Whether you love money or hate it, we all need it some time or another. I know frugality comes less easy to me than self sufficiency. We grow a large portion of our own vegetables, raise chickens for eggs, and raise all our own meat. We make our own soap, wool dryer balls, and laundry detergent. I do not tell you all this to brag about our lifestyle or give any illusion we have attained some sort of higher level. My husband and children love Doritos, so let’s keep it real.
I retired from my job in healthcare December 2019 so we tightened up a lot of our budget. I have learned a few things that actually curb our spending, much to my husbands delight. I have always had a Don’t- stress- it-will-work-out attitude with money. But for him, that is a stressful mindset.
So my number one tip is
GET ON THE SAME PAGE . I will never be a natural saver however we do follow the Dave Ramsey technique . It helped immensely with our mindset of debt. We were looking at debt as being normal and it isn’t .
There are many arguments about whether raising your own food saves you money. I will say this: we are raising a quality of food which would be expensive and out of our budget were we to buy it.
#1 Reduce feed costs by fermenting or supplementing.
However, homesteads and farms have expenses. It is impossible to ignore the cost of inputs. When raising pigs, near the end they will eat a $20 bag of food a day. Nine pigs will eat almost three bags a day. Which can go on for a month. Then there are processing costs if you are going to sell the meat.
But there is an option of supplementing their food with discarded produce from the local grocery store. That will reduces feed costs somewhat but they will still need a balanced feed ration in order to achieve maximum growth.
We also built a special feeder this year to eliminate waste of feed. It worked better than we had hoped. Proper feeders can also help reduce feed costs.
Fermenting food can stretch a bag of chicken feed over several more days than straight feed, and takes very little time.
#2 Start as much as possible from seed, baby or egg.
Seeds are cheaper to start yourself and trade off with friends, rather than buying all your garden starts from the store. Use quality soil, seeds, and grow lights. Many communities have seed banks at the local library, you can save your own and there may be seed exchanges. If not, start one! Virtual garden groups are a great way to trade extra starts you’ve grown for something you need.
Hatch your own chicks and raise your own babies. If you’ve invested in good breeding stock, this is a great way to recoup those costs. If you have extra offspring, you can sell them as well.
#3 Stop. Trying. To. Do. Everything.
It is a waste of money to keep systems that aren’t hauling their weight. And the only way you’ll know that is by observing and tracking expenses. I need to manage my wool from my sheep and recoup the time spent making value added products such as dryer balls before I go adding a goat aspect to the farm. If you have one system maxing out its production, then you get to add another. I can’t have ten systems all losing money. Pare it back.
Tip: Horses very rarely ever bring in money. If you are going to have horses, accept they are a hobby. and an expensive one. Even basic care and feed will be at least $500.00/month for one full size horse. But by lord, they are wonderful for the spirit. It’s a trade off we’ve made gladly. Just saying ‘.
Love Jenn xx