Clair Schwan - a frugal friend profile
Here's a place to learn about Clair Schwan, the first frugal friend profile here at Frugal Living Freedom. Clair is the host of this site, so it's fitting that he go first and lead the way for others.
Let's take a look at who he is and what his approach to frugal living is all about.
A Frugal Lifestyle
Clair lives with his sweetheart Ellen out on the prairie just northwest of Cheyenne, Wyoming where the wind blows, the sun shines, the coyotes howl and the snow can drift mighty deep.
Cheyenne is the capitol city of a state that has just a little over 500,000 residents - the least of any state.
Their place is about 18 miles from downtown and about 14 miles away from the major shopping area of Cheyenne. It's called Best of Both Worlds because it's out in the country, yet close enough to town for convenience when the needs arises.
It's mostly grassland with gentle rolling hills and a few draws and ridges to make it interesting.
The home of Clair Schwan is also shared by Kishi, Ellen's black cat, and Humper, Clair's Boston Terrier buddy. Kishi is a wonderful animal that is affectionate and very low maintenance. Humper (a.k.a. Dude) is playful and enjoys running around outside chasing rabbits and ground squirrels and hunting mice in the shop. The Dude has never met an animal or person he doesn't like.
Clair Schwan and Humper are often seen together in town where the two of them shop at various places. Humper is a joy to both shop keepers and shoppers. And, he knows which employees usually have goodies hidden in their apron or behind the counter. It's as much an adventure for "the Dude" as it is purposeful shopping.
The homestead is quiet and peaceful. No horns, sirens or barking dogs. Within a 2 mile radius, there are only 12 homes. At night it is pitch black. The glow of Cheyenne provides minimal light pollution, so the milky way is perfectly clear. Stars, planets, satellites and the space station are clearly visible.
There is a "more life, less work" policy at Best of Both Worlds, and that includes lots of fun. Photo left shows Clair and Ellen having fun with friends while modeling Billy Bob teeth, safety glasses and onion goggles.
Clair says: "If you can't have fun, why bother?"
Having traveled all over the country and all over the world for business, Clair is happy to have some roots that his previous employment didn't allow. If he never gets on another airplane again, it will be too soon.
Some of the frugal living accomplishments that Clair Schwan is especially proud of include being:
- independent with respect to home heating
- self-sufficient with respect to produce
- free to enjoy time with friends
- independent and self-directed
- successful in creating a website to help others be frugal
- poised for eliminating the electric bill
- ready to be largely self-sufficient with respect to meat and eggs
There are still many projects that need to be tackled. They are on paper and being coordinated with one another. The objective is to be self-sufficient, within reason, so marketplace conditions have little or no effect on the household. The key is marketplace alternatives.
Clair Schwan lives his life with the idea that he'll never need a "bailout", because he's relatively certain he'll never be offered one.
Words of Wisdom and Tips to Share with Others
Here are words of wisdom from Clair Schwan to help you live a more self-sufficient and cost-effective life:
- Use a credit card only as a convenient method of payment, never as a way of lending yourself money.
- Pay off your mortgage after you have a nice stash of cash to fall back on.
- Heat with scrap wood and you'll stay warm because of your labor instead of your money.
- Grow your own food and kiss the grocery store goodbye.
- Raise chickens - even in the city - and turn yard waste and kitchen scraps into fresh eggs.
- Pay cash for everything except your house - know what you possess is really yours.
- Do it yourself when you know how, and save yourself a service call.
- Live off the waste of others by shopping at auctions and garage sales; leave the high price of retail stores to others.
- When you get help from frugal friends, you build strong relationships, save money on repairs, and learn new skills.
He suggests that no matter which frugal living tips you employ, remember to keep things in perspective and focus on your largest costs first. Even small savings in areas of high spending can save more money than saving a nickel here and a nickel there.
Other items Clair Schwan is especially proud of include efforts to help all of us preserve our freedom. He ran for House of Representatives in Wyoming as a Libertarian in 2008. He now spends some of his time as a lobbyist at the capitol in Cheyenne, mostly in opposition to many bills that propose to control people and create more government.
He writes a website that promotes freedom and justice and limited government. It's called Libertarian-Logic and he gladly accept ideas for posting there that promote core American values such as free enterprise and individual liberty.
Clair Schwan also tries to encourage people to start their own enterprise by offering Sensible Small Business Ideas on another website. He promotes individual small businesses on this site for those that have the courage and the determination to make it on their own.
One thing for certain, Clair Schwan doesn't know when he has enough work to do, so he has started a fourth website dedicated to vegetable gardening. It's called Vegetable Gardening and Greenhouses, and I'll bet you can guess what it's all about - you're right - vegetable gardening and greenhouse vegetable gardening.
Lastly, our frugal living friend started a blog, his first, and it tells more about his four legged companion Humper Go-play Lickerson (a.k.a. Dude). It's a fun blog called Life with Dude, an amazing Boston Terrier. It's a fun blog where other Boston Terrier enthusiasts are encouraged to join in.
Plans for a Bright Future
Clair Schwan is very happy with his life in Wyoming. It's been said that in Wyoming, you'll find high altitudes, great attitudes and low multitudes. Nevertheless, he would like to purchase a cabin on a lake somewhere in the southern states so he can escape from the high winds and cold weather for a couple months in the winter.
This would give him a chance to do a little fishing and row around the lake with his Boston Terrier buddy as the first mate.
It's clear that Clair Schwan retired early as a result of his good hard work, good financial decision-making, and frugal living lifestyle, so he'd like to have a nice long retirement that includes plenty of fishing and a little bit of splashing around in the water as well.
If you're thinking about early retirement as well, you might be interested in his basic retirement advice. It focuses on strategic planning and frugality, as you can well imagine.
Of course, one of the requirements at the cabin will be a high speed Internet connection so he can stay connected with the websites and the many people that write in with questions and comments.
Message to Others
If there was only one message that Clair would offer to people, it would simply be...take the long view...and you'll do just fine. Frugal living requires a focus on financial goals.
What he means by this is to have a plan, base the plan on good research and careful thinking, then work the plan with steady determination and enjoy the fruits of your labor, your frugality, and your good decision-making for the rest of your life. He says that too many of us are in a hurry to get somewhere or be somebody, and we really haven't thought through the value of where we are headed.
He likens it to growth of a small town. Many want growth, but not many people take the time to understand what it is they are trying to grow. Clair suggests that you can jump into it and grow crime, traffic congestion, pollution, center city decay, urban sprawl and other undesirable things. Or, you can carefully plan it and grow a nice community that has lots to offer its residents and visitors.
So, Clair Schwan suggests that you plan your life carefully, then work the plan. "Don't let anyone tell you that your frugal living isn't worth it. It's not their determination to make. You are the one that has to live with the results of good planning and wise decision-making, or lack thereof."
That explains why Clair Schwan isn't a fan of TV or American popular culture - they both emphasize "here and now", and do little to promote the idea that we need to lay a foundation for tomorrow and years ahead.
He says: "Planning and deliberate action has always worked well for me. I know it will work well for others too."
Clair Schwan (and Ellen and Kishi, and the Dude) wish everyone good fortune and deliberate frugal living.
Done with Clair Schwan, take me back to Frugal Lifestyle