By Erika Shea
Last week when Leah proposed to make Frugal Friday a regular feature – and with a guest contributor at that – I had to hold myself back from dropping everything I was working on (making myself ridiculously late for a meeting on the other side of town) to e-mail with the subject line Oh me! Me, me, me!
As I got in the car and headed east I thought maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t send that e-mail – maybe I should think a little more about where I’m going to find the time to contribute to Dream Big Cape Breton on a regular basis. But I didn’t think about that at all. I thought about how to save money with credit cards and financial institutions, how to save a little money at the grocer, how to save on clothing and gas and shipping charges and cable. And I thought about why for me, now more than ever, saving money is a priority.
I recently went back to work after almost two years at home with my daughter Frances. I feel as though every minute away from her and every penny of income I earn during that time needs to go further, needs to count. Having Frances also means another little mouth to feed and little person clothe and a little mind to think of educating not only now, but also twenty years from now, when your run-of-the-mill undergraduate degree will probably cost $156,753.
Last, though definitely not least, we want her to have a healthy relationship with money. To think about the cost of money (what we do and sometimes what we give up in order to earn it), to think about spending money ethically, and to never ever assume that there are more toys or clothes (or dollars) if we use these ones irresponsibly. We hope that by spending our money carefully and intentionally she’ll learn to reflect on where our money goes, where it should go, and realize that if we thoughtfully spend what we earn, we won’t have to spend too many of our days thinking about money at all.
I am happy to have this beautiful space to share with you some of the things we’ve picked up along the way. And I hope you’ll share what you’ve picked up too! We truly do have so much to share with and learn from each other. And while some of our thriftiness-tips are universal, some may be specific to the community that you live in, so please share, share, share! I am hoping to post on a different theme each week, like banking or groceries. That way we can all add our own tips on that topic in the comments section making it easier for new and return readers alike to browse our shared smarts by theme.
If you have a few seconds today, what is it that you find gets more and more expensive with each passing day? Gas? Rent? Insurance? For me it’s food. I never cease to be amazed at what it costs to feed our small family of just three (and two cats, but they don’t get to eat at the table). At the same time, as a wise friend of mine says, “I feel like the wealthiest person in the world when I can afford to eat well.”
Erika lives in the historic Northend of Sydney with her handsome partner Rob and beautiful, but increasingly mischievous toddler, Frances. When she dreams about having free time, it is filled with sailing, knitting and gardening. Since it is a dream and in no way tied to her actual track record, the garden is thriving.