Homesteading 101: Making Money Off the Land

No matter how self-reliant you are, you will need money in this world for one thing or another. Whether it’s to pay taxes, buy the groceries you can’t grow or raise yourself or fix a leaky roof, money is a necessary evil. Sure, when you homestead you need a lot less of it, but you still need some.

Fortunately, the land that keeps you alive can also provide a small amount of money for necessities. We are just getting into using our land to make a little extra money. In fact, we’ve been making enough each month to cover the cost of chicken feed, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but makes our eggs (and favorite hobby) 100% free. Here’s what we sell:

  • Eggs. $3/dozen. This is the obvious way to make your chicken empire self-sustainable. A little more than half of our flock are pullets, so I also sell pullet eggs for $2/dozen. I’ll be raising the price to $2.50/dozen on pullet eggs soon because they’re getting bigger. By the winter, they should all be $3/dozen. I only sell what we don’t eat and feeding my family always comes first.
  • Veggies. When the garden is cranking out more eggplant, squash and tomatoes than we know what to do with, we sell them. They don’t go for much – $1 per eggplant or squash, 2/$1 on cucumbers or $2/pound on tomatoes, but every little bit helps.
  • Chicks. We have an incubator, so in the spring I’ll be selling straight run chicks for $5 each. That’s a much nicer profit than the eggs sell for.

Now, if you’re thinking about selling things from your own land, it’s important to know your local economy. My father-in-law also has chickens and lives in a cheaper area, so he can’t sell his eggs for $3/dozen. They tried that. The eggs didn’t sell and they wound up with a fridge full of questionable eggs. I try to price mine slightly higher than the grocery store, but lower than the farm down the road. Since the store is $2.80 and the farm is $3.50, I priced mine at $3. I could have done $3.25, but I don’t want a ton of quarters hanging around and I figured people would be more inclined to make the extra stop to save 50 cents. It helps too that I’m on a main road.

The other thing I do is I advertise on Facebook. I don’t just put a stand by the road. I make an appointment and have people pick up their items. That way, they are willing to make the drive because they know I have what they want. It also helps prevent veggies and eggs from siting out for any length of time.

Do you sell anything from your land? If so, what?

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Product Review: Papermate InkJoy Pens

It’s not often that I get so excited about something I buy that I have to tell the world about it, but this is one of those times. Papermate InkJoy Pens rock my socks. No, seriously, they just make me happy.

pens

Look at all those beautiful colors! And the pens write like a dream. Like an pinky-purpley ink-filled dream of beautiful writing and amazing organization.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve used colored pens before. Colored pens and I go WAY back. I have this thing about purple pens. They’re my go-to writing utensil for personal use, but I’ve just never found a pen that writes so smooth, is so easy to hold and has such a vibrant color that I had to tell the world about it.

My rating:
5 stars

Heck, I’d give these pens 6 stars just for being the most awesome thing I’ve held in my hands in a while.

Do you want to know what I use my colored pens for?? Organizing my planner! Let that sink in for a minute. I use the purple pen to jot down personal stuff. Red are bills. Blue is for work. Pink is for the kids (2 out of 3 lack a Y chromosome, so they all get pink) and green is for the husband.

I spent a ton of time looking for “the perfect planner” to only realize that one didn’t exist and all I really needed were some colored pens. I paid less than $5 for a large pack of 16 (I think there’s 16) pens. That’s way cheaper than a new $50 planner with all sorts of categories and pages I wouldn’t use. Now I can customize my $5 planner with colored pens and I’m good to go.

Buy these pens. I don’t even care if you think you will never use them, you will find excuses to use them. They. are. awesome. Buy them now.

And if someone from Papermate is reading this… God Bless you. These pens are just… amazing. I can’t say enough good things about them. In a word full of bad people, stupidity and hate, these pens are a beacon of brightly-colored happiness.

Look at

Productivity Tip: Throw Out The Fancy Planner!

Today’s productivity tip couldn’t be easier – Throw out your fancy planner.

That’s right, the planner you paid $50 for that has spaces for literally everything under the sun? Throw it out. Do it now. That planner is probably costing you time and causing you to actually be less organized than you were before.

I can’t even tell you how many hours I’ve spent over the last few weeks looking at different planners, printable planner pages and apps. They all have different features. Some want you to plan your day to the minute, while others are basically a glorified to-do list on $50 worth of paper. Some want you to think about the future and write down goals, others want to track your water intake. They all have a purpose and some people swear by them, but if you’re like most people, they’ll just be a waste of time.

You see, in the time it takes you to write down what you’re making for dinner, write down that you need to take the meat out of the freezer, remind yourself to go to the post office and every other little minute thing you do in a day, you could literally have taken the food out of the freezer, checked your email and gotten in a quick workout.

