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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With the economy the way it is, we are getting hit hard! My husbands business has slowed down about 40% in the last year. UGH<br><br>
We moved to the country, we are gardening, raising chickens, considering getting a cow since we eat a lot of expensive raw, pastured dairy. What am I missing?<br><br>
Living simply shouldn't be so expensive! Country living shouldn't cost us more than city apt living - but it does. Nothing seems to be cheap here.<br><br>
So where are the cheap places? How do you make a living? We can either ditch our business, move to another state yet AGAIN (we've moved a *lot* in the last few years) for another mainstream sell your soul to corporate american/management job or figure out some way to bow out of the whole mess - live below or above or simply outside of the economy.<br><br>
So how do you ladies do it?<br><br>
We are considering living in a really small house, getting a cow and having an even bigger garden next yr along with the chickens. Yet with prices still falling, we are concerned about buying. Our rental tho is $1300 a month! Not to mention our oil heat will be 2x this year what it was last year. If we stay we are def getting a wood stove! The landlord has already approved it..
 

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I think that the cheap part of living in the country became more difficult when gas prices went up. For us, commuting anywhere has become a big expense--DH has a very long commute each day, and I need to plan my trips carefully or else I need to fill up more than once a week, which I am opposed to. Also, the initial outlay for country stuff is there, ie fencing of any kind, hay, putting in your garden.<br><br>
The cost savings piece has been that we need to be more thoughtful about our spending, and staying out of the stores has been important.
 

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We live very close to town so we don't have to drive too much. My dh had a calf business, so we got calves there cheap and raised them for our own beef. We buy weaner pigs and raise those as well. But even doing that, the cost of feed is so high its hard to do. We have a garden that we'll expand next year, along with tons of fruit trees. Course none of that stuff is ready to eat yet.<br><br>
You might see what you can do about locking in feed and oil prices. Some places around here do that. Oh and $1300 a month rent sounds so expensive! We have 4.5 acres with a smaller, older home for $500. That we own.
 

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This is a much more complicated question than it first seems. Or at least teh answer has been complicated for us.<br><br>
Gas is costing us $30 a day for dh to go to work, and $20 to 30 for me, for work, shopping and seeing my family. Jobs nearby pay 1/2 what my dh's does and don't have anywhere near the benefits. HE retires in a few years, so it's silly to switch now.<br><br>
Inb the past, he worked nearby as a roofer(his profession), carpenter, cabinetmaker, lightning rod installer, painter, janitor for the school, making apple cider and maple syrup for a local farm (really bad pay!), he cuts and sells cordwood, still, something that should be profitable this year.<br><br>
I've worked as a teachers aide, chief sauce maker for Myron's Fine Sauces <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> , cashier for the local store, worked for a wholesale womens hat suppplier, etc.<br><br>
Local schools are big employers in rural areas. Also, colleges in our area employ a lot of people. Every area has it's own type of industry; we have a paper mill, Yankee Candle, some kind of hydro-energy plant, and of course, doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. Many people commute 2 hours each way to make a decent living. The secondary income, often the woman's, is often made within a 10 mile range.<br><br>
Do you eat meat? We raise pigs. At first just 2, then 3, etc. This year it's 5. Friends and co-workers BEG for meat. We sell it at more than the going rate at the supermarket and it flies. SOme people just order 1/2 a pig in the spring, or a whole 1. THey get a flat rate for their whole order in teh end. ($2.30 a pound last year, bacon went for $5 a lb to casual custoners, sausage was $3, chops $3.5 People drive out to our place to get it! And my dh and mother thought I was nuts to try this.) We make enough to raise two pigs for every one we sell. Hmmm, about $300 profit per pig, I think, plus all teh pork we can eat. Gently-raised, loved, carefully fed)<br><br>
Can you survive with one car? Do you have a car payment? Are you eating everything you grow? Canning for winter? It takes a while to see any savings from things like canning, but come winter, when dh is laid off...well, the jam makes a great addition to holiday baskets for gifts, dinners are easily put together when we're in a huurry. It's pricey to get started, all the equipment. But it lasts forever.<br><br>
Do you sew? Shop second hand? Cut coupons?<br><br>
Living in the country is not, in itself, cheap. It's the lifestyle so many country-dwellers lived, because they had little cash to spend, that gives that impression. They had plenty of food, because they raised it, a warm home that they heated with their own wood, etc.<br><br>
How do you heat? We burn only wood. Dh cuts it all. VERY labor intensive. But nearly free. He can sell as much as we have extra, and has standing orders for 10 cord a year. He's afraid to promise more, die to his job, but could eaily sell 5 times that. (weatherize!!!)<br><br>
Do you bake? Like all your own bread? Cookies? Avoid soda?<br><br><br>
Buy low, sell high. It's okay to buy while prices are falling. Dont' worry about getting the lowest price, it will go up later, eithr way. Traditionally, prices are lowest in the winter, because it's hardest to sell then. (resort areas excepted) This winter, and next spring should see a lot of people desperate to sell, forced out by rising fuel costs. Pepole will be forced to choose between heat<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/cold.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Cold">: and the mortgage, or daddy going to work. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> But it's a good time to buy.<br><br>
A small house is great! Ours is 1000 sq. We had 5 kids, lots of niches and alcoves.<br><br>
I may think of more.
 

