Monday, September 15, 2014

Monthly Frugal and Homesteading Update - August/September

August is in the books! Yeah! The kids went back to school on the 20th and we have settled very quickly back into a routine. School was a bit more expensive this year to enroll. In the past six years, we have qualified for free lunches which also qualifies us for free registration. While I do not care for the program, it did give me some breathing room in the budget and it does help the schools out a lot with extra funding.

This year we have reduced cost lunches, but my kids take cold lunches a lot anyway so that will be okay. Since we make a lot from scratch I don't see this impacting our grocery budget too much, but we shall see.

Keeping it real. My kitchen floor right now!

Speaking of the grocery, that has been staying steady at $200 a month. Actually in August, I spent $175. I blame the garden for that! Ha! Yeah for gardens! We were also blessed with a lot of free produce and have been canning like crazy. I actually ran out of jars this year canning and will be getting more as soon as the budget allows. I did pick up two cases of pint jars last week.

We have been maintaining the garden which is starting to finish up. We dug up the potatoes and got a decent crop. I discovered we had ground cherries and am waiting for them to ripen. We have had a very decent crop of green beans, acorn squash, and cucumbers. The onions didn't get big, but they are still very usable. Tomatoes produced, but not well. Peppers, summer squash, and beets didn't do anything.

I do know one thing. I am done using buckets in my garden. I have tried for the last three years to use buckets to help expand my garden and grow more things. Plants grow, but do not produce in spite of using compost in addition to soil in my buckets. I am done with them.

The nesting boxes are up in the chicken coop. The chickens are four months old right now and should be laying soon. We can't wait! We used some more free sawdust after we cleaned out the chicken coop and put down a heavy layer this time. The old chicken bedding went straight to the garden where we had already dug up. The chickens have been taking the opportunity to take dust baths in the old bedding. What goofs!

We are really trying to cut expenses now. With a lot of birthdays and holidays coming up, we are looking for ways to keep costs down or make them disappear. I am also looking for a lot of good ideas for homemade gifts for the kids. I have one idea so far with hopefully more to follow. I have a board or two started on Pinterest right now for those ideas with more being added all the time.

We have been doing all the usual things to keep expenses down: mending clothes, pillows and blankets; making cleaners and laundry detergent; canning and preserving the bounty; shopping the sales only; driving less; not eating out; looking for free goods and accepting free goods; and staying home more.

I am starting to research having a calf or two next spring to raise our own beef. I am also looking for what breeds to have for our own meat chickens next spring. I am more than ready to raise my own meat! The price of meat has pretty much shocked me to my core. We are out of ground beef and ground pork. Having to buy them is a shock. $4.99 a pound?!?! Yikes!

Other than that, we have not been too exciting around the homestead. I have some more projects to get done like cleaning out the garage, build a new compost area, mulch and fertilize the garden, put plastic up on the windows, and selling a bunch of stuff in the house (we have way too much!).

I did put up a new tab at the top of blog for affiliate links. These are all companies I regularly use and believe in. I also included my eBay store where I sell books and miscellaneous items. I would love it if you all clicked on them, shopped through them, or just check them out. The income from this helps out this little family so much! Thank you in advance!

Thanks for reading!
Erica

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