2014 Goals Final Update

DSCN2932Hey, friends!  It’s time to close the books for the 2014 year, and update you on how we did for our 2014 goals.  Some wins, and some losses, is the summary.  Later on in the week we’ll share our 2015 goals.

Financial Goals

1.  Reduce food expenses. We’ll work to reduce our grocery budget by 17%, getting it down to $4800 this year, or an average of $400 a month.  We’ll work to accomplish this by growing and preserving more of our own food, and by working harder to spend less by buying in bulk and on sale.  Waste wise we did pretty good as far as food is concerned, I’d say we wasted no more than 5% of our total food. FAIL-ish.  We did spend less on food this year than we did in 2013, by nearly $350.  But we didn’t reach our goal of $4800 for the year. 

2.  Reduce entertainment expenses.   PASS!  For 2013 entertainment, we spent $887.51.  For 2014: $672.09.  Huge win for the Frugal Farmer family. 

3.  Reduce gas and energy expenses.  I spent $2206 in gas monies for my car, and we spent $3973 on propane and other energy costs to power our property.  I’d like to get gas costs for my vehicle down to $150 a month average, a reduction of 18%.  I’d also like to cut our energy costs by 10%.  We’ll do this by hopefully getting our wood stove installed, and by continuing to search for ways to use less energy.  PASS on the gasoline: For 2013, I spent $2206.54.  For 2014, I spent $2,003.84.  Another win!  Major fail on propane and home energy costs, due to the Polar Vortex last winter.  🙁
4.  Add extra to debt.  FAIL.  Truth: we were slackers on debt repayment this year.  Very little extra went toward debt. 🙁

Homesteading Goals

For our first year of homesteading, we didn’t do so bad.  We started to learn the basics about growing and preserving your own food, living off the land, and harvesting wood to heat our home.  Nonetheless, there are improvements to be made here.  In 2014, we’d like to:

1.  Grow and preserve MUCH more food.  Preferably a year’s worth.  We’ll do this by expanding our garden, tending to it better, and freezing/preserving a lot more of the bounty that comes with it.  We’ll need to educate ourselves a bit more on canning and preserving, but we can do it.  We are also looking to add some chickens into our homestead, and maybe do some hunting as well.  I am a huge animal lover, as is the rest of the family, so this may or may not happen, as I’m a bit wimpy about stuff like that.  Rick would like to bag a deer for the freezer next fall, though.  We’ve also given some thought to going meat-free for the year too. PASS.  We did a good job of expanding our garden and growing/preserving more veggies this year, including tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce for the first time!  Not so good on the meat stuff, though.  Still working on that.

2.  Consume less energy.  For 2014, we’ll continue to find ways to use less energy and use the God-given energy sources, like sun and wind, instead.  Not sure what this is going to entail, exactly, but it will start with getting our wood stove up and running so that we can heat primarily with wood next winter.  We’ll also continue to do things like line dry our clothes, and wash them in cold water only.   PASS-ishWe did consume less energy where possible, in part by getting a new, more energy efficient washer/dryer.  However, as I mentioned above, the Polar Vortex winter meant we used LOTS of energy to heat our home in the first part of the year.

3.  Work toward more off-the-grid living.  We’ll continue to make our own detergent, use natural cleaning supplies like vinegar, instead of commercial cleaning supplies, and learn more about natural healing, uses of herbal medicine, etc.  I also got a great book on natural power supplies that is really packed with info.  I’d like to finish reading that by the end of the first quarter too, and see if it has any good info in it for us.  Basically, we’re working toward minimalizing our need for help from others for survival.  We’re doing this not because we hate people 🙂 , but because we feel it’s just a good practice in general, if we’re to be prepared for natural or other disasters.   I’ll be updating periodically on our homesteading life and be letting ya’ll know how it’s going, what changes we’ve implemented, etc.  PASS-ish.  We got tons of wood chopped and stored, but didn’t get the wood stove installed.  We continued to use natural cleaning supplies and meds wherever possible. 

So, there you have it, folks.  Tune in later on in the week to see what fun stuff we’ve got planned for 2015.

How did you do on your 2014 goals?  What are you looking forward to in 2015?

66 comments

  1. Looks like you did well overall Laurie! Most of the rest of my family are hunters but it never caught on with me for some reason so I can empathize with the wimpy-ness aspect. 🙂 We did well, overall, this past year. We hit most of our main financial goals which I was happy about.

