1. I totally agree with you. There are times in our lives when we just can’t be frugal. To me, it’s when I go to my best friend’s wedding hours from where we live or visit my family half way around the world. There are things we just need to do and not think too much about how much money we spend doing it.

  2. There are things and times we probably seems super frugal. And other times our spending would make a frugal person blush. But it all feels the same on our end, we are spending the exact amount of money that reflects the value. And I don’t feel guilty, ever, about either of those. If I’m refusing to eat fast food (because $4 for a crap sandwich?) or sending a $50 gift to an almost stranger because I’m really excited for them. Money is never the goal for us, just a tool. And the tools don’t call the shots.

    Pregnancy is hard. Any joy and sweetness you can add to it so that you will have some lovely memories sounds worth it to me. It’s a short season before this whole new chapter. 80 more days! =)

    • It is so incredibly short. And I’m trying to savor it as much as I can, but I am also one of those people that will never talk about how much I loved being pregnant. Bring on the baby! 🙂

      Your perspective is so keen, Ms. Montana. No shocker there, though!

  3. I know this is a small thing, but have you checked out secondhand maternity clothes? I know Clothes Mentor sells some really cute ones (like–ACTUALLY cute). It’s more affordable than buying new, if it’s your thing. 🙂 Sorry to hear the free clothes didn’t work out–urf!

    And don’t make yourself feel guilty! I had a really bad April and it’s admittedly all my fault lol. It’s YOUR money at the end of the day and only you and Mr. P can decide how it’s best spent. Also, I’m sure you look absolutely ravishing–don’t feel frumpy. 🙂

    • That’s SUCH a great tip! I have swung by there and Goodwill. The Clothes Mentor by us is bananas expensive! Honestly, the sale and clearance racks at other shops have been less pricey. I was warned in advance that our Clothes Mentor seems to know that they can charge a pretty penny on those clothes. Probably because the Goodwill and similar stores have like 4 things.

      I finally asked another coworker where she got all of her adorable dresses that I remember her in last year. And she said to just try on regular clothes. And wouldn’t you know it worked for this shower dress?!

      • I loved eBay for maternity clothes, especially lots where women would sell their entire wardrobe at once. The per item cost on many lots was low enough that even if I wasn’t in love with all of the items, I could give them away and still feel like I’d gotten a bargain. (Not necessarily a tip for a special occasion dress, but it did work out well for work and casual clothes.)

  4. Lizzy

    Good for you!
    It is difficult finding maternity clothing that lets you feel attractive. I remember shopping way back when I was pregnant with my first child. I found giant rompers in a style more appropriate for baby than the mother!

    • Oh my gosh, yes! And the floral patterns. There are flowers on EVERYTHING! Which I was all about for the first one or two things that I bought. But honestly, I’m starting to look like old-timey wallpaper!

  5. kim domingue

    Being frugal is great. Cutting expenses is great. Saving money is great. They’re all great….right up to the point that they’re not. Sometimes the hand-me-downs work and sometimes they don’t and you’ve got to buy the thing. Sometimes you can buy the thing used for cheap and sometimes not so you’ve gotta buy it new. Sometimes you can find the fabulous thing marked down 75% and sometimes you can’t and you pay more. Sometimes you can borrow the thing and sometimes you need to own the thing instead. Like Ms. Montana said, money is simply a tool to be used.

    Sometimes looking and feeling pretty, handsome, attractive is more important than saving all the dollars. The hubs and I spent about $450 on what we wore to the girlchild’s wedding on top of the $5000 we spent on the wedding itself. We could have worn hand-me-downs or thrifted items or 75% off sale items. But it was a once in a lifetime event and it was important to us that we looked and felt attractive. When your daughter marries for the first time at 34 and you’re edging up on 60 , you want to look good, damn it! The hubs looked so handsome as he walked our beautiful, radiant daughter down the aisle! Our son, who spent about $300 on clothes, shoes and tie for his sister’s wedding, looked so dapper and handsome dancing with the bride and his mama. And mama? Got admit, mama looked pretty damn good, lol! In all of the pictures, we looked good, we looked relaxed and happy, we looked our best….not frumpy, dumpy and uncomfortable. You deserve that kind of photographic evidence of your pregnancy as well. Glad you’re got some pictures of you looking happy and radiant during your pregnancy for Half Penny to ooh and aah over years down the road from now. That’s worth a lot more than the money you could have saved by NOT buying the nice, pretty, full priced dress!

