Why We’re Transitioning to Become Self-Sufficient

Why We're Transitioning to Become Self-Sufficient for Ourselves

Times aren’t really rough, but they aren’t really easy for most people either. My husband and I have talked for a few years (ok since we got married in 2012) about transitioning to become self-sufficient and what it might look like for us. However, it always seemed to be delayed by one thing or another. First, it was getting pregnant the first time

First, it was getting pregnant the first time. Then, it was moving 3 hours away for my husband’s new job. Next, it was getting pregnant with our second child and my husband getting deployed. After that, it was my husband again getting another job and having to move.

Only this time we didn’t really move. We took my in-laws’ camper and hauled it south to live in for a while. After living in a camper for over 6 months though we’re ready for our own place.

Why We’re Transitioning to Become Self-Sufficient

We started doing research cost of land in our area we noticed that the price of land has gone up a lot in the last few years. With this knowledge, we decided it was best if we became relatively self-sufficient if we bought some land.

Spending so much money on “things” has become something that we just did and I was getting tired of having too much month at the end of the money.

Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get your act together even though there seemed to be a butt-kicking every time you turned around?

That was me.

It seemed no matter how much we “budgeted” that things always went south. That’s why we started all over with our assessment. We wanted to start from scratch and stick to our plan, and below is what we’ve come up with so far.

It may change but for now, this is where we’re at.

Our Plan for Transitioning to Become Self-Sufficient

One: Buckle Down on the Budget

This one seems like it should be simple, but it’s quite hard for us. We know how much we should have left over each month and end up nonchalantly saying, “Oh, we can get that because we have X left.” This gets us in trouble every.single.month.

But, this has to stop. We need to budget. And, we need to do it now.

When you see that you should have X leftover each month and yet at the end of the month you have close to nothing it is a little depressing. You realize really quick that the problem isn’t the food budget, or the animals, or even the kids.

You realize the problem with the budget is yourself and your inability to rein yourself in.

What We Are Doing About It

We’re listing out our bills, food, and any expenses we can think of that takes money out of our income and figuring out what’s left over.

Once we have this number we can figure out what’s going on and where the money has been going by printing out the past three months of our bank statements.

Armed with Highlighters we’re going to highlight all the things that were non-essential or emergency purchases and tally up what we over spent (even though this part I do not want to see).

Moving Forward Now

Moving forward we’re going to be more mindful and we’ll also be using Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University System to budget, save and knock out debt.

To start we’re going to save up an emergency fund (not only cash but also a food supply for at least a month) and then we’re going to hack away at our truck payment until it’s completely gone.

After that, if we’re lucky enough to be owning property at that time, we’ll hack away at our mortgage to cut that in half.

Finally, we’ll be investing for “retirement” which for us will more or less be setting money back and investing it for the future.

Two: Saving on Food

This one is quite possibly the worst for us.

We’re a family of 4 with 3 dogs and 3 horses so we buy food for all of us. Thankfully, the horses don’t need hay in non-winter months so that helps a lot.

For a while now I’ve been trying to cut our food bill from a luxurious $800 a month down to $600 a month and even that has been rough.

Where We Go Astray

Our downfall in the food realm is not meal planning. It pains me to say that, but it’s the absolute truth.

I’ll go to the store with a list for meals we “think” we’ll eat during the week and end up coming out with more than what’s on the list. Then, by the time that gets used up, we won’t have what we need for a meal, which means an extra trip to the store (hello gas! *waves*).

Other than that, it’s excess trips to stores like Dollar General to get “here and there” items or buying things at the gas station as snacks for the kids.

Can’t Forget Eating Out

Let’s be realistic for a moment if I cut out going out to eat I’d go crazy. Sometimes you just need to not cook for a moment. Or, you just really don’t want to.

Being able to go out to eat and letting someone else do the cooking and cleaning can be a great treat, but only if it’s treated that way.

We don’t treat it that way right now.

We’re going to from this point forward though. We’ll plan to have at least one meal a week where we can eat out, but it’s not going to be extravagant. That’s a point my husband and I both agree on. We can eat out and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Three: Saving on Household Items

There are a lot of things that we buy or want just to make life easier and more convenient. Right about now, my family and I have decided that if we can make it we’ll use it.