    • Laurie says:

      Brian, considering you reached your debt free goal this year, I’d say 2014 was a HUGE success for you guys. Eager to see what kinds of fun goals you have for 2015. 🙂

  2. I think you did really well! I think the polar vortex did throw you guys for a loop, but hey you can’t control the weather. Hopefully this year isn’t, or won’t be too bad. I also need to work on my grocery budget. That one category gets me every time!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, those darned grocery expenses!!! Luckily, until this week, the winter weather has been pretty bearable. That should translate into lower energy bills. 🙂

  3. Even Steven says:

    I love so many of your goals for 2014. My parents can food from time to time especially growing up, my favorite Dilly Beans! And if you get a deer feel free to save me some venison sticks….Happy New Year from the Even Steven’s:)

  4. Amy says:

    It sounds like you had a good year, despite the nasty polar vortex. I think that did serious damage to a lot of people’s energy budgets last year!

  5. Mrs. Maroon says:

    Glad to hear that you had a good year. I think it’s a bonus to reach some goals but not get everything perfect. If you had accomplished every single thing then it would appear that your goals weren’t lofty enough. They should make you squirm a little bit. And you get a great education from seeing where you might have fallen a little short so that you can really focus more effort there for the next go-round!

    • Laurie says:

      LOVE your spin on the goals, Mrs. Maroon. I’d never thought about the “not lofty enough” point and the education point. Thank you!!!

  6. We went over our goals yesterday and, like you, had some passes and some fails. We wrote new goals and talked about our dreams and how we can make them reality. It’s a great exercise and was a fun family time too! I’m hoping to write about it soon!

  7. Kara @ The Daily Whisk says:

    I think overall you had a very successful year! One of the first Frugal Farmer posts I read was about your 2014 goals. Time flies!

  8. I’d like to make my own cleaning supplies too. So far I think I’ve got most of the supplies, I just haven’t made it yet because we are still using up our store bought cleaners. I think doing that will be a great way to have less chemicals in our lives, although we have a long way to go! Where did you find your detergent recipe?

  9. Laurie you guys did great on your goals!!! I know you didn’t totally hit your food goal, but I am still amazed at how you feed your family of 6 with that small of a budget. You have come a long way and I can’t wait to see what you do in 2015!

  10. Sounds like, on the whole, you had a great year! I’m in the same boat as you on the hunting animals thing. Mr. FW thinks it’ll be a good food source once we’re homesteading, but I hate the thought of a deer dying! They are overpopulated in Vermont, so I guess I’ll be OK with it. I think my hang up is that Frugal Hound sort of looks like a deer :).

    Looking forward to hearing about your 2015 goals. Happy New Year too!

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, you are so funny, Mrs. FW. 🙂 The deer don’t bother me as much as the chickens! I’d love to have chickens here, for eggs and for meat, but they are so sweet! Mr. Frugal Farmer says all hens who are done laying will become dinner, so I don’t want to get the hens until I’ve reconciled the dinner potential in my mind. 🙂

  11. Gretchen says:

    That’s amazing progress in just one year – especially on the growing and preserving your own food front. I would love to except I have a brown thumb! Still, I remember all the posts from throughout the year about your produce harvest…way to go!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, it’s a cool feeling, knowing that we have the potential to blow off the grocery stores if we need to. 🙂 We did potatoes for the first time this year, which was super fun. 🙂

  12. Mrs. WW says:

    Great job! We did great on energy bills great despite the polar vortex (although we were frigid in the house and the condensation was so bad we had to replace some wood windowsills in the summer- yikes! It backfired!)

    We always garden and can but that was bad for us this year. We got so few tomatoes I’m already out : ( Plus the squirrels were horrendous for our garden. All of our strawberries ended up strewed around the yard with one bite of our them. Grrr. We need to take up hunting squirrels and kill two birds with one stone. I just need to find a good squirrel recipe. I already have one in the freezer I don’t know what to do with.

    • Laurie says:

      Oh no!! Bummer about the window sills!! I think tomatoes were bad for lots of people this year, us included. The canning we did for tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce was largely from tomatoes we bought at the vegetable stands. For the squirrels: soak in milk overnight, spice them up good and grill ’em. At least, that’s what I’m told. 🙂

  13. beth says:

    Did you income increase this year? I have cut so much from my budget that now I feel the only way to get ahead is to increase my income and that is much harder to do than cutting expenses.

    • Laurie says:

      I increased my income, but Rick’s was down due to a lack of OT, so I think we’re at a wash, or maybe even a little bit lower than 2013. You’re right about increasing income, though, cutting expenses can only go so far.

