What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Carters - Extreme Frugality

When it comes to frugal living everyone has their own definition.  For some it means getting the essentials for free or very low cost, ideally the cheaper the better.  For others like us it means getting the best value for our dollar.  I came across this video by Gourmet Magazine on the Carter family of Maine.  They are a family of six who have recently adopted the frugal lifestyle.  They have cut out all unnecessary expenses like buying toys, going out to eat and birthday parties.  While this seems like a logical plan they really have set themselves up for failure by trying to drastically change their lifestyle.

The Carters live on 40 acres.  Like many newbies adopting the frugal lifestyle they are focusing on their food costs which in many ways is their first mistake.  They plan to grow all they eat in that space.  This is unrealistic at best for many reasons.  While they are raising their own chickens he did not do a cost analysis as to whether doing so was really frugal.  Speaking from experience over more than three decades, even the best planned gardens simply cannot produce all the produce a family of six needs annually.  They don't want to buy any greens or fruits until at least December but in Maine this would mean going without a lot of fruits as you simply can't grow all that is needed and without greens unless growing indoors.  Nothing is mentioned as to home preserving (eg. canning, freezing, drying, fermenting) either although I suspect at some point they would have had to consider preserving their harvest for later use.  I honestly don't agree with buying something that is less expensive then putting it into a more expensive container basically for show.  Sorry, but this is a superficial keeping up with the Jones' attitude that will spell disaster when changing to a frugal lifestyle.  What they have missed is on 40 acres there is a wealth of free food available for foraging.  What I do agree with is cutting down on eating out especially with a family of six.  Speaking from experience raising a larger family eating out is costly.  However, we chose to give our kids that experience at least once a month and it was rarely fast food but rather sit down restaurants.  Here's their video talking about their beginning aspirations into the frugal lifestyle.  Enjoy!

Garden Gnome