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We actualyl moved from the country to the city to help lower our living expenses, but we also were moving from a apartment to an actual house so that changes things... Despite our city environment, there is a LOT more we can do.<br><br>
Living 'cheap' with a country lifestyle (what i woudl consider homesteading... in any environment) would mean growing all the food you can yourself so you can provide completely home grown, homemade meals made from scratch. Doing without anything you can't make yourself, or at the very least buying the bare ingredients you can't grow or make yourself. Things like sour creawm, cottage cheese, yogurt, bread crumbs, stuffing, etc. can all be made at home.<br><br>
If you raise animals for meat or eggs, the cheapest way I've learned to do this is to grow all of their own food. Of course this really depends on your available space to do such a thing and your gardening seasons but I think that is one ofthe onyl ways you can grow your own meats cheaper than if you bought them in the store. In terms of quality, well home grown would certainly be better than commercially grown but again cheap is the point of your post. Grow all the food you can for your own animals. And your pets, if you have any.<br><br>
Cows, I've heard, are incredibly expensive to raise if you have to buy their feed. But it's much more affordable if you have the ability to grow their food.<br><br>
For us, I just have a very large and not well planned garden in my backyard. Next year when I sit down and make a map and decide how much of what I can fit where, and probabyl expand my garden, I'll be able to better plan for our needs.<br><br>
In the coming months we are going to start breeding rabbits for meat. I an grow their feed, which makes them very much affordable.<br><br>
I can probably think of more... Frugal forum will have plenty of ideas also!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
((sigh)) a lot of the things mentioned are just not really options for us<br><br>
If we get a cow, we would grass feed it only - so much healthier milk and for the cow that way. We have just enough area to do that in the summer, but we'd have to buy hay for the winter. Hay around here is about $4 a bale. I still think it might be cheaper than the $7.20 per gallon we pay for raw milk and the $12-$14 a lb we pay for raw grassfed cheeses and the $7 per lb we pay for raw, bright yellow <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> grassfed butter.<br><br>
I do make my own yogurt - but not sour cream. We make most all of our food from scratch, but since we eat only organic and since our meat is not only organic, but also pasture raised, it can get expensive. We have chickens for eggs, and are thinking of getting some for meat now too. I can raise one on pasture and organic feed for about $8 to $10 but to buy one that is organic and pastured will cost me about $27. We haven't been buying chicken lately because our cheaper source of organic isn't able to afford the organic anymore.<br><br>
We have a large garden that we put in this year in the hopes of growing enough for the year. It's our first time with a large garden and I can see already that I don't have enough onions. Our lettuce hasn't come up well, so we've still been buying that. With the 40 beautiful tomato plants tho, I should be able to can lots of tomatoes for winter - organic tomatoes for stews and sauces are expensive around here so that will be a nice savings. We should also have enough squash and green beans and a few other things to last a long time. We also have 10 gallon bags of frozen, freshly picked organic strawberries in the freezer and lots of jams for presents and "jams" or syrups with honey not sugar for using ourselves. Got them for $1.90 a lb which is an incredibly good price around here for conventional, let alone organic.<br><br>
I can't believe a pp owns a house for $500 a month!! I think part of the problem is the area in which we live. You can't get anything - except maybe rent in the city in the ghetto type areas - for $500 a month! We are about 25 min outside a city. Maybe if we moved out farther... However then we are faced with a longer commute for my dh's work. Even so, we have checked prices out farther and you still couldn't get anything below $900 or so a month if you were lucky.<br><br>
I will start baking our own bread soon as I get my sourdough starter from my dad. I haven't been successful for some reason in catching my own "bugs". I don't really care for other bread as it sits so heavy in my stomach.<br><br>
We are getting a wood stove for this winter. My dh can't chop all the wood tho. First off we dont' have our own woods to do that in - secondly, he has a bad back. So we'll have to buy the wood. Still it has to be cheaper than buying fuel. Last winter our fuel cost about $500 to $600 every 4-6 weeks for the winter. This year it will be double that at least. To lock in now I think is almost double...<br><br>
We don't buy very much. Our rent and our food is the majority of our expenses, and we aren't willing to give up on eating good, organic, whole foods as we see how they have improved our health.<br><br>
I can't shop second hand very much for clothing - I'm very chemically sensitive and the fabric softener smells on clothing makes me sick. I find myself using tons of water to wash it 5-10 times and using an entire gallon of vinegar or several cups of baking soda etc to get the smell out. Clothing from many mainstream retailors such as target and gap tend to smell a lot now-a-days too with all the formaldehyde, anti fungal chemicals etc they are putting on them. We just don't buy much, and when we do, we shop off season sales rather than second hand. I just got dd a $70 winter coat for $20 and organic PJ's 50% off for winter, for example.<br><br>
We only have 1 car, we don't have cable, we don't have medical insurance (huge cost when you own your own business), I really dont' see many places we can cut down costs.<br><br>
I guess I'm left wondering where in the world people are living that they can get such good prices !! My dh makes a pretty good salary - it seems to just be the food and housing that are so pricey around here. Me going to work isn't an option right now for us.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I can't believe a pp owns a house for $500 a month!!</td>
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We bought it several years ago when the housing market was much cheaper. It would be impossible now, but I do hear of renters spending $600-800 a month around here and that's just for a house with no land.<br><br>
About the wood, check with your forest service. Here they have set times when you can go and cut as much wood as you can. My dh used to do that when he worked in the forest, then he'd bring it home and sell it. Maybe you could go in with some friends on something like that?
 
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