On today’s podcast episode I talk about living a frugal lifestyle on the homestead, what it means to be frugal and the benefits of frugality. I share several ideas for being more frugal in the kitchen, the garden, with raising livestock and general ideas for running a frugal household.
What does it mean to be frugal?
Being frugal isn’t exactly the same as being cheap. Being frugal is about being resourceful and less wasteful, it’s about stretching your dollars and making the most use of what you have. It means you spend your money in a way that will have the greatest impact and do your best to exercise wisdom with your finances and your possessions.
Benefits of Frugality
Impacts your finances – There’s only two ways to be more financially stable, you either have to make more money or make the money you have go further. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with making a few extra dollars but it’s easier in many ways to stretch a buck.
Reduces Stress – Financial stress is a horrible thing, it has been the result of many marriage problems and health issues. Being frugal can do a lot to reduce the stress that not having enough money causes.
Impacts the environment – Many of the frugal practices do a lot to help the environment by sending less to the landfill and ultimately securing a better future for our planet and future generations.
Ideas For Being Frugal On The Homestead
Frugal Kitchen Ideas
Cook from scratch – by far one of the most frugal and healthy things you can do. When individual ingredients are purchased in bulk or home grown they are much cheaper plus you get the benefit of actually knowing what you putting in your body.
Pre-make mixes – when you pre-make and store things like pancake mix or bread mixes it’s not only frugal because it will cost you much less than buying these mixes but it also makes it easy to use which makes it more likely that you will use them.
Buy in bulk – I’ve already mentioned this but it deserves to be listed on it’s own. Looking for sales on bulk items is a great way to save money but you do have to consider storage.
Replace paper towels and napkins with cloth – this does mean a little more laundry to do but save you a ton of money as the cost of these paper products definitely adds up over a year.
Cook more, eat out less – It is so easy to take the easy way out and just go out and eat but no doubt it is much more expensive than eating at home. Make eating at home a habit and the norm and save those restaurant dining experiences for special occasions.
Gardening itself is frugal – growing your own organic food is much cheaper than buying organic if you do it in a frugal manner, just make sure you are growing what you will eat and has high yields.
Create your own soil amendments – It can be expensive to purchase amendments for you soil to maintain the nutrient value for your garden so making your own compost from kitchen scraps and plant scraps is not only economical but environmentally responsible.
Save seeds – instead of making large seed purchases every year learn how to harvest seeds from your heirloom plants and store them. In most cases it’s easy, doesn’t take much time and can be a valuable skill to have.
Water harvesting – this isn’t just collecting rainwater to save on water and electric bills but also using grey water from your house. Depending on what soaps you’re using water collected from sinks, showers and washing machines may be perfectly safe to use to water your garden.
Frugal Animal Husbandry
Sprout fodder – you can buy wheat, oats, barley and sunflower seeds in bulk and sprout them for an increase in food and even to make it more nutritious. A 50 lb bag of seed can become 300 lbs of of feed by sprouting, it just takes a little work and time.
Forage for feed – this has been a big money saver for me in all seasons but winter when fodder takes over. A quick stroll around with a bag a few times a week grabbing things like dandelion, plantain, mulberry leaves and good old fashion grass makes an affordable and healthy food for small livestock.
Grow feed – growing things like kale, jerusalem artichoke, squash and comfrey in large amounts is a great way to supply some extra feed at a low cost for your livestock at well.
Use feeders that reduce waste – one of the biggest wastes of money when dealing with livestock is wasted feed. Animals don’t care how much it cost you to feed them so they won’t be shy about throwing their feed around or tipping over feeders. One way to reduce this is to go with feeder designs that take this into consideration. There are many store bought feeders and many DIY feeders you can make for your particular livestock that can save you a ton in feed.
Frugal Household Ideas
Buying secondhand clothing – some of my favorite clothes have come from thrift stores and rummage sales at just a fraction of the price they would have cost new.
Homemade cleaning products – making your own laundry soap and household cleaners can save you a lot of money and can also be much better for your health.
Do your own home and auto repairs – there are some things you can do and some things you shouldn’t if you don’t know how (like electrical) but there are great ways to learn like through friends or Youtube and you should learn to repair all you can. This can save you money and give you a lot of skills that easily transfer to other things.
Fix rather than throw away and buy new – it amazes me the things people throw away that can be repaired with a screw or some glue. You can keep a lot of money in your pocket just by not being so quick to throw out that thing that broke and run out and buy a new one.
Buy quality products that will last – avoiding cheap built items may not seem frugal at first as you may pay a little more upfront but if it lasts ten times longer it’s the better way to go. The good thing is that many of these better built items can be purchased used and still get many years of use from them.
Repurpose and reuse – taking old or worn out items or discarded items and finding another use for them is a great way to be frugal. Anything made out of wood definitely gets reused or repurposed around my homestead. Places like pinterest and Hometalk are treasure troves for finding great ideas for using such items.
Homemade gifts – it’s easy to way overspend on things like birthdays, Valentine’s day, Christmas and anniversaries but you don’t have to. Making and giving homemade gifts for such occasions can be a wonderful way to save money and can even be a more meaningful gift because anyone can run out and buy something but taking the time to make a gift says you really care.
Find free stuff through places like Freecycle and Craigslist – I look everyday at these sites keeping an eye out for useful items I can get for free or at a very low cost. The old saying stands true (for me anyway) “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”