by Texas Homesteader ~
Saving money can be simple. This week’s savings includes free fresh eggs, catching sneaky marketing tricks, a more efficient garden plan and much more. Come see this week’s 5 Frugal Things.
(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a tiny commission. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often! Thank you!)
Sneaky Marketing Trick
I often buy a 25-lb bag of flour at a time because I cook from scratch a lot. But I’ve found that with the right deals and/or coupons I can sometimes buy more traditional sized bags for the same price.
It’s much easier to store smaller bags in my freezer than a mammoth 25 lb bag. So when I can, I do.
Anyway, I needed flour so I went online to order for curbside pickup. I was comparing the price difference of a 10-lb bag of flour vs the traditional 5 lb bag.
To the glancing eye it appeared the 10 lb bag was cheaper – 1.6 cents per unit for 10 lbs was less than 24.4 cents per unit for 5 lbs. And we all know buying a larger pkg gives you a bulk-buying discount, right?
But a closer glance showed me the marketer had pulled a sneaky trick! They calculated the larger bag per oz and the smaller bag at per lb, making it appear the larger bag was cheaper. How tricky…
It was actually CHEAPER to buy two 5-lb bags of flour instead of a single 10 lb bag of the exact same flour. Don’t let those sneaky marketing tricks fool you into spending more money for the exact same thing, y’all!
FREE Chickens For A Year
Each spring we buy 3-4 young layer hens. After adjusting them to their new digs we allow them out mid-day each day to free range. Buying young hens accomplishes two things.
- Fresh Eggs – Having our own hens means we get the freshest and healthiest eggs possible. Every day!
We sell the excess eggs in repurposed egg cartons to cover the price of the chickens’ purchased feed. But free ranging gives the hens a healthier diet and lowers their purchased feed bill too. I’m a big fan of getting Chicken Food For Free, y’all!
- Free Pest Control – Plus, by free ranging the hens for only half of the day they stay closer to the house. This not only reduces predator dangers for them but it also causes them to focus their pest-eating mission on the areas right around our home.
They demolish hordes of grasshoppers determined to make it to & destroy my fenced-in garden.
The chickens also seek & destroy any scorpions that might otherwise make it into our home. Although we typically still find one or two scorpions inside the house each year, it’s a tiny fraction of the times our nearest neighbors without chickens battle them.
But even with those important benefits, when fall comes we sell those hens.
The reasons are many:
- Less Free range food – Bugs are less available for them during winter months. That means they would rely on purchased feed only. Not only is that less healthy for them but it’s more expensive for us. A double negative from the feed perspective.
- Fewer Eggs – Also, the shorter days during winter months means the hens naturally slow down their egg laying. Sometimes they can stop laying altogether. So we’d be paying more to maintain the chickens but receiving less (or NO) eggs for it.
- Predator Pressure – And finally, out here the predator pressure is much stronger for our hens during the lean winter months. Predators are willing to come closer to human habitation for a chicken dinner when there’s not as much for them to eat out in the pastures.
For all those reasons we sell our hens each year before the winter months hit. And we sold them this week. They usually go to backyard chicken raisers who enjoy having a small flock, as was the case again this time.
The benefits for us? We make our hen purchase money back even though we’ve enjoyed essentially free eggs all spring and summer along with free pest control too.
Plus we’re not having to break ice for the hen’s water, nor struggle to keep them safe and properly fed during the frigid cold winter months. It works well for us.
But I’m not gonna lie, I’m anxiously awaiting next spring when we can have hens again. I truly love raising them! In the meantime we have a healthy stock of their fresh eggs in the refrigerator to see us through most of that time.
Auction Win For FREE Donation From Us
Our small local library was auctioning off various items to raise crucial operating money. Those auction items were donated to the cause by local businesses, individuals, and even larger companies further away.
One such item was a $50 gift certificate for a local feed mill. The highest bid at the time was less than the face value so we placed a bid of $40. We ended up winning the bid.
Now we’d planned on spending money with this local feed mill anyway since we buy much of our animal feed there. For me it’s important to keep my dollars local, y’all!
So when we went to the library to claim our prize, we paid the $40 for winning the bid and added an additional $10 donation to the library.
We spent the same $50 we would have spent anyway at the feed mill and the library got the benefit of an extra donation. Nothing further came from our pockets. Win/win, y’all!
Preserving End-Of-Season Garden Produce
The gardening season is winding down. It was a slow start this year due to the extreme rains and flooding this past spring. But once it got up and growing, it’s been surprisingly productive.
We’ve eaten fresh produce from the garden all season long. And I’ve made sure none went to waste.
But now that the season is winding down the garden is starting to slow down its production. Even though I’m harvesting tiny amounts daily, I don’t want anything wasted.
So I’m doing lots of refrigerator pickling. I’ve made a generic brine using vinegar, pickling salt and whole garlic cloves.
Inside my refrigerator I have separate repurposed wide-mouth jars of brine for the tiny daily harvest. There’s a separate jar for jalapenos, pepperoncini (both whole and sliced), green beans and okra.
As a jar fills with fresh produce I start another jar and keep filling using those tiny daily harvests.
In a few days the weather will turn cooler here in NE Texas. I’ll be taking all of those jars out of the refrigerator and assembling them into wide-mouth canning jars with fresh brine and additional flavorings where needed such as dill, peppercorns, coriander, etc.
Then I’ll water-bath can those jars of summer goodness for the pantry using my *reusable Tattler Canning Lids. Nothing wasted!
