Showing posts with label goals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label goals. Show all posts

Monday, February 25, 2019

What Should A Prepper Do With That Tax Refund? 25 Ideas For Spending Your Tax Refund Like A Prepper


Ah, the great tax refund. Not really seen outside of America, but a welcome bonus all the same. If you get one, what do you do with it?

I know, I know. If you do your taxes right, you wouldn't get a refund. Yeah, but the government gives credits for kids and putting money away in a 401K. That is 90% of my tax refund. If you do get one and you don't have kids, you should probably examine the reasons why.

Anyway, being a prepper, this little bonus is a welcome sight for knocking out some big prepping goals. What are your prepping goals? Only you know and you should know the priority of what you need to purchase. However, I can give you plenty of ideas in case you need direction!

25 Ideas For Spending Your Tax Refund Like A Prepper

1. Get caught up on your bills. Except for basic preparedness (food, water, shelter, security), nothing is quite as important as financial preparedness. You don't need the stress of bills on top of everything else. Get caught up on your bills.

2. Get out of debt. This is the same as #1 except that when you get out of debt, you have more money for savings and prepping!

3. Pay ahead on future expenses. This is also a great thing to do for financial preparedness. In case you lose your job or have unexpected changes to your financial status, you will have some of your future bills paid already. That would be a nice weight off your shoulders.

4. Make necessary repairs to your home. Keeping our shelter in good repair is critical in preparedness. You need to fix what needs to be fixed and to maintain what needs maintenance. If you have windows that need replacing, now is a good time to do it. If you need to replace a door, a good time also. If you need to replace some shingles, now is better than in a storm.

5. Perform necessary maintenance to your vehicles. Your vehicles can be the difference between life and death. You could be driving away from a natural disaster or stuck on the side of the road. Taking care of your vehicles should be a top priority.

6. Buy the generator. Whether you decide to buy a portable generator or a whole-house generator, they are nice to have as a back-up when the power goes out.

7. Starting converting to solar power. You can start by buying one panel, one inverter, and a few batteries for storage. This will help reduce your electricity bill as well as give you options when the power goes out. You can also purchase some portable solar chargers and panels for the smaller items in your home.

8. Put in a wood stove. While some municipalities and insurance companies are not down with wood stoves, the ability to heat your home and cook your food with a wood stove is wonderful. Once you make the initial investment and get it installed, you will save money and gain peace of mind with having a wood stove for primary or secondary heat.

9. Put together your emergency fund and cash stashes. This is also very important to have. You should have at least $1000 in your emergency fund to cover any contingencies. You should have emergency cash stashes in small bills and coins just in case you cannot access cash or cannot use your debit card.

10. Double your water storage. If you have an electric well pump or rely on a city/rural water tower, you need to have your water storage. There are many ways to increase your water storage including putting in a hand pump for your well, putting up a rain catchment system, buying 55-gallon food safe barrels for water storage, or just buying bottles and gallon jugs of water.

11. Double your food storage. Food will always be a necessity. You should diversify your food storage so if you have your eye on the long-term freeze dried food storage, now is a great time to purchase.

12. Up your home and personal security. This can be purchasing a weapon, adding a deadbolt to your front door, and more. Think about your personal and home security and what you need. Then remember to think about it in layers. One year, we added a bunch of outdoor lighting and motion sensing lights. It makes a huge difference to our property and makes it harder for people to hide.

13. Take a class or attend a conference that will help improve your skills and knowledge. Skills and knowledge are everything in preparedness. You need to have them and taking a class is sometimes the best way to learn. It also can be a great way to meet same minded people!

14. Purchase the materials to start growing your own food. If you want to put in a garden, that can take an investment. Whether you decide to put in raised beds, dig in the existing ground, or use containers, you will need supplies to start gardening. You may need to purchase soil and soil amendments. You will certainly need tools. This might be the year to purchase a tiller. You will always need plants and seeds.

15. Do you need to remodel? Some people like to remodel and some people need to remodel. Think about if you need to hunker down inside the house for days. What about your home needs to change? Do you need more room? Do you need a better set-up in the kitchen? Are the stairs going to take out someone in a hurry? There is more to think about, but this is your home and it needs to be able to take care of you too. Spend the money to take care of the trouble areas.

16. Put in an outdoor kitchen. If you don't have power, you need a place to cook. If you can't have or afford a wood stove, you need different options. With a protected outdoor kitchen, you can set up a grill, propane burners, an outdoor wood burner, a fire pit, a brick oven, a sink or outdoor water faucets, and more so you have a place to cook. You can also use this for canning and entertaining too.

17. Buy books for your reference library and your personal knowledge. Books are so important. If you don't have access to the internet, you will be going back to the old days of having a library. Start with whatever you are interested in as well as nice well-rounded books.

18. Save the money for a down payment or to purchase a different property. Let's face it. Some places are just not safe to live. Imagine a crisis or a natural disaster. How much worse will that area become? Some people need a bug-out shelter or just to find a different place to live altogether. Save the money to make that happen.

19. Spend the money on your health. Your health is one of the most preps you can take care of. However, some health problems are not cured with good food and walking. You may need a procedure or surgery to fix what is wrong. Now would be a good time to get that taken care of.

20. Purchase camping equipment and actually use it. I don't normally advocate this, but you do need to know how to survive away from home. Knowing how to use a tent, start a fire, cook outside and more is crucial. These skills are being lost. Camping may seem like a hassle or just a lot of trouble, but you and your family need to know these survival skills.

21. Purchase a different vehicle. This may seem like it is not a prep, but your vehicle is important. Having a reliable vehicle is important for evacuations, bugging out, and daily life. If you can, find a vehicle that can handle your family, the stuff you would need to bug-out with, and all sorts of weather conditions.

