two people saving for challenge

Take the Frugalite Skills Challenge: Frug Up for the Future

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By the author of the FREE online course Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture


In my own frugal life, I can see that I have certain skills that help keep me on the straight and narrow of frugaldom. Many of these don’t come naturally to me, and that got me thinking…What if I shared some of these skills with my fellow Frugalites and then offered a challenge that they could try in areas where they thought they had room to grow? 

So, here, my fellow Frugalites, is your opportunity to take the Frugalite Skills Challenge! Think of it as the thrifty Olympics.

Skill #1: Doing Without

This is what I consider to be my most important Frugalite skill. How did I develop it? Many years of tight budgets and difficult choices have given me the ability to see that I can do without basically everything. 

One small example: When grocery prices skyrocketed, I immediately saw that I would need to simplify my grocery buys. I would have to cut some things that I really really loved. One example is cheese. I love all the different kinds of cheese! I used to enjoy cheese and crackers as a snack every day I decided that I would no longer buy cheese. Can I actually afford some cheese? Yes, probably. Do I choose to not buy it so that I can pay all my other bills? Yes. Do I make my own cheese that is actually quite good? Yes. Problem solved. 

The Doing Without Challenge:

Pick one item that you often find yourself saying, “I could never give up [blank]. Give it up for a week. Just try it. You’ll survive! You might surprise yourself. 

Why bother? Come the apocalypse, there’s going to be a lot of things everyone has to give up. Establishing that you have the strength to quit something you enjoy cold turkey might come in handy one day. And yes, it could save you some money, too.

Skill #2: Strategic Purchasing

Strategic purchasing is really a few skills combined. First, you need to have a decent pantry built up so that you can buy only when the price is right. If you want all of the truly in-depth wisdom from Daisy, here is a link to an entire course on building a pantry on a budget.

Second, you need to know your local market well and have worked out any kinks in your comparison shopping so that you know your “buy now” benchmark. Third, by reading your flyers and checking any coupon resources you use regularly, you have a better chance of finding that great deal. Don’t forget about word of mouth, either. Tell your fellow Frugalites what you need or ask them to let you know when they find a particularly good bargain.

The Strategic Purchasing Challenge:

Get out an actual piece of paper or a fresh screen. Review three non-perishable items that you regularly use. How much stock do you have for each item? How long will this last you (and your family) using it how you usually do? Is the item easily comparable across brands? If not, sit down and do some basic comparison math. What’s your “buy now” price, meaning for each item, when is it worth it to even take some money out of your emergency fund to buy? If you’re like me, you might want to write this down and keep it somewhere.  

For an example of how to compare across brands, see my recent article on Toilet Paper Economics.

Skill #3: Your Frugalite Network

In this case, the skill is not so much having the network, but thoughtfully maintaining it. While I am calling them your Frugalite network, they are really your friends and family. With the economy the way it is these days, I believe that we all need to help each other more than ever.

I don’t own a truck, I own a frugally purchased subcompact car. I have one friend who has a truck. We do countless favours back and forth. His favors for me often include using his truck for a dump run or to move something. My favours for him include sharing my vegetable harvest and cooking with him, and giving him lots and lots of leftover building supplies from my eco-cabin build. He used a bunch of these to build a dog house for his son’s huge dog. 

Another member of my Frugalite network is an aunt of mine. She has allowed me to store some of my extra stuff in her home for a number of years. It’s not a lot of stuff, but I prefer to keep it out of the eco-cabin while the interior is still under construction. For her, I bring a generous bunch of groceries by whenever I visit.  

The Frugalite Network Challenge:

Think of three members of your own Frugalite network. Get out that old-fashioned piece of paper or your blank screen. Scratch your noggin and try to think back over the past, say, six months. What help have they done for you? What favors have you done for them? Take a close look at the list.

If this doesn’t appear equal to you, are there any other factors to take into consideration, like a big favor in the past? Is there anything you need to do to make sure you are being generous to your network? Are you aware of any challenges these folks or their families are facing at the moment? Is there something you could do to help?  

You Have Your Mission…

Frugality doesn’t fall from the sky: A true Frugalite is created through attention and effort. Could you see yourself trying any of the Frugalite challenges offered here? Do you have a frugal challenge you can share with us? Do you have any regular frugal tips for us? challenges? Please tell us in the comments.

About Colette

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!

Picture of Colette


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!

