I thought was bad. Later realized my taste buds are “off” because of fever and congestion and I could have saved it. (I forgot nothing tastes good with fever and congestion.) Later I saw the crows feasting in the compost and I hope the pepperoni didn’t give them bird heartburn.
5. Missed the first week of classes, which will throw off my course planning for the term. I’ll have to remake my syllabus, juggle due dates, and accommodate any conflicts this causes my students. Aside from being a PITA, how is this a frugal fail? I find that stress and time crunches put me on the highway to spending, cutting corners, “buying” time. I don’t yet know what it will cost, but I know it will. I’m headed back to work not yet at full power and know I will continue to buy shortcuts as I fully recover.

I AM headed back to school today, for what will probably be a lackluster class, but hey, you have to start somewhere! I promised them I will appear in full glory in April. What I noticed this week with these frugal fails however, is that all of these items would have been perfectly normal for me a year or so ago. Turn up the heat, run the dryer? Sure, what’s it there for? Throw food away? Used to happen pretty often, now I’m scandalized. Buy shortcuts when I go back to work, oh my yes. OK, a kindle a day would have been unusual, but I used to press that BUY button whenever I felt the urge, and now it’s an extravagance. I remind myself it’s not about perfection but about setting a new baseline. That really does work doesn’t it?


Carolyn March 29, 2019 at 4:27 am

You win some, you lose some. Sorry for everyone’s frugal fails but it does remind us that we are human. My massive fail yesterday happened when I strayed off the healthier isles to the cookie isle during a quick grocery run. The evidence is all gone (you can only guess where) and the temptation is gone along with the evidence of a bag to the garbage. My massive win happened late last night when I removed the filter from my refrigerator and installed the plug. Walla– the non functioning water dispenser and ice maker are now functioning without the expense of a call to the appliance repairman. Fueled by cookie sugar, my brain thought to google for an answer to my problem. This is not always my first thought as I am in my seventh decade and I have to make an effort to turn to this golden treasure trove of electronic wisdom.


Joyce March 29, 2019 at 4:53 am

Re: cats, usually best to have one more litter pan than the number of cats.


Bee March 29, 2019 at 5:22 am

We are all human. I have had several frugal fails ….
1) My husband and I took our son out for a birthday dinner at a trendy upscale restaurant. No coupons, no happy hour, no deals. However, it was a absolutely delicious! We do not go out to eat often as a family, so this was a special – and expensive- treat.

2) I threw away some baby cucumbers that had gotten buried in the vegetable crisper.

3) I paid a bill late and had a $35 late charge. This made me so mad!

4) I was in Marshall’s on Monday where I am often able to find my face cream at a huge discount. However, I also bought -on impulse – a gift for a friend. No occasion just reminded me of her.

5) I bought an item for resale at the Goodwill. It was not wrapped correctly which I knew, but I didn’t ask for more wrapping. It broke. Money down the drain.
I’m sure there is more, but I definitely need to refocus on frugality. Happy and frugal weekend to all. Good luck with the cats, Katy.


Denise March 29, 2019 at 5:27 am

It’s been expensive for us lately. I have two birthdays this weekend – one my granddaughter’s and one my little niece’s (I have a half brother who is 28 years my junior). I bought both little girls some summer dresses. It will cost $30 for toll fees to get to my son’s to celebrate my granddaughter’s birthday. My uncle died and the funeral is today. My sisters, husband, and I don’t want to go to the luncheon, and one sister comes from a distance – the funeral is over the lunch hour. So we will be stopping for lunch. Since this same sister will turn 60 years old at the end of April, I think we will be buying her lunch. My son is giving me his elliptical trainer – yay! I will be able to save $30 a month on gym fees! – but my husband has to configure it into his home gym in the basement, so he bought rubber matting to extend the workout area. That was $200. So while the elliptical will save me money in the long run, it is costing us in the short run. I have osteopenia as well as fighting terrible sciatica pain, so working out is very important for me. I bought my husband a pair of water resistant boots at Aldi, which will help him in getting the garden started, which again will help the budget in the long run, but costs in the short run. I had an x-ray, with out-of-pocket $50, and am looking at an MRI. I don’t know what that will cost. My dental bill was $55. And on and on it goes…where it stops, nobody knows!