22. Work on your first-aid kit and supplies. Most of us have a basic first-aid kit. However, there is always more you want to add to it that may seem like it is out of your price range or not as important as other things. Now would be a good time to get that birth kit, surgery kit, and more to add to your first aid supplies.

23. Do you have haz-mat personal protection equipment and gas masks? You never know when you will need these. You may just need to work with some hazardous materials or chemicals that could scar your lungs or burn your skin. You may need them for a pandemic. Either way, having suits and masks for everyone in the house is very important.

24. Buy yourself a good pair of shoes that you love to wear. Seriously. Footwear is somewhat ignored in the prepping world, but good footwear makes a huge difference. Your legs will not hurt. You can be on your feet longer. You can walk longer. In addition to great footwear (I'm a diehard Keens fan), buy good comfy socks too. Socks make a big difference too!

25. What else do you need to purchase? What do you have coming up that you need extra money for? I always have a list of things I should be purchasing or needs to be replaced. I can also look at the calendar and see some future needs coming up (like a kid going to college). Every prepper is different and we all have some different needs due to where we are in life. Just make sure you are prepped for it!

This also goes for bonuses you get at work and more! Put your extra money to use instead of wasting it on unnecessary items or shopping trips. While I don't think a vacation is out of order for most people, make sure your priorities are straight and you are taken care of first before you see the world.

What are you spending your tax refund on?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related posts:
Tax Refund Prepping: Time To Do A MAJOR Food Stock-Up
Now Is The Time To Slay The Debt Monster!


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Is Procrastination A Prepper's Biggest Enemy? Here Is What You Can Do About It!


Procrastination is basically the act of putting off doing things when they could be done now.

I used to be a top notch procrastinator until I realized it was a huge deterrent in my life. It was starting to cause a lot of problems. I believed that if I wasn't getting things done, there must be a reason the universe didn't want them done and who was I to challenge that? However, then there was the fact that I was a busy mom who was trying to plan to get far more done in a day than I had time.

I also had to deal with the concept of laziness and it actually means to me. I wasn't really lazy, but I was (and still am) easily distracted and I let things like my phone and the television distract me. We wonder how people got so much done in the 'olden' days? They didn't have little boxes they could hold in their hands with a myriad of entertainment options to distract them.

When you become a prepper, you realize you need to become proactive. The very core of prepping is the concept of being proactive - anticipating and preparing for what could happen before it happens. When you are a procrastinator, you are naturally going against the grain of prepping.

Now we all have things going on in our lives that keep us busier than we like. We have plenty of worthy and unworthy distractions to divert us from doing what needs to be done now. We all have plenty of reasons and excuses for why we don't do what we need to do. However, those very things can really be our biggest enemy when it comes to prepping.

How do we fight against this? How do we stop procrastination in its tracks?

1. Put away the phone. Your phone can be a very useful tool for reaching out to people, taking pictures, and locating needed information quickly. However, you need to remind yourself it is a tool. Most people use them as a form of entertainment and a distraction. You should make a concentrated effort to put the phone down and use that time to learn new skills, read a book, and work on a project.

The same goes for the computer. Unless your job depends on the computer, you should limit your time on the computer. Some people set a timer for 30-60 minutes and then walk away from the computer for the rest of the day unless they need to do research.

There is nothing wrong with using your phone and computer for a little downtime, but you know they are time-suckers and should be limited to a certain amount of time.

2. Set some daily/weekly/monthly routines and stick to them. Every day, you should have certain things you are doing to be prepared. As simple as it sounds, having a routine that works for you takes time to figure out. However, you should be doing the simple things to be prepared. By doing these things on a consistent basis means you are not going to be worried about what isn't done.

Washing the dishes every day, making sure laundry is caught up, keeping the car clean, the driveway cleared out, the floors cleared, and more makes certain you are prepared for tomorrow. If you have to leave quickly, the clean car and driveway mean you are prepared to leave at a moment's notice and/or evacuate. Having the dishes washed and laundry done means you are not faced with a pile of laundry/dishes when you have no water.

3. Write out a to-do list every day and get done what you can. Having a to-do list saves me! I don't make the list complicated and often it includes things I don't want to forget like picking up more cat food. As a prepper though, you can include a lot of things on your to-do list. I like to keep mine short and simple. I usually only have six things written on my to-do list. When I get those six things done, I might make another list just depending on the time of day and what is going on that day. You can completely customize this for yourself.

4. Keep a journal of what you do every day. This is something I started a couple of months ago and already it is making a difference. I keep track of what has happened on that day and anything I want to remember that I accomplished. I can see what happened when and if I am on track for my goals for the week/month/year. Often I know I need to be working harder and smarter. By having a journal, I can keep track and plan accordingly.

5. Remember that every day is a new day. We are all capable of beating ourselves up for not doing what we could the day before. However, that is not productive and will not help us in any way. Wake up in the morning asking yourself what you can do today and plan accordingly. If yesterday is still bothering you, tackle what you were going to do yesterday and move on.

6. Keep a positive outlook and always be moving forward. Similar to #5, prepping is a positive thing. You are looking towards the future and trying to be prepared for it. That required a positive outlook. Everything you do today will only help you tomorrow so always be moving forward. Worrying about "what ifs" and "what can happen" can be used as a positive motivation in your prepping as long as you do not let the fear paralyze you.

What do you do to combat procrastination?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related posts:
Daily Habits, Routines, and Prepping: Why Do They Go Together?
Ten Prepping Habits You Should Be Working On! 


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

What Should The New Year Mean For A Prepper? Goals, Plans, and Assessing The Future!


Happy New Years Everyone!

You have successfully made it through another year. This last year could have been great for you or it could have thrown you through the wringer and left you wondering how much worse can life get. Either way, today is a new day.

