While some women may fantasize about their next shoe or handbag purchase, I am decidedly low-maintenance in those departments. Our vehicles are modest, paid-for (thank you, Dave Ramsey), and we plan to run them into the ground. I don't even wear my wedding ring on a regular basis, so jewelry is not a temptation of mine, either. But I do like to spend money on things that interest me - books, preparedness items, homesteading paraphernalia, and poultry.
|Who knew poultry would hold such fascination for me? It's become a passion and a small business.|
It is that crazy love for poultry that has motivated me to tighten our budget. You see, I really want to build a much larger poultry house that will comfortably hold more birds. Since we do not believe in going into debt, I've got to save up all the cash to fund my project ahead of time.
I started by brainstorming a list of ways that we could cut our budget significantly. Here's where the list stands. Try not to laugh if you have this frugality thing down pat!
Ways to save money:
1) Stay away from frivolous, impulse purchases! No more tempting items from Amazon.com "just because". I also blow a lot of cash at Sam's Club on a regular basis. I get sucked into their magazine and book area and leave with a lot fewer $ in my pocket. I think I'll just need to stay away from that part of Sam's entirely.
2) Try buying the kids' clothes at thrift stores or consignment shops. This will be a completely new experience for me, but I know this will cut quite a bit from our budget. We spend about $2,000 per year (gulp) on clothing for our four kids at the moment. Hubby Dear and I spend very little on clothing for ourselves but I'll definitely check out what they have for us as well.
3) Eat out less. We spend about $175/month on eating out. I will make an effort to eat at home even when it would be easy or convenient to eat out.
4) Spend a lot less at Christmas. Hubby Dear loves to give gifts and he really spoils the kids at Christmas. We've already been talking to the children about how we have too much "stuff" in our house and that we are going to focus on the true meaning of Christmas this year. We plan to slash our gift budget and buy things for people in need instead.
5) Coupon more. I am a coupon drop-out. I thought that it was taking up too much of my time for too little benefit. But when you are saving every penny, coupons can make a difference. Too bad we live nowhere near the stores where you can get the best "extreme couponing" deals.
6) Cut back on paper towel use. With four children at home, we go through a lot of paper towels. I am going to buy some more dish cloths and try to reduce the amount of money we spend on paper towels that way.
Eliminate Cut back on pop consumption. I am a complete and total Coke Zero addict. I know it is unhealthy for me and it certainly is not cheap. I am going to try and drink less pop and substitute either iced tea or water with lemon. Pray for my family while I go through detox! ;)
8) Recycle all those aluminum pop cans for $. I'm not sure people still do this any more or if it is available in our area. I'll need to check this out.
9) Stop buying the pricey Omega 3 supplement for my chickens. It is $15 per bag and we use at least 3 bags a month. It adds up quickly and I'm definitely not making it back with egg sales. (It costs me $3.12/dozen to produce eggs and I'm only selling them for $1/dozen. Oops.)
10) Reduce processed, prepackaged foods in favor of cheaper alternatives. Bagged salads, gone. When we don't have salad greens growing in our garden, I'll have to wash and assemble my own salad. The Holy Grail of breakfast time at our house, cold cereal, is on its way out, too. My kids (and husband) inhale the stuff. I can make whole wheat pancakes and waffles ahead of time and freeze them in single-serve portions. I can make instant oatmeal packets directly out of our food storage. And of course we always have eggs around here. :) Snack foods are going to be a bit of a hard sell. I already make all our bread.
11) Shop around for insurance. We've had the same car and home owner's insurance for 5+ years. Time to shop around and make sure we're getting the best rates. Hubby Dear is unsure of this one since he finds it very important to "shop local" and we don't have a lot of choices for insurance agents out here. He may change his tune if it save us a lot of $$.
12) Find some budget-friendly meals. My family will not go for the Hillbilly Housewife's $70/week meal plan, but I can certainly be more cost-conscious of the meals I fix. I also need to pay more attention to planning meals by sales the grocery store runs.
Now that I read over the list, it seems pretty pitiful. I'm not sure a list of generalities is going to get me very far towards the chicken house of my dreams. Any ideas on more ways to save money and live frugally? I sure could use them!
By the way, check out this Rural Revolution blog post. Patrice is collecting links to blogs with money-saving tips as well as sharing some of her own.