what feels like frugality, what feels like a splurge in your lifestyle? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 03:08 AM - Thread Starter
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from time to time, reading posts here, it's occurred to me that what is one mom's necessity is another mom's splurge.
so, what in your life feels like frugality (either in a good way or a bad way) and what do you spend your money on that feels like a splurge?
just curious.
in my case,
frugality, good and bad -- cloth diapers, coupon clipping and loss-leader shopping at the grocery store, almost always only buying clothes/toys/household stuff if it's on sale, having two older, inexpensive cars and not planning on replacing them in the forseeable future, clothing my son entirely in handmedowns from my sister's two boys, having dh cut my hair, not belonging to a gym, rarely going out to dinner without having a discount coupon, never going on vacation (except to see family)
splurge -- never really needing to take a vacation b/c dh only works 3 days a week and i only do occasional freelance work, recently getting a cell phone (even though it's only a $20/month plan), about to get dsl (mostly for dh's budding freelance career), not shopping at second hand stores, living in a nice house with a big yard (but mortgage is only $1,000/mo, amazing for socal!), spending $60 at the bookstore sometimes, not feeling like i can't drop $100 at target if i really have a jones to jazz up the home furnishings.
oh, i suppose there's more but my brain's shutting down.
i'll be interested to hear from others...
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#2 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 09:44 AM
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That's a good question. I don't even have to think about what other mother's do cause dh and I have real issues on this topic. Because what he often considers frugal, I feel is a splurge.

To me buying the cheapest juice is frugal, to him buying the best brand on sale (which is still more expensive) is frugal.

To me not buying a crib is frugal cause I wouldn't use it for dd, to him buying a $600 convertible crib is frugal cause it can be used later.

To me no cable is frugal, to him the cable plus option is frugal (because he's not buying extra channels on top of that).

To me a $5000 used car is frugal, to him a $12,000 used car is frugal, to me it's a splurge.

I could go on and on... To me being frugal is being sensible about living on one income. To dh it's about living within the credit limit of his credit cards.
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#3 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 11:22 AM
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Splurge - Buying a plastic tablecloth for the plastic dining table and chairs out on the porch. Actually, the plastic table and chairs seemed like a splurge too

Splurge - paying a woman to come play with dd for 3-5 hours/day so I can rest

Splurge - $10/month for cable that nobody watches

Splurge - our many travels

Splurge - replacing our electric water boiler thingy

Splurge - renting a house with a garden instead of an apartment

Splurge - buying clothes

Splurge - shopping at western-style grocery stores for things like canned black beans or instant oatmeal

Splurge - buying wine a step above Moldovian sweet wine

Frugal - cutting dd's hair
Frugal - getting my hair cut only once every six months
Frugal - never letting the water run more than a few seconds even though we don't pay the water bill - and anyway it's only about 1 dollar/month
Frugal - letting grandma buy dd's clothes
Frugal - not going home to the States
Frugal - buying a 10 year-old, 150,000 mile 4WD at the local auto bazaar
Frugal - taking matrouchkas (sp?) with the locals instead of taxis -or walking (gasp!)
Frugal - never buying meat
Frugal - not buying all the rugs, paintings and felt things everyone else here spends thousands on
Frugal - We have never had brunch at the Hyatt Hotel (15 bucks/head). I know people who do it every week, plus eat dinner there two or three times during the week.

That's all I can think of. Thanks for this thread, it got my mind off my troubles.
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#4 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 11:43 AM
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I rarely buy big name-brands at the grocery store - almost never, in fact. Store brands are just as good and quite a bit cheaper. I also bring my own cloth bags to the store - I get $.03 off each bag of groceries, but that's not why I do it - I hate plastic, is why!

I go clothes shopping maybe once or twice a year - mostly because I hate shopping for clothes, but also because they're freakin' expensive! I plan to buy most of my stuff second-hand from now on (in 2 weeks I will be a full time student again )

Ditto shoes - I wear them until they wear out completely.

I never go to first-run movies anymore - I go to the rep cinemas and pay $6 or $4 to see movies that ran 6 months ago. Suits me just fine.

I haven't bought a book for almost a year - I big-puffy-heart the public library Ditto CDs - I'm never home, so I hardly ever listen to them anyway.

I cancelled my bus pass subscription ($88 a month

- and that was a savings - w/out the subscription, it's $100!) I bike or walk just about everywhere. I bike at least 10K per day, so I'm in great shape now!