Kacy March 29, 2019 at 5:52 am

Re cat pee. Additional litter boxes is one trick or kitty Prozac is another trick. We built a catio a couple summers ago and I think that helps too.


JC March 30, 2019 at 2:15 pm

I am very jealous of your catio! I’m in a city and we don’t have any outdoor space so our cats just get the widowsill.


Barb March 29, 2019 at 6:01 am

As the parent of two chronically ill dogs, I swear my next couch is gonna be leather and I’ll put throws on top. As it is Im about to buy my own carpet shampooer and only two rooms are carpeted. There is no such thing as a free pet.


Vanessa C March 29, 2019 at 6:29 am

I so thank you for this post. The last two lines will keep me laughing all day. Plus, I love to learn a little Yiddish!


Jennifer March 29, 2019 at 7:47 am

I guess the worst frugal fail I have..I have many…has to do with my husband. We decided to paint the outside of our two story home. After much research, I decided to paint the lower level myself the old fashioned way, with a can of paint and a brush. He has health issues so I try to make things as easy on him as possible. Painting has been pretty cathartic and because 1 can of brushed on paint equals approximately 3 cans of sprayed on paint, I figure it’s a good mental/frugal task. We knew we would have to rent a scissor lift or something equivalent to paint the upper level. The more I can accomplish on the ground, the less hours we have to rent the lift for. Well, I noticed today that he won a bid on eBay for a type of lift he had been looking at for 12,000!!!! He rationalizes that we need it for cutting trees, maintenance, etc. If we were going to pay this much anyway, we should just spray the whole darn house. Obviously, our goals regarding this project are not aligned* Insert face palm here.


cathy March 31, 2019 at 3:16 pm

I think on eBay you have up to a certain number of days to change your mind if you win a bid. Not quite sure how that works, though.


Jennifer March 29, 2019 at 8:20 am

Biggest frugal fail for us is that my dd applied to mostly need-based colleges in hopes of us having to pay less in college costs. We certainly have a need – my dh is a teacher, 4 kids, 2 in college at once, etc. Well she didn’t get in to any of them! With a 34 ACT and 4.55 GPA, she was rejected from all but 1 and she was waitlisted there. We now have 2 options – one in state that will cost us $20K a year and one out of state that will cost us $36K a year. In state it is, but still we don’t have $20K a year!


KJD509 March 29, 2019 at 10:23 am

Jennifer, my daughter was in a similar situation. Good grades, fabulous test scores, non-stop extracurriculars, rejected from everywhere. I’m as far from a helicopter parent as you can get, but we were so surprised that I called my own alma mater to say, what the heck? Turns out that because she had completed all math classes available at her school by her sophomore year, it appeared on her transcript that she hadn’t had 4 years of math. She ended up at a great school anyway. Here’s how she managed

Step 1: told her yes, this sucks, but you’ll get through it if you don’t give up. Step 2: she talked to every single person we knew to find a connection with a math professor at any university anywhere. Step 3: she talked to two, one in person and one by phone, both of whom were so charmed they were willing to make calls to the admissions office. Step 4: she submitted applications in late May to both schools and was admitted with academic scholarships to both – not full rides, but enough to matter. I think it worked out because a) we were lucky enough to be able to identify the problem and could target it in the follow up and b) she did the work and made the connections and contacts herself. One other key: she waited until after April 15 or whatever the date is where students commit because no school anywhere has time for anything right now. Hope it works out for your daughter!


Jennifer March 30, 2019 at 9:26 am

It’s good to hear we aren’t alone! We do wonder 2 things – first she took ASL as her foreign language – not sure if all schools accept that – though none she applied to said either way. Second – she opted to take college classes rather than AP and I think outside of our state that it hurt her. The whole situation stinks! She has written a letter of explanation to the school she is wait listed at. Hopefully she will get in. Maybe she can apply after May like your dd did? We will look into it. Thanks!


Nancy from mass March 29, 2019 at 10:50 am

My son applied to 16 needs based schools and has been turned down by 15. We are waiting on 1 more. He didn’t take his SATs so he can’t apply to our in state schools. That leaves the cheaper option of community college. Yet they don’t teach 2 of the 3 subjects he wants to study. College applications are depressing and nerve wracking.


