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A month of frugality (and more)

While Amazon’s recent moves helped spur this, I was planning to do it in any case. Over at the public section of the Cabal, I’ve begun a journal of My month of frugality.

Reasons are explained in the thread, but even if most of them don’t resonate with you, it might be a good thing to try this exercise once in a while as part of your preps. We try out our storage foods, change the batteries in our flashlights, even conduct experiments in doing without our household power for a few days. But how many of us test to see how little we could survive on if we were unemployed, the ATMs were down, etc.?

Obviously this isn’t a prep for total SHTF or TEOTWAWKI when cash-money and paying monthly bills might become more irrelevant than buggy whips and political promises. But for normal hard times.

If you want to participate as well as read, remember that we’re also offering 30-day free provisional membership to you if you want to “test drive” the place. (This offer will end on the Dreaded Ides of March.)

There’s more in the public area of the Cabal forums, of course — from a video on sheltering during escape and evasion to a discussion on the Ten Commandments that wandered a bit far afield. Enjoy. And learn.


  1. rochesterveteran
    rochesterveteran March 2, 2017 12:31 pm

    When I read the title, I figured you were doing this for Lent, Claire! 😉

  2. Claire
    Claire March 2, 2017 12:36 pm

    That’s as good a reason as any, actually. 🙂 And yeah, the timing was right — entirely by accident. Might as well go with that.

    Anybody else giving up anything interesting for Lent? Or making any interesting penitential resolves they’d care to share?

  3. rochesterveteran
    rochesterveteran March 2, 2017 1:05 pm

    I’m giving up sack cloth and ashes for Lent, Claire! 🙂

  4. Claire
    Claire March 2, 2017 2:10 pm

    LOL, I don’t think you have quite the traditional spirit, RV. But works for me!

  5. Ruth
    Ruth March 3, 2017 5:47 am

    Unrelated, sorry.

    Last few days something must have changed in your site setup. The “bar” that contains the page numbers and the “next” page button is sitting OVER the title of the first post on your blog on the main page, so that it looks like that post is title-less. None of the other posts are affected, and once another new post is posted the affected post drops down the list and I can see the title fine, and the new new post is the one affected. If it helps I’m using Chrome as my browser.

  6. Claire
    Claire March 3, 2017 6:48 am

    Ruth — Thank you for the report. I wasn’t aware of that, but when I checked I saw the same problem on all four of my browsers (Firefox, Chromium, Opera, and Midori). I don’t know what’s up, but I’ll look into it and if I can’t find the problem, I’ll call for the cavalry (aka HWFIW).

  7. ellendra
    ellendra March 3, 2017 8:41 am

    I’m starting a “Summer of Frugality” this month, even though it’s not summer yet. My hours at work have been cut more drastically than expected for the slow season. My budget is tight enough to begin with that I’m not sure where else I can cut. I actually broke down and applied for Medicare this year, because I can’t afford insurance anymore and I’m not healthy enough to go without it.

    One good thing happened, though: I got permission to raise a few hens in the backyard! My dad is letting me use leftovers from one of his building projects to build the coop with. I’m trying to design it to be as easy as possible to clean and maintain, if I get a flare-up I don’t want my birds to suffer. If it works, I’ll write up the plans and share them, I know I’m not the only one with health problems trying to be more self-sufficient.

    I picked out a breed that has excellent foraging skills, so that should make them cheap to feed, at least during the warmer seasons. My family uses lots of eggs, so laying hens should help the budget some right there. And my animal nutrition research will be a lot more credible once I get more first-hand experience. I’m hoping to write a book on how to raise all the ingredients needed to provide 100% of all necessary nutrients. Most commercial animal feeds only focus on 3 or 4 major nutrients, when there are more than 40 that need looked at.

    (This is the kind of thing I do when I’m bored. I research stuff.)

  8. Claire
    Claire March 3, 2017 8:58 am

    ellendra — it sucks (yeah, you already know that) that you should be hit again. It’s good that you can be thinking creatively about it, at least.

    Medicare? Do you mean Medicaid? I didn’t think you were anywhere near old enough for Medicare. But — sigh — you do what you have to do.