Now, I am not one of those "New Year, New You" people. Life goes on day by day and a new year isn't going to make that change. However, New Years Day is a good day to reflect and reassess. As preppers, homesteaders, and more, we need to do this once in a while to get our priorities and our goals straight and align them with our lives.

This last year for me was not a particularly good one. It had its highlights though. I wrote a book (do you know how long that was on my list of goals to accomplish? Years!)! My daughter and son-in-law had another baby. Some big goals were accomplished and some big goals were let go. This years also had some heartache and re-examination which was painful. However, I am not going to dwell on that for now.

This year though is a new year. However we identify ourselves, we need to sit down and think about what we truly want to accomplish in the next year. Winter is a good time for planning out and starting to implement our goals. Whether they are big goals or small goals, you should be thinking about what direction you want to go and what you ultimately want to accomplish.

You can start with basic goals. These are my basic goals for the year:

1. Saving even more money and practicing extreme frugality.
2. Wasting less around the home and food.
3. Prepping more.
4. Expand the homestead.
5. Become more profitable through the blog and the eBay store

Like I said, those are the basic goals that I can keep in mind. I know what my aim is and I can tell myself what I need to do every day. However, those goals are not specific and they don't give me a direction to go.

These are my specific goals for the year:

1. Save enough money this year to purchase an older pickup truck this year, a small older utility tractor this year, and to purchase the acreage in three years.

2. Reduce food waste or completely eliminate food waste. I need to start a compost pile again. We also need to be conscious of what is being purchased and what is being consumed. We also need to be more proactive about canning and freezing food.

3. I want to double our food storage. We comfortably have three months of food on hand during the winter and four months during the growing season. I want to increase this to six months with a cushion of nine months.

4. Add a rain catchment system for additional water storage and use.

5. Pay off all debt except the student loan.

6. Add at least 30 meat chickens and five turkeys to the homestead and eventually the freezer this summer.

7. Finish writing a book about preparedness with kids. Finish writing my fiction prepping novel.

8. Double the offerings in my eBay store. Right now I have 620 listings and want to expand that to 1200 listings. The side hustles like this is what gives my family the extra money it needs to live and provide the funding for the projects. I will need to buy more shelving to hold the inventory.

9. Add a second garden and get it fenced in (or at least hot wired). I would like to start selling at the nearby farmers market to help add more income and reduce our food waste. I want to move the vining plants to a different garden to leave more room (and order) in the main garden. We will also be putting down black plastic to reduce the weeds.

10. Purchase a handgun and a rifle for hunting and protection. I have my conceal carry and would like to get a small handgun to carry where I can and for protection at home. We also need a rifle for protection as the chickens have become a target for predators. I also would like to start hunting and need to take the steps to get my license for that.

I am stopping at ten specific goals. I have smaller goals to make the specific goals happen, but they are a day by day and monthly goals and will need assessing all the time. I also will be doing a lot of monthly challenges as I find them on the internet and in Facebook groups. Right now, the Prep Club on Facebook has a make your own/cook from scratch challenge going now that I can certainly do!

Some of these goals do not seem to be prepping related, but they are all are. I also want to help you all to be better preppers. I take a self-reliance approach to prepping because that is the direction that suits me best. However, you need to do what is best for you in terms of prepping. I also like to learn skills for survival and in case I need to leave home. Being a well-rounded prepper will serve you better than being just an armchair prepper.

If you are interested in learning more about different areas of prepping, homesteading, self-reliance, and frugal living, I encourage to explore and learn as much as you can. Do not get comfortable with where you are in life! You should always be expanding your horizons and learning new things. Right now, I am fascinated with the back to the land movement, extreme frugality, and early 20th-century homemaking. You can bet I am learning all I can on these subjects and applying these things to my daily life as well as my goals.

I am here to help you all as much as I can. I hope to make this blog better and bigger this year with more postings on prepping, homesteading, self-reliance, and frugal living. I have some big plans and big ideas for this because I want to be an encouragement to you all. You all know that I am human and you are all human too. We make mistakes, but we are always learning and doing. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see all too well that I am human and I hope to be more real on there. If you need encouragement and ideas, you can follow my Facebook page or join the aforementioned Prep Club on Facebook for more ideas and support too.

If you need ideas for goals, last year I posted some goals that we all should be making:
10 Homesteading Goals You Should Be Setting This Year
10 Frugal Living Goals You Should Be Making This Year
10 Prepping Goals You Should Be Setting for The New Year

Please let me know in the comments what your goals are for the year. Also, please let me know what you would like to see in terms of content and subjects for this blog.

Happy New Years!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Monday, January 1, 2018

10 Homesteading Goals You Should Be Setting This Year


Homesteading is one of those things that just does not work if you don't have a plan. Part of that plan is setting goals. What do you want to accomplish on your homestead and what do you envision your homestead to be? The possibilities are endless, but you need goals and a plan!

10 Homesteading Goals You Should Be Setting This Year

1. Expand the garden. While you should always grow what you eat, consider expanding your garden to cover more of your personal food needs. I like making my own sauces so that is what I have been focusing on. However, I need to think of vegetables that will winter well in a root cellar too to provide more food over the winter.

2. Plant more fruit and nut trees. Part of homesteading is providing your own food needs and having more food-based trees helps do that. I know we need to add more pear and apple trees to our homestead as well as more elderberry bushes. We already have plenty of walnut trees, but I would like to look at other nut trees.

3. Consider expanding your livestock. If you have chicken layers, the next step might be meat chicks. Turkeys, geese, and ducks would also help add to your meat needs while being fairly low maintenance birds to have on the homestead. Maybe you are ready to take the next step for pigs or goats. Maybe the next step is a feeder steer or a dairy cow. On a homestead, the idea is to raise your meat and eggs. How can you do that?