Nancy from mass March 29, 2019 at 1:16 pm

Well, he was turned down by the last school. He’s looking into a summer film program and plans on re applying to some of the schools again.


Texas Silver March 29, 2019 at 5:57 pm

I have worked in higher education for 30 years. Regardless of major all students take core classes (math, govt., English, etc.). Sign up your son at community college. He can start chipping away at core classes. Then can transfer. The university will see he is an able college student. It is easier to get in as an established transfer student (my humble opinion).


Jennifer March 30, 2019 at 9:30 am

This is an option for us. Take a gap year and take a few classes at community college then apply again in the fall. We will see what happens!

Jennifer March 30, 2019 at 9:28 am

I’m sorry it didn’t work out for your ds either. Speaking of film school – Cleveland State I hear has a good one. Has he looked at that? Not need based, but….maybe some scholarship money? They do rolling admissions.

This whole process is so frustrating!


Bethany March 29, 2019 at 8:40 am

I scoured eBay, offer up, letgo, and VarageSale for some shorts for my girls and jeans for my son. Came up blank and succomed to an online retail brand new. In my endeavors though I scored the cutest shirt for my daughter from the local thrift store and two pairs of jeans at another thrift store for the other daughter. Would have turned those jeans into shorts, but she sorely needs jeans too.

Had to buy another English book for my daughter. I caught her cheating, so she’ll retake the course since we have the online subscription another 8 months, but did have to throw $24 at a new book. Didn’t even think to check eBay for it….

Took kids out to eat while we waited for our tire diagnostic, since they said it would be two hours. We spent $15 and only shared 2 meals. Would have been $30 if we each had our own. What a racket! Kind of wish I had just packed a quick sandwich for each and eaten in the waiting room.

Bought plane tickets to Indiana for my family to all ttend my brother’s wedding. My dad wanted to rent a vehicle for us. So that helps a little. Will be going to the Ark Encounter with my other brother and his family. Will be a huge expense, but something we’ve been wanting to do, and the plane ticket has already been covered…Kind of like combining errands. Will see friends of ours for dinner on that e way back to my parents.

Bought a long charging cord for my phone for my recovery following my gastric bypass surgery. I could have skipped it, but I know it will help distract me from the pain. Down to 55 days. Seems like the longest journey, but it’s getting close now.


Jennifer March 29, 2019 at 9:12 am

Do let us know about the Ark encounter. I have been wanting to go but it’s such a long drive for me.


Bethany March 29, 2019 at 8:13 pm

Of course!


Karen B March 29, 2019 at 10:13 am

Things that have helped us with cat pee problems are Feliway when we had a stress pee-er (the room diffuser was what we used), Nature’s Miracle for removal, and having a litterbox available on each floor of the house. We’ve successfully had 3 boxes and 3 cats, but one box per cat plus an extra is recommended.


K D March 29, 2019 at 10:17 am

1. My husband has decided he loves Canyon Bakeshop gluten free bread. It’s $6.99/loaf at the grocery store. He loves bread. What can you do? Someone in Sprouts suggested the Aldi GF bread but i haven’t been there yet to check it out.

2. I ate lunch out today, Wednesday, and Monday this week. I only paid today but will feel I “owe” on some way those that treated me the other days. None of the meals were anything to write home about.

3. I bought a new dress for my niece’s wedding. Usually I just find something in my closet that will do but I just didn’t have anything. I will probably also need to buy pantyhose or tights. I plan to wear shoes I already have.

4. I’m sure there are more but I can’t think of any.


Ruby March 29, 2019 at 11:25 am

Katy, are cats more likely to pre on the sofa when the kids have come home? Now that they live away, they may smell somewhat different and the cat is marking territory.

I second an extra litter box, Feliway spray on the sofa, and covering it with something absorbent and easily washable.


Ruby March 29, 2019 at 11:29 am

That would be “pee on the sofa,” not “pre on the sofa.”

I spent $156 buying a secondhand dryer for a friend who really needed it, as she is expecting a new baby any minute. A fail in that it really stretched my budget, but we were running out of time to find anything cheaper.


