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By the author of the FREE online course Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture
With all of the economic forecasts not exactly looking rosy and the state of the world being somewhat of a concern, I believe that being a dedicated Frugalite is more important than ever. I evaluate my monthly financial plan at least twice a month and will be doing my share of belt-tightening in the new year.
However, I do believe that it is possible to be incredibly thrifty and, at the same time, literally feel like a millionaire. I believe I am a great example of this. How do I accomplish this? I do two things: I cultivate my feelings of gratitude for what I do have each and every day. I also keep an eye out to purchase thrifty luxury items that offer me comfort, pleasure, and the feeling of great wealth. And all of this costs me literally next to nothing!
This article will focus on this second habit: the thrifty luxury items that pamper me and lift my spirits.
Car Seat Warmer
Our Canadian winters can get pretty cold here; it’s not unusual to have some cold snaps below minus 20 Fahrenheit that last a week or more. When my new (used) car didn’t have a seat warmer, I knew this little luxury would make driving to work on the back country roads so much more comfortable.
However, I wasn’t prepared to pay the regular price of around $75, including tax. So, I did what I usually do: I bided my time and watched the local flyers for a sale. It took a little while: it was a few weeks this fall before my wonderful seat warmer turned up on the front page of the sales flyer: for 70% off! The fact that it was a store brand rather than a famous national brand also helped the price. That was definitely worth the drive into town!
My wonderful seat warmer plugs into the 12V plug on my front console. The very fact that it is padded means that it insulates from the cold of my pleather seat covers, so it is already warmer when I first get in. It has a low and high setting. (I generally prefer high!) The auto shut-off also prevents overheating. Truly, my drives are much cozier due to my purchase of this small item, which only cost me around $20, due to my thrifty patience. Here’s one online for about $40 if you aren’t able to find a better price locally.
Handmade Pottery Coffee Mug
Given that I live on a tight budget, you might be surprised to hear that I own a handmade coffee mug that retails for almost $45. “What!?!” you might say, “That’s not very frugal of you, Colette!”
First of all, let me tell you about this mug! It is hand-turned clay with a stunning multicolor glaze that shifts from beige with dark spots on the bottom to a beautiful medium blue at the top. It is a generous size, with a comfortable handle with a glaze that mirrors the mug body. The mug came with a matching lid stamped with a dragonfly detail on the inside top. I use this several times a day to cover the mug as I brew my usual collection of herbal and medicinal teas.
This mug was produced by a local pottery artist. Given that I normally buy items such as this at thrift shops, it is quite unusual for me to own a new one. Did I buy it with cash? Heck no! I bartered for it!
When the newly-opened cafe in my area looked like they could use some shelving that would suit their vaulted ceilings, I mentioned that I just happened to have not one, but TWO handmade red oak corner shelving units that I was willing to barter for. I had already assessed their market value. My research included speaking with a local antique dealer who confided that the difficult financial times had severely impacted the retail value of pieces like these.
The cafe owner was interested. The negotiating began. I was interested in a mug. No, no, I didn’t need any cash….How about a tab in the cafe to round out the deal? We agreed on a reasonable amount that equaled what I would have asked for these in cash. We were both delighted. I got to eat treats at their fabulous cafe for months that I would otherwise not have bought. They got two red oak shelving units that were blocking my view of the trees. Interested in learning more about creative bartering? Check out this article.
Top of the Line Custom Coffee Blend
No matter how tight money gets, I always allow myself one of my greatest pleasures: a high-quality cup of coffee each morning. Yes, I do drink it from my beautiful bartered mug! Buying expensive coffee by the pound is not within my budget, so I need to put my Frugalite thinking hat on and solve this problem. Over the years, I have come up with several ideas that stretch my coffee dollars.
One of my most effective solutions is to create a custom blend of high-end coffee with a more frugal bulk coffee. The current ratio I use for my cup is two scoops high-end coffee mixed with four scoops of bulk beans to make a generous morning cup of coffee. Want to learn more about stretching your gourmet coffee dollars? Check out this entire article on the topic here.
Thrifty Luxury that Warms My Heart
I believe that small luxuries can be thrifty AND lift our spirits. Could you see yourself trying any of the thrifty luxuries offered here? Do you have one of your own treasured Frugalite luxuries you can share with us? What do you think about the mental boost from these little joys? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments section.
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!