4.  Raise produce and livestock for profit. While running a homestead is great, cash flow to keep running the homestead helps with the stress. Whether you are selling eggs, selling produce at a farmers market, or raising meat for other people, that cash flow will help cover the cost of feed and other implements needed for the homestead.

5. What part of homesteading do you want to make simpler? Homesteading is about having a simpler life away from the modern consumerism of society. However, homesteading can be anything but simple. You should figure out ways to make your homesteading journey a little simpler and easier for you.

6. Learn new skills. What skills do you want to learn this next year? Butchering animals? Soap making? Canning? Dehydrating? Making lard or tallow? Sewing? The list of skills to learn can be endless, but find three that you want to learn and devote some time to it. Watch videos, read books and buy the supplies so you can practice and learn. The only way to fail at learning skills is to not start.

7. What would make homesteading easier? Is there a tool or a vehicle you want to purchase to make homesteading easier? Come up with a purchase plan or figure out a way to rent/borrow what you need to make your homesteading life easier. Backbreaking work is only fun for so long and then you lose interest. Personally, a four-wheeler with a trailer would be divine for our homestead this Spring!


8. Do you need to relocate? Are you an urban homesteader that wants to be a rural homesteader? Do you want to live in a different area? What would you need to do to make that happen? Some goals are meant for you to dream big and set a plan in action. If you are not happy where you are at, what do you need to do to give yourself the homestead of your dreams?

9. What projects do you need to tackle this year? Do you need to put up buildings? Build fence? Enlarge or fence in the garden? Fix or maintain buildings? The list of things to do can be endless on a homestead, but guess what? That list is a list of goals for you to attain and cross off!


10. Gather knowledge. While homesteading is a lot of learning by experience, being knowledgeable about what you are doing helps greatly. Whether you are watching videos, reading books, or talking to/working with more experienced homesteaders, you should be constantly learning.

What homesteading goals do you want to set this coming year?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Sunday, December 31, 2017

10 Frugal Living Goals You Should Be Making This Year


While everyone should be a frugal lifer, a lot of people struggle to do so. Life happens and you end up spending more money than you want to. You are busy and money just flies out the window. A good deal of living frugally is planning ahead and having goals. What do you want to accomplish financially? In what areas do you want to save money? How can you simplify your life to spend less money? Only you can answer those questions, but let me help you set some frugal living goals for the next year!

10 Frugal Living Goals You Should Be Making This Year

1. Learn new things to cook from scratch. You can save so much money on your grocery bill by cooking from scratch. Processed food and eating out is so expensive even with a good deal or a special. Learn to make things from scratch and you will also improve your own health as well.


2. Find new ways to save money. When you are a frugal lifer, this can be hard. You think you already know and have found all the ways to save money, but I can almost guarantee you that you can find more. It can be tough, but I am sure you already know of more ways to save money.


3. Have a no-spend week each month or a no-spend month twice a year. I think these are really healthy for a frugal living lifestyle because they force you to really think about if you need something or you just want it. You also are forced to eat what you have at home, be less wasteful, and make do with what you have.


4. Ask yourself if you really need to buy something. Do you really need it or do you have something that will do? How long can you wait before you buy it? Implement a 3, 7, or 14-day waiting period before buying something other than groceries and household necessities. Sometimes you can find something at home that works just as well or you will find out that you don't really need it.


5. Challenge yourself to buy all your clothes used. You can make exceptions like underwear and socks if you want to, but honestly, I have found those brand new, in package or store tags still on, at the thrift store too.


6. Limit your monetary pleasures. Are you eating out a lot more than once a week or once a month? Are you getting massages, manicures, or pedicures every month? Do you shop just to shop? Do you stop at the convenience store for a candy bar every day? We all have something that we waste money on in the name of treating ourselves. A little pleasure is always a good thing, but is there a way you can do that and not spend money?


7. Do you have an emergency fund? If not, you should start one. Everyone should have an emergency fund of at least $1000 to cover those kinds of expenses. If you have one already, what can you do to double it? Ideally, your emergency fund should be able to cover 3-6 months of your normal income in case you lose your job or get injured for some reason.


8. Are you out of debt? If you are, great! If not, what can you do this year to get out of debt or lessen the burden? Can you cut back on your expenses more to pay down your debt? Can you find other ways to make money to pay down your debt?


9. Organize your things and make an inventory of what you have. Seriously, so much money is wasted because we don't know what we have. We have food in the kitchen and in our pantries that go to waste. We have more things in our closets than we will ever use. We buy batteries because we can't find the package bought a month ago (for example). Take stock of what you have and organize your things.


10. Make a budget or review your budget. This can be the hardest things about being a frugal lifer. I really have trouble sticking to a budget because of unplanned expenses. After something upsets my budget, I lose hope and focus. However, this is the year I need to start. I want you to start your budget too if you don't have one. If you do have one, this is a great time to sit down and review your budget. Are there any increased expenses? Can you save more? Can you pay down more debt? Can you put more in retirement? Work on your budget today!


What frugal living goals do you have for this upcoming year?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Friday, December 29, 2017

10 Prepping Goals You Should Be Setting For The New Year


The new year is coming quickly. While I think goal setting can be done any time of year and should be, this seems to be the time of year for most people to set goals. If you are a prepper, winter is a good time to get your goals figured out, written down, and a game plan set to accomplish them.

What goals should you be setting as a prepper?

1. Increase water storage and/or create a way to procure water without electricity. We often do not have enough drinking and non-drinking water in our stockpiles. While the experts say to have at least one gallon per person per day of water, most people use more than that for cooking and bathing. We also don't always remember to store water for pets and livestock. If you can, look for a way to install rain barrels or a cistern to procure and use water without electricity.

