When living on a budget we sometimes end up in a state of mind that our family calls “Survival Mode.” It’s a state of constant worry about your finances that colors your mood about everything else in life. You feel your budget is tight now, so you feel your future is dismal. Cheer up! Nothing lasts forever. Not even Survival Mode. Here are a few ways to stave off those frustrating feelings until then.
Focus On What You Can Afford
Instead of focusing on not being able to go to the movies, attend free or low price events. Rather than feeling guilty about not getting your child the latest and greatest toy take them camping in the backyard or canoeing at a national park. This won’t only brighten your point of view about what you can give your family, it will also teach your children to focus on the positive. Children are especially sensitive to Survival Mode and your example will reduce the chances of it affecting them.
One of the best ways to beat the feelings of not having enough resources is to make a plan to make what you have last as long as you need it to. This could mean picking up extra hours, reducing what you use, or bartering with others in your community where both of you are getting something you need. It may even be that the only action you need to take is to tweak your budget. It’s a good deal better than tiring yourself out with worries.
Goals are more than just a way to give us a direction in life. They inevitably breed hope in something we don’t have yet. The object is not to get frustrated with not having your goal yet. Instead treat it like a puzzle that you need to work out and finish. Enjoy the process of getting to your goal as well as the goal itself.
I am one blessed Thrifty Diva to have a husband who appreciates what I do to help our family eat and live in a healthy and thrifty way. Well, in addition to being supportive, my husband was so excited to share more about our chickens that he wrote most of this post. I didn’t ask him to; he offered! So, here’s another glimpse into the value of backyard chickens…from my hubby’s perspective! 🙂
Most of us living in residential neighborhoods, when we walk into our backyard, want to somehow feel that we are not really as physically close in proximity to our neighbors as we actually are. When the stresses of suburban life weigh us down, we feel that if we could just take a walk in the countryside, breathe fresh air, and watch the honeybees work the wildflowers, we could relax and wind down. Life, in spite of a hectic day at work, would be okay. But, most of us have to take trips to the countryside in order to get away.
…Unless you have a garden and chickens.
Owning a garden is an honorable medium to experience country life in a suburban setting. But, if you want to really satisfy that deep thirst to bring the country to the city, you can own hens. Having three or four poultry pets helps you feel you are in the country without actually taking the drive. But, there are a few misconceptions about chickens that may hold you back from having your own.
The four myths of having chickens are:
1. Chickens are loud.
No, the neighbors’ dogs are loud. A rooster is loud. You will not have a rooster. Hens cackle and cluck when you feed them in the morning and afternoon, but any pet will express themselves when they are excited. They call out when they lay an egg. Compared to your neighbors’ dog, it is night and day.
2. Chickens stink.
No, three to four chickens do not stink if they are properly managed.
- Keep a healthy quantity of hay in the sleeping quarters of the coop and remove the droppings every one – two weeks. The hay absorbs the droppings’ odor and keeps the coop smelling fresh. When I do clean the coop, I use the droppings as fertilizer in our backyard garden along with the used hay.
- The scratch pen dirt needs to be turned or raked. This area will be the source of the most smell if you don’t periodically go into the scratch area and turn/rake the dirt and water hose this area.
3. Hens need a rooster to lay eggs.
No, hens do not need a rooster to lay eggs. Hens lay eggs regardless of the presence of a rooster. Hens begin laying about six – seven months after hatching. When hens are laying eggs, they will lay about one egg per day.
4. Organic chicken feed is pricey.
Yes it would be, if you bought it. But, why buy chicken feed when chickens eat anything green and any and all table scraps? If you do not think your family will produce enough table scraps, why not supplement with regular oatmeal or rice in bulk and feed this to them? It is less expensive. Give your garden scraps to the chickens. Give your grass clippings to the chickens. Hotdogs and hamburgers. It doesn’t matter. They will eat it. Trust me. It is fun to watch. I bet what you will give them will be better quality than any chicken feed product you could buy in a bag.
Above photo: Chickens are feeding on leftover pizza crust, crackers, an old leftover
hotdog and some soaked oatmeal…fancy chicken feed! 😉
Once you build a coop and scratch pen, owning hens is a low-maintenance/high reward experience. I recommend having backyard chickens to anyone who wants to eat healthier, practice an eco-friendly lifestyle, and save money (if you can build your coop cheaply) in eggs and garden fertilizer. Also, the kids love them too!
Do you have your own chickens? What do you like most about having them?
