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I Do It My Way


Saving Money by Not Spending

JerryMany years ago, a good friend of mine gave me some great advice: "The best way to save money is not to spend money." Now mind you, one of my hobbies is not spending money, so he was preaching to the choir. I'm so cheap that my dad once referred to me as a tightwad who squeaked when I walked.

I wanted to share my top seven ways to not spend money on the homestead.

1. Reuse stuff. This should be a no-brainer. I've built entire chicken pens out of reused materials — roof tin from an old barn, nails I straightened after pulling them out of old lumber, etc ... Every nail, nut, screw, or bolt I find anywhere gets picked up and evaluated. Good ones get sorted into cans for easy access, not-so-good ones go in the can to recycle (more on recycling later).

2. Free stuff. Another no-brainer. If somebody offers you something for free, take it! Free pallets, free samples, free things you find on the side of the road ... Free stuff can be really good! Well, maybe except for free roosters when you already have too many.

3. Recycle stuff. It's like being given free money (See number 2). Recycle anything and everything you can't reuse. Beyond the greenness of recycling, you get some free green in your pocket.

4. Fix stuff. YouTube is an amazing place to learn how to make repairs. I've learned how to fix ovens, dryers, trucks, iPhone headphone jacks — it's all there for the viewing. And it's free!

5. Eat stuff. Grow, hunt, or raise your own food. It will be better for you, it will taste better, and it will save you money. You can combine several of the previous suggestions here. Saving your own seeds means free seeds next year. Canning your produce in the same jars year after year means you are reusing stuff.

6. Creative stuff. Don't be afraid to get creative on the homestead. Find ways to combine the principles outlined above.

7. There is no 7. I told you I was cheap! When you are trying to save money, you have to economize every chance you get.

nuts and bolts in jars
Photo by Fotolia/Futro

Anniversary at the Fair

JerryIt's a beautiful world we live in, and if you are interested in knowing more about this world then there's no better place than at one of the upcoming MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fairs. Especially if you are interested in homesteading, self-sufficiency, or farming in general — which, if you are reading a blog at GRIT, you most likely are. At the fair, you will have the opportunity to learn about topics as far ranging as growing your own broom to making mead. There will be seminars about beekeeping, chicken rearing, and gardening. Since I live in Texas, here is a listing of presentations at the upcoming Texas Fair.

In addition to all the tantalizing workshops, there will be a large vendor area that you will not want to miss. You can visit with merchants selling everything from beehives, seeds, and tools to books and handmade items. Speaking with these vendors was very informative and a great way to learn about new products.

Taken as a whole, the Fair is a wonderful place to meet new people, learn all kinds of new stuff, and to get a dose of encouraging reaffirmation that the hard work of self-sufficiency and homesteading is worth the effort.

I also think the Fair is a sweet, romantic place, and for the second year in a row my wife and I will be celebrating our anniversary by attending the Fair in Belton, Texas. For me to anxiously look forward to attending anything that will include a large crowd is out of character (for more on that, see: Hermitize – A Sibling Conversation), but I have to say this: the Fair is great. In the case of the Belton Fair, the facilities are amazing, the hotel next door is great, and no doubt the Fair will be fantastic, so if you are in Texas make plans now to attend. You will not regret it. For what it’s worth, I'll be the antisocial one ...

Bags of seeds
Photo by Fotolia/gennaro coretti







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