Monday, July 30, 2018

Christmas in July?

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....
All images about the red christmas
Not actually LOOKING like Christmas- and certainly not FEELING like Christmas around the homestead but being the frugal planner that I am I've started really thinking about it.

We always pack Operation Christmas Child boxes and we've been collecting things for that throughout the year and are getting quite a bit together.

I've started putting some money into my budget for Christmas gift cards now. I've gotten a $15 Taco Bell gift card for my brother ( LOL) and have put it away.

I also just cashed in my Ibotta for a $30 Kohls card! I may use that for back to school purchases if we decide there is something we need like underwear or socks or shoes- but I'd like to save it for Christmas.

Speaking of Ibotta- It is super easy and of course FREE. Once you sign up here you simply scan your receipts via an app on your phone for items that you purchase at stores. There are things like " any brand bread" or " any brand milk" and each one may be .25-.50 cents. I normally make about $7.xx on each weekly shopping trip so it doesn't take long to get enough ( $25) to cash out. You can get gift cards, amazon or paypal. I hope you all find it useful.

I've gotten a few "free item" coupons from Bath and Body works in the past few months and have bought 4 small hand cremes that I'll put in small gift bags for the kids teachers.

What all are you guys doing prepping for Christmas?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Frugal Happenings: 7-8-18

Well I totally just skipped June but here is it what has been happening around the homestead this past week.

Kroger had a sale on their butter- $1.99 a lb so I got 5 lbs to put in the freezer.

The garden is insane: salsa, pasta sauce, ketchup, pickles of all sorts, relish of all sorts, ( see my hot pepper relish recipe)  pickled jalepenos etc. I'm running out of jars fast so I think I'm going to have to start freezing some stuff.

Kroger had a promotion for Bass Pro Shop gift cards: buy $50 get $10 off your groceries. I always use Bass Pro Shop cards at Christmas time and had some money in my Christmas budget so thought this was a win win.

I received some dryer balls a while back and kind of forgot about them, however I dug them out and have been using them for about a week now.

Sold 4 dozen eggs last week ( $2 a peice). I let my oldest daughter keep half then we put half towards their food. They are all still laying well so we have plenty to eat ourselves plus a little bit leftover to sell.

The girls are going to church camp (free our church pays for it) but they needed some cool skirts and a waterbottle- the Goodwill had everything we needed! The water bottles are really nice ones for $1 a peice and the skirts also look brand new and were $4 each, so $10 total plus tax from the goodwill. I looked up one of the water bottles and it was $17.99 at Target new so I would say I scored!

My dissertation is coming along. I need a draft to my professor in about 2 weeks so I'll be busy doing that, canning and raising the kiddos :)

What all have you been doing lately?

Also- any tips on freezing tomatoes especially?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Frugal Happenings: April 2-6

Oh what a week. It was pretty busy coming off of Spring Break just a week or so ago, advising has started for summer and fall, I'm of course still studying for my qualifying exams and I'm finishing up 7 hours of coursework from this semester which will complete all my required courses for my doctorate! Whoo hoo!

A few ways we stayed frugal during this busy week:

-No eating out.
-I made corn bread muffins from scratch several times- which the kids and my husband and I all like 
-The only grocery shopping we did was 1 gallon of milk.
-A former student sent me a nice thank you note and a $15 Sonic gift card to me- so I see some slushes in our future this summer.
-Our church has a beautiful singing on Wednesday night- free entertainment and just a wonderful service.
- It was my turn to bring snacks to the 4H club for my kids on Thursday. Normally I would have went to a cute local bakery and buy little cupcakes or petit fours. But this time I made homeade cookeis with ingredients I already had and whipped up some country time lemonade- the kids gobbled them up and I save probably $20!
- So many eggs I don't know what to do with them! Very thankful. We are getting between 14-18 eggs per day. I donated 6 dozen to our campus food pantry ( we put them in half dozen size cartons and the students love them). We still have had plenty to eat for ourselves.

What all have you been doing around your places this past week?

