Farmgal’s Frugal but Doomer practices radical frugality..

Canadian Doomer is at the #4 spot on Google for “Radical Frugality”. Let me clarify something – frugality is the opposite of “cheap”.

Doomer put up this post! its awesome, as her new website and matching built in blog, if you are still looking at her old blog, go check out her new website! she is now called just plain marie

I decided that I would have a little fun with her list and see how farmgal does compared to it.. so here goes!

1.We are cash-only by choice. Sometimes we find it difficult to stick to that, as people urge us to purchase online or on credit. We do have a bank account so that we can pay bills and cash cheques. It’s quite funny, actually, when we pay for large purchases (like a computer or car repairs) in cash. No one expects that these days.

FG-Nope, I use my debt card, but I watch it like a hawk, and always have some cash on hand.

2.We live in a (fairly) small space – about 875 square feet.

FG-The old part of the farm house is a two bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and laundry room, the new part of the house is huge living room and downstairs bedroom, the attached trailer is another 800 feet of livings space, plus all the outside buildings.

3.We drink tap water.

FG- We drink our well water.

4.We have one car. We take good care of it, but it’s pushing thirteen fourteen years old and has over 260,000 kilometres on it. It really does not like cold weather anymore. We considered getting rid of it, but realized we couldn’t access important things like farm produce without it. It saves us more money than it costs, for now.

FG-We have three vehicles, one SUV, one Van and one moterhome, all of them are older, and all of them have been paid off for years.

5.Since gas hit $1.09 over $1.12/litre, we drive as little as possible. Unfortunately, we’re finding that this city is spread out in a very inconvenient way.

FG-Since gas hit 1.18 on average currently, we tag team all our driving, we plan our trips out in advance and will double up pickups or shopping working with the same time as a good to work drive, DH drives to the closest bus pickup and then takes public transit to work and back.

6.I cook from scratch. Really, really from scratch. I put up meat, vegetables, broth and pickles in glass jars, using a boiling water canner and a pressure canner.

FG-Yup, and I am in line on this, I cook very much from Scratch.. see Canning log 2011

7.My husband carries a packed lunch every day. By his insistence, it is one sandwich, 4 cookies and either a piece of fruit (in season) or a half-pint jar of dried fruit. Plus he carries his travel mug and a 1L Thermos jug filled with coffee to get him through the work day.

FG-Yup, Dh takes his breakfast, lunch and snacks with him to work, he has mugs at work drinking, and he has a water mug that he fills a number of times at work, no coffee, no pop, no other drinks then herbal tea or water.

8.We don’t have air conditioning in the apartment or in the car.

FG- Yup, no air conditioning in the house (but I do have it in one of the critter buildings for their health and safety) we do have it in the van, but not in the truck or the moterhome.

9.We use a slow cooker (which we bought on sale at 50% off). I use it for slow-cooking things like ketchup and barbecue sauce for canning. Slow cooker broke and we did not replace it.

FG- I own four slow cookers and use them alot during the canning process, and for winter use etc.

10.We do not buy “single use” items. I include not only disposable products like paper towel, but items like a popcorn popper, or a ‘Smore maker.

FG- No single use items unless DH’s mother or my mother comes visiting, and then they buy them, and bring them into my house, and I will then use them up.

11.We’re considering implementing Family Cloth. We have been using Family Cloth since December 2010.

FG-Yup, we use family cloth as well

12.I dumpster dive if I see something worth taking. I’ve noticed, though, that fewer good things are going curbside. Fifteen years ago, I swear I could have outfitted my home with what people threw out.

FG-Dumpster Diving, or curb shopping is a fairly regular event on the farm, why buy it if you can find it:)

13.This spring, we are going to join a Community Garden. I’m feeling quite excitedout that. The waiting list for these is LONG! We tried, and failed, to get one started at our church.

FG-I garden on the farm See Garden 2011

14.We’ve been quite radical with eliminating things in the house that we don’t use. Less stuff equals more room for food storage. (and for homeschooling books)

FG-Very true, I have been getting more and more brutal on getting rid of things that are taking up space, time or effort, and streamlining things so that I can keep order and or have room for the things I think we should be having in storage.