  14. Great job on your goals! You did a great job this year achieving your goals.

    I think I might steal your goal of using less gas and energy per month. My bills hiked up and it’s definitely something I want to reverse immediately.

    • Laurie says:

      I hate it when that happens!!!! Our electricity bill seems to be higher this year, and I can’t figure out why, as we’ve been just as diligent with lights and stuff. 🙁

  15. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini says:

    I really enjoyed following your blog this year. Happy Holidays and keep the great post coming.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Petrish! I’ve really enjoyed your blog too. You’re well on your way to financial freedom, my friend! Keep up the great work. 🙂

  16. I think that you did pretty well with all your goals and you should be really proud of that! Even though you didn’t manage to reduce food costs as much as you wanted to, the $350 you saved are still a great amount of money!

    I wish you a Happy New Year & everything you need to meet your 2015 goals.

  17. I think that’s a great result overall Laurie, especially when it comes to factors that were in your control. And the beauty of setting goals is even if you don’t give yourself a full pass, you generally make some progress in the right direction, which is what it’s all about.

    Keep it up Laurie, look forward to hearing your 2015 goals!

    Cheers,

    Jason

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, I’m happy with the progress we did make, but planning on doing MUCH better in 2015. Thanks, Jason. I appreciate your support. 🙂

  18. The Stoic says:

    Not bad at all! Wish you continued success in 2015.

    I’m planning on starting some “urban” homesteading projects in the coming year. Plan on using your site for inspiration and how-to. Hope you don’t mind 😉

    The Stoic

  19. Kathy says:

    Happy New Year, Lauri. You guys are doing fine. Things take time but you are definitely reaching your goals.

    Canning is really pretty easy. Time consuming, but easy. The main thing is to process the jars long enough and at hot enough temperature to kill any germs plus make the jar lids seal. I always used a pressure canner instead of a water bath process for this reason alone. If you get the canning guide book published by Ball or Kerr (jar manufacturers) they will pretty much tell you all you need to know about canning. Freezing food also is easy, as you already know. Just make sure it is wrapped good so air doesn’t get in to cause freezer burn.

    I look forward to chatting with you in 2015.

  20. EL says:

    Good job on the passes and the fails, as both serve as lessons. I know in 2015 I will do my best to achieve as many goals as possible. Good Luck to you in the new year.

  21. I love the progress you made on your homesteading goals. Our neighbors have a wood-burning stove and I’m really jealous. It seems like the perfect solution for a prolonged “disaster” scenario in Minnesota (i.e. no electricity for a few days or even weeks). I love the survivalism/homesteading posts so I hope you keep them up next year!

  22. I’d say that’s a pass overall, Laurie. Paying extra towards debt is like any other financial goal: you make hay when the sun is shining, and tread water the rest of the time.

  23. This is awesome Laurie. My wife wood love to grow more of our own food. Gas is $1.95 here now! It dropped down below $2 the other day, and I couldn’t believe it. I hope we can all meet our gasoline goals now.

    • Laurie says:

      I know – isn’t it crazy?? It will definitely help with our financial goals if it stays this way. Much better than last summer’s $3.50+ a gallon. Here’s to a great 2015, Mark! 🙂

  24. Laurie, I feel you there. I was also a slacker on debt repayment. I got really behind because of the holidays. 🙁 Now, I gotta catch up with repayment. I am thankful it’s new year, I am refreshed and renewed. 😀

  25. Lisa says:

    Looks like a great year for you! The weather has definitely been affecting our energy consumption over here in San Francisco, so I’m sure it has affected you guys much, much more!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, lots of successes, but the energy numbers are yucky. Hopefully they’ll be better this year, for both of us! Thanks, Lisa. 🙂

  26. Well done! I will be cheering you on through 2015 regarding your resolve to intensify debt-reduction. By spending less on groceries, gas, and entertainment, you’re putting yourselves in a good position to take more and more off of that debt.

    • Laurie says:

      I hope so. Trying to find that balance between doing better w/o going crazy overboard and paying off too much so that we leave ourselves vulnerable in other areas. That is a struggle for me right now.

      • If you have a small emergency fund that you keep steady, you won’t be as vulnerable. Ramsey says the mini-e-fund should be about $1,000. For us, that’s a bit low. Do you manage with a mini-e-fund?

        • Laurie says:

          We manage with even a “minier” efund. Not too concerned about that now due to the urgency in getting rid of the debt. Usually if something unexpected comes up, the Lord brings extra freelance work to cover it.

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