25 July 2019

Be A Collector of Skills

"Be a collector of skills" was a phrase I read recently on a blog I follow (Frugal Measures) and it has stuck in my mind.

As a Cheapskate, my focus is often on saving money, and the many, many ways I can do that without compromising our lifestyle. After all, that's what started me on this journey: the need when disaster struck to stretch our dollars till they screeched so we could maintain our standard of living.

I had to learn to do so many things that were completely foreign to me. I had to develop hobbies I had into full-blown, usable, practical skills, then use those skills to feed us, clothe us, keep us dressed, give us presents and holidays and so much more.

Looking back, I became a collector of skills.

And I'm still collecting skills.

Some of the skills I've collected include:
Pattern making
How to sew on a button
How to take up hems
How to put in a zip
How to work buttonholes by hand
How to work buttonholes by machine
Using an overlocker
Making patterns from ready-made items
Paper making
Card making
Hair cutting
Seed Saving
Pruning fruit trees
Sharpening shears, knives and axes
Firewood collecting (yes, it's a skill - not all wood is good firewood!)
Jam making
Sauce making
Smoking meats
Bread making
Soup making
Making yoghurt
Vinegar making
Fruit growing
Car repairs
Tyre changing
Oil changing
Fuse changing
Soap making
Lotion making
Using essential oils and herbs to make medicines
Cooking over an open fire
Making washing powder
Making laundry soaker
Making window cleaner
Making all-purpose cleaner
Using a haybox cooker
Knowing how to use the chainsaw safely
Knowing how to winch safely
Knowing how to drive in low range in all types of country and weather

Some of the skills I'm working on include:
Making sourdough starter
Pressure canning
Making wicking beds for the garden
Knitting socks

Disaster struck, and at the time it was an absolute disaster.

Almost 25 years on, I can look back and see what a blessing it was (could've done without the "disaster" disguise), and how it has enabled me to care for my family and my home, and extended family, over the years on a sometimes almost miniscule budget, without compromising lifestyle.

The skills picked up over the years have saved us money, time and energy, and formed a collection I am proud to own.


  1. I too was forced to develop skills early in our marriage. It did not prevent me from getting seriously into debt due to stupidity, but it is helping me get out and I am going to stay out. I love developing new skills.

  2. That is a very impressive list you have Cath! You have done exceptionally well over the 25 years. Disaster became an avenue of opportunity as it turned out. 😊


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