Posted on March 23rd, 2012
In case you’ve been living under a rock, “The Hunger Games” movie came out this week. For those who have been living one soil layer below said rock, “The Hunger Games” is the first book in a trilogy series by author Stephenie Meyer—whoops!—I mean Suzanne Collins. The series focuses on the efforts of one bow-and-arrow wielding teenage girl, Katniss, who rebels against all of the awful things the Capitol (the center of the dictatorship run by evil President Snow) does to oppress and subdue the masses.
Although the young adult series generally focuses on the life-and-death struggle that the citizens of the nation of Panem face, I’d like to take a step back to show you how the Hunger Games give us several lessons in strict frugality.
Katniss is the queen of resourcefulness, at home and in the arena, where she fights to the death in the Capitol’s cruel “Hunger Games.” Katniss’ family survives mainly on the heroine’s hunting. Once thrown into the arena to battle, Katniss works in tandem with bread-baking Peeta to root out (no pun intended) which plants are edible and which will kill, how to make efficient cooking fires, and where to find shelter. It’s their cleverness and resourcefulness that keeps them alive.
Channel your inner Hunger Games tribute (that’s what the games competitors are called) when it comes to your kitchen. Dig deep into the dark realms of your pantry and freezer to find food on the brink of expiration and whip up a meal or two. To make it extra hunger games-like, have a picnic and head outdoors! Fortunately, you won’t have any other deadly tributes to fear.
Only eat what you hunt.
Food in District 12, Katniss’ coal-mining district home, is sparse, to say the least. The heroine and her sometimes-boyfriend Gale take it upon themselves to hunt outside of the borders of their district for small game like squirrels. Hunting your own food? Now that’s frugal. Even successful CEO’s agree. If you’re not ready to bear arms, why not try growing a garden instead?
When you can trim the budget no more, generate income!
After their forays into the forest for some hunting action, Katniss and Gale regularly sell their yummy squirrel meat to the baker. (Interestingly, the baker also happens to be the father of Katniss’ other sometimes-boyfriend, Peeta.) The youths’ enterprising ways help generate income for their dirt-poor families.
When you find that you’ve cut your expenses to the quick, try capitalizing on one of your skills to make some extra dough. Good at math? Become a tutor. Like being crafty? Make some Hunger Games memorabilia and sell it on Etsy.
Find a frugal activity.
Become a master bread baker like Peeta; you just need some ingredients and an oven. Or develop some sweet archery skills like cool-girl Katniss; just invest in a bow and arrow and get shooting (in a safe area). Make like the District 12 crowd and find hobbies with low cash investments. Not sure what your skill could be? Check out some of the discount activities and classes offered on deal sites like Gropuon or Living Social Adventures. Become really good at one and you might even impress some gamemakers of your own, a la Katniss Everdeen.
When it comes to accessories, be a minimalist.
Everyone’s favorite mockingjay Katniss doesn’t mess around with a lot of expensive jewelry. She wears just one accessory: her mockingjay pin. It’s a statement piece, alright, and the symbol comes to represent rebellion against the Capitol.
While you might not want to drop $60 on your very own mockingjay pin, you can be more thoughtful about your accessories. Instead of spending $10 here and $20 there on meaningless jewelry and accessories, find one or two statement pieces that will really stand out.
Bottom Line: There are lots of things “The Hunger Games” can teach us, like how to be loyal and how to recognize and fight oppression. Being frugal might not be the first lesson you think of after reading the books or watching the film, but it’s certainly something we can learn from the survivalist citizens of Panem.
Now, go wait in that long line at the theater and “may the [good seat choice] odds be ever in your favour!”
Are you heading the see “The Hunger Games” this weekend?
Have a Karmic Day!
Bethy Hardeman, Social Media Maven
Posted on November 22nd, 2011
I’m so excited this week is finally here, and it’s not because of the large quantities of turkey and pumpkin pie I’ll be consuming on Thursday. No, this week is the best week of the year because my childhood friends are back.
That’s right—“The Muppets” is premiering this week!
The whole gang will be there, from Kermit and Miss Piggy to Sweetums and Crazy Harry, and you know you can’t wait to spend two glorious hours reminiscing with all of them.
The Muppets’ comeback also has me reminiscing about their other great big-screen moments. And I realized (being a personal finance blogger and Muppet fan, of course), that these Muppets sure are frugal. Here are a few particularly frugal Muppet moments, and how you can make them work in your life, too.
In “The Muppet Movie,” Kermit and the gang drive cross-country to pursue their dreams in Hollywood and pick up a new Muppet or two at each stop. They know how to pinch a dime along the way. (Muppets are notoriously broke.) Instead of staying at a swanky hotel, Kermit, Fozzie, Rowlf, Gonzo and Camilla camp on the side of the road.
Save a few bucks on your own vacation by following the Muppet code and “roughing it.” Check out Recreation.gov or Go Camping America to find a campsite near your destination. Just make sure to bring along the harmonica for the inevitable sing-along.
The Muppets take to the skies in “The Great Muppet Caper,” but instead of flying first-class—or even economy—they choose to travel in style in the cargo hold. They even avoid expensive cab rides from the airport by parachuting out of the plane and directly to their destination.
Since the TSA will likely refuse your requests for cargo hold travel, search for the cheapest flights by using sites like Kayak, which compares prices on hundreds of travel sites, or Airfare Watchdog, where you can set up fare alerts to be delivered directly to your email inbox.
In “Muppets from Space,” the entire gang bunks together in a large, Victorian-style home. True, weird things happen there. Gonzo sees messages in his cereal, penguins use the tub for their own personal waterpark, and mounted moose heads dance. But I’ll bet each Muppet saves hundreds of dollars each month by rooming with 20 or so of his closest friends.
While you might not consider sharing your bathroom with a waddle of penguins, do consider renting out a spare bedroom or even getting a roommate if you find yourself struggling to make rent or mortgage payments. Check out airbnb.com, if you don’t mind offering your place as a vacation destination.
When it comes to celebrating the holidays, no one does it better than the Muppets. The whole gang gathers to celebrate in “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” Not only do the Muppets tell a tale that’s in the public domain (which means you can read the entire text of Dickens’ tale for free), but they also invite neighbors, friends and former enemies together for a traditional holiday feast. Everyone brings a dish and shares the cost.
Take this holiday season to come together with others and share what you have. Nine times out of ten, they’ll share what they have, too. Now that’s frugal and festive!
Have a fun and frugal Thanksgiving!,
Bethy Hardeman, Social Media Maven