Friday, October 16, 2015

HOW WE AFFORD TO HOMESTEAD: Part Two

Hi all! I'm back to talk more homestead on a budget how tos.

With all of this talk about not spending money and saving, you may ask how we keep on task with money we actually get to spend. This was the hardest part.. learning to budget and learning to leave our money at home was the biggest hurdle to get over. 

If you were thinking we became this frugal overnight then I would laugh, we STILL impulse buy at times... But we're so lame our impulse buys are usually something like new socks or replacing something recently broken. So, for success on a homestead:

5. Keep track of your budget! 

Organization on a homestead is a huge part to keeping a farm. Creating some sort of binder or box we could store all our vital info in was crucial for us. We have so many tasks to complete and things to remember in a given day so we must have order! 

We keep it all together in our "High Desert Homestead" binder. Our production records for meat and eggs, each animals 'farm profile' which basically tracks their health and wellness, boarding lease agreements, owner/emergency and veterinarian info. I keep the "Homestead Fund" ledger, and all of our future ideas/designs for our farm here also. 

What is the 'Homestead Fund" you ask? This is where our whole farm budget lives. We track all expenses 'homestead' in this binder, in an effort to keep the farm budget separate from our day to day living expenses and Spencer's work income. 

So you guessed it, all the board money from the horses goes into the fund, is then delegated to animals' monthly feed costs, and then again to whatever other expenses are necessary. 

This also helps us track our inventory. We keep a tally of all supplies and farm essentials we have so if we need it for something we know it's been checked and stored.... Somewhere? But if we are to cut costs, holding onto useful items is always good for the next point in case we want to repurpose or get multiplied used out of an item. 

6. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. 

I repurpose everything possible that I can. In a world full of trash, transfer centers and pollution, I feel accomplished when I use anything more than once. Everything counts in the world of carbon foot prints, and ours gets smaller and smaller every year... at least I hope. I'm not saying you have to build your house out of 100% recycled material, although that would be rad, but even saving your bacon drippings counts! Side note: a while back I found a homemade bacon drippings mayonnaise recipe... uh yum. 

Moving on..

Heres a few examples of how/what we reuse on the farm:

-I wanted a warm rug for the bathroom in our chilly and humble double wide... So I cut up a dozen pairs of blue jeans and viola! chunky crocheted denim rug. 

-Spencer built our main rabbit hutch out of 100% free recycled parts from around our property, some was ours, some was literally just laying around when we got here. 

-We built our hog pens from free pallets.  Our compost bin, vegetable boxes, garden gates, tons of wedding decorations, all made from repurposed pallets.

- Had a thought about buying Ireland a school desk with the opening top for our new homeschooling adventure. Well Spencer came home with one last night! Granted it needs a face life, but what a great project! And? FREE! That will be a DIY video for another day. 

- Spencer just finished compiling all the parts to build our own chicken plucker! Instead of spendy retail ones, we are using all repurposed parts. A Whole post on that to come!!!

We find treasures in beat up items which are looked over everyday. We break them down, build them back up, and make them new again. Sometimes on the homestead we are able to go out and buy something, this is usually in the case of, 'we need it right now and can't live without it!'

Last year Spencer got a whole brand new set of power tools, a very very necessary expense since he uses them literally everyday. This was, like all things budgeted into our expenses responsibly. Something we like to refer to as a 'one time expense' meaning this isn't recurring. This way we can buy a nicer set that will last us longer.

Yes, sometimes we would love to grab our cash and head for.. somewhere you spend big amounts of money? 

But the future of our farm, family, and fulfilling our homestead dreams keeps us focused on the end result! One of the most sustainable things we can do to cut costs is to find purpose in something old like I said above. When funds are delegated better and you ditch the retail purchasing addiction, you can focus on other aspects of sustainability on the homestead, maybe like... a garden perhaps? Maybe some meat/dairy livestock??

7. Grow your own whenever possible. 

If you came to our house looking for what we grow ourselves you would find:

- Broiler chickens, we let a rooster and 3 hens live to try hatching our own red ranger broilers.

- Two pigs--- they live in freezer now...

- Meat Rabbits, one of which is pregnant!

- Some lamb in the deep freeze left over from moms ewes.

- Home canned and frozen veggies, some still from last years canning.

- I even grew some hops for us to try home brewing this fall.

- Organic nongmo vegetable and fruit garden 

- 14 egg laying hens

Growing our own meat and veggies wasn't exactly easy either. It took a great deal of time, patience, and lesson learning to get where we are. And believe me, we have a very long way to go. Our goal for next year is to grow ALL of our produce, and can enough to last through the winter.

In order to execute these skills I wish so fervently to teach my children I must first learn them myself. 

8. We never stop learning!

As I've mentioned a hundred times over we do whatever we can ourselves. The world is our classroom and there couldn't be a better time to start learning than now. If you can't afford to hire someone to do a certain task, then its best to learn it yourself if possible. Things such as:

- repairing your own vehicles and equipment

- raising meat and egg birds

- butchering chickens

- butchering rabbits

- treating rabbits for mites 

- welphing puppies

- administering vaccinations/medications to livestock and companion animals.

- making homemade deodorant, shampoo, nipple balm, pomade, and beard oils  

- organic pest/ weed control 

- homeschooling versus expensive pre-school

- painting your own house

I could go on forever... maybe some day I'll just write a whole list for ya'll

These weren't all things we already knew how to do. We had to learn them at times, and at other times we chose to learn these skills. Having a few sets of skills on a homestead makes this lifestyle that much easier. And much much cheaper in the long run so you CAN save for your dream farm.