15.We have fairly streamlined wardrobes and don’t change with the seasons. If we do really need something (usually just for the kids), we shop at Value Village. I am considering having a Mennonite lady sew me some basic, durable everyday dresses and matching aprons.

FG-Big old fail on this one, DH has work cloths, farm cloths, winter and summer cloths and northern work or dress gear and cloths, FG has farm clothes, Go to town cloths, Fancy dress up cloths, Winter cloths and gear and summer cloths.. Nothing Streamlined about this one folks!

16.The kids have minimal toys and maximum books. The toys that they do have are usually classic items – Lego, wooden train and car sets, a few favorite stuffed toys.

FG-Well as we don’t have little ones but for us, we have tons of books, a reasonable amount of board games and not alot in the way of extra toys or games, we don’t buy alot of new or keep up with the jones type stuff.

17.We buy almost everything in bulk. And we’re not shy about asking about further discounts for dented boxes, about-to-expire meat, etc.

FG- Bulk -Yes, Loss Leaders-Yes and we have enough in our pantry, that I can wait and shop to replace only when things are on sale.

18.We love, love, love Freecycle. Baby clothes, car seats, books, movies, even our bed – we’ve found so many great things through Freecycle. When we are not using something any longer, we put it up on Freecyle, too. Yes, we could probably sell things, but I like getting some Freecycle karma.

FG- I have enjoyed some freecyle but I perfer farm sales, the cost of gas and time, means that for me, its better to spend a few dollars on the same thing I could get on freecyle over a couple months in one day at a farm sale and not have to pay for the gas to the city or to take so many off-farm trips.. Freecyle is good but farm sales for me.. Better!

19.I use Swagbucks as my search engine. I should be earning money for my searches, not Yahoo.

FG-Ok, so need to start doing this.. Bad farm gal..

20.We do not buy cold cereal. Ever.

FG- Don’t buy it but certainly make it for summer time when a bowl of cold cereal and milk makes a awesome break food or supper on one of those super hot melt you days on the farm..

21.We do not have cable. Actually, we don’t even receive the public stations. 22.We don’t have cell phones, and our phone/long-distance/internet is bundled, costing us less than $75 $100/month. (That was quite a price hike – no thank you very much, Primus!)

FG–No cable, no Sat TV, no TV at all now that it switched over, I love my CBC radio and I do have internet but its slow dial up and cost me very little per month.

23.We have no personal debt.

FG- We have personal debt but are working on paying it off.

24.We have a practical gifts rule, and no surprise gifts except for kids. We’re not wealthy enough for “Oh, gee, you shouldn’t have. Christmas is for church and good food, not gifts.

FG- I give gifts, I like to give gifts, and I’m not stopping! I do however have no issues giving second hand gifts, homemade gifts, and in repurposing gifts, I rarely if ever pay full price on a gift, be it new or second hand..

25.We are selective about who we give gifts to outside of the immediate family. Most people Everyone will receive something that has been creatively upcycled, carefully re-gifted, or hand-made. Okay, for “selective”, read “Nothing” this year.

FG- See Above..

26.We rarely practically never eat out – when we do, we recognize that we’re paying extra for someone else to shop, cook and clean. The food isn’t any better than, and often it’s not nearly as good as, what I make at home. We don’t go out for coffee, nor do we go out and drink. Okay, we really don’t drink. But if we did, we’d have a drink at home.

FG- We eat out at least twice a month, its a treat and its typically a couples breakfast out, more rarely a dinner out, its almost never as good as if it was made at home and its one of the first things we cut out if we want to save a little extra in the month..

27.I save the whey from making Farmer’s Cheese and use it as the liquid in my sourdough bread.

FG- I use the whey from cheesemaking in my baking as well.

28.Oh, yes, I make Farmer’s Cheese from goat’s milk instead of incredibly expensive chevre. I did say I cook from scratch, right? I mean it.

