Get a life - a Simple Savings life!

Posted May 2nd, 2008 by Penny Wise

Blah blah blah food prices. Blah blah blah petrol. Blah blah blah interest rates. I am soooo sick of the media doom and gloom at the moment. It's all we read or hear about, 24/7 and I am SO over it. Don't get me wrong, I know people need to be aware but I'm just so frustrated with media for not doing anything positive to help anyone. They have the power to tell everyone in the whole country that they could start helping themselves by going to Simple Savings so that they could learn how to save on their food bill, save on their petrol, make sure they are getting the best interest rates and stop wasting their money on crap. That's what they need, but oh no. Instead the media are doing nothing but feeding the depression, encouraging people to feel sorry for themselves and resign themselves to the fact that there is nothing they can do about it. It makes my blood boil!

I find it rather ironic really. I mean, thanks to Simple Savings I know more ways to save on food than pretty much anything else. There are countless ways to save on food and here are all us Simple Savers doing it all out of second nature, quietly going about our business while everyone else around us is floundering. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel smug but it’s not about one-upmanship. It’s about security and that’s what being a member of this site has given me. It has given me knowledge beyond belief. It is my money saver, my recipe book, my advisor on everything from self sufficiency to parenting. It is my grapevine, my news informant, my confidante, my encyclopedia, my motivator, my self-help manual, my safety net, my security blanket.

When I read the Vault, Fiona’s newsletter articles and other members’ Forum posts, it inspires me every day. I see what other people are doing and it makes me feel I can achieve anything. My friend Maxine and I were laughing yesterday about how far we have both come since being Simple Savings novices together. She blows me away with what she can do now, half the time she puts me to shame! Not bad for a former queen of shoes and cardigans. Sometimes you get so busy trying to constantly better yourself, that you forget how far you have come in the first place.

I think one of the articles which got my attention the most lately was Fiona’s one on Nude Food. Talk about thought-provoking! There were so many things I never wanted to buy from a supermarket again – like six-week old meat, ewwww! Noel totally gets the whole ‘nude food’ concept and always has, being from a farming background. He bought three beautiful young ewes this week, all three of them in-lamb for $25 each. We shouldn’t have to buy lamb again for years, although I hate to think of them as nude food and am trying not to get too attached to them. Mind you, it did make it somewhat easier when Noel informed me that he saw legs of lamb on sale in the supermarket for $17 per kilo the same day! Unbelievable – we paid just $8 more for an entire sheep – two, if you count the lamb she is carrying! I wonder how long the supermarket lamb had been sitting there too…

The chickens have stopped moulting (I think) and are laying again, thank goodness. This week we had a nice surprise when we returned home and found a beautiful new, smoky grey hen in our chicken run – a gift from one of our neighbours. She knew we had lost Brenda the chook recently so gave us one of hers. I’ve named her Kimmie (as promised, after one of our most faithful Forum ladies!) Unfortunately I have to report that Kimmie has not proven herself to be very well behaved to date. She escaped the first day we got her and has been giving me the slip ever since, taking great joy in doing Road Runner impersonations across the lawn in full view, then magically disappearing as soon as we rush out to catch her. I just hope I can find her eggs and they don’t go to waste!

Have just realised, today is a special day. I have been writing this blog for three years today! Wow, where has the time gone? Today also marks Noel’s 17th day as a non-smoker! Woohoo! I am so proud of him, even though the kids and I are giving him a rather wide berth at the moment. I’m sorry the blogs have been a bit few and far between lately. It’s been school holidays here and my eyes have been hanging out on stalks trying to juggle everything for the past fortnight. On the whole it’s been a pretty frugal two weeks. As mentioned, the first week the boys took part in a three-day cricket workshop, then this week I enrolled them in a free holiday sports programme at our local fitness centre. It was brilliant! For three days they got to try out all kinds of sports – hockey, basketball, netball, golf, rugby league – even Tae Kwon Do, and the whole lot was free!

We treated ourselves to some new DVD’s too but they didn’t cost anything as the boys used up some gift vouchers from Christmas. Our biggest splurge was a trip to the movies to see ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles” but even that wasn’t a huge splurge as we chose a small local cinema and brought drinks from home. Liam can’t eat popcorn any more so that’s one expense I’m quite happy to go without! It was all down to the Forum that we went in the first place as I had heard so many members and their kids loved the movie. We did too, it was fantastic! Although I reckon it’s about as close to a horror movie for kids as you can get. Guess who was more scared than the boys though?

In our search for frugal entertainment the boys and I have also resurrected Singstar on the Playstation. We’ve had it for years but it doesn’t get used much and we never realised that you could also use it with the Eyetoy camera (another gadget which gets used even less). Well, we finally discovered you could combine the two and I swear I almost died laughing watching the playback ‘paparazzi style’ photo gallery. Needless to say it’s been getting a lot more use since!

My email inbox has never been so full. I discovered to my delight that Freecycle is alive and thriving in NZ! I knew it was huge in other countries but had never had any joy locating it in our neck of the woods. I have joined three groups within an hour’s radius of me and I can’t believe the wonderful range of things people are giving away. It’s brilliant – a whole new network of Simple Savers, even if they don’t realise it! Already it’s got me thinking of all the stuff I can give away that can possibly help someone else. The reason I joined in the first place was because a friend texted me to say both her fridge AND her washing machine had conked out on the same day. Replacing those could have been costly so I hopped on the Internet. In less than 24 hours I received a response from a lady who was going overseas and could help with both as she needed to get rid of all her stuff too!

I also joined my first organic co-op this week too. It’s about 40 minutes from me in a town I rarely visit but I discovered they deliver so will try and support them in future. Am looking forward to bartering too! Just think – without Simple Savings I would never have even heard of Freecycle, food co-ops, nude food… and all the countless other things that are now part of our everyday lives. What a lot I’ve learned in three short years!

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