Look who's trendy now! (aka FIGJAM)

Posted March 29th, 2011 by Penny Wise

Can you believe the $21 Challenge is going into its FIFTH year? So much has happened in that time! One thing's for sure, an awful lot of people have heard of it; even if they don't know exactly what it is. Gone are the days of having to stand there for half an hour explaining what the $21 Challenge is when people ask me 'so what's your book about?' Instead, I get 'Oh wow! The $21 Challenge! I've heard of that!' Exciting progress indeed!

I love how saving money has become trendy. The frugal bashing has gone and now people are actually boasting about their fantastic saving prowess! However when it comes to saving money you can never know too much. You only have to look at all the new tips going in the Simple Savings Vault each week to realise there is always more you can learn. The other day I had the pleasure of meeting two lovely ladies for the first time. Straight away we got along like a house on fire and had a great old time sharing money saving tips and I thought 'Cool! I love meeting people who are on the same wavelength as me!' I didn't let on who I was or what I did for a job and we chatted away merrily for an hour or two, with plenty of 'I can't believe people spend money on this!' or 'I would NEVER waste money on that' thrown into the conversation until the inevitable question came up ' So what is it you do?'

To which I told them and once again received the response 'Ooh! The $21 Challenge! I've heard of that!' which always makes me smile. I then went on to tell them that we were writing a second book and the type of things it was going to cover, 'Because while it might seem like common sense to people like you and me, there are an awful lot of people who have never been taught these skills' I confided. 'Oh absolutely!' they agreed wholeheartedly. 'I mean, you wouldn't believe how many people still don't know you can freeze milk!' I chuckled.

And was promptly met with a stunned silence. 'What? You mean you can freeze milk?' one of them eventually said. 'Yes, of course!' I smiled. 'Ewww - but why would anyone want to do that?' came the reply. 'Well, all sorts of reasons! You can buy it in bulk when it's cheaper and freeze it so you save that way. And if you always keep milk in the freezer you don't have to rush off to the shops in a panic every few days when you run out and inevitably end up buying all sorts of other stuff at the same time&' I tried to explain. 'But wouldn't it taste all& frozen?' came the wrinkled-nose response. 'No, not at all!' I insisted. 'Ooh no, I still couldn't do that. Besides, I've only got a tiny freezer' she said dismissively. At this point I gave up!

Fortunately I had more luck when discussing the $21 Challenge. We all agreed that there are far too many people in the world who don't know how to cook, waste too much good food and rely too heavily on processed rubbish. However I received the same feedback we usually get, this time from the other lady. 'Hmm, it's a great idea. I couldn't do it though', she said. 'I don't have anything in my pantry. I clear it out every single week. Tins of spaghetti, pasta sauce, there's nothing left by the end of the week, I always have to go out and buy them again'. 'But what about all your basic ingredients? Your flour, sugar, rice, spices? You can use all those to make all kinds of things' I told her. 'Nope. Couldn't do it', came the firm response. In the end I had no choice but to pull out my trump card. 'You know - I should really just give you both a copy of the book so you can give it a go!' I offered. 'Ooh yes, that would be great!' they both said. So I did - I hope they enjoy it!

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