Budget Stretching

We all know what it’s like to have to reduce expenses. Maybe it’s a job loss or an illness that causes us to tighten the belts. When there is too much month left at the end of the money, we all need to find ways to reduce our costs and/or make more money. How do you achieve this?

One of the hands down best ways we work at reducing expenses is growing our own food. We grow about 75 – 80% of all the food we eat. Regular readers know that amount is a bit less than it has been in years past. I haven’t canned as much this year as I have other years. However, we still have a cold room stocked with garden goodies from past years. This is what stocking up is all about! Still having a surplus of food, even though I haven’t been on the other end of the canner is quite a wonderful feeling! My hard work in years past is Still paying off.

I am quite in shock looking around the grocery store; I can’t believe how much prices have gone up in these last few years! $5 for a loaf of bread, are you kidding me? No, unfortunately, that’s the going price here right now for multigrain bread.


bread machine Budget Stretching

If you can get a bread machine, you can save money over the long term, but you need to use the machine on a regular basis. Paying $70 for a bread machine that gets used three times and then sits on a shelf collecting dust does nothing for you. If you faithfully use it a few times a week, you will get your money back out of it and then some. There’s also the convenience that comes from not having to run to the store to get that loaf of bread. Try and plan to go to the store once a week and then buy all the groceries you will need. There’s nothing that blows through a wallet faster than repeated trips to the grocery or department store!

Another way to reduce grocery costs is to buy everything you can when it is on sale. Buying that loaf of bread when it’s on sale for $3.50 (gasp) can be a help. It’s even more of a help to buy three loaves on sale, and put two of them in the freezer for later use. If you can bring an extra $20 to the grocery store a week, you can take advantage of sales and begin to stock your pantry at home. If sugar is on sale, buy an extra bag; usually sales run in cycles. Try to buy enough so you will have some on hand until the next time it comes back on sale, then stock up some more.

What are some other ways to reduce costs on a regular basis?

- Turn off all the lights in rooms no one is in. This is such a basic thing, yet so many people don’t do it. Every time you leave a light on in a vacant room, you are burning money; why would you do that?

- Turn down the thermostat.  We heat our 3000 foot house using only our woodstove, except for in January if the temperatures outside go down below -25C. At that point, we need to turn on a couple of electric baseboards downstairs so that our pipes don’t freeze. You can see we hardly spend any money at all for heating, because we gather our own wood and make sure we always have a good supply of wood close to the house. We never get lazy about it and think we will just turn on the baseboards; that never happens.

- Use coupons to reduce other costs. There are often coupons for grocery store items, and these might be the ones that first come to mind. These days, though, there is often a coupon for almost anything you need to buy. It’s worth your while to check that out; maybe you can save an extra 10 or 20%. That is money that stays right in your wallet, which is the aim of anyone trying to stick to a budget.

So, how do you and your family stretch a dollar? Leave a comment and let other readers know.

Low Impact Lawn Mowing?

In all the years I have been cutting lawns, I have always used either a gas or an electric mower. I found electric mowers are a pain because I had to keep fiddling around with the cord, making sure it wasn’t in the path of the mower. Have you ever ran over the electrical cord when the mower is running? I have and the cut off piece of cord went flying, screaming past my head. A person could get hurt pretty easily; a slap in the face from a racing cord would do a lot of damage.


IMG 0521 300x225 Low Impact Lawn Mowing?

In the last years, I have used my John Deer tractor. Every year, Graham keeps threatening to buy a brand new mower and every year, I have been able to sidestep the conversation. He does maintenance regularly and John just keeps running along. I like John just fine and don’t see the need to replace him.


reel mower Low Impact Lawn Mowing?

I have a small area between the greenhouse and the berry bed and although I can use John to cut the grass there, it’s a little tight. I’d like one of those reel mowers, like the ones they used to have in the past. There’s no noise except the clacking of the reel and there’s no gas tank to fill. It’s better for the environment and it would keep me in better shape too as it’d be a good workout.

If you’ve used one in the past, please leave a comment and let me know if you liked it. Or hated it. I would think they would be great for small lawns, but for a larger lawn, I’m not sure. Maybe a person would mow a bit one day and move on the next?