This week my focus is on getting to know your local area and reaping the thrifty benefits!
Some of these benefits I have brushed on previously but I think it is so important in the quest to squeeze more out of life for less money that I think a whole blog is needed.
I want you to take control of your ‘hood (is there anything more cringe worthy than a middle class white mother trying to use Ebonics or other street slang? Maybe it could be worse if I was a politician as well!) OK so I want you to start feeling ownership of the area you live in, the street the suburb, the town or city.
Start by walking around it regularly- I found this tip in my much beloved Thrift Book by India Knight- she pointed out how many interesting features you find if you “march proprietarily” around your neighbourhood. It might be architecture to look at or a hidden park, it might be an Asian grocers or a shortcut to town. I have lived in this suburb for three and a half years now and still find things I have never seen. Driving doesn’t count as you miss a lot driving, you might not pop into the deli on a whim and find reasonably priced free-range meat or you won’t see the stand out the front of the local chemist (which you wouldn’t have noticed has changed its signage if you hadn’t been walking) you know the stand- it has the ridiculously cheap detergent and toothpaste. Another bonus is the free transport and exercise (can be a Godsend with small children if you have a pram or a carrier! It helps keep you sane and saves on counselling fees too).
Start feeling at home in the free services provided by your council and State Government such as libraries (do they have free internet? Free classes, story and song time for littlies? School holiday programs?)Museums and Galleries (children can be surprisingly receptive to a little exhibitionistic culture and learning and there are often family fun days, launches etc.) parks with exercise equipment or free concerts, free seminars for small business owners (I have attended a few lately and made some great connections- both for business and socially) I bet you can think of more around your town or city (maybe not Accident and Emergency- I really don’t want anyone to feel at home there!).
There are public events such as farmers or craft markets and festivals where you may spend money but get great local produce, meet the people growing and raising the food, lower your carbon footprint by buying locally and handmade and forge a stronger sense of community. You might want to get involved with Community Garden working bees and other Community days to really get hands on!
Getting to know your area means finding the best place for bulk buys in town and knowing when the fresh food is marked down (but still fresh) and which fruit shop to stop at on the way back from the supermarket. Knowing your area means that if you buy something online you are doing it because you can’t get it at all or for reasonable price locally. Knowing the local shops is much more interesting than just hitting the usual chain shops every time.
Equally as important is getting to know where the good coffee is made for occasional worthwhile indulgences!
So go out and own your part of the world, it may not be glamorous or elegant (mine sure isn’t but that’s a whole other blog post!) but you can only enjoy what it has to offer if you get exploring!