I brownbag my lunch. Not only that, but I wash and re-use the sandwich baggies until they rip (again, more because I hate plastic and hate throwing it out than because of the cost - but you know, I haven't had to buy sandwich bags in over 2 years!). I used to eat out every day, but once I decided to go back to school, that was the end of that!

I bring my own mug to the coffeeshop - $.10 discount Also it's better for the environment.

I gave up my hair stylist. Now I get my hair cut for half the price at the cheapy place at the University.


My apartment. I live alone. This is very expensive, but I need my own space.

My glass collection. I love cobalt blue glass and Depression glass. Every once in awhile, if I see a piece I really like, I will buy it - because I know if I don't, somebody else will snap it up!

Coffee. I love coffee. Especially espresso I love going out for coffee and sitting in cafes writing in my journal or reading.

Beer and wine - I still buy these for home use, which is quite a bit cheaper than going out, but I love to go out for drinks with friends!

Environmentally friendly dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent - it costs a lot more than the regular stuff, but then again, it lasts a lot longer, so maybe it's more of a frugality in the long run

I just shelled out $50 to have my bike repaired by professionals - almost half the price of the bike itself. But again, it's my only mode of transport, so I guess I should invest in proper care for it!
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#5 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 11:51 AM
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Frugal: cloth diapers, wipes, breastfeeding, buying everything if a good deal/on sale, yard sale/goodwill, recycling everything, using earth resources wisely, making own cleaners

Splurge: pretty much everything else, big house with pool, cars, satellite, furniture, travels...(but still all well researched and as frugal as possible)

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#6 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 01:02 PM
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only owning one car ; dh has use of office car for getting to and from work. And our car, although brand new is cheap as you can go (crank windows, no cd player etc.)

we don't eat out often and when we do we don't buy drinks, just drink water.

don't have cable or satelite

cloth diapers


I get my hair cut once a month and get it permed whenever I want to (usually 2 times in the summer)

pool pass for the family

zoo pass/museum pass

good coffee

good ice cream (splurge to dh, necessity to me!)
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#7 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 01:27 PM
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One car from the 80s and one car donated from mil
No cable
No cell phones
Dial up internet access
All clothes purchased at thrift stores or discount stores
Living in less expensive suburbs instead of the city
Brown bag lunches instead of eating out
Reusing all plastic bags over and over and over

Au pair
Travel and vacations
Organic foods and meat without hormones and antibiotics
All natural laundry detergent

This was fun and thought provoking. Can someone please explain to me why things that are good for you and the environment have to cost more?

Mama to two wonderful daughers: 02/03/03 and 10/19/05
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#8 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 05:24 PM
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* Buying used cloth diapers
* Used baby clothes, furniture, etc.
* Shopping at comissary (groceries are much cheaper)
* Buying sweaters, tshirts, jackets, home furnishings from the thrift store
* Buying through co-ops online
* No cell phone
* Making own cloth wipes
* Used books
* Both vegetarians, so we don't buy meat

* Expensive/name brand shoes, jeans, and sweatshirts (I want them to last a long time and not fall apart)
* Some new cloth diapers and wooden baby toys
* Pricey cat food
* Going out for Chinese food
* Movies
* Dh buys 'good' beer
* New DVD player
* SLS free products
* Natural baby products
* Making Dh get his hair cut professionally since I won't do it (I am a bad haircutter)
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#9 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 07:08 PM
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My list would look very similar to those posted. One frugal thing we do is hang our laundry to dry. We have been w/o a dryer for a month now, but I didn't use it much before then, anyway. I get such a warm feeling when I see the clothes on the line. (Or when I do other money saving things, especially when it's something the majority of people don't do, kwim?)

Organic food is a splurge, although I wish it didn't have to feel that way.

We haven't been able to travel since dd was born, but we hope we can afford to down the road. That is high on our list of splurges.

DH can be like wombat's husband & that can be frustrating. Him: "But it was ON SALE! We saved a bundle!" Me: "We'd have saved even more if you hadn't bought it, since we don't really need it anyway." But he's improving.
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#10 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 11:06 PM
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NO washer, dryer
NO dishwasher
NO microwave
Brown Baggin lunches for work
One car
Doing car repairs/maintenance myself
Buying clothes on sale
Buying fresh fruit in season
Buying fresh produce at the farmers' market
Doing most household repairs myself
Planting a vegetable garden
Buying used clothes for myself/dear children
Wearing shoes till they fall off my feet.


