Na Na pinches her pennies

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

FYI read this

I am NOT a nutritionist or a dietitian. I am NOT a financial guru or an economist. I am NOT vegetarian or vegan.  I am NOT a doctor or a nurse.  I am NOT a professional writer nor do I earn money from ads on my blog.

What I am is simply a little old lady who has lived a lifetime being poor and learned a few survival things along the way.  The only skills I come remotely close to being an expert at is making quilts and being poor.

Baby quilt for a grand daughter.

I prefer to say “frugal” instead of “poor” because it sounds better to be living with less by choice than it does from circumstances.  I started my first blog in 1998 as a way to share tips with other professional quilters.  Over the years my blog has morphed and changed locations a few times to become about an old lady surviving on social security in today’s uncertain economy.

I write about standing in food bank lines and then about what I do with the food after I get it home.  I use the old ways taught to me by my Grandma Mama to preserve the food bank food.  I can, dehydrate, and freeze as much as possible in the very same way I would if I had a garden or if I shopped a farmer’s market.

Mobile food bank truck

I write to help those who are “newly poor” and searching for ways to survive.  Newly poor being anyone who loses a job or has a sudden major illness clean out the bank account or anyone who is asked to take early retirement.  If people are not used to being poor it can be very traumatic.  They need poor people to teach what is possible if you only try.

The cost of everything keeps going up and up.  One by one I’ve had to give up simple luxuries because the costs have priced them right out of my budget. Anyone on a fixed income will understand what I mean.  I’m barely hanging onto internet because its my entertainment and my encyclopedia.  One more raise in the cost may put that out of my budget too.  Instead of getting angry about my situation I simply find a way around it by either making stuff for myself or finding something else that will do.

I don’t get food stamps but I do get food from the mobile food banks.  Not many folks know what to do with the food bank food after they get it.  I do. Which is why I write about using the food in different ways just to give new ideas.  Again, I am NOT writing as an expert telling others what to do.  I’m writing as a person actually living this way.  Yes, I really do stand in those food lines.  It kind of reminds me of what it must have been like standing in a food line during the depression.


I can a lot of food bank foods.

I write about ways I save money on things like clothing or utilities or entertainment.  Sometimes I write about my feeble attempts to organize and rid my home of STUFF because being poor tends to make me a hoarder.  When I figure out a new way to do something cheaply I tell the whole world by blogging about it.  Geeze, I just can’t keep a secret. When I learned to cook and sew and mend from my Grandma Mama the whole world was poor.  Everyone had to make do and mend.  It wasn’t a fashion statement, it was survival.

I could be wrong but I see even more troubling times ahead of us.  I want to do my part to help the “have not” learn to make do and mend before a SHTF situation happens or someone loses a job or someone retires.  Its all the same, the person becomes suddenly poor and will need to know how to make do and mend in order to survive.  I write about saving money by using less utilities or less water.  I write about the ways I stretch my own budget.  If you stumble upon my blog when searching for a way to stretch your budget know that I’m one of you too.  I encourage all readers to read the comment sections.  There are people commenting with great ideas about stretching a budget that are worth reading too.

Note to the evil commentors:

If you don’t like what I write or how I write it then STOP READING and go someplace else.  Its as simple as that.  No one is forcing you to read this blog.  Sending me a nasty comment is NOT going to change me or my attitude.  Any cruel or extremely critical comments regarding my writing style and my attitude will be marked as spam and deleted.

42 comments on “FYI read this

  1. FrugalMommy
    January 5, 2019

    I just found your blog. Im so happy to have found it because my husband recently became disabled so we are having to pinch our pennies.

    I love your cute little desk area. I always thought it would be a great way to use a closet.

    May I ask why you don’t get food stamps? Im looking into them for us. Thank you.

    • Anita
      January 5, 2019

      Hi and welcome to my blog. That closet office was at my previous house. I liked it alot. I moved a couple years ago. This house doesn’t have a closet big enough for an office. I don’t get food stamps because my SS is a few dollars too much to qualify. I don’t know about other states but here in Kentucky the seniors who do qualify for food stamps get $16 a month. I believe that amount may have been lowered though because of the budget cuts to all federal programs. If I qualified I wouldn’t apply because it wouldn’t be worth the paperwork hassle and the required telling of my neighbors what my financial situation is in order to get them. People who are not seniors but on disability often sign up for the stamps anyway to get the medicare premiums paid by the state and get the state medicaid coverage. I don’t have the link right now but there is a federal online calculator people can use to see if they qualify and how much they could get. You might want to check it out to save yourself some time.

