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By the author of the FREE online course Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture
Yes, my fellow Frugalites, I am no longer what one might call “young.” In fact, I celebrated my 54th birthday this year. To be honest, I don’t mind growing old in this youth-obsessed society. I would not trade the wisdom I have gained for anything! That’s right, not even for knocking a few years off my grand total.
However, I am noticing more challenges in my life, even though I am really still pretty young. A serious health challenge this year got me thinking about how I will deal with homestead chores in the years to come. I thought I would share a few of my big and small challenges related to aging and how I’m dealing with them in ways that save me cash!
Frugal Moisturizer and Lip Balm in One!
One way that I can tell that I live in a youth-obsessed society, is that there are a lot of products available to try and stop aging. A LOT! And a lot of medical procedures designed to stop aging, or make me look younger. I believe it is worthwhile to seriously question this. Not just because it would save you money, but because a lot of the advertising for these products is designed to make people who are undergoing the very natural process of aging feel bad about themselves.
Once a person accepts that, yup! I’m going to have wrinkles and nope! I’m not going to botox them, things get really thrifty. I don’t need any fancy skin creams with scientific ingredients designed to burn off a layer of my skin. I use just one moisturizer, and sparingly at that!
I use natural shea butter, which I buy in a decidedly UNglamorous plastic tub from a discount home store that has a high-end toiletries section. I will be honest and share that I’ve had oily skin most of my life, so my skin isn’t too dry yet. Once in a while (maybe once every couple of weeks), I’ll put some of this around my eyes before I go to bed at night. I keep a smaller container of the shea butter on my bathroom counter.
I also use it for lip balm! One time, I was short on my homemade lip balm (almond oil, beeswax etc.) and I used the shea butter in a pinch. When I realized how good it worked, and that it would knock one job off my homestead list, I was sold! One tub lasts me well over a year and costs less than $20. Oil of Olay eat your heart out!
Yes, my hair is going grey. When I see photos of myself, sometimes, I feel that it doesn’t really look like me. Thankfully, I always had thick hair, so I still have lots of hair. For the guys in my family, not so much.
Because I’m an herbalist and believe in going as chemical-free as possible, I will not dye my hair. I think it’s important to admit that, even me! I have been tempted a time or two. My grey hair is such an obvious and undeniable sign of aging. It isn’t celebrated in our society. Just take a walk down the hair dye aisle at your local drugstore and you’ll see what I mean.
So, because I have thick, curly hair that doesn’t really need washing, I have been using the same bottle of hair care products for around 10 years. (Yes, they are still good!). I wash my hair very infrequently, which is better for dry curly hair. Liquid castile soap also works, especially with an apple cider vinegar rinse! I get my hair cut twice a year by a stylist who is a friend of my cousin. He gives me the “family” rate of less than $20 for my cut. So, my annual hair care budget is literally less than $40. (I tip him with homemade jam or other home-canned goods.)
Herbal Health Care for the Aging Body
I currently take no prescription medicines. I make my own herbal medicines from the plants on my Half-Acre Homestead. When I faced a serious health challenge this year, I needed a tincture of a plant that didn’t grow on my land. I didn’t hesitate to order it and several others to support my healing.
I eat a very clean diet, with very little processed food. At this time, my food is my medicine, and my joints are doing well. Overall, my health is quite good. I will continue to observe what my body might need and add any tinctures or teas that might help. Oh, yes! I almost forgot! My memory isn’t what it used to be. I think I might need a little Gingko Biloba. Thankfully, I have a cousin who has a Gingko tree that I can collect some leaves from.
Clothes that Flatter the Aging Figure
Once I went through menopause, that was it…all calories now attempt to deposit themselves on my waist. I don’t think that there’s too much that I can do about this! I eat sweets sparingly.
Not too long ago, I gave up my favorite thrift store find of all time. These days, I live out in the country. Right now, I’m wearing baggy jeans overalls with a blue plaid shirt. I love the practicality and comfort of dressing in the country. If I need to dress up a bit, I have some beautiful items I’ve been collecting slowly at the local church-run thrift shop. There, a dress might cost me $3. A shirt? $2. I only buy and keep items that I actually wear. Given the low stakes of my investment, if an item doesn’t work out, I’m happy to bring it back to them and re-donate it. My favorite find this past year? A full-length pure silk pink and black tank dress fully lined with silk. The cost? A mind-blowing $3.70!
Frugal Help When Needed
When I faced my health challenges this year, it was like a dry run for my future. I couldn’t plant the same garden I wanted to. Many homestead tasks were impossible and had to be delayed. It was frustrating as heck and I didn’t like it!
In retrospect, this was a helpful experience. Why? Because I realized I needed to build a relationship with some locals who could help me out when I needed it. So, I’ve reached out to a local handyman who does odd jobs. I’ll see how he does on a few low-stakes jobs and assess his skill and compatibility with my style. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll try another one. I’ve realized that it’s better to start now to build my support network. I’ll also look into help for snow removal and lawn mowing so I get a sense of what I would need to budget. Do I wish I could continue to be a homestead superwoman forever, hauling and shoveling thousands of pounds of gravel per day, just like the good old days? HECK YA!
However, reality (my aging body) has spoken. I think it’s much better to get prepared than to be an ostrich and stick my head in the sand. Sure, I still trade favors with my friends, but many of them are much older than I am.
I have an older aunt who has been a great inspiration to me. She has continued to live independently in her own home well into her eighties, even though she has limited mobility. Her supports? A young neighbor’s son, a good friend nearby, her housekeeper, and myself. By building this great network for herself, she has done very well and hasn’t had to spend a ton of money, either.
The Golden Years of Frugaldom
Yes, there are challenges related to aging, but it doesn’t have to cost you. Could you see yourself trying any of the thrifty tips offered here? Do you have one you can share with us? What are some things that ended up costing money as you got older? Please tell us in the comments below.
Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. Her website, Half Acre Homestead is attracting followers from around the world who want to become more self-sufficient. Colette invites you to stop by the Homestead and check out all of the great resources including the practical How To Guides, A Tiny Home Resource Center and her organic gardening stories on her blog. She shares her wholistic model (body/mind/spirit) for achieving self-sufficiency in her Free Course, “Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture.” Stop by the Homestead today to register free of charge!