Raw milk
Organic produce
Hiring someone to help w/ housework
Planting a flower garden
Sewing a nice outfit for myself
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#11 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 11:09 PM
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I read every word of all the previous posts. This is a great topic!


- All clothes either hand-me-downs or bought used or on sale, (but still quality)
- hang clothes to dry (when it isn't raining or snowing so this year I haven't had much success)
- my $100 car (a white '93 Chrysler 2-door -- SOOOO not my style, but who can turn down a car for $100 that runs well?
- walk or bike instead of taking the car whenever I possibly can
- never take vacations unless paid for by other family members (i.e. my in-laws are renting a house for the whole family on the Jersey Shore this year).
- don't always buy organic and always compare the price per pound or whatever unit of measure of foods in the grocery store. Occasionally the brand name on sale *is* cheaper than the store-name brand.
- almost never buy juice or other drinks -- we drink water
- rarely go out to eat
- only go to our local $3.50 movie theater
- haven't cut my hair in years
- keep the thermostat down low during the winter
- don't own an air conditioner
- do without furniture until I can find exactly what I want used, on a serious sale, or convince my in-laws to buy it for us, :LOL.
- no cable
- $6 a month on dial-up access
- don't go to the gym; try to exercise by using what's available -- swimming, running, biking
- almost no magazine subscriptions


- good cheese, good beer, and decent wine
- organic whenever I can afford it
- occasional binges at the bookstore (I like the library, but I really love bookstores)
- occasional binges at the toystore
- our big old house
- staying home with my children and homeschooling
- memberships and trips to museums, concerts, plays, and other cultural attractions
- rent lots of videos (something necessary for my husband -- seems like a splurge to me)
- occasional stops in local eateries for lunch or treats with my girls
- occasional trips to the local pub in the evening with my dh
- good yarn for knitting sweaters for my family
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#12 of 26 Old 08-14-2003, 11:12 PM
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#13 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 12:21 AM
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Originally posted by Apple
* Making Dh get his hair cut professionally since I won't do it (I am a bad haircutter)
I had to :LOL at this - I actually could relate to almost your whole list, but this struck a special chord because DH *hates* going to a barber to get his hair cut! He sees this as the hugest waste of money (despite the fact that he spends *maybe* $10 on it : ) and the only reason he does it is because I hate cutting his hair, I am so bad at it and he always ends up looking terrible. So this is more of a splurge for me, even though it's his haircut.
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#14 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 12:24 AM
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Exactly! He wants me to do it because it's cheaper, but I am bad at it, I hate getting hair all over me, and it just looks better if he pays to have it done. And it's only $7 for a haircut on base.

So I agree, yes, it is a splurge for me even though it is his hair.
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#15 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 12:56 AM
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cloth diapers
hand me down baby clothes
high quality thrift store clothes for me
no dishwasher
make some of my own body products (lotion, etc)
make my own wipes
utilize library books, dvds, cds, vhs
use WIC coupons for some food
walk to run errands close by
make my own cleaning products
eat mainly veggie

sometimes eat out
my dansko shoes
DH's rented garage space
occasional massage for me
natural body products
organic and health foods
DSL for computer
dry diapers in dryer
herbs and vitamins and essential oils

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#16 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 01:40 AM
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frugal: paying rent, buying groceries (mostly in bulk), paying insurance, filling up the car occasionally, paying off student loans

splurge: spending money on anything other than the above things (i keep two horses, and that's all i spend money on : ) we very, very rarely buy clothes or shoes--maybe twice a year. but we're lucky, we have generous relatives.
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#17 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 12:47 PM
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Buy all "new" clothes from second hand stores, same with all furniture, we drive one car, I stock up on things that are on sale that we use a lot of, use wood to heat the house during the winter (we have a very, very good stove w/ a catalitic), don't replace anything until it is truely worn out, by all used stuff for this next baby including diapers (car seat given to me by a friend so I know it is safe).

Starbucks decaf Carmel Mochiatos (sp?), buying the news paper, buying all organic food, eating out sometimes, going to first run movies opening day and first show (only $3.75!!!), buying books, going out to breakfast with a friend every week, going yard saling every weekend.

