Shibboleth Living


Frugal shibboleth living



If you've never heard this funny-sounding word, "shibboleth," you aren't alone. It means a slogan like--"Got Milk?" or "Just Do It!" Or the SOS slogans on frugal living below.

Shibboleth can also mean a belief held strongly by members of a group, such as the Catholic belief in The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. And many centuries ago, if you couldn't say the word correctly, you were a goner.


According to the Bible, the people of Gilead used the word as a password because their enemies, the Ephraimites, couldn't pronounce the "sh" properly. Here's the story.

Judges 12:5-6 says, “The Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan toward Ephraim.  When any of the fleeing Ephraimites said, ‘ Let me pass,’ the men of Gilead would say to him, ‘ Are you an Ephraimite?’  If he answered, ‘ No!’ they would ask him to say ‘Shibboleth.’  If he said ‘ Sibboleth,’ not giving the proper pronunciation, they would seize him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus forty-two thousand Ephraimites fell at that time.”



SOS Shibboleths' concept came to me years ago as a catchword to help me spend and save more wisely.


Initially, “SOS” was a maritime international distress signal tapped out  Morse Code–dot, dot, dot, dash, dash, dash, dot, dot, dot. (My retired submarine Captain husband added that piece of information.)  But these letters can also help us focus on frugal shibboleth living.


These are my top ten SOSs.  They are economical in the amount of brain space they require but rich in what they can do for your life.  Try them on, for an  SOS Shibboleth each day will keep the creditor away.


1. SOS: set our spending (create a family budget).

2. SOS: safeguard our savings (learn how to shop).

3. SOS: stop over spending (figure out ways NOT use the credit cards).

4. SOS: stay out of stores (hmmm, that sounds interesting).

5. SOS: salvage old stuff (seldom say die to anything you own).

6. SOS: spot opportunities to slash (cleverly cut your spending).

7. SOS: support others spiritually (tithe, bestow, volunteer).

8. SOS: strive only to simplify (keep life simple and organized, Sweetie).

9. SOS: share our selves (give, and it will be given unto you).

10. SOS: sup on the spirit (get that soul food into your diet).


Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author

The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.

Subscribe