This guest post by Sarkin and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.
I always wanted to be a “homesteader”. Yes I hate labeling myself or anyone else but I woke up the other morning and thought that must be what I have become. It is hard to live that kind of lifestyle when your drowning in debt. A huge factor in not only getting to the point of being debt free but also to having actual say in your own life and time is saving and spending wisely. I knew at an early age that even though my dad had been my idol since day one I didn’t want to work 60 hours a week like he usually did. I also didn’t want to raise 9 loud kids either ;) I knew if I could master my budget it would have a trickle effect onto my whole life.
I live in a 24ft prowler travel trailer, no I don’t have a mortgage ;) Little bit of solar, rain water, small wood stove, propane and a well. No utilities. I grow everything that I can grow myself up here in the pacific northwest. My parents got me hooked on canning when I was young. I am $0 dollars in debt and work about 10-14 hours a week as a cook in town(about 12 miles away). I went to college for a few years but realized I didn’t want the life of a career.
I feel bad how miserable peoples lives are, working them away for a mountain of china’s finest exports. Some people today think they really need one of everything of every category Most all my time is my own and I have REAL freedom to do what I want when I want. I love taking care of my animals, working outside, growing food, canning and spending time visiting my family and friends. I also found out that I could love my job when I didn’t have to work 6 days a week just to be totally broke.
No my life is not for everyone but it is all mine and it is “real”. I think our whole country might be in for a dose or “real” life very soon. I told a family member the other day I pray her first world problems don’t become third world problems because she probably couldn’t handle it. It was kind of mean but she didn’t get it anyways.
So what I set out to do with this article originally was just to send in a big list of ideas that might be helpful. Some of these might seem like common sense but here goes:
When I buy milk I buy whole milk, then divide it into 2 jugs then fill them both with water…milk is the same cost if it is whole or nonfat. So it makes your milk 50% off and 50% healthier ;)
I make my own liquid laundry soap. I got a deal on pink Zote soap years ago for 30cents a bar and I bought 40 bars. Needless to say I have a lifetime supply. Also I bottle my finished soap up into old milk jugs and sell it to family and friends for 2 bucks a gallon. It is not a get rich quick scheme by any means but I make a few bucks and all my soap is free.
Make a huge effort to eat less meat. Don’t get me wrong its not a matter of loving animals. I love animals, I raise them humanely and I know the huge expense they are and the price they pay to feed us. People eat too much meat, it is just not sustainable. Besides the horrible methods used to raise them commercially, meat it expensive. 9 times out of 10 it is most expensive part of the meal. So its simple eat less meat save money.
I like to stretch taco filling with lots of home canned pinto beans or even some oats or wheat germ.
Use canning to make cooking easier and cheaper. Canning your own beans for example saves a fortune and it is so handy. Also I use almost all Tattler canning lids. Yes they are a little pricey. Or I should say were a little pricey, mine have been made free twice over from reuse.
Composting toilet. When I had a regular a home I always made it a point to go number “1” outside. Sorry if anyone is sensitive but every time a toilet flushes it is wasted “clean” drinking water. Not that I consider tap water to be drinkable. But it adds up fast on the ole water bill. But honestly a composting toilet is so easy and cheap. A bag of peat moss goes a long ways. There are lots of ideas for building them or just attaching a toilet seat to a 5 gal bucket.
I get buckets of mistakes and plate leftovers from the restaurant I work at to feed my chickens. A lot of times there are big 8oz+ chunks of prime rib or steaks in there I feed to my dog Chewbacca. This cuts my chicken and dog food bill down sharply. Every now and then I will grab big chunks of the dried out wheat toast and give the rabbits a little. Also I feed my rabbits tons of weeds, dandelions, plantain, and clover I scrounge up. They get hay from off my moms pasture and big chunks of apple tree prunings to chew on too. I raise mangel beets in the garden for the chickens and rabbits. I love when the rabbits are all chomping on there own chunks of field beets, they look like a bunch of blood crazed zombies. ;)
One day I might build a cabin or get a yurt, I haven’t decided. One big lesson I have learned though. My little wood stove heats this small trailer so easily. It is wild how warm I stay on such a small volume of wood. It is sort of like the saying “White man build big fire, sit way back…Indian build little fire, sit up close.” But it would be more like “Has huge house.. burn down whole forest in wood stove and wife still cold.”
My best piece of advice don’t buy cheap or poorly made anything. Make smart money choices and think of the quality and longevity of purchases…sometimes to save money you have to spend money!
This contest will end on February 16 2013 – prizes include:
- First Place winner will receive Two cases of MRE’s courtesy of Camping Survival, A Wonder Junior Deluxe hand-mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads, $150 gift certificate for Fiocchi Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo, ABig Berkey Water Filter System courtesy of TruPrep Emergency Preparedness and a one year subscription to Personal VPN servicecourtesy of unspyable.
- Second Place: A $200 gift certificate for any order from their store courtesy of Shepherd Survival and A Doom and Bloom Mini Trauma Bagcourtesy of LPC Survival.
- Third Place: A Bar-ricade door bar courtesy of My Locksmith, Inc.