Wow, its January 1st 2014, time does fly!
We are not big on New Years resolutions around here, more of a goal and lifestyle list for us.
We have been working on stepping off the mass consumerism, everything has to be bigger, faster and more convenient bandwagon. The main plan for 2014 is to be more diligent in this endeavor. Our instant gratification throw away society is out of control.
We said farewell to Dish Network and put up an antenna last month. Now we get 14 channels crystal clear and no more bill.
We are working on putting phantom electrical load items on power strips or just flat out unplugging them when not in use. Phantom electric loads amount to about 10% of the electric bill in the average home. I got a lot of push back from hubby at first on this but it is getting better. We just started working on this last month, I will let you know how it goes.
The larder is growing. Between our garden and sourcing from friends with big gardens, veggie wise we are pretty self sufficient. We have freezers full of our own pork, rabbit and chicken with goose, duck and beef of our own to be processed soon. So we are getting pretty self sufficient meat wise. Eliminating convenience foods and fake foods is large on the to do list. I have a soda addiction, this is at the top of the list. I am on day 3 with none as we speak. It is silly but if they are in the house, it is all I drink.
We are making strides on reducing commercial consumables. Learned to make bar soap, laundry soap and dish washer detergent (although I have about quit using the dishwasher), as well as multipurpose cleaner. I have amassed a large number of cloth napkins thanks to local thrift stores as well as dish towels, homegrown luffa sponges and rags, all but eliminating paper towels from the house. My dear husband is still adjusting to this and not too happy about it. We even started using empty feed bags for kitchen garbage bags when we have them. I use a lot of feed bags for gardening projects so they are in high demand around here.
Free / Cheap Entertainment
We are getting to know our local library much better and visit at least once a week. Along with reading materials, the video selection is pretty nice. Getting out hiking in local state parks and management areas more regularly is on my list for 2014. We did a 4.4 mile trail a couple of miles from the house last week when the weather broke. It felt really good. Really long but really good. We live a couple of mile from the Suwannee river so there is no excuse not to be out enjoying the water as well (we even own a canoe). The gulf is less than an hour drive, getting down there fishing more often is on the list too. We sold my boat last year so we could buy a horse trailer but we have another boat that with a little time and money will be sea worthy again. We have three horses that rarely see a saddle, this is on the list for improvement as well.
Graduation = Income = Savings
I will be graduating from RN school on May 2nd. This will equal a decent paycheck to add to our savings with and make life easier. My husband has been our main source of income while I have been in school, god bless him. Unfortunately he was laid off early in December. Thanks to some severance pay and low bills we will be fine, and I am sure he will secure employment again soon. Our goal has always been to use my income to put our savings in better shape and not really raise our lifestyle.
Livestock Feed Bill
This area, in my opinion, is where we need major improvement.
We just put 16 rabbits in the freezer, this will be a huge help on rabbit food expense. I am almost down to just the number of breeders I want. Once the rabbitry is down to the numbers I want I think I can largely get them off pellets.
We have lots of chickens, ducks and geese that need to go in the freezer. Getting numbers down will obviously help the feed bill but I also want to formulate a homemade feed and get them off commercial feed.
There isn't a lot I can do about our horse food bill.
The cows are grassfed so we are golden there.
I need to get back to making my own dog food. I did this for a long time but hubby is not on board which makes it harder.
We live about 15 miles from town. We are working on consolidating trips to town. It is to say the least a work in progress :)
Our bottom line goal for 2014 is to get leaner, meaner and more efficient so we can put more money in savings and continue to build a secure self sufficient life. Nothing feels better than to be able to splurge on something you really want and pay cash, guilt free. We have no car payments and no credit card bills and we plan to keep it this way. Being debt free made the news of Ricks layoff December 3rd a bump in the road instead of a brick wall.