  2. Shell
    February 9, 2018

    I just found your blog recently. I really enjoy reading it. I saw your comment about people being critical of what you write. I can’t understand why on earth someone would do that. What you write on your blog is your business, alone. You are inspiring a lot of people. Keep up the good work. I find it helpful.


    • Anita
      February 9, 2018

      Thanks Shell for your support. That’s exactly how I feel about it. There will always be critics but they don’t have to read what I write. Actually I believe some people that find some twisted sense of humor in trying to start trouble so I try to avoid it by not responding anymore.

  3. Mary Jane
    October 15, 2017

    Hello! I just found your blog, and while I have always been frugal out of necessity, your way of being frugal is very close to my own heart. I have felt like a dinosaur even amongst my peers. I have taught myself to cook, clean house, can, freeze foods, dehydrate foods, garden, bake, sew a bit, and knit and crochet. I am reading some of your older posts, and am very excited to find your kind of common sense. I look forward to reading more. I think I am going to enjoy future posts, and the comments of your readers. Mary Jane.

    • Anita
      October 16, 2017

      Thanks Mary Jane. Glad to have you here. You will see that I moved from a really high crime area into a much quieter neighborhood and I’m loving it here.

  4. Colleen
    September 28, 2017

    I really enjoy your blog!

    • Anita
      September 28, 2017

      Thank you Colleen, glad to have you here.

  5. Carol
    August 27, 2017

    Hello again, Na Na, I’ve been reading other blogs on frugality and getting out of debt. Those out of touch people advise getting 6 months emergency savings ASAP. We’re trying to save to get energy efficient light bulbs and, stretch what little money we have NOW just to survive. Oh, thanks so much for the tip on the canned salmon and cream cheese. I too had some cans from a big sale. For sure you are the best mentor I’ve come across for living a frugal but healthy and pleasant life for those of us Senior Ladies who are winging it on our own. Your Wedding Ring quilt is so beautiful, what fabulous work you do. Thank you so much for your kindness and wonderful and helpful advise. Na Na, do you knit? I am learning and would love to find a pattern for a simple box shaped long sleeve button down sweater. I found some yarn at Walmart for 25 cents a skein and would love to make a sweater.

    The best to you Na Na.

    • Anita
      August 28, 2017

      Hi Carol, I would love to have six months worth of bill money laying around doing nothing but reality is that most of us just don’t have that luxury. The best most of us can do is put a little aside for our next crisis OR to pay for another item to help cut back expenses. Practicing skills to survive with very little money is just as valuable as having a savings account. I know how to knit but I don’t anymore. Too many things to do, not enough time to do them all. That was a very good bargain. I would suggest a search for free knitting patterns on pinterest. That way you can see pictures before visiting a site.

  6. nursehelpblog
    January 8, 2017

    Excellent blog. Thank you for sharing, I value your wisdom and daily living examples. I will share w my wiser co-workers. Please keep writing.

    • Anita
      January 8, 2017

      Sure, I plan to keep writing. I’ve had a little dry spell the last few days. I’ll get back to it this week. Thanks for reading.

  7. Sarah
    December 29, 2016

    I’m so sad that you have had unpleasant comments. I often remind myself that people that pick at others are just unhappy people. Thanks for all you do.

    • Anita
      December 30, 2016

      You’re right Sarah people who make unkind comments are usually very unhappy themselves. I encounter them everywhere and have learned to ignore them.

  8. Lisa
    August 24, 2016

    I for one love your blog. Please don’t stop writing.

    • Anita
      August 25, 2016

      Thank you. I’ll keep writing as long as I’m able.

  9. Susie Foltz
    August 18, 2016

    I am in the same “boat” that you are: longstanding poor. I love your blog. So many times I think that you have explained the complications of poverty so very clearly and well. I have learned from your tips about frugality and diabetes. Just keep posting!

    • Anita
      August 21, 2016

      Thank you Susie, I will as long as I’m able. The posts are kind of far apart right now because I’m really busy with life stuff. The state fair is going right now and I always spend my days there. Life should settle into a routine after that and I can do more regular posts again.

  10. Julie
    August 8, 2016

    I just found your blog today and I love it. I was raised in rural Ohio in the 60s and we had a garden, sometimes raised livestock, and did a lot of freezing and canning to get ourselves through the winter months. Now I’m a single mom living in a big city, lucky enough to have a large yard for gardening, but I’m not so talented at that 😦 I’m cooking from scratch, baking bread, pickling and freezing my veggies. I’m lucky not to be living in a food desert but many in my city do. Money is tight and I’m discovering the food deals at the Dollar Store–when I was married I swore I’d never shop there.