Kathleen March 29, 2019 at 12:35 pm

Signed up for a healthy eating program. Cardiologist says I’m at risk for heart attack and stroke. Not a cheap program, however this is day 5 and I’m adjusting. Sister had our great nephew for Spring break (they live in another state). She asked if I could send some $$ to help out, he’s 13 years old..well you know how boys eat.
Between my trip to Florida and the guy I do part time work for (his cruise) I haven’t worked for a couple of weeks. On the upside, getting ready for a garage sale with a friend tomorrow


Christine March 29, 2019 at 12:40 pm

1. Grandkids spilled soda on the couch so I removed the cushion cover to wash. In addition, I had two emergency blankets in my car for the winter that needed washing. I tossed these all together in the washing machine on cold water. Frugal, right? No. I want them to be “fluffy” so I threw them all in the dryer.
2. I’m on a 10 month budget payment plan with my oil company. I pay no bill during March and April. Sounds good. But did I put those 2 payments into savings? No. I adopted a third cat from the shelter to the tune of $175.00.
3. I’ve been eyeballing an old blue tarp blowing around the side of the road near the highway on ramp. I need one to cover some unwanted emerging bamboo in my yard. The problem is, I don’t know if it’s legal to park there and I’ve been too lazy to bother to find out.
4. I’ve also been lazy about posting items on FB Marketplace to sell.
5. Worst one of all. I booked a cruise for myself and 2 grandkids thinking I would use my tax return to pay for it. Surprise! For the first time, no significant return. I had to find a part time job to pay for it. The old adage comes to mind: Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. (Shakes head here.)


Jennifer March 29, 2019 at 1:36 pm

Christine, I quit for a short while but I missed posting, too. Now I just post when things are slow at work. Or just short comment on others posts. I also tried typing up FFT’s on my notepad to have ready for when Katy’s posts a FFT’s post with moderate success. If too many days pass, then some of my comments seem like they don’t apply. For instance, I may be making a lot of comments about a holiday that has came and went a couple weeks prior, if that makes sense.


Jennifer March 29, 2019 at 1:38 pm

Dammit! this post was supposed to be way up there! Sorry…btw, we got rid of our swear jar again as I was going broke, lol


Kym Hopkins March 29, 2019 at 3:19 pm

And if the cat continues with this madness, you may have to live on it; minus the cat.


Marilyn March 29, 2019 at 3:37 pm

1. Took my car in for servicing. While waiting, I went to nearby coffee shop and paid $2.78 for a cup of coffee. Big mistake as it was the worst coffee ever. Only took a few sips and gave up.
2. When I cleaned out the fridge, found several food items I had to throw out, including old pizza slice, moldy chopped onions. I am not entirely succeeding in my effort to stop wasting food.
3. Finally, I bought a pair of earrings online and was really disappointed when they arrived. I guess I’ll have to spend the money to send them back.


Tonya Parham March 29, 2019 at 4:34 pm

I have a cat who pees on our old couch. He’s suffered from Interstitial Cystitis due to stress for most of his life and even had to have his penis removed (yes, yes, apparently this is an issue and the solution is removing the male cat’s penis!) and the problem was not infection or anything but stress. Apparently some cats, when stressed, develope inflamed urinary tracts. His was super severe and it took us literally years to figure out how to manage it.

One thing that had to happen was he has to spend the night in a room to his self. It gives him time to destress, I guess, and we also had to come up with routines that supported him in terms of he didn’t think we were angry at him. NO yelling or being upset with him. He stopped peeing on our bed when that happened. And he mostly stopped peeing on anywhere when the other cat– his arch enemy who despised him– died. It’s not perfect but I think we will likely have the old pee pee couch the rest of his life.

And to that I just sigh and accept it. Our diabetic cat who was nine suddenly died last month. He was diabetic and had IBS and so he pooped outside the box often. Accidents were the norm. On the bed, in the floor, and even on any papers that might be in the floor. He just suddenly went into a coma and died. I can’t tell you now how much I miss that little guy and while I tell myself I am glad I don’t EVER have to clean a puddle of poop out of the floor again…I would gladly do so to have him climb in my arms and let me kiss the top of his head like he used to.