2. Increase or double your food storage. Many preppers only have a month or less of food storage. You should concentrate on doubling your food storage. If you have a month, build up a two month supply and so on. Make a meal plan with your food storage and you might realize you don't have enough food storage for a month either.

3. Sharpen your shooting skills and learn new ways to defend yourself. Take a self-defense class. Learn taekwondo or another martial art. Learn how to defend yourself in close combat. Learn how to use another weapon. Learn how to better use your own weapons. I believe in using weapons and self-defense to defend myself. I think both methods are important to your safety and should be learned.

4. Lose weight and work on physical fitness. Being in shape and being in good health is crucial to being the best prepper you can be. Being one hundred pounds overweight means you are susceptible to a host of diseases and will easily run out of energy when you need to be in the best shape possible. Even if you walk a mile every day and do fifty jumping jacks twice a day, you are doing more for your health than most people will ever do.

5. Learn new skills. Make a list of three skills you really want to learn in this next year and make a plan to learn them. Watch YouTube videos and buy some books in those areas. Gather the materials and start practicing those skills. Learning skills is never a waste of time.

6. Increase or double your emergency cash fund. If you are into gold or silver, increase that. Most of us do not have a really good emergency cash stash at home. We might have some coins and a few dollars which will not get us far when an SHTF happens.

7. Start gathering or buying non-electric items. When you have no power, you will want things that do not use electricity. Having good manual tools will just make life a lot easier in the end when an SHTF happens and most of us do not have enough manual tools on hand.

8. Read a prepping book every month. Most of prepping is the knowledge inside your head and how you apply it. Read a prepping book, apply something you have learned from it, and stick that knowledge in your head.

9. Get your affairs in order. Get your family information together and put it in a binder and on a flash drive. Get your will written. Make bug-in and bug-out plans. When SHTF happens, you have your information together and you are ready to start putting your life back together again. If you have this already, review and update the information.

10. Make an effort to make more prepping friends and expand your community. Yes, you can prep alone or have a lot of online prepping buddies, but you are better off making some prepping friends locally. You would have people locally who would be there for you and understand how you think. Better yet though, find a few people to turn on to prepping. We can't have enough preppers in the world!

Prepping is a lot easier and more focused when you have goals to commit to. You will be able to implement a plan to prep smarter and create a life free from worrying about "what if?".

What are your prepping goals for this coming year?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, January 6, 2017

Monthly Update From The Homestead - January Edition (Goals, Life, Etc.)


Were you ready for the holiday chaos to be over? I was. I love the holidays, but I do not like the craziness of the season. I have scaled back a lot in my celebrating, but the struggle to make the season simple is real. 

December was also Paige's birthday. She turned 16! Yikes! Where has the time gone?!?! She also got one of these: 


Watch out world! 

We are buried in snow and ice right now. That is the reality of living in the Midwest in winter. The wind has been crazy though! If the wind hasn't been crazy, the really cold temperatures have been! We are on our second "cold snap" of the winter. This morning we woke up to -7℉! Brrr....

As I mentioned before, I do not really have any goals or resolutions for the year. Okay, I take that back. I have five things I want to see happen, but they are fairly personal and not really relating to homesteading: 

  1. I want to get $1000 in a savings account for emergencies.
  2. I want to save $1000 for next Christmas.
  3. I want to pay cash for a new to me vehicle.
  4. I want to go on at least two dates a month with Rob - more than just eating out. (He really doesn't know about this one, but he will when he reads this!) 
  5. I want to read a chapter in a book or a magazine almost every day. 

These are very simple, yet personal goals for the year. I do not really have homesteading, prepping, or self-sufficiency goals as of right now. I am going with the flow of these. I have a lot of things I would like to see happen, but I am not setting anything in stone. Truth be told, my mind is kind of scattered right now and I am just letting things happen as they come. We have a lot of projects that need to be done and they will come first. 

I already started the first project. I am remodeling the upstairs master bedroom. We do not use it right now, but would love to move back up there. We sleep in the basement bedroom that I set up for myself about eight years ago. I love this space, but we are going to turn that into badly needed guest bedroom(s). So it is time to create a space that is both of ours and that we love to come to every night. 



We first moved the full size bed that was in there to Paige's room. She had a twin size bed, but the bed was small and the mattress was less than stellar. We threw out the mattress and the broken bunk mate that was under it. 

I have the carpet, padding, and linoleum torn up. Actually, there wasn't much tearing up to do. None of it really reached the edges and none of it was attached to the floor in any way. I cut the carpet up in sections to haul out. The padding was already in easy to handle sections. The linoleum was broken up in easy to handle sections also. The floor now looks like this: 



I will be painting the walls first. The paint needs to be freshened up. Then the floor will be sanded and sealed. Rob wants to match the trim to the floor so we will be replacing at least the floor trim if not all of it. Then we start bed shopping. We are switching from a queen size bed to a king size bed. We both need plenty of space to sleep!

Rob is finishing up the wiring in the shop. He has done so much in there and it looks so nice! He now has plenty of outlets and lighting. He has learned how to wire a three way switch with multiple lights which was a challenge for him. He has also added a lot of insulation to the walls and around the windows which has made a big difference in that room. He has more plans for the shop including adding shelving and cabinets for storage. 

Since it is winter, we have time to get the indoor projects done! When the weather turns nice again (hurry up Spring!), we will be cleaning up the yard and working outdoors again. We will also be building a new chicken coop! 



You can check out my latest YouTube video! That will give you an idea of what I was up to in December. I was mostly trying to clear up some clutter and to clean up my side of the office a bit. 

How is your January going? Let me know in the comments below! 

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Mind Is Literally Going In A Hundred Directions...


I haven't done a post like this in a long time, but the end of the year is coming. This post may be a little long, but I want to explain where I am at right now, what I am interested in now, and where I am at in life. I haven't even looked at my goals for this year in about six months. I know some have been accomplished, but not all of them. I don't think, as of right now, I will set specific goals for next year.

