Just Try! A Mindset for Being Frugal

Good Morning!  So, it’s actually afternoon and I was just finishing up chores for the day.  As I washed my handwashing dishes (some old pyrex and sentimental glassware that I love to use, but don’t put in the dishwasher) I was thinking of blog posts and ideas for the blog.  I was still trying to decide if I was serious (really brave) enough to start a blog: what if I ran out of ideas or got overwhelmed or sounded stupid or our trips weren’t exciting enough…

I was composing threads of thoughts that might form into a post, like maybe I could do one about an important phrase , a theme, a life thought that we follow and that helps us on our way.

‘Just try’  came to mind.

Just try—the husband was a farm hand for 16 years.   At 2:00 in the morning, ‘just try’ is what you do when machinery breaks down and you need to keep farming.   ‘Just try’ is what you do when the nearest parts place is miles away.  ‘Just try’ is what you do when you know it is going to be an expensive fix.  Sometimes just trying works and you can finish the field.


                     Fabric still waiting to become dresses.

Just try—be brave!  I like to sew, usually patchwork quilt tops and some dresses.  I love to pick out patterns.  I will sit for hours looking at patterns when Hobby Lobby has them on sale for 99cents.  I love to pick new fabric for the dresses and gather clothes to recycle for the quilt tops.

And then I stop.


It can sit there for weeks.  I look at it.  I think about it.  I wash it.  I dry it.  I even iron it.  But it is very hard to cut into the fabric for the first time.

Once I get started and try, I am fine.  It is just that first hurdle—what if I mess it up, ruin the fabric, wreck it somehow – that is the hardest to get past.  Just try, take the first step and  end up with a beautiful project.  Or at the least, I have a very pretty, but too short dress to wear around the house!

Just try-we have saved sooo much money because the husband is willing to try something himself.  I am thankful for those farm days (even though he was gone much of spring and fall), I think a lot of his ‘not being afraid’ to try is from those days.   This last summer, we painted the house.  He was able to replace (lots!) of cedar siding, a door threshold and a window sill by himself.  He did a great job, of course he had a great blonde helper, but I am proud of him, and our 120+ year old house looks great.  It could have cost a lot to hire it done.

There are lots of resources to help you ‘just try’ also.  I checked out books from the local library on painting and caulking.   The internet and YouTube videos were good resources for the sill, siding and even glazing windows.

    His garage when his knees don’t like the gravel driveway.

YouTube videos were also great when we ‘just tried’ and tore apart the dishwasher to fix it.  It was way less expensive than buying another dishwasher, though kind of gross.  ***Huge hint—we tore the dishwasher apart, cleaned it and it worked for a while.  Now, we add ½ cup of vinegar when it starts the washing cycle, about 25 minutes into the process for ours, and it really helps get the dishes clean.***

Now, ‘just try’ does not always work.  The husband’s work car needed new half shafts.  He read and researched about it.  He worked on the right side, tore it apart, fixed it, replaced parts and put it back together.

Unfortunately the left side did not cooperate.  It was rusted solid.  So after penetrating oil, hammers, air chisels and other assorted tools, he had to put that part of it back together and take it to a local mechanic.  At least he tried, he didn’t make it any worse and it saved us half of the charge.

You also need to judge/decide about ‘just trying’.

With many things, you can be brave and ‘just try’.  It is a great way to save money and learn a new skill.  Sometimes you need to decide if it is worth your effort and time.    The husband knows how to change oil, but we are getting older and the driveway is the nearest he has to a garage.

Sooo, he keeps telling me that our local garage can change the oil for very nearly the price of the oil and filter.   It uses the oil he wants and is quicker.  But every so often, I have to check the price of the oil and filter, because it seems like we should be doing it ourselves.  I have even told him that he could teach me, since his knee doesn’t like the gravel driveway.  For $5 difference though, we let the local garage change the oil.

So, here I was, finishing dishes, thinking about if ‘just try’ would be a good post, if maybe I should write it down so I wouldn’t forget it.

Then, it hit me.

It was exactly the post that I needed to read.  I was worrying about all the ifs and ors about starting a blog, when I needed to ‘just try’.  It’s ok that we don’t take long expensive trips or rv fulltime or have little children anymore.  Those blogs are exciting and inspiring and I love reading them. 

But our blog can be just that, ours.  We can share our camping tips, trips and projects.  We can share life with older, yet still fun, children and grandchildren.  We can still share our passion for family, frugality and camping and hopefully inspire a few others to ‘just try’.

Happy Camping (and Just Try!)

The Frugal Campasaurus


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