Friday, November 7, 2008

Frugal Friday - Form a Sense of Community

This morning I’ve been on the phone planning carpools to and from middle school, to and from elementary school. Turns out this is the weekend of single parenthood. My husband is on a beer binge at a brewer’s conference and two mothers are off to work-related conferences. The remaining dads and I have threatened to throw a blow-out party whilst our spouses are away. No not really. In reality we’re coordinating childcare - lending a helping hand. I’ll be picking up the boys from school so one dad can get his daughter from preschool. I’ll be picking up the girls so another father can complete a much needed job. Today’s my day to pick up the slack.

The beauty of it? These are the same people who pick up the slack for me. They take my preschooler for a play date when I’m too exhausted to function. They drive my children to school when my work schedule doesn’t permit. Without these neighbors, without this community we’d be paying for taxi services and childcare; something none of us can afford at the moment.

And a developed sense of community naturally leads to frugality; you can trade not only childcare but tools, skill sets, DVDs, books, etc. We don’t own a ladder but my neighbors do. When it comes time to hang those holiday lights I know a ladder is readily available. In exchange I’ll bake homemade cinnamon rolls. My neighbors don’t own a truck but we do. All they have to do is ask. When I ripped out my water-hogging lawn my neighbors came over to help without being asked. You can’t beat free friendly labor!

But in order to benefit from a sense of community it must first be created. How can you create community? One of the best things my neighborhood did was have a block party. All it took was a free permit from the city and a few flyers. We took over the streets potluck style. Every one chipped in. We got to know our neighbors and formed a neighborhood directory.

Now when people walk down the street they wave to each other. Everyone looks out for everyone else’s children. We all lend a helping hand in whatever way we’re able. It really does take a village; not only to raise a child but also to live an abundant frugal life.

Here are some links for your reading pleasure:

The Sunny Way

Neighborhood Frugal

The Tool Trader

How to Start a Neighborhood Cooking Club

How to Start a Community Garden


Have a lovely weekend!


Tammie said...

this is all so true.

i had to laugh at the ladder part because we are always borrowing our neighbors ladder.

Liss said...

Oh can I come and live near you cinnamon scrolls sound delicious. Not sure what skills I have to offer you in return though.

Having a place where you feel you belong is very important and it sounds like you have created a great little community.

Amy said...

It sounds wonderful!

I too live in a place where neighbors are friends. Sharing and helping and it's the thing I love most about where I live. Another tip for forming community is a simple one but it has worked for me in a few different homes. When someone new moves in, bring them a pie or some bread and say hi. Easy and appreciated. Instant friend.

Shalet said...

Excellent point Amy! We also give home baked goodies over the holidays for the same reasons. :o)

Shalet said...

And Liss - everyone has something to offer! By reading my blog you are offering moral support. Deed done. :o)

Lemon Dingo said...

What a wonderful post. We live in a community just like yours. We really "lucked into it"...moving from Australia to a city in the United States. We felt like we were literally throwing a dart into a map trying to decide exactly where to live. But our neighbors did just as Amy suggested...they came knocking with pies and offers to help and put on a block party to welcome us. We feel blessed beyond words and now consider them all family.

Carrie said...

How lucky you are to have a small community like this to help you through.

hokgardner said...

We have a similar situation - where kids run back and forth between houses and get fed lunch wherever they happen to be. We carpool for schools and activities and have impromptu group dinners just because. It's one main reason we haven't moved to a much-needed bigger house. We're afraid we won't find the same community again.