FG- Sheep milk for now but yup to the rest.. Can’t wait for my cow to come on line, cream, butter, and lots and lots of milk for many different things to be made with it!

29.We eat a lot of soup. And stew.

FG- Tons and Tons of Soup and Stews! Love them..

30.We don’t eat a lot of meat. We LIKE meat. Okay, we love meat. And if we had our own farm where we could raise chickens, rabbits, goats and pigs, we’d be eating like decadent carnivorous kings. Right now, though, meat is expensive.

FG, We are the on farm carnivorous kings.. meat is expensive and we are grateful for having the ability to raise our own..

31.Sometime in the new year, we’re buying a side of pork. I’ve found a farmer who will give us a good price. We bought, butchered and put up a whole pig. HECK of a job! I’m not sure it saved me money over watching loss leader sales.

FG-We butcher our farm raised critters thoughout the year, and I am sure that I save money doing so..

32.We buy farm fresh eggs directly from a local farmer, at a better price than I can get at the grocery store.

Fg- We raise chickens and gather fresh eggs, for a better price then I can get at the store, we are not picky, we will eat, pigon eggs, duck eggs, turkey eggs, quail eggs along side our chicken eggs..

33.We buy “seconds” whenever possible – blemished or oddly shaped produce that does not sell to more picky consumers. And we happily gather windfall apples when given the chance.

FG-I wild forage and do alot of free havesting locally of wild fruit both on old homesteads and in the bush, and will also pick up or buy windfall apples at a heavy discount for farm use.

34.Because I put up food in jars, I can portion meals well in order to minimize waste.

FG-Agree, and I laugh when Mom comes cause she likes to complain that I don’t have food in the house (snort) what she means is that I don’t have instant food in the house.

35.We make coffee at home and take it in travel mugs.

FG- I drink coffee and make it by the thermos

36.We don’t use napkins – cloth or paper. After a meal, people with messy faces go to the bathroom and wash, unless they’re too little. In that case, they have their faces and hands washed.

FG- I have cloth napkins and am the queen of table cloths, I like to change them darn near daily, they are my make me feel pretty item, and a much hunted for item at farm sales.

37.In addition, no paper towels, kleenex, paper lunch bags, disposable grocery bags, swiffers, disposable baby wipes.

FG- We have containers for the lunch to go in, and when I am sick, I either need to get alot more hankies or I do like having kleenex in the house at that time.

38.Most of my dishtowels have become rags and I’m still using them. Do they really have to look pretty in order to wash my dishes?

FG-No, but by the time they are rags, they tend to go in the rag bin around here.

39.Cleaning products – dish soap (bought in bulk), vinegar, baking soda, bleach, borax, Ivory soap. Oh, and we have two bottles of drain opener – a necessity around here.

FG-I’m on line with you here but my drain opener is baking soda and vinager, works very well here..

40.Oh, yea, among those appliances we don’t have – a dishwasher. Not that we could fit one in this apartment.

FG-I have a dishwasher, is a rollup and I love its working wooden top on it, We don’t use it as a dishwasher but I do like that extra counter space.

41.We don’t ever, ever, ever buy bottled water. Ever. We have metal water bottles that we fill and take in the summer.

FG-We buy cases of bottled water for storage but for trips etc, we fill up metal water bottles to take with us.

42.I do not use cosmetics. We use Ivory soap (until I learn to make lye soap), shampoo and conditioner bought in bulk, toothpaste and mouthwash. Mr. D uses deodorant because he needs it.

FG-I use very limited makeup, and only on special dressup times, everything is bought on sale and I make a fair amount of our own things to use like deodorant etc.

43.Homeschooling – I’m shocked at how expensive it is to send children to public school. From the mandatory shopping list to the constant fund-raising appeals and expensive field trips to the very specific foods allowed in the lunches … our elder child lasted a month and a half in public school and now we’re homeschooling. With the gift of *boxes* of curriculum from a very generous homeschooling family, we are set for the next eight years.

FG- N/A but I think it awesome that you are homeschooling and I hear you about the constant fundraising, I find it every time I go home, can you order this or that to help with school, and its crap stuff for stupidly high prices!