  6. Frugality should never come at the cost of your happiness. You used the money in the best possible way and exactly what it should be used for 🙂

  7. I think frugality works best when you pick and choose your battles. There are times and places to save money, and times and places to spend the money you’ve saved elsewhere.

    Go to the wedding in your new dress, give a present that makes you and the happy couple smile, and have a good time.

    • I agree with what Emily says – pick your battles.
      Being frugal on all the things that don’t really matter mean that you can splash out on special things when you want to, without feeling guilty.
      Being pregnant is hard enough, without making life harder for yourself. Stop beating yourself up about it. Go off and enjoy yourself You’ll feel better if you look good, and that is pretty important.

  8. I stayed frugal through 6 months of pregnancy (except for that steak dinner in the first trimester because I was so hungry I cried!), didn’t buy any new clothes, just kept stealing more of PiC’s clothes. Then in Week 22, I BALLOONED and literally nothing fit. All my clothes were tailored to my Petite 00/XXS frame, and my thighs had gone Medium. I had to spend $80 on jeans because we were traveling, and didn’t have any pants to wear. Later I caved and let my dear friend, who’d been desperately wanting to take me shopping, treat me to a stack of clothes because I was going to be out in public for a friend’s wedding and I could not show up there looking like a bloated hobo. And around month 8, when PUPPs hit, I said EFF IT ALL and spent all the monies on lotions and creams and anything that might relieve my itching.

    We’re plenty frugal in so many other times, the point is to have that money at the hardest times. I’ll be darned if pregnancy doesn’t count right there at the top of those times.

    No guilt – just take care of yourself. This is a serious challenge you’ve taken on.

    • And it’s so terrible. I knew having children HAD to be difficult. But I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Truly. I think because so many people in my life have just done such an incredible job of “grinning and bearing it” that I really wasn’t let in on all these joys 😉 Thanks for the support, friend!

  9. I am so with you. Pregnancy is HARD and you need to do whatever to survive it. I am glad you found a dress that makes you feel pretty. That’s so important.

    I just saw a post that I wrote after my 2nd child was born (only 17 months after my 1st). I was expressing how it is so unfair that people often have the least amount of money when their children are young but it is the time they need the most help. The only way to create more time is to pay people to outsource the task… but where do you get the money from?!

    Anyway, good for you spending money on the things that matter to you. Money is a tool that should be used when you need it.

  10. My fiance and I have been planning our wedding for the last year and a half and are trying to do it frugally. Sometimes the dreaded, “But we only get married once!” turns it’s evil head, but we have gotten really good with one another to sit down and figure out if something is really necessary, will it really make is happy and if we will be able to use it again.
    A lot of things we have purchased this far are like your dress, we will definitely use them again after the wedding. After our first round of ballroom for beginners classes, we decided to go in for a set if private lessons, advanced classes and another round of beginner classes. It came as an surprise expense but they help us be happy and confident in dancing together. We believe we will get many years of joy out of them.
    There’s a difference between treating oneself and spending money on oneself. I agree with you, we cannot always be frugal when spending money on ourselves, and that’s ok.

  11. Sherikr

    I have appreciated your last two posts. They have been very real and honest. Saving money is a good thing. Eliminating wasteful or mindless spending makes sense. But I completely agree that there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to frugality. Especially with pregnancy and parenting.

    I love the approach of saving on things that matter less to invest in things that matter more. While we have had some Frugal wins, I don’t think we will ever be the poster children for frugality. And maybe that’s ok.