I am okay with that.

Because my mind is going in a hundred directions. Literally.

My life this year has been crazy. In January, Rob and I started living together and there continues to be a lot of adjustments for both of us as well as the kids. The kids at home are busy and continuing to live the life of a 16 year old and a 12 year old. Although I do have to say having a 12 year old boy after three girls is quite different. Not always in a good way either.

However, my interests are the same and different. This is where my mind is going right now.

I still love and am interested in what this blog is about: prepping, homesteading, and frugality. I struggle to separate the three of them in my mind most days. I wonder how much more I can do and what I should do. I always plan to be more frugal in the next year even though I can't always figure out how to be even more frugal than I already am. However, there is always more to be done.

Our finances are going to change in January a bit and that will be an interesting challenge. As for many people, health insurance rates are going to rise for us too. We are also taking on a couple bills that the landlords had paid for in the past which will need to be added in the budget. We have separate accounts and separate budgets, but we usually discuss and decide how joint bills will be paid.

I am going to try to participate in the Uber Frugal Month Challenge by The Frugalwoods. I adore their blog! I saw their post about this challenge and knew I should participate. I love a good challenge once I have my mind convinced to do it.

We are also looking at ways to lose some, if not all, of our dependence on electricity. We have been talking about and researching solar and wind energy to either power some of our things like the well pump or to be a back-up when the power goes out. We have some ways to heat the house if we lose power. However, the whole house is electric so we need to figure out something different. We are just a little leery about the power grid and its stability...

I am now finding myself passionately interested in minimalism, zero waste lifestyle, living with less, decluttering, and methods of  organization. I have been decluttering a lot more this last year because nothing says you have too much stuff than moving in with someone! The organizing needed to happen because I was, and sometimes still am, the only person who can find things. That does not work when you really do not want the other people in your life dependent upon you!

Why such the interest in these things? I see them as an extension of prepping, homesteading, and frugality. I think they fit hand in hand. Too much stuff and too much waste can clutter up your efforts in prepping and homesteading. Not being organized means you spend precious time finding your stuff and/or buying replacements when you can't find them. Both of those things can thwart your frugal ways by spending your time and money when you didn't need to. Having order can be benefit to every area of your life.

It also can be a vicious circle which is why I spend more time studying more of these things. I want to break the cycle.

Speaking of breaking the cycle, I need to do so on my health too. I thought my yearly doctor's visit would be the wake-up call I needed. It wasn't. My blood tests and my screens all came back nearly perfect. Cholesterol was a little high. The doctor mentioned I should lose weight, but was pleased because my weight had not increased.  She still thinks I need to be on a low carb diet because she thinks everyone should be. I do agree with her on that.

So now I research and try to implement methods, meals, and snacks that are low carb. This is so hard! I have a heck of a sweet tooth when it comes to chocolate, caramel, and a certain company's oatmeal cream pies. None of which are mentioned on the various low carb plans! Right now, my research keeps leading me to the Ketogenic diet and the Trim Healthy Mama diet. I have mostly converted my sugar usage to sugar substitutes like Stevia, Erythritol, and Xylitol or combination of them. The rest of my diet needs work.

This is a switch for me honestly. I am still very interested in natural health and eating naturally. I still think some of the foods I am not suppose to have are still very healthy for me. I have a tough time giving up legumes, some grains, honey, bread, and jams made from scratch. Fruit hasn't been a huge deal for me because I can't digest a lot of it. I like strawberries and blueberries in season so I am fine with those being a treat.

I also still want to grow most of my own food. I miss my garden now that winter is here and I am thinking about getting a greenhouse. It would be nice to keep growing more cold tolerant crops in the winter. I miss having chickens, but they are coming back this Spring. I want fresh eggs again! We are planting more fruit trees next year also. My interest in being self-sustainable will never go away. 

This seems like a lot of directions for the mind to go. I get so interested in so many things! The mind is going crazy with all this information and decisions to be made!

But, as always, I am still interested in writing, blogging, and vlogging. The more I see the connections in everything I am interested in, the more I want to talk about it. This blog will probably expand more into all these areas as I learn more and experience more of what I am interested in. I think prepping, homesteading, and being frugal can and does encompass all these things.

All this has made making goals for next year very difficult. I will probably do monthly goals and make the changes a bit more bite-size. I want to learn more, do more, be more, and have enough to live life.

Where is your mind going? What is your next year going to look like?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Are You Ready For The New Year? My 2016 Goals!


Since my goals for 2015 pretty much didn't get accomplished, I figured I needed a new game plan.

What is that game plan?

1. Break them down into more manageable and easier to accomplish tasks.
2. Print them out. Maybe make the print out fancy or more eye catching.
3. Hang my goals in several places in my home. 

To be fair, my focus shifted last year especially in the last three months. The biggest change to my focus is that Rob and I are going to move in together at the end of January. I decided that meant I needed to get much more organized and declutter the whole house. 

Rational thinking, right?

I am still not done, but a lot of progress has been made. Much more needs to be made. 

However, I still enjoyed having goals last year so I will endeavor to have goals this year. Some of my goals are the same from last year with some new ones thrown in. Some of my goals will depend on others, but I am okay with that. I seek to encourage others and hope that happens on a regular basis. 

I am also splitting my goals up this year. I will not be posting my blogging goals because those are quite personal and I do not seek to burden you with that somewhat boring stuff. 

Home Goals:

1. To stop picking up after my kids and make them do it. This may not seem big, but I feel like I do this too often and because I am too lazy to make the kid who made the mess clean it up. Not anymore.

2.  Clean, de-clutter, paint, re-carpet, fix ceiling,  and organize Paige's room. This room is an unorganized disaster that needs some serious help. Plus she is at that age where she is growing out of everything: clothes, toys, books, etc. We actually made a lot of progress on this in 2015, but it just needs to get done!

