How do you practice frugality on the homestead AND most fulfilling things about homesteading to you : LUSENET : A Village Commons : One Thread

Hi all:

I am fascinated with the above topics and I love the tone of Countryside and SS Mag, which I only recently discovered.

It's a general question: How do any of you practice living simply, or frugally?

And--what do you love most about the homestead life? What's most fulfilling?

For me:

simple living and frugality: I work at home, I plan driving trips very carefully because many things are very far here. We are perfecting the art of scrounging and solving a problem with things at hand. I use email and try to avoid long distance when possible. We grow much of our own food. Haven't taken the plunge yet into the small stock. We drive old cars (paid for) and maintain them. I find myself more mindful about spending money, which is good. Eat out much less than in the city (not a problem here..there aren't that many places to eat).

As for fulfilling, I could go on and on and on. Cooking from scratch (especially since I once hated to cook). Having no debt so that I can have time to write creatively. The quiet in the country. Barnswallows diving around and catching mosquitoes (I hope). A garden that's doing pretty well this year. A wood pile that's done for next winter (yes!) Good friends. Being pretty self sufficient. Living in a place where it's ok to be a little eccentric. Privacy. Projects to plan.

How about you?

-- Cathy (, July 31, 2001


Hi Cathy,

I too love this kind of discussion. DH & I both practice simplicity and being frugal. I do much the same as you, i.e., plan errands (the rule here is you must have at least 3 errands to warrant a trip). I plan menus for a month which allows for using all leftovers. We go out to eat once a month. DH gets paid once a month so we eat steak only on payday. We have a small garden and I raise chickens. I have a barter system with a friend who grows what I don't grow in exchange for eggs and sewing. We heat with wood and got next year's firewood by cutting up and moving trees from a friend who was clearing his lot. A lot of work for a couple of middleaged folks but the price was right! I do 99% of our cooking from scratch (which has been a real learning experience for both of us!) I try to make most of our gifts. Last year for Christmas I wrote cookbooks for our grown children which they seemed to appreciate. We're trying to teach our grandson that really "fun" things don't cost money like learning to identify animal tracks and growing his own garden (his watermelons and pumpkins are doing quite well). I also shop yard sales and thrift shops. Last weekend I got a really nice Radio Flyer wagon in very good condition for $1.00!! I also believe strongly in keeping stocked up on the basics and keep a 3 or 6 month supply of basics on hand at all times. If the worst should happen (storm, layoff, etc. I know we will have enough food in the pantry.

I've learned from the forums how to make my own laundry detergent and dozens of new recipes I'm trying plus loads of other things. The people on these forums are a wealth of information and always willing to share.

Our goal five years ago was to become debt-free which we accomplished last year. What a great feeling. Our needs are simple and therefore easy to fulfill. We've also learned the difference between a "need" and a "want" and to know when enough is enough.

What I love about this lifestyle is primarily my privacy. I also love hearing the chickens wake me up in the morning and smelling bread baking. Seeing clothes flapping in the breeze on the clotheslines. These things (and others) are priceless.

What I long for is more land in a much more secluded area. Where I am is much to "citified" for me.

Thanks for bringing up this topic. Hope you get lots of responses.

Wishing you enough.

-- Trevilians (aka Dianne in Mass) (, August 01, 2001.

On frugality, my recycling processes would most definately top the list. By utilizing the basic techniques (glass, aluminum, plastics) and my vermicompost research for all organic wastes. Not only does it keep our trash pick up for three to a minimum, threre is added cash from the recycle center. As far as the appeal of the lifestyle, I can easily position myself between primitive skills ability and technologically oriented conventional society so that I no longer concern myself about industry downsizing. I can work a plant job or move to "Waltons Mountain", who cares. Let the folks that like running the rat race high step to their hearts delight. I have food in the pantry and the skills to let a "country boy survive" comfortably.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, August 01, 2001.

Some rules and practices I do that saves me money:

1): Don't use credit cards; spend only in cash. The pain in taking out your wallet or purse makes you conscious(sp?) of you are losing money.

2): Before you purchase something that you don't constantly need, take at least three days to consider the alternatives (do without, modification of existing). If it is still driving you crazy, then go ahead and purchase it.

3): If you really need it often, then buy quality. Replacing a crap item time after time because it's cheaper is false economy.

4:) Maintain the items you have. Anything with an engine, clean it, make sure it gets proper lubrication. When you are done using it, let it idle for a while to let it cool down some.

Your post seems to indicate you already have good sound practices already in mind; to save money takes changing your look at what money really is; a medium which we all use in exchange for goods and services.

-- j.r. guerra (, August 02, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