    Thanks for your honesty. And I’m glad you bought the dress! ?

  12. Catherine

    There’s a time and place for everything related to money. During my first pregnancy, forget frugality, I was downright cheap. Some of it was out of necessity (at the time we didn’t have a good handle on our finances) but it made me feel like shit quite frankly. The only piece of new clothing I bought myself was a pair of cheap old navy maternity jeans and one blouse which was bought with a gift card. Some women love being pregnant, I loath it. I’m SO grateful to have been able to have 2 pregnancies that led to two amazing children but I’ve never felt more terrible in my life. Not only did I go through two difficult pregnancies leading to associated physical ailments I felt yucky, the fact that I down right didn’t allow myself to dress appropriately during pregnancy #1 though taught me not to make the mistake again. The reality is that I would have felt better if I was wearing clothes that actually fit rather than squeezing myself into tight non maternity shirts and one pair of jeans that I actually hated. So, during pregnancy #2 I allowed myself to buy some actual maternity clothing. I was still smart about my choices and by no means went crazy but those few pieces of clothing allows me to be much more comfortable this time…. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or not but since the beginning of this last pregnancy I’ve definitely cut myself some slack. The reality is that we do make decent money and are by no means frivolous with it. I can’t allow myself to feel bad about replacing badly needed tshirts that I know I’ll wear all summer, or buying the dress I want for my best friends wedding rather than the one that was on sale but “would do”. My husband and I have been so uber cheap and frugal for so long in a way it caught up with us. I kid you not, my husbands near entire wardrobe needed to be replaced all at once. Within about a month almost every work appropriate piece of clothing/shoes he owned fell apart. It had literally been years since he bought anything. Years. So as we replaced these pieces I didn’t go to Walmart for his shoes, we bought the Hush Puppies (thankfully they were 40%off;)). When I go back to work after this leave I will be replacing some of my scrubs. They’re falling apart, I wear them every day (and wash every day) and they’re also falling apart. I could probably buy used a super cheap brand but guess what? I’ll be buying the new ones from the store with nice, well fitting scrubs because they feel better, last longer and because quite honestly, I want them. We’ve saved in many areas with kids – borrowing everything from breast pumps to toys. Now that we’re definitely done having kids I’ll start to sell the bigger items we own and reinvest the money into stuff for kids. And don’t get me wrong, I have no problem buying used, especially with kids clothing, as they often only wear the items for only a few months at a time. Anyway, good post Penny, you’re on fire this week 😉

  13. Right. Prepare for a rant in agreement!

    I’m as guilty as a lot of people for preaching the experiences over stuff argument and it is one I believe. But, you can’t have and enjoy those experiences completely free from stuff. I love to walk. In the town, city or countryside, I love to get out there and enjoy the fresh air, whether it’s for a full day or just an hour. When I need them, I buy good quality walking shoes. They don’t have to be the newest style, but I choose good quality material that I feel support my feet well and I pay what it costs. I don’t know personally, but I have an inkling that pregnancy is one hell of an experience. If dresses or lotions and potions or convenience options that let you and Mr Penny have time before your bundle arrives bring joy to your experience, do it.

    If you need to do something that has one hell of an impact on your emotional wellbeing (at one of the most important times to look after yourself) and it takes little from your financial well being, why don’t we just seize the day and do it? I recently wrote about how being frugal (but actually a cheapskate) could have had frightening consequences, when I picked up my saucepan and it clattered to the floor leaving the handle in my hand. Luckily it’s a story about how I was once foolish by not replacing a damaged pan. It could have been a story about the time we ended at A&E with burns from boiling water.

  14. Bonnie

    You deserve this break! My pregnancy wasn’t super-easy, either, and I still don’t regret buying one nice maternity dress and a super-expensive pair of maternity jeans. (The rest of my stuff was on the cheaper side.) I got a LOT of wear out of both items (and the jeans I wore for months post-pregnancy, too). You only have about two months to go…so I say, whatever makes you happy, go for it.

