Frugal Friday

One of my grocery receipts with some spare change thrown on top, shot on Macro mode on my point and shoot camera. Ta da!

One of the things that comes up a lot when I’m talking to people about living in Cape Breton is money. And usually, the lack of it.

Life is expensive these days. A whole generation – people my age – live with their parents to save money. Most people who go out West do it to make more money than they’re able to make here. A lot of people who go, say that money is the only reason they’re there, that they would rather be here on the East Coast. The cost of housing, of food, of transportation, of education, has a very real impact on what we end up doing, on where we live, what we eat, how we get around, and whether or not we go to school.  You could say that money rules our lives.

Kate Oland, librarian at the Baddeck Public Library, and a farmer, and a mother of three (so she knows a thing or two about trying to save money), came up with the idea of “Frugal Friday”- to have gatherings of like-minded people at the library on Fridays to share ideas to save money. (It wouldn’t have to be on Fridays, mind you – she is also open to Savers Saturdays, etc.) She floated the idea to her Facebook circles, got good feedback, and is in the process of developing some events at the library.

To support that, and to take back some of the power that money has over our lives, here on the Dream Big blog we’re starting Frugal Fridays, a weekly feature with a focus on the financial. Share your ideas for saving money or your thoughts on the subject by leaving a comment or sending Leah an email. Also, is there anyone out there interested in taking this column on as a regular contributor? I’ve got enough to write about as it is!! Email me if you’d like to write about money matters for Dream Big.

Let's share ways to save coin.

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6 Responses to Frugal Friday

  1. Sherry says:

    My mother was telling me the other day about a woman she read about, who picks up sweaters in decent condition at Value Village and other thrift stores, then unravels them to re-use the yarn in other projects. Of course it would have to be the right kind of sweater to start with, but goodness knows knitting unravels fast enough when you drop stitches and don’t want it to–I’m sure you could pull apart a sweater and rewind the wool in the time it takes to watch a half-hour program on television. Besides the money-saving implications, it’s a nice way to upcycle used items.

  2. Kelly Krawchuk says:

    Great idea, as always! I can send periodic contributions as I come up with them and find time to write about them!

    Here’s a breakdown of some of my biggest money savers:

    – I make it a rule not to eat out often. You can eat like a king on the money you would spend at a restaurant if you put it toward groceries instead. When I do eat out, I make sure its not a chain (so at least its benefiting the local economy) and to order things that would be difficult for me to make at home. Also, when grocery shopping, I try to be aware that sometimes things that seem like they’re saving you money actually aren’t (e.g. buying in bulk at the bulk barn isn’t always cheaper and buying a case of things you don’t really use just because they’re on sale isn’t saving money either).

    – Rediscovering cheap entertainment: Spending time with friends, board/card game nights, free public talks, hiking, potlucks etc.. These things are almost always more genuinely fun and interesting than going to a bar. When I do go to bars, I make sure its to see a band I really enjoy rather than just a fallback thing to do on the weekend.

    – I have a thing for clothes shopping, so I’ve made the switch to shopping almost entirely at thrift stores (baring some undie necessities). Hand in hand with thrifting is learning to make basic alternations, dye clothes, and make clothes from recycling other clothes. There’s such a high turn-over rate in my closet that my friends and I also usually have a clothing swap at the end of each season. If there are summer clothes in my closet that I haven’t worn all summer, someone else could probably get more use out of them than me.

    There’s a good link/info posting site with many contributors called Reddit that has a special section for frugality that you might want to check out: http://www.reddit.com/r/frugal . The posts you see first are the most recently posted ones that got a large number of votes, but you can also sort posts by those that have been highly rated (the “top” tab near the top of the page) and then select “links from _____” (at the top of the list) to see top posts from this week, month, or year, etc..

    That’s all for now. Like I said, I’ll send things along as I can. Happy frugaling!

  3. jay mac says:

    I think the biggest challenge with being frugal is to realise it takes time. It is a learned skill set and the decisions about how to spend money are emotionally charged for many of us. That’s why I think it is a good idea to keep a list of how you might save money and to challenge yourself to gradually work away at it. Don’t expect too much from yourself at once, try one new frugal thing a week if you have the time to work up to it. If you don’t, and it is an emergency situation, I’d suggest reevaluating your bills. Many of us pay too many additional fees for cell phones, cable, banks, for services we don’t use. Getting rid of services you don’t use, and watching your grocery bill would be my two biggest tips. Also, some banks like BMO have a free Moneylogic service where you can see what you have spent money on… it is a great analysis tool.

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