Monday, December 26, 2011

Becoming More Self Sufficient

                Much like a squirrel getting ready for winter, we are doing necessary things to prepare for a possible reduced income this winter. You know, It really sucks to think that we may very soon have only one income and, it really sucks to discover that the job market really is ‘’that bad’’.  I suppose when life throws curve balls, you can either knocked down or catch the ball and play the game. Well, game on! So now, instead of just waiting for the “ax to fall” we are being proactive and trimming the fat from our monthly expenses. Whew, I could not believe just how much fat we needed to trim. To begin, we cancelled the XM radio in my car, cancelled our landline telephone, continued with using our 10 cents per minute Trac Phones and buying only nutritious foods at the grocery store. We are also keeping the thermostat turned down to about 69 degrees, burning as much wood as we can for heat and not using lights unless necessary. Ya know, that last one is the toughest thing to remember, LOL! I looked into using those nice Aladdin kerosene lamps for light, you know the ones like the Amish use, but oh my gosh, they are 2-3 hundred bucks apiece so that idea was a flop. Thankfully, we’ve been using florescent bulbs in the house for years so our wattage has already been reduced in that area.
                I got to thinking about our meals and figured we could also save by preparing weekly or biweekly dinner menus instead of keeping a well-stocked pantry to prepare meals for whatever suites us on any given day. So now, we have been working very hard to stick to a grocery list related to those recipes. At the store, this also includes staying away from brand name items and grabbing the sale fliers on the way in. That is proving valuable in helping us to eliminate a lot of wasteful spending. In addition, I plan to begin baking bread and snack items at home, which will alleviate some of our food cost as well. Changing some of the things we use every day will also assist us in keeping our expenses down. Like I mentioned earlier we have already been using fluorescent bulbs but we also had energy star rated windows installed 2 years ago, only purchase Energy Star rated appliances and I at least, am driving a gas efficient car. Who knew that always thinking “green” could benefit us down the road as it is now!
                I have not forgotten about our furred and feathered charges. We keep the cats warm in the garage at night during these Missouri winters by using an Infrared heater and we use infrared bulbs in the chicken coop and duck/goose house as well. Other things that really add up include making our own soap, my facial cleanser, facial moisturizer, toothpaste, saline nasal spray and lip balm. These things are very easy to make and cost pennies compared to buying them at the store. I believe the more self-sufficient we become the easier it will be to survive on one income if or when that need arises. I even boil water for tea on the wood stove!  
                I was recently advised “hope for the best and plan for the worst”.  This has proven to be an immense day-to-day challenge. Since this post has developed into what we’ve been doing to prepare for the worst, I’ll share some of my recipes in a post in the next couple of weeks, for the things I make myself. In case anyone else might want to become more self-sufficient as well. Of course, if You have any recommendations, PLEASE leave a comment below. I’m pretty sure I haven’t thought of everything, LOL!

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