If all good things must come to an end, then it had to happen sooner or later. After 7 years and nearly 400 tips, DIY projects, yarns, and wordy expressions of opinion, we have decided to end our Monday posts and shut down the website. We will still be sharing tips and great information on our facebook page, and pictures of both the practical and eye candy variety on Instagram. So as we and technology move along, please move with us and like and follow us at either or both of those locations. And as always, feel free to swing by and say hi when you share an anchorage with Eurisko. Thanks for all the support. See you out there.

Storing Bits of String

April 18, 2016

We are often asked how we can live on next to nothing. (We recently increased our monthly budget from $1500 to $2000 and it bothers me that it's so high. But we had been in the States for a while and things are expensive there!) Unfortunately, there's no quick and easy answer. There's no formula that we can share that will help the less-than-thrifty suddenly become frugal. Instead, what we have are little hints, tips about how we do things that all seem to add up to spending less and living more.

Bits of string and paper

More than anything, what helps us spend less time working and more time playing is an attitude. It affects every decision we make, every item we don't buy, every bit of string we scrounge. Here's an example.

We spent the holidays with David, our youngest son, and his family. While we were there David was showing us the enormous spool of high-tech line he had acquired. He was so excited, explaining its breaking strength, demonstrating how well it held a knot, tying decorative knots and constrictors all over his boat. When he finished one particular piece of rope work, he cut off the tail and put it in a pile of similar string.
"What are you going to do with that?" Dave asked.
"Throw it away."
"But that's almost a foot long!"
"I have like a mile of it, though."
"No, at this rate, you have half a mile because you throw away as much as you use."
David laughed at his father's incredulity while Dave gathered up the bits of string David was going to throw away. By the time our stay was over, Dave had a pile of useful-only-to-him string.

Wrap around the bobbin.

When we got home Dave unpacked his pile of string, but didn't know what to do with it. He wadded it up, stuck it in the ditty bag and forgot about it. The next time he needed some nice line, he pulled out the tangled mess and thought, "This won't do." So he made some bobbins.

He found some stiff paper in our giant stack of scrap paper. (Any piece of paper with more than half of one side blank gets put in the pile. It's about 6 inches thick right now, though it varies.) He tore off a piece a few inches square, then folded it into a long strip which he folded in half.

Between the two ends

He wrapped one bit of string around the "bobbin," leaving a tail a few inches long. This tail he put between the two ends of the bobbin, then put through the "hole" formed at the other end of the bobbin. When he pulled the string tight, it "locked" in the bobbin. The next time he wanted a little bit of string, he pulled out a bobbin from the ditty bag, used what he needed and then rewound the remnants onto the bobbin. It's been four months and we're still using David's "trash" string.

Form a hole in the other end.

No, these little bits of string that Dave stores and saves so he has them handy when he needs them rather than going to the store to buy more will not save hundreds of dollars. It won't make you able to quit your 9 to 5 rat race and sail off into the sunset (or sunrise, in our case). But the attitude that leads to our saving little bits of string is the exact component that allows us to live as freely as we do. It's a symptom of the answer to the question of how we live on so little. Maybe the next time someone asks, I'll reply, "We save string."

Put the end through the hole.

Bobbin full of string

MONDAY we'll share details about our favorite crew member.


Connie McBride's work has been published in Good Old Boat, Sail Magazine, Small Craft Advisor, Cruising World, All at Sea, and Blue Water Sailing. As a full-time liveaboard cruiser for over 15 years, she has written several books and in her spare time, well, who has spare time?

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