44.Oh, yes – need I mention that we happily, happily, happily take second-hand things? What we don’t need, we pass along.

FG-See Farm sale info above, I love to own things that have a story to them..

45.My “houseplants” – a sweet potato that I hope to keep alive all winter and a baby False Sea Onion/Pregnant Onion (works like aloe vera).

FG- the only “house” plant is my easter cactus, the rest are transplants from the garden, and will be over wintered and moved out in the spring.

46.We are very picky about what we buy. We frequently ask “Do we need this? Really need it?” Then we go away and ask ourselves that for a week. If the answer is still yes, and we could find no substitution, we buy it. We have decided on our family’s goals and values, and we analyze everything to see if it furthers those goals.

FG- The longer we have been here and the more I know what we will or won’t use, the more picky i get on what I buy or pass by..

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16 Responses to Farmgal’s Frugal but Doomer practices radical frugality..

  1. LOL I loved reading that. Can you update your Anthill graphic?

    For anyone who doesn’t know – she didn’t copy my formatting, so if the sentence seems weird, it’s because there was /strikeout on some words.

    FG – because we live in an apartment and share the drain pipes with who knows how many people (well, at least the three apartments above us), vinegar and baking soda aren’t enough. I know this from experience. I want to get to a farm sale – I’ve found out where the local one is – but it just never seems to happen. I should have updated the dishrag bit – this summer, Mr D bought me a package, so I am using decent ones. But I still grab a rag more often than not.

    And IF I give someone a gift, it’s going to be secondhand, upcycled, or food! 😀

    SIX vehicles? 0_0

    • Three vehicles, one SUV, One van and one Moterhome..

      Now why did the one sentence go in bold, have to fix that.. Have fun at the local farm sale and yes I can update the ant graphic, but as far as I can tell? you don’t have a ant page to link to yet on the website.

    • Deb W says:

      Um, I have a question… Is a “farm sale” the same thing as an “auction sale” or more like livestock/cattle “sales barn”? (‘Cause I LOVE my auction sales!!) and also love the fact that everything was previously loved, owned and comes with someone else’s “experience” already built in!
      Re the dishrag discussion… Lol, Mom always had a pecking order for her various pieces of cloth dish cloths and tea towels were for washing dishes. Old clothes, sheets, etc were turned initially into polishing/cleaning rags, eventually graduating to floor cloths when they got too skanky for anything else (and God help the person who used anything besides a floor cloth to wipe up a mess: )
      And (I can’t believe I can pass on something new to you two “pros” on this subject ; ) straight up, ordinary baking soda works like a charm to neutralise underarm odor. Just pat it on daily (or as necessary) with one of those flat, cotton “makeup remover pads”.

      • Deb W says:

        Oh, and we just reuse the little makeup pad until it disintegrates. They last for an amazingly long time: even when used by two of us for daily application.

      • queen of string says:

        Deb, you can crochet those little makeup pads and then launder them as required. They get softer with each wash too 🙂 ( they were one of the ways we eliminated disposables). I made some deodorant from baking soda and cocoa butter and cornstarch, it’s ace, I’m really proud of myself :-).

      • Farm sale is indeed a Auction Sale, I only got my Dh to a sales barn once and he was so upset at the way the animals were treated, that he made me leave and we have bought everything privately since.. he won’t support the barn sales. I have never seen him so mad but it did get the point across very clearly to him, WHY we are raising our own critters, and I tried to explain that some sales have better quality animals and some less but he would hear none of it, (in truth I found the local sale barns MUCH! harder on the critters then the alberta sale barns that I was used to, I went myself about five times and was unhappy at the difference I saw, where as a child/teen/20’s I went to every horse sale or odd and unusal sale in our local town with great joy) I do like my local regular spring bird sale, they do a great job.

        Baking soda would work for Dh but I would certainly need a little more, I do find that vinager help control the scent and then baby powder works well for me..