3. Move the bedrooms from the basement to the upstairs and move the spare bedrooms to the basement. 

4. Paint the upstairs hallway/stairway.

Personal Goals: 

1. To check my bank account every week. No matter how scary it is. I have a budget, but I hate checking my bank account. It is really depressing and I don't like to it. However, that is cowardly and, to be able to track my spending better, I need to check it at least weekly.

2. Write a book or an e-book. Because I have always wanted to.

3. To read at least 25 pages every day. I have been slacking on my reading and I love to read! Time to get back to it.

Homesteading Goals:

1. To build a raised bed in the garden for my carrots and beets. My soil is too clay like to grow these things well. I want to build a raised bed with more sand and less dirt. I want to build a second one for my potatoes, but we will see how much material I have on hand to build a second one. 

2. To add more layer chickens to the flock. My chickens will be two years old in May and production will be declining. Time to start adding.

3. Plant 2-3 apple trees, 2 pear trees, and try again with plum trees. The farm needs more fruit and rejuvenation. 

4. Start a small flock of meat chickens and butcher them myself. Maybe 10-15 birds for my first time. 

Prepping Goals:

1. To become more comfortable with guns and learn to shoot well.

2. To practice with a bow more often and maybe hunt with it. 

3. To acquire more water storage. I want to add 75-100 gallons of water to my existing water supplies. 

4. To build up my food storage to at least a comfortable year or longer.

What are your goals for the new year?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December 2015 Goals Update


I just realized that I didn't post an update for November which is indicative of how busy that time was!

What have we been doing? Hauling lots and lots of things to the thrift store. Paige has been really cracking down on her room. Dane has been working on his room. I have just been going and going on the rest of the house!

These goals have changed and evolved over the year. They will really change in the next few months, but I really hope to accomplish most of them in the next year. My priorities have just changed to cleaning the house of clutter. That needed to happen first. 

The second is that we are looking at some big life changes in the next couple of months. I don't know if they will happen, but I am really hoping they do. I don't want to talk about them now, but I will when the time is right. 

My Goals For 2015

1. Clean, de-clutter, paint, re-carpet, fix the ceiling and organize Paige's room. This room is an unorganized disaster that needs some serious help. Plus she is at that age where she is growing out of everything: clothes, toys, books, etc.

This will happen. We decided that everything needs to be gone through in Paige's room. We have gotten rid of almost half of her clothes, a good deal of just trash, and several things she has grown out of. She is still going through everything, but we have moved more into the organizing end of things.

2. Clean, organize, paint, and re-carpet the office. This is where I work at home (most of the time). It doesn't work for me. It doesn't really work for anyone.

Next year. I have a load of things in there that I just need to get listed on eBay and sell. I have been listing more and more, but some of this takes time and research. 

3. Purchase a handgun and learn to use it well.  Next year.

4. To blog much more consistently and to learn to use social media to my advantage. To me consistently is at least 3-5 times a week. That doesn't happen right now.

I am not blogging at least three times a week due to my other activities right now, but I have been focusing a lot more on social media with great results. I have been also studying ways to become a better blogger and have been implementing those tools. 

5. To make a homemade gift for each birthday. I have lots of ideas that I am not using right now so this should be easy to do.

Next year if I don't get something done in time for Christmas. 


6. Add 1-2 beehives to the homestead. I would love, love, love to produce our own honey.

Next year, maybe. 


7. Lose 20 pounds over the year. Unbelievably, I love 20 pounds last year and would love to lose 20 more this year.

I have lost ten pounds! Yeah! We are switching to a low carb diet for Rob's diabetes and because diabetes runs in my mom's side of the family. Maybe I will lose 20 more pounds!


8. Finish six unfinished projects. I will introduce you all to my needlework pile in the future. You might not be laughing after you see it.

The clothes dryer is fixed! Is that an unfinished project? 

9. Live as frugally as possible by making more my own things and using what I have first before buying more. This really needs to happen this year and working up a realistic budget will be the first step.

I have been really working on this with the Once A Month Shopping Challenge! This has been a blessing to me, but I am trying to become even more frugal. Small changes add up to big ones like making sure lights are shut off, chargers are unplugged, doors stay shut to keep the warm air in, and picking up any change I see on the ground!

10. Write a book or an e-book. Because I have always wanted to.

I started two books, but have not had a lot of time to get back to them. I hope to during the winter when I am more willing to sit on the computer. 

11. Go to a self-reliance/preparedness expo and/or Mother Earth News Fair. I have never been to one and always say I want to go one and never do. This year is the year for this! Next year. 

12. Get a new-to-me double recliner and love seat for the living room. The ones I have have been blessing my home for at least 16-19 years and they blessed someone else's home before that. The kids have made sure they are worn out and broken down. I have fixed over and over again. Enough. Time for new to me stuff!

I have not found anything I like or will match yet. I am not trying to be fussy, but I am not into floral furniture in any way, shape, or form!

Thanks for reading!
Erica

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How I Get Things Done: Doing 5 Things In One Area


I am often asked how I get things done. I know I am a single mother with busy kids so that means I have to get things done. Of course, I enlist my kids into helping because, most of the time, it is their mess. At the end of the day, though, most of the work falls on me to keep the house running smoothly and to get things done.

I often don't feel like doing anything. Morning is my best time to get things done because I am tired at night after being at work most of the day. When I get home, I don't want to do anything including cooking. I often have prepping and homesteading tasks to accomplish. I have blogging to do. I have an Ebay store that needs daily attention. 

I have things to do! 

Crazy, right?

This is how I get things done: I choose an area and get five things done in that area. 

