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These days, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that many folks are facing unprecedented financial hardship. More difficult times may be ahead: interest rates are on the rise. This could have devastating consequences for people with debt.
When times get tough, it is easy to look at what you have and cut cut cut. Very often, enjoyable things get cut: an evening out at the movies, eating out, luxury items like chocolates or baked goods. We are all navigating these same waters, trying to get through each month.
This article is intended to provide encouragement for all Frugalite readers. There are ways to be frugal and keep some enjoyable activities and foods in your life.
Why is this so important? The answer is as simple as our brain. We now know more about our brain and its ability to change and develop: researchers have called this “neuroplasticity.” You may have been told when you were learning to drive that the car will go “where you look.” Your brain is similar. If you only focus on self-deprivation, pain, loss, and what you don’t have…quite simply, that is the direction that your brain will develop.
Renowned spine surgeon Dr. David Hanscom emphasizes that the path to contentment and healing requires us to actively focus daily on creating an enjoyable life. So, in this spirit, I will share small frugal ways we can keep enjoyment in our lives during these difficult times.
Small amounts of high-quality items
I love quality baked goods. I am now in a rural area, but when I lived in a nearby city, I loved to go to a local bakery and buy a “Pain au Chocolat,” or French croissant with chocolate. They were delicious! I can still remember eating them and enjoying them by the lakeside. However, my doctor has told me that I should not be eating a lot of baked goods.
In addition, eating out is now something beyond my current budget. How do I continue to enjoy some special treats under these conditions? I have gone smaller. In a local discount grocery store, I found small bags of “healthy” fruits dipped in 70% cocoa for just under $5. While these are not organic at this price, they are GMO-free, which is nice.
This $5 bag of delectable chocolate-coated cherries contains enough for an entire month if I just have two a day. I did this today with my single cup of coffee. I stopped everything and just drank my coffee, and stared at the beautiful view outside my window. With my full attention, I ate these two chocolate-covered cherries. They were incredible! I am already looking forward to my cherries tomorrow morning. There are also chocolate-covered blueberries for the same price. That will be next month. The cost: approximately 17 cents per day. I can do that. It’s worth it.
Enjoy some comfort food.
For some of us, comfort foods are the foods we enjoyed in our childhood. It may be a dish that we remember our grandmother or mother making. For others, it may be a food that we learned to cook for ourselves or that our spouse or partner makes. One of my favorite comfort foods is scalloped potatoes. I have so many memories of enjoying these made by my grandmother or aunties. This is not an expensive food to make. It just takes some planning and time.
Another example from my own life is pancakes. I like them. I have nice associations with eating them on relaxing weekend mornings. They are not expensive to make (flour, milk, an egg, baking powder, baking soda) but take a bit of time. Is there an inexpensive comfort food that you could make for yourself this week? What would you need to do to get this organized? If you can’t afford all of the recipe items yourself, could you get together with a friend and make it?
Sometimes a real treat doesn’t have to cost anything. It can take some time to take good care of yourself. Times are busy and stressful. Especially when I am stressed, I know that taking a hot bath will help me.
I like to put Epsom salts in my bath. But, I can’t always afford them. So, I use what I have on hand. I do have some essential oils. Just a few drops of a relaxing blend or some lavender oil can make it even more special. Summer is coming…maybe your feet could use some pampering…a soak in a bucket of hot water…a pumice stone. You’ll look great in those sandals now! Sometimes just spending some time on ourselves is a nice way to treat ourselves.
Connect with like-minded people
I have a wonderful friend who is a horticulturist. His knowledge about plants and gardening is simply incredible. He has been kindly answering my gardening questions for years. Today, I simply took a few minutes to call him and reconnect. I updated him on the germination of my corn plants…the first time I had successfully planted corn kernels collected from my own harvest.
We celebrated together, and he answered a couple of questions that had come up for me about my seedlings and how to plan my bean crops. I find it is so easy to just shut down when I am stressed: I’m too tired! This phone call was like a breath of fresh air for me. What a treat!
Try something different.
This month, I happened upon a free trial of a movie streaming service. I haven’t been watching very many movies lately. There was a movie mentioned in an article on the Organic Prepper website: Elysium. I decided to sign up for this free trial so that I could watch it. It was really interesting!
So far, I have also watched some cool apocalyptic sci-fi, a documentary about a huge retirement complex in Florida, and a rom-com. All for free! This is a treat, as it is something different. Of course, I have already put it on my calendar to cancel the free trial before I have to pay. There’s always the library, after all!
Treats: You are worth it, dear Frugalite!
During challenging financial times, it is still important to enjoy some treats. Could you see yourself trying any of the thrifty treats offered here? Do you have one you can share with us? 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. She has just launched her website, Half Acre Homestead. Colette invites you to stop by and visit this work in progress! Coming soon in 2022 is her exciting new online program. Interested in Resiliency, Preventative Health, and Self-Sufficient/Off-Grid Housing (to name a few!)? Stay tuned for more details!