Step 4: Cutting Costs

Take Them Up On It

A key strategy alluded to in my book is to take people and organizations up on all freebies. These have made all the difference in my financial journey.

  • What’s available to you right now?
  • What are Craigslist, your library’s bulletin board, your bank, and your rec centre promoting?
  • What do their posters say?
  • On any larger ad, is there fine print offering a bursary or third-party funding for your spot?

Here’s some of what’s FREE in my small community this week:

  • three yoga classes
  • the sport of a child’s choice
  • six bank accounts
  • four singalongs
  • one community meal (not counting the soup kitchen, etc)
  • squash (the food, not the game)
  • access to all recreational stuff while accompanying a child with disabilities
  • access to an art studio, supplies, and guidance
  • university tuition for single parents, people with low-income, and people with disabilities
  • eight spiritual-but-not-religious events
  • two public book study/discussion groups
  • twelve coffee gatherings
  • one counselling session per person
  • unlimited listening sessions per person
  • outdoor movie
  • two child craft sessions
  • one week of daycamp
  • fax and mail service to all government departments
  • decluttering service
  • advice on staging and selling a home
  • spiritual companioning

And then there’s the sliding scale acupuncture, $5 board game night, $2 swim, free trails and lakes, matching grants of up to ten thousand dollars, libraries, public Wifi, and more.

But guess what? Most people I talk with in the course of a week don’t know about these, and thus insist they don’t exist. But not knowing about an offer and the offer not existing are two very different things. Ask your mind to start noticing. Read the posters, the flyers that come in the mail, the fine print, the online newsletter for your community, and your local paper.

What would your budget look like if you took your community up on every free offering?
How much fuller would your life be?
How much would your dependence on the food bank or credit decrease?
How much more energy, joy, or money would you have available to share with others?

Remember: These programs exist to build community, facilitate neighbour interactions, and/or help you get ahead financially. The will of a presenter to offer an event—or of a grantor to fund a program—depends entirely on the number and enthusiasm of people showing up. When you take folks up on these offers, you help build community, you increase your security, and you ensure programs like these continue to be in place for people who need them most.

What are you doing for free this week?

2 thoughts on “Take Them Up On It

  1. This is well-timed for me because I am getting divorced and so am broke and friendless. There are lots of things to do for free! My employer has all these wellness classes and I think my gym does, too, for instance. (The public rec center, that is, where I got a full-year membership for $183.)

    I also just realized that I am about to be eligible for all sorts of income-based freebies and discounts. $10/month home internet. Free school lunch for the kids. Free all-day kindergarten and preschool, because I just slide right off the bottom of the sliding scale.

    Other freebies in my area: The library now checks out passes to fee-based local museums and state parks.


    1. Wow, that’s all awesome, Frugal Paragon! I’m really glad you’re ready and willing to access this great stuff 🙂 We can all take turns: accepting gifts when our income indicates, and donating or sponsoring when we’re well-situated again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s