Things we’ll be making instead:

  • Paper towels– because you don’t have to have them and can make a napkin easy enough.
  • Windex– water and apple cider vinegar work wonderfully for this.
  • Laundry Soap– You can make your own batch of soap and it’s not very hard at all. It can even be liquid if you want. I’ll create a post soon to show you how.
  • Frozen Pizzas for the kids– Sometimes you just need something to pop in the oven for them to have that doesn’t take up a lot of time. Making a batch of small kid pizzas is an easy thing to do.
  • more ideas coming soon…

Four: Cleaning Out What We Have

This will be like Spring Cleaning but on steroids. When you’re transitioning to become self-sufficient sometimes things have to go. Trying to downsize what we have so we don’t have to keep up with a lot.

We’re going to go through everything that we have and if it hasn’t been used in the last 6 months we’re going to sell it. *gasp* I know, terrifying!

”What if we’ll need it later and won’t have it? Then we’ll have to buy it again!”

If We Haven’t Used It In 6 Months Chances Are We Won’t Use It

Now, there are obvious exceptions to this rule.

  • Silver you inherited
  • Any other things you were given from family
  • Tools (could be having a really good run of luck)
  • Equipment
  • Crafting supplies (could be leftover from a project that you’ll use again – think seasonal)

Just because you haven’t used it doesn’t mean you have to toss it either. It’s all about giving and taking, we’re just going to be tossing a lot of things, selling, or giving them away.

We have some things at my husband’s dads house and haven’t touched them in near 5 years now! It’s crazy really. So, it’s time to purge.

Related Post: A Family of 4: Journey to Frugal Living

Five: Only Buy What We Need

-_- I’ll have to admit that this is more me than my husband, but it’s something we’ll be working on as a family as we’re gearing up to start transitioning to become self-sufficient.

Being self-sufficient to us means that most of what we need will come from the land, and we shouldn’t need much more than that. Of course, there are some things that would be nice to have and keep around.

We’ll be figuring that out as we go along on our journey.

For Now Transitioning to Become Self-Sufficient Means Less

But, less what exactly?

Less splurging for us mostly.

  • No new courses (guilty right here).
  • No new guns for hubby (granted he only gets a new gun like once a year).
  • No new hunting gear (the old stuff works fine).
  • No new hunting gadgets.
  • No unnecessary appliances or household gadgets

We’ll be dealing with less, and that’s alright by me.

The first thing we’re doing is making a list of things we absolutely have to have. Then, we’ll be going from there to see what we need or want.

Six: Learn How to Make What We Need

For this one, I’m wanting to learn to make things like clothes for the kids and such. I haven’t quite figured out what all I can make that we might need, but this is going to be something that I research and keep adding to as the time goes on.

Transitioning to become self-sufficient doesn’t seem easy, but I always did like a good challenge. I just hope I’m up for the long haul ;).

Seven: Learn How to Make a Living from the Land

We’re already raising horses and chickens, so we’ll only be adding to that list once we get our own land.

On the list of animals we’ll own is:

  • Chickens
  • Horses
  • Cattle
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Bees

I think that’s all at least. Also, we aren’t intending to have whole herds/flocks of these either. Just enough for us and then to breed to sell or slaughter for meat to sell.

Related Post: 5 More Ways to Make Money From Home

Besides working with our land and selling things I’m sure we’ll do other things to bring in a little bit of income. For instance, I love working with leather and have been making deer hide bags for a little while for personal use. Currently, I’m working on patterns that will be easy to replicate so that I can start making more to sell.

Making horse tack is also an option in the future once I grasp the idea of leatherworking.

What Will We Do First?

We’re first going to get our budget under control and then we’ll be working on saving money to get our own piece of land.

That means, for now, we’ll have dogs, horses, and chickens as well as a space for our garden (hoping to make a greenhouse before it gets cold).

Why We're Transitioning to Become Self-Sufficient

Are you looking at transitioning to become more self-sufficient? Share below in the comments!

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How & Why to Start Working from Home as a Mom

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How & Why to Start Working from Home as a Mom

Working from home can be super stressful, but very, very rewarding. I’ve learned a lot along the way in the past four to five years. Quite a lot actually, but I am always learning new things every day.

The ability to make money and work from home is so vast that sometimes it can be very confusing around where to start or even what you should be doing.

How & Why to Start Working From Home as a Mom

I first considered working from home while I was finishing my college degree online. Doing school work from home was fulfilling and was easy while I was pregnant. It made the substituting work I did feel like a chore.

