One of the best ways to save money is to have a bit of land and to be self-sufficient. The only problem is that becoming self-sufficient costs money in the beginning. Here are a few things to consider if you are considering a small backyard farm.
Multi Purpose Animals
Think about getting a couple of miniature goats. You would want a type of goat that has a body covering that can be used to make yarn. You would also want female goats to produce goats milk. Last you may need to learn to make cheese from the goats milk. While these animals will take money to shelter and feed these animals they can provide much in return in the way of materials and food products.
Chickens can also be multipurpose. They lay eggs and their poop can be added to fertilizers for the garden. Of course you can eat your animals too, but that can make your farm less productive.
People go a little crazy when it comes to their gardens. They often bite off more than they can chew. While it is good to have a garden to cultivate food independence, it is also good to know how much you can actually handle. There is the cost of watering the garden, fertilizer costs and of course the amount of time and manpower you have to provide upkeep.
Also consider what crops you are growing and how much room they are going to take. Growing wheat or corn is a noble goal, but do you have the room to actually grow enough to make it worth your while.Will your family eat the plants that you grow? You can grow all the okra in the world, but if your children detest okra it won’t get you very far.
Last you need to be able to store your harvest. Get a friend to teach you how to jar or can your excess produce. You may also want to learn to pickle or dehydrate your harvest. This will allow you to enjoy your investment into the winter months.
Congratulations! You have a one year old. You also have a couple cases of left over baby food that he or she wasn’t eating last week and definitely won’t eat now. I mean they can have the goodness of solid food. You may find yourself in a position where you don’t have friends with babies and a while bunch of baby food you don’t want to waste. Here are some ways to use up that baby food.
Instead of waiting for bananas to soften for banana bread use the already pureed banana baby food. You can also use other baby food fruits as a pie filling. Using a jar or baby food corn works great for adding a little moisture into corn bread
You can dump the leftover baby fruit into a bowl and freeze it. Then eat it with some whipped cram as a frozen treat. You can take the runnier fruits and make them into fruit popsicles.
You can add vegetables in disguise in soups and chili by stirring a jar of baby food vegetables into the mix. The same can be said of baby food meats. It’s a fast way to add meat to a chili or soup without the thawing and cutting. it also ensures the meat is easily chewed by your younger family members.
If you have a sick child and are worried that they need to eat something ( or your trying to avoid dry heaving) consider using baby food. It’s broken down enough to get some nutrients into your child’s system and if they do end up throwing up, at least they have something to throw up.
Cereals can be mixed with other hot cereals or add-ons such as peanut butter or jelly. Rice cereal is a good base for a rice pudding. You may also find you like baby oatmeal better than regular oatmeal. It pours smoothly, and if stirred well, can have less lumps. Baby cereals are also a good way to add texture to soups or chili.
Kids playing outside save money most of the time. You use less air conditioning. You use less electricity. You hear less whining. The only thing you may use more of is water, but that’s a good thing. How can you get your kids to stay outside?
Proper Lotions And Sprays
The first thing you need to do is use sunblock and insect repellant. This can keep many of the health issues that come along with summer at bay. You may also want to opt for shorter haircuts. This keeps your children cooler longer, and makes less hair to go through if you need to look for ticks or other creepy crawlies that may get into a child’s hair. Set up areas of shade in the back yard. If you don’t have a patio or covered porch set a tent up in the back yard. It will provide a little shade and still be fun for the little ones to play in.
Strict Dress Code
Bathing suits, shorts and t-shirts. With the exception of special events or Sunday afternoons, this is all you really need to keep in a child’s summer wardrobe. You may want to accessorize with hats and sunglasses and sandals. Make sure to get sandals that strap onto your child’s feet rather than flip flops. They are harder to lose, provide a little more ankle support and meld well into indoor settings.
Food And Water
Have an out to eat garden. This is a special little garden the kids are free to pick from when they are hungry. If you don’t like the idea of your kids drinking from the hose when outside have a little cooler outside for them as well, filled with water and ice. Add a few water balloons too, just in case it’s extra hot. Trust me. The kids will know what to do with them.
Moving into a new area and leaving some of the things we own behind can be difficult. This is extra true if one of the things we left behind was the bed. This is even more difficult when we discover that we aren’t as young as we used to be and can’t sleep on just any surface anymore. Our air mattress is falling apart and, if we are really honest with ourselves we weren’t getting a great night sleep on it anyway. We are ready to consider a used mattress, but how can we make extra sure that’s what we’ll get?
The ideal used mattress is still wrapped in plastic because the previous owners never removed it. These are far and few between so there are a few things that you should check for in a used mattress.
Start off by wondering how many pets the previous bed owners had and how well behaved they were. Did they claw up the sides of the mattress? Did the cats break into the bottom of the box spring and use it as a littler box?
Move on to the other areas of concern. Are their stains on the mattress? Are there any holes in it? If the owner is available ask why they are getting rid of it. Is it because it’s infested with lice or are they just buying a new, larger bed?
Last consider the quality of mattress you are getting. Are there broken springs? Is there a dip in the center where the mattress is broken down? If so you may be better off looking for a different used bed.
Cleaning It Up
You will need lots and lots of disinfectant spray. Once you have found a used mattress that you feel is decent, you will want to spray it down with a disinfectant (not air freshening) spray. Seriously. Soak it. Make sure it is wet with spray when you are finished with it. Spray it on all sides and corners. As it dries you can inspect your box spring. Cut open the bottom of it to make sure there is nothing hiding in it ( spiders, litter box surprises or other garbage. Spray the box spring down on the inside as well as the outer surfaces.
