As I’ve mentioned before, my path to frugality coincided with my move to SmallTown. I was reading household tip books, personal finance and frugal living blogs, whatever I could find. The books were generally helpful but I found some problems with the pf blogs and frugal living blogs. I could get some motivation there, and some of the tips were good, but much of it didn’t really seem workable for me and my surroundings.
Shopping the deals at popular drugstores isn’t even remotely an option. Chain grocery stores? Not a chance. SmallTown poses shopping limitations. My job poses more. Together the two made my quest to emulate the on-line frugal community seem unlikely.
My solution was to take bits and pieces of tips from here and there and rework them into my own system. I try to summon the spirit of early homemakers, from Ma Ingalls to my grandma. And so, the past two years I have found my way to many systems that work for me.
I’ve touched on the limitations of SmallTown before. It is a rural area in Minnesota, a half hour drive from Walmart and at least an hour from any other big stores. We are a tourist area and it is beautiful here. If you want gift shops, golfing or day spas you are all set. Being new to the area and knowing no one, it was hard to get clued in to the deals for “locals” and find our shopping groove. I like to think I’ve made great strides in this area in the three years we’ve been here. I have a growing network of friends that have been here for years and years, if not their whole lives. Another day I’ll expand on just how this has blessed us.
The other limitation I encounter has to do with my job. I doubt I’ll discuss it much here, do to confidentiality mostly, but in broad terms it matters a lot when it comes to shopping and time management. I am a family child care provider. Yep, a daycare lady. I prefer child care provider (ccp) though. A decade into this job I never envisioned for myself, and I still find it rewarding. To be honest it can make creating a simple home a bit more challenging. I like to joke that there is a revolving door for a front door, but it is true that the parade of families starts at 7:15 and doesn’t end for 10 hours. By 5:15 I am typically putting away the last of the toys and hoping to take a short break before our evening starts. In addition to the comings and goings of so many people, the sheer volume of stuff associated with providing care to at least half a dozen kids ranging in age from infant to 10 can be overwhelming. And in the past it has overwhelmed us.
So with no time, not even a lunch hour, to run errands in search of saving money, and with a demanding job that racks up at least 55 hours a week, and a busy family, I had to create my own methods of savings. I hope some of them can help someone else that doesn’t feel they fit into the typical SAHM or WAHM or working mom molds. At the very least I have a place to remind myself that even tough it isn’t always easy to be thrifty, I’ve come a long way taking it one week at a time.