When the idea of working from home was sparked it made me reconsider my desire to finish my master’s degree in English and even if I wanted to teach or have any other job outside of being home. This both shocked and scared me some.

I knew nothing about what sort of jobs you could do from home and I wasn’t even sure where to start. I did tons of research and joined tons of groups when I was starting. There was a lot I learned how to do and a lot I learned how not to do. I want to save you a little headache and help you get on the right path though.

Related post: 7+ Ways to Work Virtually and Make a Good Living

First I’ll be going over some awesome reasons why working from home is great and then I’ll be diving into how you can start working from home as a mom.

Why Work From Home

#1 You Get to Be Home With Your Kids

This one should be sort of a no-brainer really. Being home with my kids while I work was the number one reason I started scouting for things to do from home. The simple thought of taking my kids to a daycare made me cringe inside. No matter how much they drive me crazy during the daytime I just couldn’t stand the thought of them going to a daycare.

Since it made me cringe so much on the inside I set out to find ways to make money from home so that I could keep them with me, but still contribute to the family income.

#2 You Work On Your Schedule

It’s amazing to know that I can get up when I want (well, at least sort of when kids are involved) and that I can drink my coffee as slow as I want without being rushed to the office.

I can work in the morning, at naptime or after the kids are in bed and no one will tell me to work faster or that something needs to be done “right now”. It’s an amazing feeling.

It can be a little stressful, but with the right systems in place, it can be really amazing too.

#3 You Don’t Have to Top Out On Your Pay

When you’re working at an office you can only get paid so much unless you take on extra shifts. And, sometimes taking on extra shifts isn’t possible for every job. So, once you reach your 40 hours a week you’ve pretty much topped out unless you get a raise.

But, when working from home you don’t have to top out on hours. You can create passive income that will make you money while you sleep! That’s one of the main things I plan to do with this blog.

#4 Focus On Things You Love

This is probably the second thing I love about working from home! I can focus on things I love versus things I don’t love.

For instance, I started this blog to help women who want to work from home. Rather than trying to help women individually I can do it on a mass scale through Pinterest. It’s amazing. But, this also leaves me time to create things for my new leather-working business!

Pick something you love to focus on and you’ll never really get bored with it. With that said, don’t push yourself too hard or you’ll end up burned out like I burned myself out. You don’t want to do that.

Related Post: 8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Working Online

#5 No Boss Nagging You

Ahhhh. This one is quite nice too.

Ever had that one boss that you just couldn’t stand the site of or the sound of? I’m sure we’ve all had a boss or two like that.

Well, when you’re working from home you don’t have to worry about that! You are your own boss. You make the rules, the schedule, and the tasks. Don’t overwork yourself and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

#6 If You Get Sick You Can Take Off Without Being Scared

On days I would get sick and couldn’t go in to substitute at the school I was working at it made me worry. If I didn’t go in I wouldn’t get paid. This meant my check would be way less than if I had gone in to work. But, I never wanted to get the kids sick.

Now, I don’t have to worry about what happens if I don’t go in to work. I can work from my bed if I need to or even want to work. If not, I can just get to it the next day after I’ve rested.

No one can dictate my pay any more. Only I can!

#7 Can Take Vacations Without a Pay Decrease

This one is not something people always have to worry about. Some people get paid vacation, but for those who don’t, it can be a big one. For me, if I didn’t work, I didn’t get paid so I had to plan my vacations around school vacation times. Granted, this wasn’t always bad, but if I wanted to take a vacation during school time based on my husband’s schedule it would mean I wouldn’t get paid.

Now, working from home, I don’t have to worry about not getting paid if I go on a vacation. Once my passive income is going I can even let things run on autopilot without my help and take a computer-free vacation!

That is my ultimate goal.

#8 Can Choose What You Do & What You Outsource

This one is amazing. If you don’t like a certain part of working from home you can 99% of the time find someone you can outsource it too! This means you don’t have to do anything you don’t like doing.

Now, with that said, you will likely have to do things you don’t want to do in the beginning. But, once your income can pay someone else to do it, then you can start outsourcing for the things you don’t like.

#9 You Can Save On Daycare

Can I get a hallelujah!

