Monday, June 13, 2011

Building a Farm Business and Growing a Family

It is not always easy to live on one income while building a business such as a farm.  We have strong tendencies towards the simple so that helps.  Here are some ways we save on living expenses that may help others:

1.    We have a woodstove and only use our propane furnace as backup in the winter.  We can generally get buy each winter on one tank of propane.  Which we plan to buy during summer fill-ups.  Jeremy cuts and splits all our wood off of the farm.
2.    In the summer we only turn on the air conditioner when it starts affecting our sleep.  We have also added insulation when needed.
3.    Dairy heifers that will not make good milk cows either go into our freezer or that of our friends and family.  We even traded beef for pork last summer!
4.    I cook 75% of our foods from scratch.  I watch sales and follow money saving blogs to take advantage of coupons.  We also stock up on many foods and buy flour in bulk.
5.    We have really cut back on our eating out.  I have to admit driving past pizza place on my way home makes a really tempting supper at the end of a long day.  However, I can go home and the five of us can have a nice nutritional meal for 1/3-1/2 of that “cheap” $10 greasy pizza!
6.    I have been attempting to grow a few vegetables, but that has not gone well.  Hoping we have at least tomatoes this year!  Last year a friend gave us some sweet corn and Jeremy’s Grandfather gives us a bushel of peaches every year both of which I freeze.
7.    Jeremy does 80% of his own repairs.  With local shops charging $50-75/hour rates, this is a must for a beginning farmer.  It also allows Jeremy to run older equipment because he knows he can rebuild most of them if needed.
8.    Research research research!  Especially for things like car seats, I spend probably too much time finding out what will not only save us money in the long run, but also keep the kids safe!
9.    Our clothes often come from hand me downs, consignment stores (I try to shop only the clearance racks there), or garage sales. 
10. Our Sunday school class has just started a “Financial Peace” course by Dave Ramsey.  I will have to let you know how that changes our habits.
11. For Paul & Ruth I cloth-diapered, but I also worked from home more then.  Now I buy most of my diapers for ~$.10 each using Amazon Mom’s Subscribe & Save program!  I have saved my diapers and plan to use them when I get back home!  Plus I can use my swagbucks for $5 amazon cards!

Let me know how you are saving money to keep your family in the “green”!

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