Tightening Our Belts: How We Survived A Financial Hit During The Holidays

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

It’s common for expenses to jump during the holidays. There are special gatherings to plan, gifts to buy, special foods, extra travel expenses and more.

And then sometimes things happen in your life that you just couldn’t plan for. It’s time to tighten the belt even more. Come see my tips.

Financial Hit: Sometimes the financial belt must be tightened even more. Here are things at the forefront of our minds for the next several weeks #TexasHomesteader

Financial Troubles During The Holidays

We’re always very careful with our budget. But sometimes the belt needs to be tightened even more.

When we suffered a significant financial hardship with the unexpected loss of a prime heifer right before the holidays. Being self employed this impacted our budget – we knew NOW was the time to cut back expenses to see us through!

Links below will take you to posts with more detail on those topics.

Here are a few things at the forefront of our minds when we needed to tighten the belt unexpectedly:

When financial hardship hits we're specifically mindful of wasted money. See how we've been able to save our budget. #TexasHomesteaderNo Corporate Income?

I’ve written before about how we are able to survive without a corporate income. These important yet easy-to-follow tips are even more important now.


When financial hardship hits we're specifically mindful of wasted electricity, plugging electronics into a power strip we can turn off at night. #TexasHomesteaderSaving Electricity

The weather is beginning to turn colder and that often means the electric bill goes up. RancherMan & I are careful with our electricity usage which saves money in our budget. It’s not just about turning off unused lights, y’all!

When financial hardship hits we're specifically mindful of wasted food. I cook several meatloaves in the oven at one time and freeze the excess. #TexasHomesteaderSaving Food

Cooking meals from scratch using  Cook-Once Eat-Twice is a valuable way we’re making sure to keep our grocery budget intact. I’m also storing our leftovers in glass so they all get eaten & don’t go to waste.

When financial hardship hits we look at things we used to buy and try to make it ourselves instead. #TexasHomesteaderMake It Yourself

Staying out of the stores is important when your belt is tightened.  I’ve written before about making our own laundry detergent and even a delightful scent booster for when I wanted a stronger fragrance for our clothes. I’m making my own sheer powdered makeup (and I love it, by the way!) Now’s the time for us to look at anything we used to purchase and ask ourselves: “Can we make that instead?”

Simplified Christmas

Not only does our monthly budget need attention, but the expenses of the holidays need attention too. Thankfully this financial pop doesn’t mean we can’t continue with our comforting traditions. 

We’ve been on a Path of a Simpler Christmas for the last several years. This means our Christmas is filled more with meaning, less with ‘stuff’. 

That’s important y’all, read it again:  More Meaning, Less Stuff. 

Some of the easy ways we’ve simplified our Christmas season:

Homemade gifts are practical, delicious and have been well received like this basket of granola, pasta sauce and more in mason jars. #TexasHomesteader Homemade From The Heart

RancherMan & I typically make our own Christmas gifts every year.  Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be beautiful, heartfelt and well received. We’ve given honey from our hives, canned apple pie filling, hummingbird feeders, homemade pasta & sauce & more!

Wrapping our gifts in reusable cloth keeps us from having to buy gift paper to throw away. #TexasHomesteaderLow Waste (and Low Cost) Gift-Wrapping Options

I’ve always hated all the waste every Christmas morning, so I did something about it. Our gift wrapping is still beautiful, but now it’s reusable. I’ve even made the cutest gift bags with repurposed denim!

Financial Hit: Sometimes the financial belt must be tightened even more. Here are things at the forefront of our minds for the next several weeks #TexasHomesteaderChristmas Decorations

We significantly ramped down our exorbitant holiday decorations a few years ago. Since our decorations are small there’s no need for the latest & greatest decorations to be added this year just so we can get rid of last year’s elaborate display. And RancherMan is beyond happy with our quicker (and way cuter) outside decoration idea!

So although our budget has taken a hit, we’ll incorporate these tips (and more) to get through it. What are some of your favorite ways to save money when times get tough?


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19 thoughts on “Tightening Our Belts: How We Survived A Financial Hit During The Holidays

  1. Tracy Lynn

    I am so sorry to hear of about your heifer Tammy, I completely understand the heartbreaking loss of an animal. To most of us, those large smelly animals are loved pets. It says a lot about a person that loves even those animals that are raised to sell. I try not to get attached to my friends but before you know it each one grabs at my heart.
    We too were hit with a financial loss that will greatly affect our Holiday. We are trying to scale back, make more and enjoy more rather than spend on credit and stress the whole season away. I love all your tips above and I am excited to try a few new ideas out this year.
    Thanks for sharing, I know it was hard. 🙂

  2. Angie Rose

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Things like that happening on the homestead can be devastating. From crops to animals you rely on for a living, any loss is so difficult to get through. Don’t give up and thank you for sharing such great tips. Sending positive thoughts to you and your family this holiday season. Hope you all are well!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      We’re doing fine Angie. Unfortunately in our line of business we’re constantly vulnerable to the whims of so many winds – the market, the pasture & garden pests, the weather whether drought or flood, etc. We’ve learned to plan for the bad times during the good times. Sometimes it still catches you off guard, but it’s my hope that these tips will help others who were caught off guard too. We can all benefit from saving a little money, especially during this time of year. Thanks so much for your sweet comment. ~TxH~

  3. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com

    Tammy, so sorry you had to go through that. Farmers must have nerves of steel! I love your sensible approach to recovering from this setback. Since my field is food, I especially liked seeing you cooking ahead and storing in glass. Keep up the good work!

