New Mexico Urban Homesteader
Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!
(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)
This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.
“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”
Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Frugality - A Homesteading Preppers Way - Part 1
I was reading a blog posted by HumbleWife the other day and it got me to thinking about all the things I have learned in life regarding frugality and to how it applies to us Homesteaders and Preppers.
I am a firm believer that history teaches us invaluable lessons and gives us tips’n’tricks to survive just about anything our human civilizations can throw at us. So as I got to remembering my youth and researching, I realized this is even truer today than “back in the day”.
Then I realized that like many common words in use today, we humans have altered the meanings or in some cases formed new words to describe old words and their meanings. If you don’t believe me, use an old 1700 or 1800’s dictionary and look up words like: frugal; commerce; church; state; health; liberty; freedom; rights; happiness; central; federal; tax; tariff; thrift; meager; sparing. Then look the same words up in a dictionary of today. We have altered the meanings of these words or given them new names. (Ok, Ok, I got a little carried away and political here, but I am sure you get my drift.)
The word “frugal” can be an adjective, noun or an adverb. It is traced back to the 1500-1600’s and was almost always associated to the general economy. Here is a little refresher course:
Nouns are parts of speech commonly referring to a person, place, thing, state or quality. They include:
• concrete nouns (pencil, horse)
• abstract nouns (hatred, love)
• proper nouns (William, Sydney Opera House)
• countable nouns (pebble, coin)
• common nouns (table, book)
Adjectives are descriptive terms that modify the meaning of a noun. For example: brown dog, large building, tall tree.
A part of speech that denotes existence, action or occurrence, verbs are more simply explained as “doing words”. Examples: the verb to be, rise, jump, have, carry, sing, run, lift.
A part of speech that modifies the meaning of a verb, adjective or other adverb. For example easily, very and happily in the sentence: They could easily envy the very happily married couple.
Definitions of Frugal
1. Practicing or marked by economy; living without waste; avoiding waste; thrifty; thrifty - careful and diligent in the use of resources; as in the expenditure of money or the use of material resources.
2. Not costly; meager; Costing little; inexpensive; sparing, stinting, scotch, economical; a frugal lunch.
3. The quality of being frugal; prudent economy; that careful management of anything valuable which expends nothing unnecessarily, and applies what is used to a profitable purpose; thrift; --- opposed to extravagance.
4. A sparing use; sparingness; as, frugality of praise.
Now take a look at the meaning of frugal and apply it to the “green” movement. They are going by new words used to describe old word meanings and actions.
I was raised by parents and grandparents that survived the Great Depression. They taught me to make things last and to reuse whatever I could. This was something my grandparents were raised with before technology and they taught my parents and my parents taught me.
As I got older and combined these lessons with my love of wildlife, I guess you could say I turned into a conservationist. Not only that, but I was always interested in alternative energy sources because my grandparents farm was very rural and they lost their electricity regularly every winter. They took advantage of wind, solar and geo-thermal energy before it was the “in” thing to do. They just figured what is the point of paying for something that you can get for free with a little sweat.
These simple habits are now called a number of things, from frugality, to being green, to just plain smart thinking in hard times. Therefore, by my standards, these lessons learned from my elders are now literally a survival tactic for today’s world.
Whatever you want to call this attitude, it is a part of my nature now. This just saves money, gives me a sense of freedom and makes sense, not only in these current hard times, but it helped me a lot when I entered my budget crunch years. I had to find ways to save money and reduce my expenses. My city trash was billed on volume and weight, so I had to find ways to reduce it. Reducing waste led to reducing power usage and alternative power. During this time my area entered a drought, I had to save on water bills too – all before “reduce, reuse, recycle” or being “environmentally friendly” became the fad of the day.
As a result of what I did (and still do) to conserver my funds, some people call me an environmentalist or “Greenie”. Whatever, I am merely a person who is always looking for the cheapest (while still having my TV, PC and CD's, etc), easiest way to live with the least amount of money, time and effort in doing so, while gaining and maintaining as independent and self-sufficient lifestyle as possible. To do this I utilize old ways and modern technology. To me this is just a smart, common sense approach to life and it fits in well with Preppers and the self-reliant lifestyle.
The bottom line is if you are interested in getting the most bang for your buck and stretching your dollars then let the name calling roll off your back and just do it. Don’t let the marketing and advertising of the “green” movement or our “use and toss” consumerism turn you off to these money saving ideas. Stop and think, then do, as these are just plain common sense money saving tools!
Practicing this type of frugality on a regular basis for many of us will require some kind of lifestyle change. As with just about anything, the best thing to do is to start simple and it will lead to other ways to obtain your goal. You may only get a small amount of savings with each of these suggestions, but when added together over the long haul, you can really appreciate Benjamin Franklin when he said “A penny saved is a penny earned.”