I am no psychologist, but I am sure that when the finances are struggling, you and your family are probably struggling to not think about it. You’re probably stressed and ready to pull your hair out. We can’t stress enough the important of taking your mind off of those things. Your mind must be healthy for you to be efficient enough to deal with all finance stuff. Here are our best tips for taking your mind off the stress of money and debt.
1. Focus on the important things in life. Think about your family, their health and happiness. Sit down and think about all the wonderful and amazing things that are going on.
2. Spend time with your family. Do something fun, but free. Our family LOVES Geocahing. If you don’t know what it is, check it out HERE. It’s free so you don’t have to worry about money and your whole family will love it!
3. Focus on something else that is stressing you out. Have you ever heard about breaking a toe to make your finger stop hurting? Same concept here. Deal with another issue your family may be having that you’ve been putting off. Then when that issue is dealt with, you may be able to go back to your finances grateful for the change and more ready to take it on.
4. Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Nothing keeps your mind on money more than thinking about the things you don’t have. Don’t do that. Only think about all the things you do have. Be grateful.
5. Help others. Ughhhh seriously this is the BEST way to take your mind off of money. Spend 5 minutes helping someone else that has nothing and your world perspective gets a lot bigger. I cannot stress this one enough!
Getting older definitely has its perks. Especially when there are so many discounts out there for you. But I’m not to the point where I get those discounts. Actually I forget my age often because I stopped at 29. 😉
But if you are of the age to merit discounts, you’ll definitely want to remember these typical senior discounts next time you are out and about. Ten percent here and 20 percent there can really add up.
1. Public transport. If you live in a city with public transportation, a lot of cities offer major discounts or even free services to seniors.
2. Food. Ever see a senior menu at your favorite restaurant? Even some grocery stores have discounts.
3. Clothing. Ross and Marshalls are two stores in particular that I know give senior discounts on certain days. Oh and I can’t forget Kohl’s has theirs every Wednesday!
4. Travel. AAA has great senior discounts. Our local store not only gives members discounts on movie tickets, but senior discounts as well.
5. National parks and museums. I know most state parks have senior passes for really cheap. We live by Glacier National park and seniors get a yearly pass for $10 while the rest of us get in for around $55 a year. This pass gets you into all the national parks as well.
6. Movies. Most theaters have senior pricing.
7. AARP. Sign up with them and get tons of discounts from places all over!
8. Hotels. They have senior discounts too! Don’t be scared to ask.
9. Campgrounds and RV Parks. My in-laws are snowbirds and spend their winters in Arizona in a HUGE senior RV park. They get a discount and are loving life down there!
10. Are we missing any? Help us out by posting on our Facebook page anything we left out!
Happy March! Spring is just around the corner. Are you as ready as I am? Here are some sale items to tide you over until Spring comes.
1. Digital cameras. I guess they want to get you ready to take pictures in the Spring and Summer 😉
2. Humidifiers. Less sick people means overstock of these little jewels.
3. Small electronics like MP3 players, DVD/Blu-ray, TVs etc.
4. Winter sports gear. Check out used places too because since the new stuff is going on sale the used will be even more!
5. Frozen meals. There should have been a lot of freezer meal coupons in the Sunday circulars.
6. St. Patrick’s Day clearance. March 17th is the lucky day and so the 18th is the day to stock up on next years decorations and apparel.
7. Corned beef and cabbage. It’s a Saint Patty’s thing again. Stock up and enjoy.
It’s fair season around here. We went last night and had fun, but I was also on a mission to be as Thrifty as possible. Here are some things I did and some things I observed as the night went on.
1. Food is cheaper with the locals. At our fair we have two types of food vendors, the ones the fair brings with them and the local people. The local people had better food as well as less expensive food. Our fair also allowed you to bring your own food and drinks, so you could skip buying all together if that works for you.
2. See if you even need ride tickets. We bought tickets for rides when we got to the fair and I am kicking myself for it now. I don’t know what was going on that last night, but we never had one ticket taken from us. This probably isn’t the norm, but make sure they need them before you buy them. Maybe we just had lazy ride operators. All I know is I have $20 in ride tickets in my pocket.
3. Go when you can buy unlimited rides. My fair growing up did this and it was totally worth it because I loved rides. If you aren’t big on rides, skip it though. You need to get your money’s worth out of it if you do it.
4. Skip the games. No really skip the games. They aren’t worth it. They cost too much and the prizes aren’t worth $.10!
5. Check out the free stuff. There is generally quite a bit of free things at the fair. Ours had some entertainment, a petting zoo, the police station was giving away balloons and the Shriners were giving free train rides. That kept us busy and not spending money for at least an hour.
Have you been to the fair this year? What did you do to save money?