Hey, 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.
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. 🙁
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-ish. We 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?