5 frugal things – Raised Beds For Free, Sneaky Marketing Tricks, FREE Eggs, etc.

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.

Come see the 5 Frugal Things we did this week to save money. FREE eggs, sneaky marketing tricks, more effective garden layout and more. #TexasHomesteader

(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!)  

  1. 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.

A tricky marketing trick to make you pay more for flour. Don't be fooled! #TexasHomesteader

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!

  1. 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.

Our laying hens are a big way we save money. Come see how. #TexasHomesteader

  • 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.

Grasshoppers can be damaging to garden plants. But they make good chicken food. #TexasHomesteader

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.

I've put back plenty of fresh eggs in the refrigerator to last until we get backyard hens next spring. #TexasHomesteader

  1. 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.

Saving money this week - FREE eggs, productive garden plan, eliminating food waste and more.

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!

  1. 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.

Healthy vegetables & produce from the garden in a wicker basket. #TexasHomesteader

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!

Tattler Reusable Canning Jar Lids #TexasHomesteader

Now we’ll be able to enjoy that garden produce all winter long.

  1. 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.

Bermuda Grass is notoriously hard to control when it creeps into your raised beds. #TexasHomesteader

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.

Feed sacks laid in the garden, topped with wood mulch to hold down weeds. #TexasHomesteader

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.

I'm using large 30-gallon tubs for container gardening. #TexasHomesteader

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.

EcoBricks are plastic bottles stuffed with non-recyclable trash for use in container planters. #TexasHomesteader

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.

Our homemade Adirondack chairs professionally painted turquoise. #TexasHomesteader

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.

Breakfast quesadillas are made with flour tortillas stuffed with grilled onions & peppers, breakfast meat, scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese. #TexasHomesteader

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?

~TxH~

*See The 5 Frugal Things Series HERE*

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4 thoughts on “5 frugal things – Raised Beds For Free, Sneaky Marketing Tricks, FREE Eggs, etc.

  1. candace ford

    I’m always glad to see a new post from you. These days a day brightener is so welcome at this point in my life. We don’t have chickens though I’d love to have some. I was raised with chickens and in my “old age” miss hearing their sweet clucking. Even though we have plenty of room and even a little portable chicken tractor that would do for 2 hens we are in the middle of raptor territory. Take good care and thank you for continuing to share your life!!!
    Candace from the Oregon boon docks.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Candace, my dear sweet friend, your comments are ALWAYS a day brightener for me. Thank you for being you! (hugs) ~TxH~

      Reply
  2. Angela DeGroot

    Some interesting things about the Chickens over winter I had not considered. I know you mentioned the water freezing and messing with that but did not think about the lower free range feed you loose and more aggressive predator’s.

    Also the different in weight on the flour those snicks.

    Thanks as always

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Raising chickens just during spring & summer sure works best for us, Angela. But I do hate losing those fresh eggs everyday until spring. LOL. And yeah, the flour thing – they aaaaaalmost had me! Sneaky marketing indeed. ~TxH~

      Reply

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