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Showing posts from January, 2015

Nine Things You Need To Live A DIY/MYO Life

A lot of people go into the the preparedness/self-sufficiency/homesteading lifestyle thinking they can buy whatever they need and they will be fine. However, that is far from the truth. Very far from the truth. Much of this lifestyle comes from the fact that most people want the simple life. They want to save money and provide for themselves. That is great! It is exactly why I wanted the simple life. But the "simple life" involves more than saving money and providing for yourself. The "simple life" involves being able to do for yourself. It involves being a DIY (do it yourself) and MYO (make your own) kind of person. Folks, being that kind of person isn't easy. I am not always that kind of person. I believe being a DIYer and MYOer takes nine things and/or attributes. Sometimes you don't always have to have these all at the same time, but you need to be able to be working on them all the time. What do you need to live a DIY/MYO Life?  1. Attitude

Want to Save Money? Turn Down The Thermostat!

We all like to be warm in the winter. Some people like a cooler house and some people like a warmer house. I like a warmer house, but my budget does not like a warmer house. So I try to keep the thermostat set to 66-68 degrees.  Two weeks ago, however, I caved. It was so cold! My house was freezing so I turned it up to 70 degrees. Being that high took the edge off of the chilly. This week's temperatures are much milder so... down goes the thermostat! Back to 68 degrees which are normal for my household. Overnight, I will turn it down to 63 degrees.  If you want to save money, turn down the thermostat by at least two degrees for the week. See if you like it and can handle it. Then try for two weeks or the rest of the winter! There are also health benefits to turning down the thermostat. Most people sleep better in cooler temperatures. You have a tendency to move around more in cooler temperatures which leads to more fat-burning and calorie burning.  By tu

Pay Attention To Your Bills!

Something interesting happened to me yesterday. I got my utility bill for last month. The fun thing is that it went down! Please let me back up and explain a few things. My whole house is electric. My bill will never be under $200 unless I put in solar panels or not live there for a month. For the last four years, I have been on budget billing which was working out for me. Until October. The utility company decided to raise my budget for the third time in one year. From $361 to $396 to $476 a month. I thought the last raise was ridiculous and I was justifiably irked. I went online and looked at my last two years worth of bills. On my bill, they show the budgeted amount and the actual cost for the month. My bill had only reached $400 once. Last year when it got really, really cold in January/February. I do budgets for customers where I work so I am familiar with how they are done. I did the math on my utility bill and could not come up with the amount they did of $476 for a mon

Preparedness on the Cheap: Learning Your Evacuation Routes

No one wants to think about evacuating their home. I know I would not leave mine until I absolutely had to or was forced to leave. However, in being prepared, we have to think about all possibilities whether we want to or not. I live in a rural area. I know my evacuation routes by heart. I have them marked on a map that is always in my vehicle. I carry maps of Minnesota and Iowa because those are the two areas I travel the most in. I know the main routes and the alternate routes by heart. I have routes that miss all towns/cities, but can always go into a town if I need to. While I find this important in rural areas, I find having evacuation routes crucial in urban areas. When I find myself in a town or a city, I look at maps to make sure I know how to get out of town. Main roads are good, but might be clogged with other traffic trying to leave. I look for alternate routes and I also try to make sure I have contacts that live or work in that city for more information on ways to

Need to Make Money? Sell Something You Don't Need!

I have been a purging fool the last couple of weeks. And it feels good! However, I have trouble with some of this stuff just going to the thrift shop or Goodwill. The stuff we are getting rid of is really nice stuff. This week's mission is to sell something you don't need anymore. We all have books, clothes, crystal dishware, drinking glasses, etc. that are just collecting dust on the shelf or in a closet somewhere. Find one thing you think someone else would love to have and sell it! Last week I listed a bunch of books on tape I had on eBay. Why I was still holding on to them, I don't know. We don't have a working tape player anymore! I also got rid of a quarter of the books off of a shelf like this one. I listed those books on eBay also and was very surprised that everything sold! Where can you sell it? I list items on:    * eBay (will need a seller's account if you don't have one)    * Craigslist    * Facebook (my personal page, for sale groups

Making a Budget: No One Wants To, But We Need To!

In the 13 Ways To Save Money In The New Year post, point #13 was to find someone to be an accountability partner for spending and budget making ideas. Before you can look for an accountability partner, you need to do something first. You need to make a budget. I know, I know. Making a budget is really, really, really hard.  I know because I struggle with it too. However, I am determined to make a budget this year, adjust it when necessary, and stick to it. I have to give my money a place to go and I have to keep a tighter eye on where it is going. Making a budget is not an overnight project. You need to look at the last 2-3 months and determine your expenses (bills, groceries, gas, etc.). How much, where, and frequency of money being spent is all things that need to be noted. How much money you make and frequency of money being paid to you needs to be noted. From these things, make a budget. You can use a computer program or go low-tech (like me) and use a notebook or a

Why and How You Should Clean Out (And Organize) Your Food Storage

Food storage is our number two way to be prepared for almost a crisis or situation that can happen in our lives. (Number one is water and water storage.) Our food storage can see us through lean times, no money times, power outages, and other crises. Simply said, we all need to have food storage. Now let us all be real here. We all have food in our food storage and pantries that are close to the expiration date or past the expiration date. I am fairly organized in my food storage and I know I do. While food expiration dates do not bother most people, it is important to stay on top of your food storage and keep rotating your food. In times of crisis, you do not want to be questioning your food and if it is edible or even good to eat. You should be taking the time to grab those foods that are about to expire or have expired, bring them to the kitchen, and use them up in your meals over the next week or month. This may mean some creative meals, but that is better than wasting f

13 Ways To Save Money In The New Year!

A new year and new goals! Yes! One of my goals for the year is to live as frugal of a life as possible. What I was really saying is that we are going on a spending fast. We literally will be cutting back expenses and saving money as much as possible. My finances are not where I want them to be and I need to change that. What will I be doing to save money in the new year?  1. Unsubscribe to all or all but a few (3-4) emails a day that encourage me to part with my money. Most of the time, I just delete the emails before I read them, but I have moments of weakness and click on them. No more! 2. Commit to spending no money for anything not on the goals list, that is frivolous, or unnecessary.  3. Write out your goals to know where the money needs to go and what needs to save for. Where does your money need to go? What are your goals for the year? Think about the areas of the home/homestead, prepping, financial, gardening, and kids. Set a plan for those goals and how to attai