Has anyone noticed the costs of daycare have gone up drastically over the years? Where we live it would cost us near $1200 for two kids to go full time!!! If I went out to get a job right now that would eat my paycheck. So, I would essentially be making money for the kids to go to daycare. And that’s at $10/hour!

How ludicrous is that?!

Now, I can make money from home and save money on daycare too! That means saving $1200 I would have had to spend on daycare.

How to Work From Home

#1 Blogging

You can start a blog in minutes now and get started on your blogging journey. Choose your niche (what you want to blog about), map out some posts, write them, and start promoting via social media.

You can monetize your blog via affiliate marketing and the best person to learn from is Michelle from Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

In her course, she teaches you exactly how to get started with affiliate marketing and how to get your first commission. Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

I’m actually going back through her course myself so that I can put the practices into place and start generating passive income this way.

#2 Sell things in your home

Do you have an excess amount of things in your home? Are your kids growing out of their clothes or toys?

There are probably many things you could sell around your house to make extra cash. A good spring (summer, fall or winter) cleaning would likely uncover a lot. It may not be a long-term way to make extra money, but it would help you start.

This one also ties into #3 as well.

#3 Amazon FBA

The Selling Family has an amazing program my husband and I are going to be starting next month called Amazon Boot Camp. They teach you everything you need to know about sourcing products and selling them on Amazon via the FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) program.

This is a great way to make extra money while letting Amazon handle all the business. You can make it a family affair by getting your kids to help you pick things out to put on your Amazon store.

Related Post: 5 More Ways to Make Money From Home

#4 Handmade Business

Are you a particularly crafty person? Do you know how to create printables? Perhaps you know how to sew?

Creating a handmade business is becoming really popular. Essentially, you’re creating things by hand and selling them for profit on a platform like Etsy or Shopify. (I’ll be creating a free course on how to setup both of these)

Etsy has a community already built into their platform that allows people to find you and your products.

#5 Service Provider

There are many things you can do as a service provider and get paid a decent amount. The one thing I chose to do was become a Virtual Assistant.

You could also do something like being a graphic designer, website creator, Instagram Manager, Facebook Group manager, social media manager, Facebook Ads manager, and so much more.

Things I Recommend:

Tailwind:

I use Tailwind to schedule out all my pins for the month. It takes a few minutes to get them all scheduled and I’m done. In the dashboard, you create the schedule of how many pins you want it to pin each day and then you can source them from Pinterest or even websites to save and schedule. I’m creating a How-To post for Tailwind soon (maybe next week) so keep checking back.

BoardBooster:

I use BoardBooster mostly right now for its pin looping capabilities. It’s amazing in that it will take one (or more) of your boards and “loop” your pins from oldest to newest and then delete the one that’s not performing the best. I’ll be playing with this in the future and detail my strategy so you can copy it.

ConvertKit:

I tried to stay away from ConvertKit because Mailchimp is free and they just added in autoresponders, but ConvertKit is THAT much easier and better in my opinion. Again, I’ll be writing a blog on this soon. But, in short, you can email your entire list at one time vs creating multiple campaigns for different lists. They make segmenting and tagging a breeze. And, they make using content upgrades a no-brainer!

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing:

The best affiliate marketing training on the “market”. Michelle knows her stuff and has been doing this since like 2010. She grew her Aff marketing income to well over $50k per month and it keeps growing too. Check out her course and be sure to sign up for my email list below. I’ll be sending out discounts to my list that you might otherwise miss.

Do you have tips & ideas for working from home? Share them with us in the comments.

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A Family of 4: Journey to Frugal Living

image of seedlings growing

A Family of 4: Journey to Frugal Living

Our Family of 4 and Our Journey to a “Frugal” Living.

Some might say we’re crazy and others completely understand where we’re coming from. We first started talking about really buckling down when we noticed how often we’d be left with only a little at the end of the month. This talk started a little because of this blog actually. I was so determined to shove this puppy all the way up to 100k pageviews per month in a short amount of time that I was literally doing anything I could, and that meant spending money.

I had to slow my roll. And, frugal living started looking more and more appealing to me, but it was also super hard to even consider. Mostly because I’m not used to it at all!

I’m used to being able to buy things when I need or even want. All that was about to end though.

It was time to start frugal living!

We had bought Dave Ramsey‘s Financial Peace University kit about a year ago but never did anything with it. I mean, we’ve watched one or two of the videos, but that was the extent.

