Photo taken last year in our herb patch.
I usually make a few notes to work from when I do one of these workshops but I'd been busy with other matters and meetings, so the notes went unwritten. No matter, I've done the course a few times now, I write about my frugal life frequently, I thought I could wing it. It was the best thing I could have done. Just speaking to what I know and not from a pre-prepared list, made it all flow naturally and it encouraged questions and discussion.
With the price of food and fuel rising so fast, the discussions where mainly on how to shop wisely. We talked about stockpiling, shopping at Aldi and local markets. I gave out a collection of my cleaning recipes, instructions for making bread in a machine and a few cheap recipes for a family to make from stockpiled items. I didn't think they'd be interested in making soap, so at the last moment I removed the soap recipe, but they asked for it. It will be in the next bundle of recipes I give when they all return next week.
My group was mostly women, there were two men. I loved that they were really enthusiastic about learning these new ways. Most of them were already doing a lot of wise things and having new strategies presented to them gave a sense of excitement to the room. We didn't talk about simple living but I did talk about how living within your means can bring joy and satisfaction and that it is possible to live a full and rich frugal life.
Sometimes in the past people have come along to my groups when they've been struggling with their finances for years and feel defeated by the entire process. This group was optimistic about the possibilities of frugality. They understood that almost everyone deals with having to financially restrict themselves in some way and that choosing new ways of dealing with those restrictions could open up their lives. They also understood that spending less makes a very strong green statement, when people realise that they often see cutting back in a new light.
I set some homework to be done before they return next week for the final session. They're tracking their money. Many of us here know what a surprise that often it and I'm sure it will trigger a healthy discussion which will lead us onto how to make up a budget. THE BUDGET - that often misunderstood piece of paper that many see as a way of ending fun and closing down lives. I see it as a map to future happiness, a way of showing where the money is and what needs to be put aside for regular bills and food needs, while keeping some for those bright spots that make life a joy - be that books, a little holiday, a trip to the movies or a special meal with friends or family. For one thing is certain, if we spend until nothing is left in our purse, if we don't take the time to examine our financial needs and to organise them to suit the life we live, we will be poorer for it - and not just poorer in a financial way.