Frugal Endeavors – November with a hint of Nostalgia

What a month it has been. We are taking this time to act like tourists as we settle in and spend time with friends. We are slowing finding our new balance between penny-pinching and enjoying our material world.

I thought I would start by confessing to my huge frugal fail. I enthusiastically joined a No-Spend Challenge sponsored by Just Another Day on the Farm and in no time at all, I forgot that I joined and spent money like a drunken sailor. I rationalized my spending by pointing out that we needed a bed for company visiting this month who cannot be expected to sleep on the floor. Luckily the fold-out cot was on sale for a very good price. I could also try and excuse my behaviour by stating that the siren call of craft supplies at the dollar store can be too much for any mere mortal to ignore. Hopefully next week, after entertaining my house guest, I will be able to act like a responsible adult and curb my spendy impulses.

The month began by taking a friend to the Capital City for a scheduled and hopefully life-altering surgery. We decided to spend a little time exploring the city until the friend was well enough to bring home. We shopped around for a cheap hotel close to the hospital. We also discovered that the best and cheapest meal, by a long shot, was found at the deli of the grocery store right across from the hospital. I guess it just goes to show that you never know what you will find until you look.

While visiting the Capital City, I had the opportunity to catch up with a very old friend who works at The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. She kindly bought me lunch and let me explore her wonderful gallery, which was an unexpected gift. The even greater gift was the conversation and opportunity to relive old memories.

Me and my friend when we were very young.

The Doll’s House is a favorite exhibit at The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and I can see why. It is really amazing. Having an opportunity to admire it was timely as I have fond memories the dolls my friend and I had growing up. Furthermore, this lovely dollhouse serves as frugal inspiration as it was constructed using stones foraged from a local river and wood upcycled from the organ from a church that was being demolished. Truly beautiful things can be created from found materials.

Back in our own town, The Man and I are discovering ways to pinch our pennies in this new environment. For example, we are now located in a very walkable community. Almost any service we need can be reached on foot in less than 30 minutes. We are spending much less on gas and I am hoping that our waistlines and overall fitness will improve.

There are Little Free Libraries everywhere! I have picked up enough books to see me through the long rainy winter days I know are coming. To guarantee that I will never be without a book to read, I made it a priority to join the local library. In addition to lending out books, this library also “lends out” streaming services in their own take on Netflix.

Of course, establishing yourself in a new home means unpacking all the stuff you brought with your from your old home. While unpacking I found several unfinished projects and the fabric I need to make a baby quilt. This gift will also be my goal for the One Monthly Goal sponsored by Elm Street Quilts.

Now that I have unpacked most of our stuff and I have realized a few things:

  1. I am obsessed with drawstring bags.
  2. I still have so much stuff.

Before we moved, I sold, gave away, or threw out as much stuff as I could and yet I am still finding stuff that I don’t really need, want, or even remember possessing. My stock pile has seen me through low paying jobs and bouts of unemployment. Having extra stuff, “just in case” has always given me a sense of security but this time, it struck me as being profoundly wasteful.

Years ago, I read a book called Your Money or Your Life. My feelings towards my hoard of possession can, perhaps, be summed up by the following quote from that book:

Frugality means enjoying what we have … waste lies not in the number of possessions but in the failure to enjoy them. Your success at being frugal is measured not by your penny-pinching but by your degree of enjoyment of the material world.


Obviously, if I am willing to give away my stuff or if I have forgotten that I even owned certain possessions, I am not enjoying them.

I feel that there is an important lesson that I will be unpacking with the rest of my belongings.

Or I’m still trying to rationalize my dollar store spending spree.


  1. Your new home sounds like a wonderful place to transplant your lives and future….. plus the bonus of already having longstanding friends in the area is quite a plus.

    I found Your Money or Your Life quite by chance on a lunchtime stroll through the bookstore that was once located in the World Trade Center.
    Quite a serendipitous find as my workplace had just that morning announced massive layoffs and restructuring.
    I had always been thrifty out of necessity and predisposition, but it gave me an entire new window and aspect on finances and life which was more than welcome in those days of personal and economic chaos.
    It still is valid for me today…perhaps even more so as I age into the ,”new economy”!

    Please don’t berate yourself over your collection of things. Your new perspective is a sign of the new more secure and defined place you are in.
    There is a reason people in precarious employment and tenuous financial circumstances are not minimalists, especially if these have been a longstanding issues.
    We kept stuff in case we needed them or somebody we knew did….and we could rely on them helping us with something they had squirrelled away.
    We could possibly sell things or repurpose things …. or we simply kept them because we worried all the time and never knew what was coming our way.
    I liken it to the chubbiness bears acquire before hibernation…. a layer of security for the unknown future. How much pudge is necessary when you can’t see what lies ahead???

    Like you, I finally was able to shift my focus when that vague uneasiness started to lift and I had a more defined and stable personal economy.

    This is going to be your best time yet.
    Best wishes to you and The Man!


    1. Thanks again for your comments. You are very wise. I agree with the analogy that a stockpile is like the fat a bear gains to survive winter hibernation. Someone once told me that hoarding can sometimes represent our belief that we will not have the skills to deal with a shortage and we can sometimes deal with that by being more confident. I think there is a little truth to this but I still believe in having a well stocked pantry. 😉 Its all about balance, I guess.


  2. Glad to hear you are settling in well – the library has been a real boon to us. I borrowed three books this week and have a list of things I’d like to read next.
    The step 3 of Your money or your life resonated with me. I employ a similar tactic – ‘how many hours do I have to work to pay for this?’ It’s surprisingly motivating!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. That step can be life changing. Years ago, when I calculated my real hourly wage it made me realize how much of my life energy I was spending on my miserable commute to work and my depressing job. I started making changes to change my life. I still do ask myself, “how many hours of my life would I have to give up to buy this thing,” when deciding to make a purchase. It can help rein in my spending.


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