Then, the other night my husband and I were talking about how we wanted to start massively saving our money so that we could build our savings account. Dave’s FPU came up again and we talked about trying to implement that again.

Sometimes you need a push to get going.

I wasn’t too excited about cutting back on certain things (hello sushi night out) and I know our kids are going to be feeling “deprived” soon when their hibachi runs are canceled for a little while.

However, I do think that we need to cut back some. It’s ok to have a once in a while sort of trip out, but once or twice a week was a little excessive. Especially considering the fact that we seem to always have a pretty high bill when we eat out.

Frugal living doesn’t have to be hard (or does it).

My virtual work was slipping (more so from me than anything – huge shift in desires) and so money was getting tighter. But, it was really only getting tight because we spent a good bit of what we earned haphazardly each month. A lot of times it was on buying things for the kids, clothes for them, excessive food from the grocery store (mostly things that were expensive crap food) or some gadgets we don’t need in a camper.

So, I’ve been trying to figure out ways that we can go about saving money and living on less, not because we absolutely need to but… well, we still kind of need to.

My husband and I have never really been ones to want a whole lot of things anyway, and most times I’m the one that gets trapped into the idea that I need things (my Achilles heel are courses and trainings because I love to learn). That’s coming to an end for now unless my business makes the money to pay for it. That’s the idea at least. We’ll see how it goes as far as putting it into practice because there’s an herbal course I want to take at the moment. -_-

Having kids changed me…. not all for the good.

Part (or a lot) of where our money gets spent is going out to eat. This started because I would be so tired that I wouldn’t want to cook, but eventually, it got to where I just didn’t like cooking at all. It was very problematic and started eating our budget because we would end up eating out 2-3 times a week and not even batting an eye.

This alone is enough for us to consider a more frugal living lifestyle!

We’re Shifting To Frugal Living In Steps

What does that mean exactly? Well, frugal living isn’t something we’ve exactly been accustomed to doing or even trying to do, so we imagine it will be a bit hard at first. Therefore, we’re going in steps versus just diving right in and getting to where we’re overwhelmed.

First: Identification

We’re going to identify our leaky pipe areas. The areas where we’re basically letting our money just flow out of our account without a second thought. (hint: one of those is our eating out habits) We’ll see what’s happening in our life and budget so we can make a plan to fix it to where we’re saving rather than spending.

Printing off our bank statements will be the very first thing we do. We’ll also have our highlighters in hand!

Second: Highlighting

We’re going to highlight all the areas where we are spending money that doesn’t have to be spent. For instance, eating out, unnecessary trips to the grocery store, buying things we don’t need, etc., etc.. This will give us an accurate representation of where our money is going and where we can tighten up our spending.

Third: Tackle the easiest

Identifying what areas to tackle first are the next thing we’re going to do. Some things seem easier than others to start trimming down on so we’ll identify which areas would be the easiest. I think slowing down on the eating out is a top priority.

To help us know which task comes next on our spending trimming we’re going to create a list. As we make it through the list we’ll be marking it off. I might even make a pretty list to make it fun. If I create on I’ll post in my next update (or sooner).

Fourth: Accountability

This one is all about accountability, so I’ll be holding myself accountable right here on the blog. I hope to write at least once a week about how we’re doing.

I’ll be holding myself accountable to making more things from scratch and attempting to use up everything we have in the camper before buying more things. Check out this post on how you can save money each month and spend less at the store to feed your family.

Alone, the post above sparked my desire to spend less while shopping. It just shocked me that someone could spend so little and yet feed a family of 4!

Fifth: Repeat as necessary

Just keep repeating until we’re all fixed and saving more than ever! Our main goal and deepest desire is to buy land outright that we can build a house on. That means lots of money saved!

To help boost our little savings other than slashing our spending habits I’m also going to be shoving in money I make from working at home.

  1. I opened an Etsy shop where I’ll be selling leather goods (making things now to fill it)
  2. I’m going to create printables, because who doesn’t love those.
  3. I’ll be adding a new service to create Shopify stores for people
  4. And, I’m contemplating creating a course.
  5. Using Ebates to get cash back on purchases I already make (they have an app for in-store purchases now too).

We’ll see how these things go though for sure. They may or may not work so great, but I’ll keep you updated as we go!

A Family of 4- Journey to Frugal Living

Have you made a journey to frugal living? Share your favorite frugal tips in the comments below!

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