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#18 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 02:20 PM
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Frugal: having one 11 year old car, buying a house for the same as we are paying in rent for our apartment instead of maxing out our house payment, cloth diapers, hand me down clothes, buying stuff on $1 day at the thrift store, hitting yard sales in the good neighborhoods, selling/trading stuff on MDC, having frozen food on hand for a quick meal

Splurge: getting my hair cut, $5 manicures at the beauty school (once in 15 months), eating out a couple of times a month, 12 pack of Coca-cola once a week, using disposable diapers on occasion, my Mothering Mag subscription- but I'm not willing to give it up!!

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#19 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 03:37 PM
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Hmmmm.....somethings we do does not seem "frugal" too me because it just is what it is. Like buying 2nd hand clothes for the kids cuz buying something new for $$$$ is a waste no matter how much money I could have. Not having cable is a choice not motivated by $. Then other things I don't consider a splurge because I don't have an alternative. There are certain organic foods I buy that I just wouldn't buy conventinally. Not a splurge but definatly (and unfortunatly) more expensive.

But things we do splurge on:
new car because my dh drives a 'free " car from work and we drive A LOT to schools and friends and work. My old clunker wouldn't make it.

we eat out when we feel like it.

everything that is not of nescesity for the kids is a splurge I do too often. I buy too many toys and too many new boxes of pencils and paints when ours get icky.

I really want to splurge on a front load washer when we move.

We are in a need of a family budget so it seems I splurge on EVERYTHING! But we must be frugal on certain things because we are very very very far away from being rich enough not to be!
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#20 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 03:50 PM
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Groan. I'm not going to even bother listing my frugalities and splurges. I've got a husband similar to Wombat's, and he's "led me astray" (I'll just insist on blaming him here). Every time I come here to mdc and read similar threads about "wants" vs. "needs" I go away with renewed conviction to sell the house in the suburbs and move to the city where we can walk everywhere. Mid town Sacramento has some fantastic family communities with parks, buses, libraries, bakeries, whole food co-ops, good schools, art galleries, fun thrift shops, etc. etc. etc.

And side walks! Nice, safe sidewalks for walking on! You cannot walk anywhere safely out here in the 'burbs because there aren't any sidewalks and you've gotta watch out for the maniacs late for work driving their v8 4wd's.


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#21 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 04:35 PM
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I think overall I am pretty darn frugal...

Frugal me:
-no cable,
-no call-waiting,
-older used cars,
-buy most clothes for all of us 2nd hand (if bought new they are usually from a discount store like Marshalls or Target),
-use cloth diapers,
-buy TP and other supplies at the dollar store,
-buy about 1/2 our food in bulk,
-rent movies on the 2 for a dollar night,
-avoid using our air cond. as much as possible (same w/ heat),
-cut ds's hair,
-avoid taking baths (take showers instead w/ ds),
-use flourescent lightbulbs,
-installed a RO water filter to avoid frequent trips to store for clean water,
-use the clothes line when weather permits,
-eat at home for most all meals,
-don't go shopping unless it is a necessity....

-Aveda haircare products,
-hair cuts at Aveda salon every 2-3 months,
-shop at the co-op & buy mostly organic food,
-high quality vitamins/supplements (but buy them at an outlet store and saveabout 30-50%),
-gym membership at the Y,
-ocassional massage or shiatsu.
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#22 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 05:42 PM
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Our 2 cars are both 20 years old, and dh does all of the work on them.
We never call repairmen--dh fixes everything.
We rarely go out to eat, to the movies, etc.
We eat out of the garden a lot in the summer.
I only buy clothes when they are on sale (and even then I don't buy clothes very often.)
We cut back on little things--like we do not have caller ID.
I'm breastfeeding my son--which is very frugal! We're saving a ton on formula and doctor's visits!

I buy expensive toilet paper and expensive ice cream.
I sometimes buy organic fruits/veggies.
We are sending our dd to private school.
We have internet/cable/cell phones.
I spend too much on books--I'm going to have to start utilizing the library more often!