    I hope I learn some good frugal tricks from you! I’d love it if you could post some of those old fashioned World War 2 era recipes!

    • Anita
      August 9, 2016

      I’ll try but mostly I cook without actual recipes. I just put things I like together to make meals. You might try this link to free reading of old books. Gutenberg Do a search for ww2 cooking or something similar.

    • Anita
      August 9, 2016

      I just looked at project Gutenberg and their site has changed since I last went there. I found many old cookbooks listed under the “cookery bookshelf” I loose track of time when I visit the site so be fore warned. (smile)

  11. Olivia
    July 23, 2016

    Hi Na Na. My parents were born in Hungary during WW2 and emigrated to Canada in the seventies. As a child in the eighties I once asked my father if we were rich, and he replied with “No, we are the working poor.” I felt so ashamed and reacted by consuming MORE and being wasteful to rebel against my father’s proclamation. My parents passed away before I was 20 and I inherited a good chunk of money. I could have invested it or done so much more than I did, and now, as a 36 year old regret so many of my silly consumerist ways. But! It’s never too late to change. I vow to make the next 36 years productive and frugal.

    Na Na, I love this blog. I love your honesty. I’m a reader for life!

    • Anita
      July 26, 2016

      Thanks Olivia. Yes, never too late to start. If nothing else living frugal gives a sense of contentment. Being happy with what you have instead of stressing about what you don’t.

  12. Meg
    March 26, 2016

    Na Na I live in the countryside in N.Ireland and have always tried to live a frugal life
    I have just found your site and just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading all about what you have to say.
    Thankyou Meg

    • Anita
      March 26, 2016

      I’m glad you have found me. I’m always happy to know others think what I have to say has value. Its a blessing for me to share.

  13. Kaycarole Day
    February 10, 2016

    I live the kind of life you do. I can really relate to your posts. Thanks for sharing your world with us.

    • Anita
      February 11, 2016

      your welcome glad to have you reading

  14. Clara
    December 20, 2015

    Greetings from Chile! I´ve just chanced upon your blog. I come from a frugal family and love learning new tips. You´re doing a wonderful job helping people with your ideas. I intend to visit frequently.Thank you so much for sharing!!! Blessings, Clara.

    • Na Na
      December 21, 2015

      You sure are visiting from a long way away. I hope I can keep it interesting.

  15. Kimberly
    November 14, 2015

    Hi Nana, I am a frugal girl, always love learning ways to stretch a dollar. Your blog is a great resource, and I appreciate your efforts to share what you know…

    • Na Na
      November 15, 2015

      Thank you. Glad to have you here.

  16. Donna
    September 11, 2015

    Nana, you have such good information to impart – ignore the naysayers and keep up the good information you share with us. We need it. Times are tough and getting tougher and we all need your good advice.

    • Na Na
      September 13, 2015

      Thank you Donna. I’ll do my best.

  17. Faye
    August 6, 2015

    Thanks I love your blog….delete the awful comments from the “haters” and continue blogging…

  18. mea
    July 3, 2015

    I think if lot more people were frugal and ditched the idea of “keeping up with the Joneses”, they would be living a better life: no money stress, better sleep, better health and feeling empowered as they would know how to do without (it is a mind set) and make do with what they already have. It also increases creativity.
    Working fulltime I have to be mindful of how I spend time too, to leave enough time for the brain to recuperate as in just being still – which is frugal.
    I don’t come from a wealthy family,but don’t know what hunger is, but thenagain, we did not smoke or drink, pop was not on the dinner table, mom was not a fashionista which probably saved me a lot of money as the apple does not fall far from the tree.
    Yeayy for frugal. And I am looking for frugal ideas all the time, beat the system, sistaa! 🙂

    • Na Na
      July 6, 2015

      I believe more people are realizing that being frugal is better because they see what frugal people are doing. The more of us who educate others the more who will join us. As the gap between the have and have not grows wider there will be many more searching for alternatives. That’s why I post about my life.
      Thanks for the words of encouragement. 😉

  19. Donna
    July 2, 2015

    Nana I think you are great! Just discovered you and enjoy your outlook. You are very knowledgeable and very interesting with good info.

    • Na Na
      July 3, 2015

      Thank you Donna, glad you stopped by.

      • mildred lane
        January 11, 2016

        just found your site and lovin’ it. Have been frugal all my life and now I am 77.

        • Anita
          January 12, 2016

          Thank you for joining us. I think several people reading here are older and ready to share our fugal ways. I always like reading what others do.

  20. Jojo
    June 29, 2015

    Nana. I happened upon you recently and can tell, I love you. Thanks for the blog

    • Na Na
      June 30, 2015

      You’re welcome.

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