Savings sanctuary

Posted October 4th, 2006 by Penny Wise

One of the things I love best about Simple Savings is the strong community feeling. It's reassuring to know I am not alone in my quest for frugality! The friends I have made in the 'Simple Savings world' are completely different from the other friends and acquaintances I see every day. I love the way that Simple Savings members help each other to save money in so many ways. We can talk about anything! I have been lucky to find a fellow savings enthusiast in Maxine and Mum is used to my frugal ramblings, but for the most part my dedication to all things miserly is pretty much unknown where I live. Tee hee, little do they know! Honestly though, if I was to regale to the other Mum's at the boys' sports days how much they could save on plastic bags by washing or recycling them, they would look at me as if I was bonkers. If I told the girls in the hairdressers I fixed our own toilet to save $80 on getting a plumber out, they would probably be appalled. Us frugal types are a special breed!

It's so great to see how many members have enabled their Simple Savings friendships to spill over into 'real life' ones through all the Savings Groups which have been formed across Australia. What an achievement! I have to admit I felt quite excited (and envious!) of the girls who managed to meet up in Bendigo recently. At least there are plenty of other SS activities going on to keep me occupied. We're a clever and resourceful bunch and no mistake! There's Barb of course, coming up with her $21 Challenge and Kristen's Money Tin Challenge has been keeping the boys busy throughout the school holidays, turning the house upside down in their hunt for coins. They're doing well too! Ali is losing teeth at a startling rate, which is leaving the poor tooth fairy out of pocket but is proving very beneficial for our money tin. The poor chap has not a single tooth in his front row at the moment, except for one canine 'fang' on either side! It's a member called Carol H who I am extremely grateful to this week though. If anyone has ever fallen off the Flylady wagon like me, just check out Carol's postings on”>Decluttering' in the Discussion Forum! For the last 10 weeks, Carol has been decluttering her home and sharing her regime with members. As the weeks have gone on, Carol has inspired quite a merry band of fellow declutterers (now affectionately titled 'The Monday Morning Group') who have all been reaping the benefits of having a good old sort-out.

Being a champion procrastinator it took me a bit longer than intended to follow suit, but with school holidays upon us and Carol's Monday morning reminder popping up regular as clockwork in the Forum, I decided to take the bull by the horns and begin methodically clearing out. What a productive mission! On the first day alone I filled up two sackfuls of rubbish and filled up three boxes of items to either give away or sell. I asked one of the local stores for some more cardboard boxes and once I had cleared out the area under the stairs, I was able to create quite a good system. I now have a box full of stuff which is only good enough to give away, boxes of stuff which would be suitable for a garage sale (our local Lions club runs a car boot sale once a month so I'll be nabbing a stall at the next one) and even more boxes of stuff to sell on Trade Me or eBay. The boys were very helpful too – they liked sorting everything out and have been excitedly watching the bids creeping up on their games, books, videos and other items they want to sell. Any profits of course go in the money tin! I have done the 'online auction thing' en masse before and almost gave myself a hernia rushing back and forth to the post office every five minutes so have made a rule to only sell one box worth at a time. When those listings have all sold, then I can move on to listing the next box and so on. Seems to be working well and I have plenty more boxes to look forward to! 'Can you believe you actually bought all that stuff?' Noel stared at my boxes of useless gadgets in disbelief. I couldn't believe it either!

I still have the kitchen cupboards to tackle and my wardrobe. I'm looking forward to purging my wardrobe but not so happy about tackling the kitchen cupboards. Not because they're that horrendous, but because I know I will unearth quite a few Sad Sally purchases I would rather not see. Such as the $25 cheese knife I bought because all my friends owned a posh cheese knife and I didn't have one. Probably something to do with the fact that we don't actually eat posh cheeses – except when they come round! So I forked out for this very stylish pewter cheese knife, with a dainty paua shell inset and have never used it, because on the rare occasion we do eat cheese, we usually butcher it using the first knife out of the cutlery drawer. I also bought it to match the salad servers that went with the set. These only ever got used once because Noel put them in the dishwasher (not the best treatment for pewter – doh!) and they emerged covered in black tarnish spots. I daresay I'll find those nestled forlornly in the impossibly expensive salad bowl I bought because it was such an unusual shape. A completely ridiculous shape to try and toss a salad in too as I soon found out. Hopefully some other poor misguided soul will find them appealing at my car boot sale!

I have to admit to wondering if it's more socially acceptable for men to be careful with their money than women, what do you think? I say this following an episode last week with Noel. He has been working away furiously in the vegetable garden and wanted to do something to improve the soil quality. It's hard, mainly clay and not the best for digging. Of course you can take your pick of manure around here, what with donkeys, chicken and sheep but we really needed something to add to the overall volume of the soil. We didn't want to pay for a huge volume of soil so Noel came up with a brainwave where he would go to the local saleyards (being a livestock rep he frequents these rather a lot) with a trailer on the back of the car. At the end of each sale, all the dirt, sawdust and manure are swept out from the yards and stored in a huge pile, which eventually gets collected and taken away in a truck. As time goes by, this breaks down into some pretty rich stuff – perfect for the vege garden! 'I bet they'll all laugh at me' sighed Noel as he set off to work. 'But I don't care, it's good stuff going to waste and it will save us a lot of money.' I thought about him during the day and hoped he wasn't getting too much of a ribbing from his colleagues, so when he returned home with his trailerload I was quick to ask him how it went and if everyone had laughed as he had predicted. 'No! They thought it was a great idea actually – some of the guys even came over and helped me shovel it on!' I was relieved, but couldn't help wondering if their reaction would have been the same if I had done that instead of him? Either way, his frugal idea has worked wonders in our vege garden!

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