Friday, March 30, 2018

March updates: 1/3 of the year is finished! How did we do

So.... we are one third of the way through the year.

You may recall that this year we are focused on getting out of a tremendous amount of debt. We've had our ups and downs but here is the breakdown so far:

Paid off January: 1474
Paid off February: $2773
Paid off March: $2619

For a total of $6866 Paid off in 2018!

We are pretty proud of that figure and hope to keep up the momentum. This we did in March to help with the budget

1. Skipped spring school pictures: I normally buy pictures for each of the kids but to be honest they just go in a box in the closet. I put a few out to display- but figured I could skip these this one time. ( saving $60 along the way)

2. No clothes were purchased for myself, husband or the kids. Again- I do not think this is sustainable as the kids are growing but this past month we did not purchase anything!

3. We ate out just once the whole month!! We went on a small camping trip locally for Spring Break and there is a Steak and Shake close to where we camp and the kids love to eat there. We spent $24.xx for the 5 of us and enjoyed it. Eating out just once this month was a huge accomplishment for us.

4. Free entertainment by playing outside a lot, going to a park about 15 minutes away a few afternoons, playing cards at my parents house, participating in Free 4H activities etc. We had a full March and we all had fun.

5. I earned $183 from a local children's consignment sale called Rhea Lana's that happens in our area twice a year. It took some work to tag and enter all the items in- but I enjoyed the pay day! All that money went strait to our next debt.

6. I just listed a book on ebay. It's a text book I used last semester for school- so hopefully I'll sell that. It's listed at $43.xx.

Our original goal was to pay off $25,000 in debt this year, but it looks like we might even make $30,000!!!!

How are you guys doing? Having a nice frugal Spring?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

I need your help- Rhubarb issues- any thoughts?

Well not issues really- but Rhubarb is out of my wheel house and not super common around here. I'm not sure what to do with this. I planted a small pot of it last spring. I didn't harvest it last fall, but I'm not sure what to do about it.

As you can see it's very bright and green and growing!

What's going on top here? 

On the top right you can see the "original" stalk, the center left are some of the newer smaller stalks. 

So should I transplant into a garden bed? Into a bigger container? Will it spread if I leave it here? Any tips or advice on what to do? I would love to harvest some rhubarb this fall for some pies, jam and jellies!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Spring Around the Homestead Part 3: The GARDEN

Don't forget to check out the previous two posts examining what's going on right now.

Part 1: Blooms and Flowers
Part 2: Animals

And now- lets see what is going on around the garden!

A row of about 35 cabbages, broccoli, cauliflowers. 

A bit sad- but a few little asparagus babies coming up. I've not been super lucky with these. 

More cabbages. 

Some green onions. 

Tilled and about ready for some corn to be planted .

 In the next week or so I'll be putting in corn, lettuce blends, kale, more onions, radishes and beets.

What do you all have going on right now? Have you started planting yet?

Friday, March 23, 2018

Spring around the Homestead: Part 2- Animals ( chicken overload)

Don't miss yesterday's post: Spring Around the Homestead: Blooms and Flowers

Today I wanted to show you a few of our animals. Chickens are just fun and I ended up with a ton of pictures from them. We are up to about 30 or so chickens. While we do sell a few eggs here or there ( maybe $10-$15 worth a month) we mainly keep them for fun, for our own eggs and my kids show some of them at the fair.

This is our frizzle rooster. He is so fuzzy! He is a bantam breed so super small. 

This girl is a bantam breed Golden Seabright. We have a pair of these girls. We used to have a rooster in this breed but he got so mean we had to give him away. 

These honestly are just the cutest!

Not a great picture but this is a Golden Campine. We have a pair of these and the girls show them at the fair. 

And we can't forget the goats. Clifford we've had for gosh probably 10 years- he's just like a puppy dog. The one in the front is Trail Mix and my oldest showed her last year. Now she is just a pet. If my kids decide to show this year we will need to be getting some new ones soon.

We do have 3 rabbits right now as well- they didn't make the photos somehow. How are things around your homestead? Any new babies? Expecting anything soon ?