I will grab a piece of scratch paper or use my Any.DO app on my phone and make a list of five things I want to get done. I often will have a list for the morning and one for the evening. My morning list will usually have errands I need to run in town. I also focus attention on and have a list of five things to do in my Ebay store and for my blogging activities in the mornings. 

My evening list is usually more specific to an area at home that needs attention. I do most of my homesteading tasks in the evenings. Most of my prepping activities will be in the evenings. Most of my major housework will be in the evenings. Altogether it is really overwhelming, but by breaking down the tasks and focusing on one area, I can get more done.

I like to have my list written down or noted on the Any.Do app so I can keep on task. I am way too easily distracted and will lose focus easily. I need to see the list in print to keep on task!

For an in-house example of what I would do: If I am in the living room, I will put five things away. Usually that alone makes a huge difference! I will fold the blankets and put them away, put the throw pillows back on the furniture, make the kids pick up the toys, put away read books and magazines, and put the dirty dishes in the kitchen. The living room is instantly looking better and I feel accomplished.

For a more specific example, this was yesterday's list:
Buy garlic to plant in the garden
Plant garlic in the garden
Stake the area planted and put twine around the stakes for a barrier
Buy pots for the herbs
Repot the outdoor herbs and bring them inside for the winter.

I also pulled up the tomatoes plants while I was out there waiting for the kids to find the twine and stakes. I should have been more efficient and brought them out with me! But that is life sometimes!

That list was all about gardening and I felt great getting that all done! Especially with colder weather coming this week!

When I make a list of five, I am doing it to keep the list and my life simple. I don't feel overwhelmed. I am doing what I can in this area at that moment. I still make supper, do dishes, and do laundry, but I am getting more done than the basics.

The side benefit of doing five things is that I can stop there and feel great about what I have done. Usually though, when I start doing those five things, I start doing more during or after those five things are done. Case in point: pulling up the tomato plants while I was waiting for the kids. 

Depending on where you are at in life, your list might be different. I remember my kids being little and thinking that having five toys picked up was a great achievement! The joy of the list of five is that you can make suit your life and where you are at in life. 

How do you get it all done? Do you use this method too?

Thanks for reading,
Erica



Thursday, October 1, 2015

October 2015 Goals Update


Happy Fall everyone! I love this season too, but I don't like that winter is coming after it. It doesn't sound like we will be having a mild winter. 

As a family, we are in the middle of cross country/marching band season. If Paige isn't at one of those, she is at the other. She loves both and this season in life is temporary. Since I won't let her have a school permit yet, I am driving her everywhere. 

Dane hasn't started basketball yet, so we aren't running completely crazy!

The girls are loving college and trying to stay healthy. A lot of colds and an ear infection have been in their apartment!

My Goals For 2015

1. Clean, de-clutter, paint, re-carpet, fix ceiling,  and organize Paige's room. This room is an unorganized disaster that needs some serious help. Plus she is at that age where she is growing out of everything: clothes, toys, books, etc. 

We have not done a lot up there. She has decided on colors to paint her room. We hauled another box of unwanted stuff out of there, but there is just so much more since her sisters gifted her with more of their unwanted clothes. And Paige loves clothes! This is proving a challenge to get her down to a reasonable wardrobe. 

2. Clean, organize, paint, and re-carpet the office. This is where I work at home (most of the time). It doesn't work for me. It doesn't really work for anyone.

The office is ready to be painted when I get to it. I have almost everything unnecessary out of there. 

3. Purchase a hand gun and learn to use it well.

4. To blog much more consistently and to learn to use social media to my advantage. To me consistently is at least 3-5 times a week. That doesn't happen right now.

This blog has been growing and thank you to all of you for it! Thank you!!!!

I couldn't be happier with the growth and encouragement this blog gives me. I would still like to blog more during the week, but time constants and all that. 

5. To make a homemade gift for each birthday Christmas. I have lots of ideas that I am not using right now so this should be easy to do.

6. Add 1-2 beehives to the homestead. I would love, love, love to produce our own honey.

7. Lose 20 pounds over the year. Unbelievably, I love 20 pounds last year and would love to lose 20 more this year.

Well, the low carb diet plan is working for the most part. Since I made Jordan take the scale to college with her (I hate scales!), I have no idea what I weigh. Maybe next month, I will be able to tell you!

8. Finish six unfinished projects. I will introduce you all to my needlework pile in the future. You might not be laughing after you see it.

Still working on two of the needlework projects and the end is in site with both of them. I did get the wireless, motion-sensing light hung up over the garage walk-in door. I have been wanting that done for awhile. The driveway is lit up now when someone pulls in the driveway which makes me feel better. 

9. Live as frugally as possible by making more my own things and using what I have first before buying more. This really needs to happen this year and working up a realistic budget will be the first step.

Budget is still going, just getting tighter. Dang medical bills. I am trying to make some extra money by selling things so we can get them worked down. 

I am also trying not to buy anything extra or frivolous in October. A kind of no-spend month if I can do it. We shall see. 

10. Write a book or an e-book. Because I have always wanted to.

Definitely have the outline and some of the filler info ready for a book. Just need to commit time to it now!

11. Go to a self-reliance/preparedness expo and/or Mother Earth News Fair. I have never been to one and always say I want to go one and never do. This year is the year for this!

Probably not happening this year now. Unless one happens very soon and within a three hour driving distance. Next year!

12. Get a new-to-me double recliner and love seat for the living room. The ones I have have been blessing my home for at least 16-19 years and they blessed some one else's home before that. The kids have made sure they are worn out and broken down. I have fixed over and over again. Enough. Time for new to me stuff!

Haha! I have gone to a lot of garage sales this last month and nothing. Craigslist has also yielded nothing. I am just holding on to the thought of "Good things happen to those who wait!"

So that is it for this month. What is your goals for October?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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