13 thoughts on “Take the Frugalite Skills Challenge: Frug Up for the Future”

  1. I would like to point out that growing some of your own food is an important impact also. Even if it is one or two veggies/fruit that helps you save on groceries & teaches you a valuable skill that has numerous Positive effects. Even if you grow vegetables/fruits in pots/hanger baskets/raised garden beds/in the ground it is possible to grow food in a small space. Learning how to use seeds or current veggies you already have (as seeds/sprouts) makes the cost/process not exspensive.
    Then learning to can/freeze/dry/dehydrate makes your food crop last longer.
    I grow potatoes, mint & strawberries. I had fruit trees (in past at old house). You can grow in ground/pots/raised beds/hanger planters.
    I also buy canned veggies when on sale (used to be 4/$1 now 3/$1) & canned/jarred fruit (2/$1-$1 each). Fresh fruit when on sale & make homemade/canned and pie/cobbler filling.
    I used to know the cost per unit that was my purchase price but now the costs have significantly changed & I monitor sales to get as close to that price as possible. Some times I only purchase _____ (example–veggies) because _____ (example—fruit) doesn’t go on sale & I try very hard to only purchase what need/want on sale unless purchase is necessary NOW, that is not only for food.
    My downfall for frugal things is that I purposely look for higher quality items (My 31/Vera Bradley/Pampered Chef) new/used at (much) cheaper prices & purchase (sometimes for future gifts/use). I have learned that the cheapest price is not always the best option when you have to keep replacing item that use regularly or will have long term. While others may disagree with my thoughts on this, this is what works for myself.
    As far as network of other frugality family/friends I share price/sale information & help (physically) if I am able to but have learned few things—
    some people only take & are not capable of giving (but expect you to always give) and people spend their money on what they deem important (to them), so no matter how good price is or value or if needed they ultimately purchase what they want. Sometimes I understand that while other times I just scratch my head, but have learned to not say anything.
    I’m sure some people say something similar about my purchases also. But we each have to make own decisions about our choices. Hopefully learn something along the way.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with others.

    1. Hi Regina, Thank you for this wonderful comment, in which you have also shared your substantial wisdom with the Frugalite community. We think alike on so many things (buying quality, growing some of your own food, human nature!). Wishing you the best on your own Frugalite journey.

  2. While knowing how to economically shop for the best kitchen and home economics deals has great value, a frugalite’s mindset can benefit enormously in some other avenues. One of those is in choosing and acquiring new skills, some with lifelong benefits even though some may become obsolete typically for technological reasons. Each person has their own circumstances to condition such skill acquisition choices so the process needs to begin with a search. Even though the last time I looked … there were well over some 400 search engines. But for our purposes (to avoid any high tech censorship) some of my favorites include these three:

    Then I ran this search phrase:

    online tutorial website free courses

    This is just one of the more interesting results. (There were many more.)

    25+ Best Free Online Education Sites (2023 List),
    By Amanda Henderson, Updated Aug 1, 2023

    After getting past the shock and awe of the many results of that search, run the same search again WITHOUT the word “free” in it. and then compare.

    A few days ago Daisy posted an article about 99 ideas for remote self-employment. That’s an excellent beginning but you can expand on that with hundreds, if not thousands, of possibilities of new (or just enhanced) skills you’d believe are personally worthwhile to acquire once you decide which one’s could be relevant for you and that you can decide which ones you are personally motivated to fit into your available time budget. Budgeting your own available time is every bit as relevant as choosing the best price and quality on a sack of potatoes.

    One of my favorite examples of a money earning skill to acquire is that of learning how to create and use an option which when negotiated with a property owner for a small fee gives you the right but not the obligation to buy that property. The key to this is that option can be sold to whoever is willing and able to pay you a substantial markup for that option’s right. Does that sound like a money generating skill that someday might overshadow how much you benefitted from the best deal on that sack of potatoes?

    In contrast some other skills do get technologically obsoleted. I once sold encyclopedias door to door one summer during my college years. That market died. Even Britannica which had been in print since 1768 announced in 2012 it would be going digital only and would never again print paper editions. So there is some benefit in considering whether and when technology or marketplace competition might someday obsolete whatever skill you are evaluating for yourself.

    Happy wise, profitable, and long benefiting skill acquisition for you.


