So with one income, it can be hard to get things done, finish projects or even splurge. We really need to prioritize where our money goes. I’m trying to find a way to still feel human out here with no guaranteed income. I’ve had to become quite resourceful. You’ve read before about how many people out here have embraced the art of bartering, and we’ve taken that one step further and have learned to ask for help, and even for items for free.
For example, since the shed has arrived I placed an ad on a local social media site asking for a list of items that people might have kicking around that might help us finish the shed and the projects surrounding it. The list varied from things we NEED to things that we WANT. There is no harm in asking. I also noted that we were on a budget and free would be awesome, but if not, to let me know their price.
Here is the list: 20’ of eaves trough, a single kitchen sink, a single step or wood to make one, can of exterior paint.
Within a day I had responses from locals who had some items laying around, so for FREE, I am able to pick up my kitchen sink, which I intend to make an outdoor potting bench with a sink to wash my hands (using rain water), and a set of old deck stairs that we can cut down to fit the smaller man door on the shed. Those people who contacted me asked for no money, and were genuinely happy to help, so if you go this route, you must then be genuinely happy to receive and of course appreciative. I’m planning on bringing them a coffee when I come to collect the items.
Another example of our thrifty ways out here is to borrow. From the lawn roller we borrowed from a co-worker, to the atv and trailer the neighbours let us use for the day. The key is to return these items promptly, and in great condition. This reminds me to make some bread for the farmers as thanks.
Hubby and I have a wedding to attend in a few weeks and I’ve found that I still have quite the tummy (no excuses), so all my outfits made me feel quite slobbish. I had to be a bit creative so I went with two basics from my closet that I wouldn’t normally wear together, a black dress and a red blazer. Hmmm, now the hard part, I needed a piece of jewelry to make the outfit pop, but nothing I had matched. I couldn’t rationalize buying a new piece, since a nice statement necklace can run up to $25, I had to become even more creative. So I asked.
Back to the local social media site, I asked to borrow a statement necklace, and within the hour I had a young lady who lived close, driving over to lend me a selection of her necklaces. I genuinely thanked her and she brushed it off. It seems to be the way of the country. I don’t even know where she lives, but I have her necklaces in hand for the next few weeks and she isn’t the slightest worried I’ll run away with them.
Now, not all the items we get are free or borrowed, and we do spend on things we want and need, but we try to be reasonable. For example, for the shed, I wanted a gardening bench to go inside, for potting and for extra storage. No worries, I didn’t buy new. But locally I found someone selling an old bar which would have worked perfectly. I made an offer, but the seller asked for $10 more and I would need to pick it up, which is no small fee with the absence of a trailer. Sigh, I really wanted it but would need to pass. A few days later I received a message from someone who had bought the bar for themselves. Upon getting it home they found their spouse quite disgusted by the purchase. They wanted to know if I still wanted the bar, as he would sell it to me for $30. I of course said yes, but told them I could not pick it up. No problem. They would deliver it for free. Later that night a young man pulled up with his pick up truck and he even drove it back to the shed to unload it. I offered him a few nice items we had left over from our garage sale a few weeks ago, a huge new candle and a beautiful carved candle holder. The items would have been dropped off at a thrift store anyways, so I offered them as a peace offering to his wife. He gladly accepted my “payment” for delivery. Now I have an amazing storage unit for all my gardening supplies.
And don’t think I’m just a “taker”. I always thank the lender, giver, or seller with my thanks, a coffee, items I might be able to barter or services such as babysitting. From split hostas for someone’s garden, to a few hours of watching someone’s kids, I also provide for others, it’s what the community is built on.