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By the author of the online course Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture
Oops! Ya, it isn’t always easy being a Frugalite. And being perfectly thrifty doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. As I found out in the past year, even a seasoned money-saver like myself has a few areas to improve on. Here are a few Frugalite lessons I learned the hard way. I share them in the hope that you can benefit from my mistakes (umm, I mean learning experiences)!
Buying Before Doing
I love thinking about new ways to share information with people interested in self-sufficiency. I have my website, my free course, my blog, and much more. I started hearing that podcasts were the new “thing” and that a podcast would reach a lot of folks and be helpful to them. So, what did I do? All excited, I took a small intro course, did some research, and bought all the equipment required to launch the podcast. (Not top-of-the-line stuff, though, because I am a Frugalite, after all! I bought “middle of the road” quality, which is what I usually do in most things.)
Have I started my podcast? Umm….nope. Would this normally be an issue? No, the money I spent on the microphone, special headphones, special audio cables, and professional ring light (in case I need video), would not normally be an issue. However, we are in a time of historic inflation, and I probably could have used that money to buy something else….like a dozen eggs…..or a piece of cheese.
Will I EVER have a podcast? Yes, probably, someday!
Lesson Learned: I got an insight into my personality, which is highly enthusiastic. And, I like to do things right. This means that I can be overly focused on equipment out of the gate, rather than on just starting it. So, in the future, when I feel that enthusiasm rising, and I reach for my credit card, I will take a deep breath and STOP. I will start with what I have, even if it isn’t “perfect” and upgrade the equipment as I am able or, even better, once the initiative has shown some promise.
Paying When NOT Using
I had been enjoying my online ballet subscription, and it was really quite a thrifty deal at only $20 per month for unlimited usage. However, a tragic loss in our family last year left me sad and without the energy for exercise for several months. I often thought about doing the ballet classes but was having trouble keeping up with my gardening, in addition to my heavy work on the farm.
Because the fee was relatively small, and I really liked the instructor, I let this charge ride on my account month after month. The rubber really hit the road when I got the email that the monthly charge was going to increase or else I had to pay for the year upfront. I simply couldn’t do it, and I couldn’t rationalize paying an increased fee when I had only used it once in the past six months.
Lesson Learned: I had no commitment to pay long-term. In retrospect, I wish I had canceled when I had not used it for a month….that will be my new practice. I could have saved some money that would have really come in handy this year!
“If I Don’t Like It, I Can Sell It Later”
OK, I’m going to be clear upfront: I don’t do this all the time! My Frugalite pride is on the line here. However, I think that I can be most helpful to others when I am totally honest with myself. Truth be told, this is a story that I have told myself a few times in the past few years. Here’s why I have stopped doing this. The first reason is that I have found out through trying to SELL some of these items that my ideas of what is valuable are quite different than the larger market.
A good example of this is the two handmade solid red oak matching corner shelving units made by a local furniture maker that I bought from my cousin’s daughter-in-law. The artistry on these pieces was exceptional, with wide thick solid oak boards, and invisible joinery on the shelves. Beautiful! However, after numerous attempts to sell them online at what I thought was a reasonable to low price, I contacted a local antique dealer. She said they couldn’t buy them from me for any decent price and make any money themselves. The market was simply not there for these solid wood pieces. She gave an example of a solid mahogany table in their shop that they could not sell for less than $120. I was completely shocked.
So, while I had bought these items thinking I could easily resell them if they didn’t suit the eco-cabin, I was wrong. While I can’t really understand it, I guess many people prefer modern plastic-coated chipboard furniture that is more disposable in nature. That was around 6 months ago. I think with inflation and the financial hardships that folks are facing, the market on “extras” like nice furniture is severely reduced.
Lesson Learned: Especially in dire financial times like this if I need to count on reselling something, that alone should give me pause. I can probably live without it! On the local resale pages, even brand-new items rarely sell for more than half of the retail price. People who price them above that are sometimes scolded in the comments. I will not consider any resale a “sure bet” in the future.
A Frugalite Never Forgets
Yes, I am willing to admit that I have learned some thrifty lessons the hard way.
Did you find the lessons learned helpful? Have you ever made any of the same ones? Do you have your own Frugalite lesson learned the hard way that 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. 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!