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By the author of the online course Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture
These days, I am trying to out-thrift and out-Frugalite even myself! In order to keep my budget on track, I continue to make sacrifices, both large and small. In this article, I’ll be sharing some more of those things, both big and little, that I currently choose to live without to save money overall and/or reduce my monthly spending.
In-home laundry isn’t a necessity for me.
Yes, I know this is a big one for many folks. It is just soooo convenient to be able to throw that load of laundry in whenever you want (and not have to leave the house!). When I built the eco-cabin, I had to carefully choose the capacity of my septic system, which is highly regulated in our township. As well, the cabin is small. There isn’t a lot of space for even an apartment-sized stacked washer/dryer set. When I built extra septic capacity, it was for the future. I have built a septic large enough to accommodate a small second cabin on the lot. This could be a huge help for me as I age in place: the unit could be rented to a helper or a relative in need.
So, although I have grand long-term plans for my septic system and lot, in the immediate future, I still have no washer and dryer. How do I deal with this? The first choice is simple: I just wash things less often. I am careful with my clothing. I spot-clean it. As an off-grid enthusiast, I own several clothes-washing options that require no electricity: a foot-operated washer/spinner, an old-fashioned washing tub and scrubbing board, and a large mop bucket and wringer.
So, the clothes I do wash, I can wash at home with varying levels of effort, depending on the contraption I choose. When it comes to drying, my drying rack works great. Especially in the winter, clothing will almost dry overnight in front of my small but cozy wood stove.
But what about those items that are hard to do by hand with a wringer? I have an aunt that I trade favors with. She is delighted to do a load of laundry for me once in a while. In return, I pick up groceries that she needs or drop off items for her at our local thrift shop. As well, around every three months or so, I go to a nearby town with a coin laundry run by some friends of mine. As money is tight, I only wash a load or two and then take it home to dry on my rack. By doing all of these things, I am able to meet my laundry needs without spending on a washer/dryer and without reducing the septic capacity available for my future build.
I can live without television and cable.
Everyone I know has both a television and some version of cable. In the rural area where I live, it is often satellite TV. According to my friends and family, the cost of these items has been going up in recent years, and the number of channels available has been shrinking. I have been unaffected by these increases. Why is that, you might ask?
I have never owned a television.
Nope, not even one. Not since I left home at 18. Yes, I have watched television. I have fond memories of the Saturday cartoons of my childhood. I am an avid Star Trek fan.
When I read the flyers and see the prices for the new Smart TVs, I simply will not spend on that. It is not that I don’t enjoy a good movie. For a while, I had a Prime subscription and watched movies through that. I do watch some Netflix, which my cousin shares with me at no cost. As well, I am very much enjoying watching the Irish Gaelic television station, TG4, which has an incredible range of shows available for free. As I’m just beginning to learn my native language, I turn on the English subtitles when I watch. So, my monthly entertainment expenditure is…..yup! You guessed it!: $0. And my overall expenditure on movie/TV-specific equipment is a grand total of $0.
A subscription to online ballet school is nice, but I don’t need it.
All this inflation recently “encouraged” me to review my monthly spending. Was there anything that wasn’t an absolute MUST? Could I cut anything? Well, the axe ended up falling on my subscription to an online ballet school. I truly enjoy doing ballet at home and even recently invested in creating a home dance studio. Why then would I cut my lessons? Well, I have to admit I hadn’t used them for several months. As I want to keep dancing, I now only use lessons that are available for free online. I’m doing fine…for free! In addition, I always take time every day to cultivate joy in other small, but significant, ways.
Smartphones. I can live without them, and so can you.
Sometimes, it truly seems like I am the only person on the planet without a smartphone. The technology is so common, and it does have its uses, so not having a smartphone can be inconvenient. When I go to a more distant city to meet friends, I need to write my directions out on a piece of paper. I haven’t been able to buy a paper map at the local gas stations. I guess they’re out of vogue. If I need to look something up when I’m not home…I’m out of luck.
Despite these inconveniences, I appreciate the savings that living with a flip phone comes with. These days, I’m saving around $45 per month compared to my old plan, which was years ago.
A new tea bag for every cuppa
This is my most recent initiative. While I grow as many medicinal herbs and flowers as possible on my homestead and wildcraft a number of others, it’s not yet enough to meet my winter tea habit. So, I buy a number of organic herbal tea blends.
As inflation hit, the prices of these kept going up, and the boxes have been getting smaller. What’s a Frugalite to do? Yep, I now make TWO cups out of every tea bag, thereby cutting the price of my tea in HALF. I did a scientific experiment where I made three cups of tea with one tea bag, and the third one just totally sucked, so two cups it is! While this may seem like a small thing, it will mean that I will not have to buy any more teas for a number of months. Then, spring will come, and I can start making fresh nettle tea again.
Yes, I can live without that to save.
We’re all different in terms of what we can and cannot live without. Could you see yourself trying to do without any of these things? Do you have an easy “sacrifice” which saves you big that you can share with us? Where do you draw your dollar sign in the sand? 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!