It's funny that my sister called me frugal--and I am not as frugal as I'd like to be, but she spends lots of money on massages, manicures, etc., which I never do.
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#23 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 06:35 PM
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rarely eating out
rarely buying new clothes
devoting a big chunk of our income to credit card payoff
living on cheaper health insurance (which was a mistake, but it's frugal)
living in a very small house with a very small mortgage payment
having only one, old, car
cooking with old appliances


we have a really nice washing machine and dryer
dh has a record-buying habit
we sometimes buy more expensive brands of juice
we go away for the weekend pretty often
we try to buy nice birthday gifts for people
we're planning on buying a new car (a cheap one, but not the cheapEST)
occasionally we say to hell with it and buy new clothes and go out to eat

Mommy to (age 9) and (age 5)
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#24 of 26 Old 08-15-2003, 08:09 PM
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you know, reading other responses I realize I need to add to both (puts into perspective what I take for granted, good and bad)

live with roomates in big house to share expenses
reuse plastic containers and bags
buy bulk whenever I can
shop at farmers market

big cell phone plans (I justify b/c I get free long distance and free between my phone and dh's)
nice expensive sheets and towels

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#25 of 26 Old 08-16-2003, 03:03 AM
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-cloth diapers and wipes (sewed many of them myself)
-store brand products
-coupons for whatever I can find
-new shoes almost all from Payless
-try to find 2nd hand clothes
-re-use any packing materials/envelopes
-hang dry diapers on a rack overnight when I have time
-split car payments into bi-monthly to shave off interest
-shop for loss leader grocery items and stock up
-use library for books and videos
-shop at rummage sales and garage sales
-buy very little meat
-home improvements/repairs done ourselves (we are learning as we go!!!)
-cheapo slow as molasses dial-up
-no cable, no cell phone
-shopping on the Trading Post!

-hair cut at a nice salon once every 3 months or so
-salon quality shampoo, etc.
-natural baby products
-my new Birks
-DH just joined a Fantasy Football league :
-high quality toys (i.e. Brio) for DS
-going out to the family pizza place once every 2 wks (but still only about $10 for the whole family to eat)
-fancy teas & diet Coke for me, Vruit for DS
-gifts for others (I enjoy buying nice presents, so I guess that could be called a splurge!)
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#26 of 26 Old 08-16-2003, 10:57 AM
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last night the splurge was my secret redezvous with my two favorite guys

i supplied the accessory of choice and let me tell you it got drippy, gooey, sticky

have you met my friends? one is named ben, the other is jerry

the accessory du jour was the last clean spoon we had
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1babysmom , acegmom , agentofchaos , AlaskAnne , alvarezd22 , americanjuly , AmyC , angeebaby , apeydef , AwesomeJessica , bananabee , BarefootBrooke , beep , belltree , blissful_maia , bluefaery , Brandy Cherry , Brebre03 , briansmama , Brittee , bruna , calico_aster , catladymeow , CDeRo , Celestical , Chaika , Chalex , Chanel0716 , chickabiddy , chknlovr , clar5108 , Claudia Chapman , Cricket VS , Crimson8 , Daffodil , Daisy8s , DaughterOfKali , Deborah , Dreaming , DungeonQueen , elliha , Emanresu , EMRguy , EmsMom , ErinMomma , escapehatch , Ewus , forestfoster , Fox-fern , frugalmama , fruitfulmomma , Golden , greenemami , happyhats , hillymum , hophophop , hottmomma , Iron Princess , IsaFrench , JadePlant , japonica , jcdfarmer , JennyT , Jessica765 , joanatron , jojobean , joycef , justmama , katelove , laneysprout , Letitia , lightheartedmom , LiLStar , LilyTiger , LuaBelle , Mallow , mama24-7 , mamabear0314 , MamaChick , mamadance84 , mamamargo , MamaMayme , Mamja , mariamadly , Marumi , mearph , Milk8shake , minerva23 , Mirzam , missmason , MissMuffet , MN BabyDust , moominmamma , MountainMamaGC , MPsSweetie , MrsHanger , muddie , MulberryMom , Mylie , MylittleTiger , NaturallyKait , Nemi27 , Nicole Graves , oldsmom , orangemomma , organicpapayamama , pers , pokeyac , prosciencemum , quantumleap , rainydaywoman , RollerCoasterMama , rubelin , Ruthiegirl , samaxtics , sandiegongp , SandiMae , sarafl , shantimama , Shmootzi , sidrajedi , siennaflower , sillysapling , smilingprego , sofreshsoclean , sortacrispy , SparklePony , Springshowers , StepGirlfriend , t2009 , TealCandy , Teles , Tettie , thtr4me , TourmalineMama , triana1326 , TrishWSU , typebug , Wild Lupine , Wild Rose , worthy , zebra15 , Zirconia , zzzzzzane
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.