All that to say, their lives are short and sometimes they cause us expense and stress, but hopefully, the joy the bring makes up for the trouble. I know mine do.


Alison Erickson March 29, 2019 at 6:17 pm

My kitty had the same problem. It was so terrible and we got to the point where we were going to make a tough decision. Aside from providing multiple boxes, he was on a combo of Prozac and Lithium which (1) completely stopped the behavior and (2) was really cheap because a bottle of the medicine lasted seemingly forever and was just sprinkled into wet food. We got 8 more years from him and he recently passed at 16. I am thankful for every day with him! God bless Prozac.

A UC Davis study also shows that food games help reduce anxiety and peeing outside the box:


Kate O'Brien March 30, 2019 at 6:38 am

You bought a Learned jet? Where are you going to park that puppy?


Liz Bishop March 30, 2019 at 7:35 am

Soooooo many frugal fails here…..
1) Have spent wayyyyy too much money on dear son’s birthday party (today). Store bought decorations, balloons, cake from a fancy bakery (he wanted a hockey themed cake, and I’m frankly not that talented a cake decorator). Son is thrilled with everything, but still.
2) Truck and my car need repairs (truck – again) and maintenance + possible repair (car). Dreading the $$$ on car care that has been put off for too long.
3) Spending too much going out to eat + carry-in lately.
4) Spending $$ on Weight Watchers, but not sticking to the program…..whyyyyyy is this so hard right now? See #3.
5) I have to have a tooth filled, in spite of my efforts to keep my teeth clean, flossed, etc. Spent $ on fancy rechargeable toothbrush, fancy gum detox toothpaste, and fancy dry-mouth soothing gel to help avoid more dental issues in the future. All good for a hopefully frugal dental future, but a lot to shell out right now….see #2.
Good luck to us all, as we attempt to climb back on the frugal ladder!


Janinne C. Paulson March 30, 2019 at 8:03 am

Katy, this stuff isn’t cheap but cheaper than a replacement couch. It’s amazing, awesome, and wonderful. Miracle product if you ask me. Nice little company, too.


ouvickie March 30, 2019 at 8:52 am

It has NOT been a frugal month for me either, so you get lots of sympathy from me!!
1) Our new CIO forced several of us to move to the city Campus. That’s an 84 mile round trip and I’m less than two years away from retirement – so I’m sticking it out, but I HATE the commute. I finally figured out it is cheaper, fuel wise, for me to get on the interstate to get there – less stop and go – but I truly loathe the traffic. I’m going to try to go in about 15 minutes earlier and see if that makes a difference .
2) I ate out with my new Team members yesterday. Not that I could afford it, but I need the time to get to know them and I deserved the reward – in my mind anyway. I am still taking my lunch/eating cheap frozen entrees at least 3 days a week, so I’ll suck it up because the food was AWESOME and the company was good.
3) I ended up with a charge on my card, that I thought I’d cancelled after the free trial offer. Apparently not, but I disputed it anyway. I made certain it was cancelled after I saw my statement, so we’ll see what happens.
4) Hubby FINALLY got a new job – which means better pay and better benefits soon to come. However, it wasn’t the branch closest to our home, so he’s still spending fuel money driving the long commute into the city. I’ll take what I can get at this point. Especially if he ends with medical insurance and I can take him off my policy. That would be a $400 per month savings.
5) Since he wasn’t making good commission at the place he’s leaving, he’s been late paying the mortgage payment, which means late charges. I’ve been a bit stressed so YES – I feel like I’ve bought a Lear Jet too.
I’m praying this next month is better. I’m about ready to sell everything and move closer to the city, even though I really love our country home. We may not sell the house, but I’m making a list of all the things we can sell right now.


A. Marie March 30, 2019 at 9:34 am

FFF, Dementia Edition:

Friends, as you know from many of my earlier comments, dementia has been the elephant in DH’s and my living room for a while now. I’m not actually losing sleep at night over possibilities that are well down the road, since we have no debt, a reasonable nest egg, and excellent long-term care insurance. But here are five ways in which DH’s dementia is causing specific FFF in the here and now:

(1) DH finally admitted a couple of weeks ago that he can no longer run the wood-burning insert in the living room that not only was his pride and joy, but saved us quite a bit on heating bills. And he’s cold all the time now, so I have to keep the gas furnace turned up higher than I personally would like (even though he wears flannel shirts, fleece vests, and lined pants indoors). The National Grid gas bill is up accordingly.

