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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.
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!