Now we’ll be able to enjoy that garden produce all winter long.
Planning Next Year’s Garden w/Raised Beds
The last few years I’ve been shifting my garden from wood board-lined raised beds, to in-ground planting, to an improved hybrid of both in-ground and raised bed planting. Because, you know, #WorkSmarterNotHarder
You see, those wood-framed raised beds kept me constantly frustrated and defeated battling Bermuda grass. Bermuda would always infiltrate my garden area and grow under the boards & into my raised beds.
I’d lose the Bermuda battle Every. Stinkin’. Year. But only after much agonizing & futile hand-n-knees digging in the intensely hot & humid Texas summer heat.
So years ago I ripped out those wood frames and formed a Bermuda grass stop-zone of sorts around the entire perimeter of the garden.
To do that I lined the furthest edges of the garden with plastic feed sacks to both make use of the empty sacks as well as keep Bermuda grass from popping through as it would with paper feed sacks. Then I topped the bags with Free Wood Mulch to make it look nicer.
Walking rows within my garden still make use of the paper feed sacks, and using paper is of course my preference. I like that it’s natural, feeds the earthworms accomplishes my walking-row purpose here. I make use of both kinds of previously-wasted feed sacks to solve a problem.
Now instead of short wood framed rows, our new raised beds are making use of another previously wasted item – large empty 30-gallon cattle care protein tubs like the ones we use for overflow rainwater catchment.
So now that the season is ended I’m making plans to expand the raised bed container section of the garden next year.
After drilling holes I’m filling empty tubs halfway with wood mulch several months ago to start decomposing. The wood mulch is topped with Fresh Manure removed from our bottle calf pen. Then a layer of unfinished compost topped with a final layer of wood mulch.
This mixture will mature over the next several months and be ready for me to use to fill new repurposed tubs for additional raised beds.
Next spring I’ll bring out a few drilled tubs and place them in a row. Then I’ll add a few EcoBricks on the bottom, top them with sticks & twigs and then fill the tub 2/3 of the way with this decomposed mixture of mulch/manure/compost.
Finally I’ll top with a mixture of planting soil & finished compost and my seedlings.
The cost for these raised beds will be near ZERO! But they’ll make good use of materials that were just destined for the landfill.
Plus the benefit of this hybrid garden is that while I’ll still have a few rows to plant directly into the soil for larger plants like tomatoes, okra and such, these raised beds will be perfect for lettuces, peppers, bush beans & more.
The tubs are easier to keep weeded and significantly easier on this aging back for planting & harvesting too!
Frugality All Week Long
OMGosh y’all – this was a week for saving money, well over this tiny list of 5.
We had contractors at the Homestead repairing significant hail damage to our home. While the crew was here we negotiated for them to paint our porch furniture as part of the bid.
So our porch swing, tables, glider, bench, rockers and tables were all professionally painted and protected at no cost to us.
Some were painted bright white, some this gorgeous turquoise. I love the pop of color this turquoise offers to our porch!
And we asked the contractors to set aside the gutters they replaced. I knew they would otherwise just go to the landfill. We’ll either sell or at least recycle them for a few extra bucks.
We fashioned a rainwater barrel using some of that guttering the contractors replaced and an unused food-grade barrel. After a small rain RancherMan was so thankful not to have to haul water to the bottle calf pen, just flip the spigot and fill the trough!
We had to make lunch plans while the contractors had our kitchen sectioned off for repairs. Instead of running to the nearest fast-food place, we went to our little local grocery store and bought sandwich fixin’s and chips. Cost was much less than a fast-food meal would be and supporting our local business in our tiny town too.
Otherwise throughout the week we were eating at home whipping up quick, nutritious and delicious meals. Even when my parents stopped by for a visit – Breakfast Quesadillas were easy and tasty.
We used a $5 off $25 coupon for a local store to buy some food essentials for my Homestead kitchen. Every dollar counts for us, and again – supporting local business.
What about you? What are your Frugal 5?
Links In This Post:
- Teaching Free Range Hens To Come Home At Night
- Where To Find Chicken Food For Free
- *Reusable Tattler Canning Lids
- Where To Find Free Wood Mulch
- Using Manure For Natural Fertilizer
- Using EcoBricks In The Garden
- Breakfast Quesadillas A Quick Inexpensive Meal
Other Frugal Tips
- When Financial Times Turn Tough Unexpectedly
- Build Financial Security With Less Effort
- A Financial Hit On The Homestead
- Simplify Your Estate – Document These Numbers NOW!
- Thriving Financially Without A Corporate Paycheck
- Make Your Slow Cooker More Efficient
- Is Food Past The Expiration Date Safe To Eat?
- Make A Cute Gift Box With A Repurposed Greeting Card
- MYO Minty Mouthwash
- Repurposing Empty Coffee Canisters
- Keep That Broccoli Fresh
- Don’t Waste Onion Trimmings
- Cleaner Vegetable Chopping
- Using Frozen Water Bottles In The Kitchen
- Don’t Waste It – Free Vegetable Broth
- Make A Cute Dish Carrier From Old Jeans
- MYO Crispy Taco Shells CHEAP
- Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen
- Use ALL Of Your Spray Cleaner
- Easiest Self-Sufficiency Steps To Take NOW
…and many MORE!
C’mon by & sit a spell! Come hang out at our Facebook Page. It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea. Lots of good folks sharing! You can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.
If you’d like to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live it’s EASY to
subscribe to our blog