(2) One of the very few things he can still do is wash dishes–but he uses far more water and soap to do this than I would. In the interests of not depriving him of all feelings of usefulness, however, I hold my peace.

(3) The coming of spring is not bringing me the usual joy this year, because I already know that DH will not be able to help with more than the very simplest chores in the yard and gardens–and I’m seeing the usual spring cleanup challenges everywhere I look. It looks as if I either have to throw myself on the mercy of the neighbors, buy more help, and/or convert some garden beds back to lawn. Not pleasant prospects, any of them.

(4) DH’s tools (especially the large toys such as lawn mowers, etc.) constitute a major disaster area. (Imagine unflushed gas tanks and other zero maintenance for far too long.) I’m planning on asking his guy friends to take what they think they can use or restore, and give me a hand on hauling everything else to the curb. Ouch ouch ouch, and I don’t mean physically.

(5) Finally, there’s just the continuing physical and emotional energy suck of dealing with the situation from day to day–having to remember to do absolutely everything that two people used to handle.

Sorry to be Debbie Downer about all of this. But it hasn’t been a good week.


Jill A March 30, 2019 at 10:41 am

Sorry meant to reply but posted instead.


Jesse Oldham March 30, 2019 at 2:21 pm

Thank you for sharing. I am glad you did. Hang in there. That is all really hard stuff.


tracy March 31, 2019 at 4:39 am

Thinking of you A Marie, I am sure it is so very difficult to deal with all of these challenges and at the same time grieve the inch-by-inch loss of your dear husband as he was. Your love for him shines through your posts, please don’t beat yourself up when you experience frustration, sadness and even anger.


Jill A March 30, 2019 at 10:40 am

Not a Debbie Downer. Just reality. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. Your husband is lucky to have you to care for him. Wishing you the best.


ouvickie March 30, 2019 at 12:39 pm

I’m glad you vented A. Marie – I can certainly empathize.
My husband doesn’t have dementia, but he has some serious health problems and can no longer do the yard work or take care of repairs. I love him with all my heart, but trying to do everything myself or pay someone else to do it can be overwhelming and costly.
I’m 61 and have some of my own health issues, which I’m trying to rectify, gets to me some days. All I can say it, I hear ya’!!


JC March 30, 2019 at 2:19 pm

The eating out has been a little out of control. And we’re attempting dates (which is great) but we’re trying to come up with new ideas and they all cost at least a moderate amount of money. We’ll get the hang of it but right now it’s just more important to have the date than micromanage the budget.


Jennifer March 31, 2019 at 12:08 pm

We reached that point in our marriage as well a few years ago. We could never afford baby sitters AND going out. And our marriage was at a really rocky point, so we had to do something. Finally when my oldest was 14 we decided to start going out for coffee once a week for about an hour. it was nerve wracking at first (kids were 14, 12, 10, and 8). But we powered through, the kids survived and it cost us around $7 a week. Maybe something like that or ice cream and a walk now that the weather has warmed up? Good luck! Dating your spouse is typically cheaper than therapy.


Emily March 30, 2019 at 7:37 pm

ditto to the vet bills for no reason! 350 dollars this month to be told to give him human zertec . He’s worth every penny, but why can’t Pets talk yet?


mmg March 31, 2019 at 1:38 am

Try Dr Elsey’s Cat Attract Litter. Life changing! It really does work. And if it doesn’t work for you, the company will refund you money. The company makes a few litters – it’s the one in the maroon/red bag and box.

Your cat might also be peeing on second-hand furniture because it smells urine or animal smells from previous owners of the furniture. That’s a hard thing to get around.