Just In Case
Always have sheets on the bed. In fact if you are still a little paranoid about the mattress ( you knew the owners and while generous, they weren’t very tidy) it may be best to put a plastic or rubber sheet covering on it for the first few weeks. Continue to spray it down weekly (or daily) if you so choose.
One of the easiest ways to save money and keep healthy is to keep a water bottle handy. Drinking your eight glasses of water a day (more depending on what your level of activity is as well as the weather) can save so much money. Best of all it doesn’t even feel like a money saving venture, and it makes you feel better in the long run.
When you are drinking the right amount of water you seldomly want to drink more. Mainly, this is because your body is already filled with water and you aren’t thirsty. It reduces the amount you would spend at vending machines or on bottled soda, fruit juice or energy drinks. Drinking the right amount of water also helps you feel less hungry throughout the day. You will spend less on snacks or a drive-thru.
Keeps You Hydrated
Medically we need water for our bodies to function properly and clean themselves out. When your body isn’t getting enough water your internal organs need to work harder to clean out your system. You could end up with health problems due to lack of proper hydration such as a UTI. Your body also ends up hanging on to more garbage because there isn’t enough water in your system to flush it out.
There is also heat stroke or heat exhaustion to consider. Drinking water in the right amounts, as opposed to dehydrating fruit juice or soda, makes it less likely for you to have a run in with either of these conditions.
Water is healthier for you in other ways as well. It doesn’t contain acids, dyes, flavoring or an excess of sugar. In fact it’s the one drink that is a natural health benefit to your body. It can help you lose weight, and keep you regular. I’m sure we can all agree that is worth it’s weight in water.
There are many wonderful things to do when your kids are home for the summer. Many don’t cost anything to participate in or to visit. Here are some fun ideas to keep your kids busy and you sane until school starts up again.
Most areas have historical sites, parks and even petting zoos that are free or donation requested. To find out what attractions you and your little ones can go to check out the website: http://free-attractions.com/ . You can plan both small trips for in your local area as well as day trips to places farther away in your state or a neighboring state.
Sometimes you can go on a trip with no destination in mind. Take a long drive as a family. Point out animals and trees to your children as you drive past. Indulge in a family audio book or a favorite music CD. At the end of the drive have lunch or a small picnic. Let the kids fall asleep in the back seat on your way back home. Enjoy the silence.
Set up times to visit a retirement center. Help your neighbor with their yard or garden. Attend birthday parties and holiday BBQs. Throw some celebrations of your own. Bring the neighborhood together as well as get your kids out of the house.
Participate in summer reading programs at the library. Take the craft or art classes offered by the local home improvement or crafting store. Sometimes even art centers, parks and community centers offer a free class for parents and children.
Use the back yard, a national park or a KOA. Take advantage of the activities provided. Swim, canoe, identify plants, set up tents, and roast hot dogs and marshmallows over an open flame. Sing camp songs late into the night and sleep in.
There are many free events to participate in. There are open air concerts and annual festivals. I know of one area that does a rubber duck race once a year. Check out your local newspaper to find out what events are happening in your area.
Crock pots are the cute little money savers in the kitchen. They help us save time as well as resources. I have found I have been able to feed my family a much healthier diet using much less in the way of ingredients, and it takes me about an hour of prep time the night before the meal. A crock pot however doesn’t just save time. It also saves money.
When you have company over, or a holiday get-together your crock pot is a great way to make a meal that is big enough to feed everyone without costing you half a pay check. You can cook dried beans, use little meat and add spices. There you have a nice soup or chili and it didn’t cost you more than five or six dollars. If you wanted you could add a homemade bread, corn bread or rice as a side dish. It still would be a group meal that costs about fifteen dollars or less.
Crock pots heat up your food and they do so all day. A crock pot can heat up pretty well. They still don’t generate as much heat as having the oven or stove on. You won’t be spending the money on air conditioning to counter the heat coming out of your kitchen. Plus you can still have a healthy hearty home cooked meal.
While it is true that there are unhealthy recipes that can be made in a crock pot, there are many healthy meals that can just as easily be made. They often require less meat. They help you take a step back from frying foods. Cooking healthy with a crock pot doesn’t even take more effort than cooking unhealthy with a crock pot. This means better nutrition for your family and hopefully less medical problems.
A woman’s work is never done, and that’s why it’s important for us to stop and breath every now and then. The only problem is finding the time. Often we, as moms, wives, and employees put ourselves on the back burner until we are all burned out. Here are a few things that you can do to change that.
Know The Science
Stressing yourself out with an overfilled schedule will not help you make or save money. The truth is when we are stressed we spend more. We spend on relaxation techniques. We spend on comfort food. We spend on books that teach us to de-stress, but we never read them because we are too busy stressing out.
Not only that there are the medical ramifications of stress. It destroys sleeping habits, eating habits, and our immune system. We don’t take the time to let our body rest or heal when we are ill. It can cause our body to tear itself apart from the inside.
It is said that when you prioritize things in your life, those things in your life that shouldn’t be there will fall out of it. Often we bite off more than we can chew. Take the things that are important to you ( family, friends, work, etc.) and set a schedule for them. Those things that lack importance (like television reruns from the 90’s) will go to your back burner instead of you or work or your family life.
The next thing we need to do is accept that we are not super human. We can’t fit everything we need to do into one day, though it doesn’t stop most of us from trying. An overfilled schedule not only reduces the chance to take a much needed break, it leaves you with a short fuse and an unhappy family. Spread your chore list out throughout the week. It’s easier to get a few big items taken care of per day than a month’s worth.