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Sonlit Acres

Encouraging sustainable living

SAVING AND EARNING ON THE HOMESTEAD.

We can always be assured that spring will come, and we need to be ready. One thing I have learned in the past couple of years to help me stay focused is to keep a running To Do list. My wife bought me one for a couple of dollars last year and I leave it on my desk in sight so I don't forget to use it. I also keep a small note pad in my pocket and jot things down if I see something that needs to be done and later I put it on my To Do pad. That couple of dollars has saved me countless time from forgetting something before it's to late. 

My To Do list has two categories: Do now and Do later, this helps in keeping what needs to be done now separate from what can be done a little later, I find it saves me time going down a much longer list and making that determination on the fly, when something is done it gets a check mark and if it's in the later column it gets moved to the now column when the time comes. Pretty simple I know And I'm sure you younger folks wonder why one would need a list to stay on track? In the years to come you will know why and then you can stop giggling at this older guy. The To Do list is my way of saving time and it helps me prioritize what needs to be done and when.

I would like to move on to saving money: 

When we first moved here money was very tight and we had to be very careful how our money was spent and many of the things on this list we did and still do.

Some ways we saved were:

Making our own fence posts.

Sawing as much of our own lumber as we could with an Alaskan chainsaw mill. 

Repurposing pallets for all kinds of projects.

Repairing our own machines to include our car. The savings in labor cost alone is surprising. 

Cutting our own firewood.

Hanging clothes instead of using a drier.

Shopping once a month with a list and not buying what isn't on the list.

Buying in bulk.

Slaughter, butcher and preserve our own meat.

Not enough can be said about a garden and canning your own.

My wife made our girls dresses as well as mended all our clothes.

Cook on a wood stove.

Cook from scratch. As well as bake your own bread, it is allot cheaper to make it than to buy it these days.

Make coffee at home. That purchased cup can add up to a good sum of money by years end. If you buy a large coffee at 1.95 every day that's $711.75 a year.

Make yogurt and cheese at home, we don't have a good place to age cheese, but our family loves cheese curd and we make it once or twice a week when the cow is in milk.

Eat your left overs. I know folks that refuse to use their left overs, many times we put our leftovers in the fridge and make a soup out of them every three or four days. 

Feed table scraps to your pigs or chickens. 

Be energy conscious, shut lights you're not using, unplug electronics before bed. For years we were off grid because power didn't go by our house. When the power company constructed a line the cost to hook on was prohibitive. So we went without, we used a small solar array for lights when our batteries were low we used oil lamps. Our generator was only used a couple hours a day to do wash, and everything that needed power to get done was done in that time frame. (I many time wish we had never hooked on.) 

Save something, we try to keep an emergency fund, so we have at least something when the inevitable happens.

Buy used equipment to avoid debt, don't be afraid of a well kept older machine. I purchased a 1966 snowmobile in 1980 and I still use it to do work in the winter. Our tractors and other farming equipment is from the 1940's and 50's. Thank the Lord, they serve us well.

Don't keep to many pets. Yes we all love animals but keeping to many that don't produce something is money out of your pocket. 

Having a few egg customers or milk customers (if it is legal in your state) is a good way to offset your feed costs. Yes it is worth keeping some extra chickens and even the milk cow, they save you money. 

I am sure there are plenty more ways to save money than I have put here, but these are the things we have done over the years to save. If we remember that what we produce for ourselves on the homestead is savings to us we can feel good about what we do. Just think, if you raise $5,000 in food this coming year, that is $5,000 you don't have to earn away from the homestead.

And if by some chance you get into haying for your own animals you may have an opportunity to earn some cash by selling your excess, or maybe you cut a few extra cords of wood this year, again extra earnings. There are many ways to save and earn on the homestead doing what we so love to do, if we can just teach ourselves to think outside the box. 

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Praying you are all well and living the life you love.

 

God Bless.

 

  

 

 

 

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