Tiny House Homesteading

have the courage to dream

Month: February 2017

Wishing for a bit of spring

This week I was able to order my bees. I know that I still have a lot to learn about bees, and I don’t even know if I can successfully raise bees this year. However I am determined to try.
At the same time I am looking forward to the signs of spring to arrive. In actuality I don’t have a lot of signs of spring here on the homestead to arrive. We live in the desert and there is very little green here. As I was thinking about how much I love spring and how little we have here to enjoy spring I got an idea.
In order for my bees to be comfortable and happy here on our homestead we need lots of flowers. So today I decided that its time to start planting cold weather flowers. We are still getting lots of cold weather. The nights drop down below freezing, but there are lots of beautiful flowers that like cold weather, and I think its time to start planting them. The bees will arrive at the end of March or the beginning of April so I think I have just enough time to prepare for our bees by planting flowers now.

Pansies are some of my favorite flowers and better yet, they are cold weather; meaning I can enjoy them early in the year when its still cold outside.

A few thoughts on getting out of debt.

I love to read articles that tell me how I can get out of debt or save money. However, I don’t know why I continue to be drawn to them. The truth is I find very little useful information, at least for me. I read things like:

  • Don’t buy junk food. Okay this is good advice but lets face it the healthy treats I love cost as much or more than the junk food, so although I love this advice, its not saving me money maybe calories but certainly not money.
  • Don’t eat out at lunch – take your lunch to work. Okay who can afford to eat out and where do you find all that money to go out to eat for lunch. Eating out is a treat for a date night or a celebration not a lunchtime activity. And for that matter, lets celebrate getting out of debt. We save eating at the fabulous restaurant for a reward when we pay off a debt or for something super special, not as a daily activity.
  • Give up an addictive habit.  Although this is great advice, I don’t drink, smoke, or play the lottery. When I read this I think yes this would save money but how does this help me?
  • Negotiate a lower rate on your credit cards. Come on, its those dumb cards that got me into trouble in the first place. I avoid them like the plague.
  • Cut your cable bill. Seriously that was the first thing I cut when I realized just how broke we were.

 

So I have decided to post my own advice here for everyone to read.

How to save money

  • Use the library. If you decide you love a book and want to reference to it repeatedly then go ahead and buy it, but most books can be enjoyed and returned to the library. If you do decide to buy it try buying it second hand. We like Abebooks. We have found they have great prices for a lot of the books we purchase second hand
  • Shop at the thrift store. We love this, we find so many great things shopping at the thrift store, but its important to buy just what you need at least until you are out of debt. Don’t buy things just because they are a good price. Shopping anywhere can get out of hand. Having said that we save hundreds of dollars by buying second hand. I have a teen daughter who spends about $40 a year shopping for clothes. She dresses better than any of her friends and buys almost everything second hand.
  • Trade services. Its great if you can find someone you can trade services with like babysitting for piano lessons. We have found that we can trade services for many different things including hatching eggs. Be creative.
  • Get rid of your cable bill and for that matter any bills that you don’t need. Come on you know what they are.
  • Take advantage of free music lessons if you can. The public schools often offer Choir, Band, Orchestra and sometimes other music that your kids can learn at the school for free or an extremely reduced rate compared to private lessons. Likewise the internet is full of free lessons on just about everything.
  • Develop new skills and learn how to do things yourself. Although there are some jobs I like to leave to a professional, I have found dozens of projects that I can do myself with a little help from YouTube. My daughter learned how to crochet by watching YouTube videos.
  • Have family game nights instead of vacations for a while.
  • Take advantage of free community events. Actually if you want to go to a good concert or play you might actually enjoy one from the local high school.  There are lots of free (or super cheap) community activities that you can enjoy when you are taking a break from Vacations and getting out of debt.
  • Plant a garden. Well this can be interesting. Here you must set a spending limit. The first time we ever planted a garden we spent $100 on supplies and didn’t get anything out of it. Last year we buried a few seeds on a family night and reaped a whole lot of food.  The idea was we just planted a few seeds and didn’t spend a lot of money. If we hadn’t gotten anything, we wouldn’t have been out much. However that time we got baskets of fruit. My advice to to start small and expand.
  • Work, work, work. I can’t say this enough. I am a stay at home mother, but there are dozens of things I do a week that save my family money because I am willing to work and do something myself instead of pay someone else to do it.

Here are some D0s and DON’Ts for getting out of debt.

Stop buying things you can’t afford.

  • For most of us this means don’t use credit cards EVER because if you don’t have the cash for it, you can’t afford it. Stop using them. Cut them up and ban them from your life.
  • Don’t buy a car without cash.
  • Don’t buy a house that is more than 25% of your take home pay.
  • Don’t take out a second mortgage.
  • Don’t spend more than you make. Tell everyone NO when they invite you to do something that you just can’t afford. And lets face it when you are getting out of debt you can’t afford just about everything because to get out of debt you need to one stop spending and two put extra money on the debts until they are gone.
  • Don’t buy anything that isn’t necessary until you are out of debt (with the exception of small rewards that you pay for with cash built into your getting out of debt plan)
  • Do pay extra on your debt.
  • Do pay extra on your debt.
  • Do pay extra on your debt.
  • DO PAY EXTRA ON YOUR DEBT.

However the best advice I can give is just as follows. Stop spending money on purchases that are wants not needs. Too often we are plugging along and someone tells us about a great sale, a fabulous book or an amazing once in a lifetime vacation we just have to take. Here I like to apply the advice of Dave Ramsey. Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else. There has to come a time when you tell yourself NO until you can afford to tell yourself YES. And finally, DON’T GIVE UP! If you have kids, love them enough to teach then how an adult is supposed to act. That is be responsible and stop spending money you don’t have. Its a terrible thing to teach them by your bad example to spend money you don’t have. Your really teaching them how to live a life of bondage to debt and your not happy there, why would your kids be. Rather work hard at getting out of debt and show them a better way. And there you have it.

Prepping for our job change

Our plans to prepare for a radical job change (going from working for an employer to being self-employed) means that we have to be able to financially survive while we are building up our business. To do this we have been putting together a plan that includes growing our own food. However there are things we can do in addition to growing our food that will help to sustain us through the next few months. One of those is to can food, so yesterday and today my oldest daughter and I have been canning a 50 pound bag of carrots that we got for $15 at the supermarket. We were able to can 28 quarts of carrots that we can add to our food supply. We also sat down and created a food plan that utilizes food that we can purchase and store. These meals can be made with canned foods enabling us to stock up now for lean financial months. When we have fresh food we will always prefer fresh, but having canned foods will keep us from stressing about feeding our family if finances become really thin while we are building our home business.