It won’t be gorgeous, but if kitty keeps peeing, you could get a waterproof mattress cover bottom sheet to wrap around the couch’s cushions. Then cover that with something attractive, like a blanket or a couch cover. We have one on our bed, and it really is waterproof and protects our mattress. It was $35 on Amazon.


tracy March 31, 2019 at 4:02 am

Perfect timing for me.
1. Treated myself to pedicure that was WAY more expensive than usual. Not worth it. But my nails look nice.
2. Ordered a pair of sandals I really don’t need.
3. In general, March was a bad month for me in terms of my main non-consumer nemesis, clothes shopping. I’m making April a no-buying month for non-necessities to get back on track.
4. Hubby is seeing an excellent counselor but he’s not on our insurance plan so significant weekly out of pocket expense. But very worth it.
5. DD is struggling academically so we are having a neuropsych evaluation in May — VERY expensive and not covered by insurance so need to save up quickly (another reason for no-spend April)


heather alvey March 31, 2019 at 10:19 am

If your kitty is healthy and the peeing on the furniture is a behavioral issue, it might be worth looking into hiring a behavior consultant. It would be an additional expense, but they’ll be able to help figure out what the problem is and how to resolve it, which will save you a lot of headaches and frustration! I’m sure you’ve got some great local options, but many of us will do consults over skype.


Christine March 31, 2019 at 2:30 pm

Just got the reload message. Come on! Frustrating frugal frenzy as I type like a jackhammer to no avail this time.


LB April 1, 2019 at 6:32 am

Hey Christine! If you type in your message you can “cut” the text, reload the page, and “paste” it in. Saves the headache!


Jenn Stovern March 31, 2019 at 3:29 pm

Hey Katy! There is a carpet cleaning service that doesn’t use chemicals call Zerorez. It’s in Portland as well as where we live. They can do upholstery work and pet treatment as well. I’m not sure how much it would cost, but it would get the cat pee all the way out of your couch 🙂


janine April 1, 2019 at 5:25 am

Having recently returned from Florida, it is no April Fools joke that March was an expensive month. Additionally, I would like to contribute to my favorite political candidates this spring. I console myself with plans for a more frugal April!
Here are a few of our failures:
-Stayed at an expensive “resort like hotel” during high season.
-Ate at too many expensive restaurants although we did find a grocery deli with reasonably priced food.
Doggie hotel was very pricey but perhaps peace of mind that he was being well cared for was worth it?
-Am contributing small $$ amounts to candidates and will follow up with additional contributions as the political season shake out.


LB April 1, 2019 at 6:31 am


1. Spent the weekend at Jay Peak in VT. Brought food and booze and games, skiied all three days and ate lunch and dinner at the condo. Got a little cabin fever-y by day three though, so we opted to hit the bar for happy hour and out to dinner. $23 on two white russians wasn’t enough for me apparently, and we got a round of whiskey shots to end dinner-which wound up being $9 each. Wooooof.

2. Forgot to be saving up for a bridesmaid’s dress for a friend’s wedding and apparently the color is being discontinued. Got free shipping and a dress on clearance, but had to put the $100 expense on a credit card.

3. Broke down and had to buy a diet coke at a rest stop yesterday on the way home.

4. Gave in to the “you can’t go to friendly’s and not get ice cream!” hype. Guess what? I totally did not need ice cream.

5. No fifth one is coming to mind, which is astonishing! Maybe I’m getting better at this after all.


Leah Archibald April 1, 2019 at 7:54 am

Hi Katy! Leah here. Our kitten is doing the same thing. we tried pheromones, extra litter boxes, etc to no avail. We are now doing small dose prozac and it seems to be helping. Also keeping tinfoil on the couch when we are not using it helps to repel the kitten. good luck!


Avery April 2, 2019 at 8:20 pm

1.) Organic chemistry- As much studying, office hours, and free tutoring I do, I still need one on one help to make sure that I have the concepts down as my teacher is notoriously difficult.
2.) Spring break was great, but my friends and I ate out almost every meal against our plans of making sandwiches or even cooking in DC…
3.) A while ago, but I had accidentally sold a rented textbook to a resell company to later find out that I had to pay the steep price in full. GASP- a hard lesson learned that I need to improve on my organizational skills.
4.)I decided against a camping trip as I need to stay home and invest in people I haven’t in a while. This was a good decision for me, but I’ll still have to contribute to the camping site fee.
5.) Don’t make me think of more…


Jill A April 3, 2019 at 7:28 am

Avery, my daughter will be taking Organic Chemistry next year. I hear it’s a very difficult class. Here’s hoping she gets through it.


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