    1. Hi Lewis, As always, you find a way to add a valuable dimension to the discussion. Yes, skills are valuable and you are right to point out the seemingly endless ways that we can acquire them (often for free!) through the internet. It seems that the number of hours in the day is the only limit now, not the sky! I found your comment to be an inspiring reminder of the value of creativity and a willingness to learn. Much appreciated!

  3. I have made a game out of building/doing things with out spending any (or very little) cash. Many time it takes a while to find, barter or trade for what I need but it has been really worth it. Recently I built a all metal building for my (45) chickens. It includes rainwater collection, metal rafters (salvaged), metal roofing and siding (scrounged), 5′ wire fencing for the scratch yard (scrounged), window and door (bought at salvage yard) and electric lights and outlets (yard sale). I think the total cost was about $150. including cement for anti-burrowing footers. I may have been able to reduce those costs by waiting to find the remaining materials. It probably took a year to gather the materials. My neighbor and I built it in about a week working about 4 hours a day before the heat got unbearable. My only problem has been finding ways to reciprocate the labor with my neighbor.

    1. Hi Barry, Woo hoo! Thanks for sharing your fantastic story about your all metal chicken shed. It incorporates many Frugalite principles that I live by. When you build, built it to LAST!!! Like you, I am a patient sort, and don’t mind waiting for the right price or the free item to come along. Kudos to you, as this is the most frugal shed/chicken house story I have ever heard. Just as I discussed in the article, it’s important to reciprocate with people on our Frugalite team. I hope you figure out a way to do that with him. I find that something often comes up in life! Wishing you the best. I’m sure your chickens are enjoying their thrifty and safe coop!

  4. Subskill that goes along with doing without: Play the “what can I fix/spruce up instead of replacing?” game.

    Example one: We have an ugly stove. It’s old. It’s extremely hard to clean. It’s slow to respond. But it’s a Kenmore and as such, parts are easy to find. It also doesn’t have a ton of electronics. Imagine my happiness when I found that a full set of burner elements and drip pans were around $50! That plus a can of appliance paint and that would give me a “new” stove. I’ve already replaced the oven element, hence the idea.

    Example two: We have a gas grill. This has served a few years now. I assembled it because it was a ton cheaper to have it shipped in parts. It was like a great big model kit only I got a grill at the end instead of another knick-knack. Anyway I keep hearing “gas grills need to be replaced every few years.” Mine started leaking. After much procrastination, I finally went over the system – much easier since I’d put it together in the first place – and found that all it needed was a new regulator hose. Price to fix? $20. That was only because I decided to get a new regulator along with the hose, so I had one less thing to assemble. Soon I’ll have a “new” grill because this hose is the only part that’s worn!

    My point is this can be a skill but also kind of a fun game.

    1. Hi Redbranch, What a wonderful addition to the article. I believe that many could learn from the last line of your post, especially. Attitude to challenges in life can, indeed, create fun (in your case) or extreme distress (if every challenge is viewed as an insurmountable affront). Good for you! You’ve also provided two examples that I found quite inspiring. You are handy, with a positive “can-do” attitude. Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring all of us! Wishing you the best!

  5. I have observed over the years that grocery stores have sales on canned soups in August and early September. As a result I buy what I think I will want of varieties that I don’t make from scratch. At times I have saved as much as 50% of the cost when cold weather arrives. Some other canned foods also have seasonal sales. By watching and noting sale times a person can save money as well as building a stockpile for times when money is even tighter.

    1. Hi Mary, Having good observational skills and a good memory are clearing adding to your Frugalite savings! Thanks for sharing these valuable tips with the community. While I love making things from scratch, there are many reasons why I keep a pantry of canned quick and easy foods available at all times: illness, heavy workload, looming deadlines are just a few, and having a pantry reading for times when money is tight is always a priority for me. Much appreciated!

  6. I have hard surface floors that don’t seem very clean after sweeping. A vacuum is cumbersome. I bought a Swiffer and found it worked well but he price of the pads was ridiculous. Someone had given me a package of washable microfiber dust cloths. I tried fitting one on the Swiffer—no problem. Using it got the floor very clean and it was easy to wash it afterward. That has been how I dust the floors ever since. A quick mop can be done using a worn washcloth on the Swiffer.

    1. Hi Mary, This is brilliant! I love how you problem-solved here and used your Thrifty Thinking Cap! In addition to being thrifty, your solution is also better for the planet, with the worn washcloth being usable many times. Good for you!

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