      • Deb, baking soda is *amazing*. It can be used for so much. Not only does it de-stink people, but it gets the stink out of almost anything else, too. I hadn’t really thought about using it as a deodorant, but it certainly makes sense and it’s cheap and safe.

        I wonder if it would be possible to find a powder puff anymore? That would last much longer than the cotton pads. 🙂

  2. queen of string says:

    It’s a really interesting exercise to compare how we all live. I think personally, I’m at about 2/3 of where you’re at ( I really should blog regularly then I could add this, hmm, maybe later if I have time). We have some stupid stuff, like currently owning 4 cars, at least 2 of them are going, but going can be a slow process here. Living in Canada seems to be quite “stuff intensive” to me. My day to day wardrobe would probably qualify for project 333 ( live with 33 items, rotate 3 monthly). But then there’s gardening clothes and snow stuff on top. Because BC is very much an outdoors activity kind of place I find us owning lots of “stuff” related to that eg portable bbq, kayaks, pfd’s, extra towels, snow boots and clothes and lots of gloves and hats. All clutter in their own way, but also enhancing of enjoying out beautiful, local outdoors. Having 3 teens, 2 of whom live half time with there not at all frugal mom, creates a different pressure. We have not demonstrated courage in addressing frugality with them as much as we could. Sure they eat the cook from scratch meals and think we’re weird for using reusables not kitchen towel, but family cloth and other reforms would, at this poin,t be beyond them. Despite DH having most goals in common with me, he isn’t perhaps as signed up to some aspects as I am and likes to eat out more and buy more take out drinks than perhaps I otherwise would. I do have a good excuse right now, we have a newish coffee place/restaurant opened up here. The people who have it are doing an excellent job and I really want them to succeed in their mission to transform the local food scene, so I donate $4 to them in return for 2 cups of take out coffee! 🙂 It wont make or break them but it’s a small thing I can do to support them and it fulfils my coffee wants. Gas here is at $1.21 right now, which is the lowest it has been in months. I run around in our very basic, non 4wd ford ranger mostly as it gets the most gas miles, and yes, you can get enough groceries for a family of 5 in the front seat of a very small pick up :-). There is so much more I would like to be doing, unfortunately I suspect much of it will wait until the kids leave home, or are at least, grown. DH has a big reaction if he feels deprived, so we have to be careful with that too. Ideas like blocking off the house in winter seem to make him think we are acting like we are poor when we are not and we “should” be able to do as we please. It’s a tough nut be we continue to work on it.

  3. CallieK says:

    Alright I’ll post how we do as well- can’t seem to copy it from CD’s page ( and she’s vanished off my blog reader again…) so I’m going to copy and paste from here.

    • Hi Callie

      thanks for taking the time to answer the questions, I put your link for your write up and added it to your comment so that everyone could find it in another couple years.. very interesting as you are in many ways closer to C. D. in terms of living choices at this time, being in the city etc.

  4. CallieK says:

    Absolutely! Where we live has a lot to do with choices because we have so many options. We are considering moving outside of the city in the future and have to keep all of these ‘perks’ in mind when calculating what the cost of living would be elsewhere. I don’t even have a full driver’s license but if I ever get a round to taking my road test I likey still won’t bother owning a car if we still live here. I would however look into a car sharing program like Autoshare or ZipCar.

  5. Maddy Han says:

    Some of the stuff I don’t agree with because I don’t consider it to be frugal. The first one (cash/debit card), for example, does not make sense for my family. I rack up 2% on my Discover card and I can use my cashback with no minimum at Added to that is my Swagbucks gift cards at Of course, we pay off our Discover card every month. 🙂

    • Maddy, for us, at the time, cash only was the wisest choice. These days we use a cash back credit card and keep it paid down. It is hard to purchase or do anything on line without a credit card.

      What is frugal for one family, or at a certain time, might not be frugal for others, in a different situation.

  6. Hey, Farmgal, my dear, could you change the links on this and post a note that I’m now Just Plain Marie? 😀 I’m trying to get my top ranking for radical frugality again.

    And I think I need to do an update on that, probably collating the various “radical frugality” posts I’ve done.

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