Friday, April 08, 2011

Frugal Friday

Let me start by adding a few more websites that are dedicated to helping you match store deals with coupons.  I acquired these from another frugal mommy at Jed's speech.  She finds some amazing deals!

The Krazy Coupon Lady

Stretching a Buck

Totally Target

The other resource is for those who have Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance.  There is a program called Blue Points where you can earn points from wellness programs or exercise and use those points to obtain gift cards to various stores (Amazon, Lowes, etc.).  I don't know the ins and outs of it yet, as I just found out about it, but it looks neat. 

For some reporting in, I was able to make both boys their tool belts.  Next I will make Saoirse's apron and work on copying the pattern for the rest of us on some cheap white fabric.  Since it will be used multiple time, I thought this would make the pattern last much longer.  You can see pictures of the tool belts below.

Now for the meat of this post....
I think we need to bring back bartering on a larger scale.  I have no problem with people wanting to make money for the things they do or make.  But for some of us, it just gets too expensive to buy said things.  And not only expensive for 'things' but for learning.  There don't seem to be enough grandmas around to show us how to sew, knit, can, spin, crochet, organize, clean, etc, etc...  The great thing about grandmas was that they didn't charge you for teaching you the basics.  But now, unless you have such a grandma, or a skilled friend, you would be hard pressed to learn such skills for free.  A knitting class will cost $30.  A sewing class, $100.  A cheaper way may be to buy a book, but you still have the book cost and then if you are like me, it may take you forever and a day to figure it out through the printed word.  I do sooooo much better if someone shows me how to do something as opposed to reading how to do it. 

I would love to see small communities come together to pull their resources.  For example we can't have bee hives where we live.  Well, we could, but our neighbor asked us not to as he has a lethal allergy to bee stings.  I don't think it would come across as 'loving your neighboor' if we went out and bought a bee hive and a box of bees!  But maybe someone in the community wouldn't mind getting into bee keeping.  And maybe that person would really love fresh eggs, but doesn't want or can't raise the chickens themselves.  So you make an exchange, honey for fresh eggs.  I would also love to see more people in the surrounding community gardening and sharing their produce.  Or have various people with various skills pick a night at the library, where we can meet for free, to teach us their skills. 

I've used bartering with a good friend of mine.  We would exchange goat milk for homemade bread.  Also, sort of on the same idea was the Trade Day we attended a couple of times.  Everyone made or brought something they had that was gently used.  At the door you would get tickets that added up to the value of the items you brought with you.  Then, when it was your turn, you went inside and 'purchased' items you wanted with your tickets.  This would work great on a small scale within a church or neighborhood.  Everyone set up tables with their goods and then with your tickets you would go around purchasing goods, or even services (oil changes, cleaning, classes, etc.). 

I think our society, even though we are so caught up on the idea of socialization, we really don't pull together to work together.  It's an every man for himself world out there.  I certainly do not subscribe to the notion that it "takes a village to raise a child", but standing alone isn't where it's at either. There is a balance. 

I'm not sure what it would take to set something like this up.  Fliers, word of mouth....?  Maybe have a website where everyone would post what they had to offer.  Maybe have a points system as well.  I mean, maybe I need honey, but the bee guy doesn't need fresh eggs or goat milk (of which we have).  So maybe he gets 10 points for a pint of honey he has to offer.  Maybe I get 10 points for every half gallon of milk I have to offer.  That way I can go to the bee guy and spend my 10 points, he then gains 10 points for selling his honey and he can then use the 10 points on getting his oil changed with the guy down the road.

This would be a wonderful way to be frugal as no cash money would be going out of pocket.  That could be used to put towards bills and larger projects.  What do you all think of such a system?  It sounds neat, even possibly doable. 

Here are the boys tool belts:

Jedidiah's tool belt.  Not that he will wear it!  He wanted one, but is a bit freaked out about tying it around his waist.  Oh well, maybe in time.

Jonah's tool belt.

Jonah, outside today, wearing his.  He really loves his tool belt.  I found the pattern HERE.

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