  9. ellendra
    ellendra March 3, 2017 10:01 am

    “Medicare? Do you mean Medicaid? I didn’t think you were anywhere near old enough for Medicare.”

    You’re right, I got the names switched around. Sorry about that.

  10. Claire
    Claire March 3, 2017 10:17 am

    “I’m starting a “Summer of Frugality” this month” — BTW, ellendra, if you want to share your Summer of Frugality experiences in the thread I started, please feel free. It’s not meant only for me. Or start your own thread; whatever’s best.

  11. rochesterveteran
    rochesterveteran March 3, 2017 10:39 am

    Claire, my younger son and his wife have made a point of living frugal. They’re living in a booming area of Colorado, in Castle Rock, and real estate and rent is similar to California, it’s really expensive there. They had their first child back in September and she’s being a stay at home mom, which cut their income in half. They were teachers, but my son had to find work that payed more to help make up for the income they were losing with his wife staying at home with the baby. A guy at his church knew of a job opening at a financial counseling company and my son interviewed and got the job and with overtime, he was able to make up some of the lost income from his wife leaving her job. They also found a living situation with friends, where they’re renting a finished basement that has a kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms and a living room and the rent is half of what they were paying in their 1 bedroom condo. They’re helping their friends financially by renting the basement and my son’s wife looks after their children when needed. Living frugally as a lifestyle, which they do, as well as getting a few breaks, such as a better paying/better benefits job and a cheap place to live, is helping them get by.

  12. Claire
    Claire March 3, 2017 10:48 am

    Good on your son, RV! Sounds both smart and prudent. You must have raised him well.

  13. Fred
    Fred March 3, 2017 11:16 am

    Being new to a fixed income we did a few things.Got rid of dish tv,landline phone and DSL from phone company.Replaced with spectrum/charter cable for 45/month.Its 20 times faster than dsl.For phone got magic jack.It just plugs into cable modem,35 dollars first YEAR,than 25/year on 5 year plan.ZERO change from phone company but for price.For TV use amazon firestick (one time charge 40 dollars or so for doodad)with free amazon access,from there we use free KODI( look it up and find a friend to help set up).Better than Dish tv.No commercials,on demand watching.Upshot,saved 100 dollars a month,gave up nothing,and services much better than what we had.

    Also this month we went shopping twice,but ate out of freezer more,so spent 1/3rd less per trip.We had gone over budget month before with unexpected expenses,like dental,vehicles.So just cut back on groceries a bit.Using pantry supplies instead,thats what its there for 🙂

  14. Fred
    Fred March 3, 2017 11:25 am

    For OTC meds order online Kirkland brand from Costco.Dont have to be a member for meds,free shipping in 3 days to door.And very often they have manufacturer price cuts added on,super deal.

    If you are a costco member you can also order a ton of stuff online with free FAST shipping.No need for a vehicle.

    For prescription meds go to GoodRX,and print coupons you can take to most pharmacies.You can get some meds cheaper than your insurance deductible.BIG discounts! Its free and its the real deal.

    Dont forget walmart also has 30 and 90 day prescriptions on a lot of meds for super savings too.Like 4 dollars for a months worth!

  15. Claire
    Claire March 3, 2017 2:00 pm

    Fred — I didn’t know it was possible to order Kirkland OTC meds from Costco if you weren’t a Costco member. I buy a few Kirkland items from Amazon, but never realized I could go directly to the source after letting my membership lapse. Good info. I expect other people will find it as useful as I just did.

  16. Fred
    Fred March 3, 2017 5:47 pm

    My bad,im saving about 150/month cutting and changing phone,tv.64 on phone and internet,and 88 on Dish.

    It says at Costco you can order other things if non member for a small surcharge.My last OTC meds,they have my costco card on file,but it says you can order if non member and didnt say anything about extra charges from pharmacy.And non members can shop at the pharmacy in the stores too.

    I hope I didnt get my info wrong,yikes!Maybe there is a surcharge on online OTC I didnt realize? Thanks Claire for that.

    OK,I ordered without my card and got membership price,cool.It just said on order no membership card entered and went right through.

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