  15. Carrie

    I don’t think being frugal means that you always have to choose the cheapest option all the time. I am frugal in some areas so I can splurge in other areas that are more important to me. For example, I don’t cut my own hair because going to the salon and getting a professional cut makes me feel good. I am able to afford to go to the salon because I save in other areas.

    Never feel bad about buying nice maternity clothes. With my second pregnancy I bought a few beautiful pieces. I can still describe them now and the “baby” will be 20 this month 🙂

  16. Choosing to spend $$$ is about so much more than the dollar cost. It’s about the value we receive.
    Did we spend more but enjoy it more? Did we make better memories? Did we save time? Was it higher quality? Is it multipurpose or reusable? Will it save $$$ in the long run because one item will serve repeatedly instead of having to purchase a new item for each specific use?

    On the low end, did we spend enough less to make it worth the sacrifice in time, quality, color, etc?

    Frugality is about making conscious choices, not just choosing the cheapest option.

    You’re doing great, Penny. Keep making those memories and taking those smiling photos.

  17. There is a huge difference between daily frugality and special occasions. You are growing a baby – that’s fricking weird and awesome at the same time!! Celebrate however you need/want to. Enjoy these moments because they are fleeting. Same thing goes for weddings, showers, and once in a lifetime opportunities. Life is short and it should be enjoyed. Your pregnancy is all part of being a mother. You should be able to look at yourself and your bump and smile. Share it with the world and shout it from the rooftops in your brand new gorgeous dress!!!

  18. Last summer, right after I moved into the house, I stopped being frugal in a big way. I ate takeout constantly and was spending on house stuff left and right. I was really angry with myself at first, but after the first few months, I got through all the big expenses (floor refinishing) and household set up costs (vacuum cleaner, etc.) and the dust settled. I haven’t had to be that spendy again. I think it’s all in phases.

  19. Christie

    I think I feel the way many other of the commenters do: that I’m frugal most of the time so that I don’t have to be all of the time. My goal isn’t early retirement (well, 6 years early, which is all I can manage, but that is okay because I really, really like my job!), so I prioritize my cheapness which allows me to spend on things that are important to me. Just like you are doing.

    Also, I think that money, like EVERYTHING in life, ebbs and flows. I mean, I go through months and months of extreme frugality, and then get a little tired of it and buy some fancy things or we go on a vacation. Then I start feeling too extravagant and get back to the pauper lifestyle. It all works out.

  20. How can I begrudge a mother-to-be a little frivolous spending? A pox on frugality- -at least until Half Penny comes along. Enjoy as much retail therapy as necessary. The mind needs nourishment on occasion too.

    • And I do think I’ve kept it in check pretty much. I’ll do a post that dishes on everything we spent getting ready for Half Penny…including my clothes!

  21. Bunnyfreak

    I appreciate you honestly sharing your feelings. I think too often we feel guilty ever spending money because it is possible to be frugal with more work. We should count the cost of the time and effort not just the price tags. There are times in life where the price tag cost is less then the emotional or physical cost. You are making the best decisions for you and your family.

  22. I so had a moment like this! I have two girls and that’s probably all we will have, which I have been adjusting to slowly. I was doing my annual JBF children’s sale and some designer kiddo dresses caught my eye- they were ridiculously lovely with ruffles and great patterns, and still new with tags. But they were 30.00 each at a sale where I never spend more than 10.00 for any one thing, so I passed them by.

    Then I started thinking about how my 9yo was already passed the point of ruffles and lace, and how I had always refused to buy designer kidswear- who could justify it? And I thought about having had two beautiful girls, neither of whom I had every really indulged myself with dressing, and it made me almost cry. There are some things you only get once or twice in life, and at those moments it is important to not “out-cheap” yourself. I bought two of those designer dresses and have no regrets!

  23. Mine was a bag on new arrival price tag, yes it’s about $400 and it’s not something I must buy. But I have just saved more than 3 years worth of living expenses (6-7 if you count in investment) and if I can’t buy an expensive bag, what’s the point of saving?

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