  4. Michelle

    So sorry to hear about your young heifer. That’s must be devastating not only because of the money, but I know how much you love them Tammy. Was she the little one that was born in August? Sending lots of love and hugs and although things might be a bit tight right now, you and RancherMan have such a lovely dream and things will get better. Wishing you both a blessed Thanksgiving and a love filled festive season.

  5. Keri

    Sorry to hear about you all losing your heifer, that must be difficult. These are great ways to tighten a budget! Many blessings to you!

  6. Michelle

    I couldn’t even imagine how rough this is for you!
    Glad to see you are being creative on solutions!
    Great tips that we need to work on here too!
    My husband changed jobs with a HUGE reduction in salary. Now I’m back to work to try and bring in something! I guess this is our heifer.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Carly

    I’m sorry about your heifer! I grew up on a cattle farm, and it’s always difficult to watch animals die… emotionally, financially, it just sucks all around. I do agree that focusing on a simpler Christmas will make the hit a little less hard – and a simple Christmas can still be a wonderful Christmas! Thank you for linking up at share the wealth sunday 🙂

  8. Charlotte Burkholder

    These are excellent tips. Necessity can make us resourceful though. We are tighter this fall due to my husbands school schedule preventing him from working as much. I was consigning some clothes next week and realized I needed cardstock for the tags but didn’t have any. So I printed on regular paper and had my seven year old help glue and cut them to fit on notecards! My husband may also be making a few of my one years olds Christmas gifts out of wood. Like a wooden tool box and barn.

  9. Laurinda

    I’m so sorry for your loss {{HUGS}} Thank goodness you already know how to tighten your belts! I feel bad for the younger people who have no clue how. ..

  10. Krishna

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I hope everything will work out for you. As a self-employed person, I understand exactly what you mean about how those things can make you feel so unsettled. Thank you for sharing your financial tips. I will definitely be putting some of these to good use! Praying for a quick bounce back for you and your family.

  11. Lady Locust

    Oh I’m so sorry. That is a huge loss. I know you are budget wise, and I can’t imagine I could share any tips you don’t already know. Will certainly send up a prayer for you though.
    (I will say wrapping paper: I’ve used feed bags as gift wrap. I try to make it appropriate like chick starter for an 18 year old etc. It’s silly but fun.)

  12. Nana

    I understand your situation regarding income. I feel that the world has become so materialistic that the true meaning of love, family, sharing has slipped away. Where has it gone? Everyone seems to be trying to out do each other. What are we teaching our children. It will be a hard row to hoe for them if the economy has another downturn and everyone has to cut back severely due to income loss. They need to be showed the way.
    My prayers are with you and others who find themselves in these circumstances. May God watch over you and give you strength.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It’s so easy to slip into that materialistic mindset Nana. We love to buy things for those we love. We love to see the excitement on our children’s faces. We get joy out of giving too. But sometimes it becomes harder & harder to top the gifts every year, but by then the expectation from gift recipients is that you will. I’m very glad RancherMan & I stepped off of the materialistic bandwagon several years ago. We still relish in giving gifts to our friends & loved ones, but now we’re able to present gifts that took time & effort to produce, not something that required swiping a credit card. Thank you for your oh-so-sweet comment, it warms my heart more than you know. ~TxH~

  13. Cynthia D

    I am so sorry to hear of the lost of your heifer. We farm and although we don’t have cattle, we have lost a crop due to weather so I know the large portion of your income that can be gone at one time. I have been reading through some of your old post that your listed and have come up with some things I have slacked up on and I might make some denim baskets for the goodie baskets I give my grown children and their families every year. Maybe you could ask for suggestions from readers of any additional things they might do when the budget is really tight. I wish you the best during this rough part of the journey.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thank you Cynthia. Being self employed, we’re no strangers to tightening the belt since unlike a scheduled paycheck, income ebbs & flows in self employment. We’ll get by this setback as well. 🙂 ~TxH~

  14. tonia conner

    All of my computer time was spent with you this morning, going over all the links to your saving ideas. This was time well spent, thank you. I discovered one of the things I was wasting as well was the amount of my time on social media. I’m now disciplining myself it how it is spent. A little late in life I have found that time well spent is usually saving money. I have been following you since January and it has been very advantageous for me in several areas.
    So sorry to hear about the heifer, praying God will make up for that loss somewhere else.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OMGosh Tonia, such a sweet thing to say. Thank you!! God has always been good and our faith is in Him. This is a minor setback, a little belt tightening & we’ll get through it just fine! ~TxH~


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