Instead of wasting your time writing down every little thing you want to do in a day, sometimes in more than one place, why not just keep a to-do list? It’s easier. It’s cheaper. It’s less time-consuming and more effective if your whole goal of getting your planner was to find time to fit everything in and to stop forgetting things.

Don’t even get me started on the Pinterest printables from moms who have way too much time on their hands. The planner apps? Not much better. By the time you click in 65 places and then key in your reminder (which will get auto-corrected, by the way), you could have already accomplished the task you’re reminding yourself about.

Appointments can easily be added to your phone’s regular calendar and set up with a reminder alarm. Anything you need to do can be put into a to-do list. Water intake? Forget about it! Drink when you’re thirsty and keep a cup at your work-station.

You don’t need a fancy planner to get stuff done. You need motivation. If you find that in the pages of a planner, good for you. If not? Put those skittles in a prominent location and resist the urge to binge until you cross something off your to-do list.

Product Review: Skeeter Nut Free Snacks

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write. It’s a review for Skeeter Nut Free Snacks. With school starting up soon, I thought this was the perfect time to finally write my review. Skeeter snacks are nut-free, which is perfect for nut-free schools or classrooms. You can buy individual bags and there are several flavors of graham crackers or cookies to choose from. We were given samples through Moms Meet for my Moms Club group to try and we loved them all.

skeeter

Of course, the kids liked the chocolate chip cookies the best. The cinnamon grahams were a close second though. The portion size of the bags was perfect for the kids and somehow they made them easy enough to open that the older (6+) kids were able to do it themselves without making a mess. The crackers have a little squirley shape and they’re adorable. They reminded me of those other snacks that may or may not look like a teddy bear. But we won’t talk about those snacks… 😉

My Moms Club group was pretty unanimous with our rating:

5 stars

5 stars! The kids loved them. We loved that they were nut-free and safe for Moms Club meetings. The portion size was great. The colors were great. The bags were great. Everything was fantastic about these snacks. I can’t think of a single thing the company could have done better.

If you haven’t heard about Skeeter Nut Free snacks, you owe it to yourself to go find some and try them. They’re available at just about every grocery store and the price is really reasonable as long as you aren’t shopping at Whole Paycheck. These are the perfect snacks for school or even just the park since you never know if there’s a nut-allergic child nearby. Try them, you will absolutely fall in love.

Disclaimer: I was given a sample of Skeeter Nut Free Snacks to try and review in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Mom Rant: Bus Stops

Today’s mom rant is brought to you by our local school system.

Last Friday, the school district published a list of bus stops. My oldest is entering kindergarten and she has 2 younger siblings. We live on what is essentially a main road, so I was really counting on the bus stop being pretty much at my house. That way, the older kids could play in front of the open door, or in my driveway, and I could wait with my older daughter for the bus. Sans tractor trailers, snow plows and everything else that travels down these God-forsaken, narrow streets.

Easy, right?

No. The bus stop list came out and they want me to walk with my herd of children down a busy street with no sidewalks to wait for the bus. Not going to happen. On top of that, I have to pay for the bus. $180 per child for the year because I live within 2 miles of the school. If you live more than 2 miles away, you don’t pay, but I don’t, so I do pay.

I’m basically looking at driving my daughter to the bus stop which is 0.2 miles away because the road is too dangerous to walk on, and I get the joy of paying $180 to do it. Alternatively, I could just drive her to school, since the school is only 0.6 miles away. Wish I had known all of this before I paid, or I wouldn’t have wasted the $180.

And don’t think I didn’t ask – I did ask where the stop would be. They made us pay by May 15th to secure a spot on the bus, but they didn’t decide where stops would be until August. Makes perfect sense, right? I wish I had known so I could have made a more informed decision. Hopefully they can add a stop for my daughter, but if not, I’ll be driving her and raising hell.

Rules for Buying Items on Facebook Yard Sale Sites

Everyone loves a good bargain and for some, that means browsing the Facebook yard sale sites to snag a bargain from a neighbor. However, regardless of what they’re selling or what price it is, it’s important for buyers to always be courteous. If you’re contemplating making a sale on Facebook, check out these rules for buying items.

1.) Always state your interest. The seller doesn’t know if you’re interested if you just click “like” or comment on how pretty something is. Always say you’re interested if you want the item to avoid any confusion and drama.

2.) Don’t disappear. There are so many people that say they are interested in an item and then drop off the face of the planet. Many yard sale sites have rules about waiting 24 hours before moving on to the next interested person, so by saying interested and disappearing, you’re being super rude. Don’t be super rude. Everyone knows you have Facebook on your phone and you just look like a dick if you magically don’t check Facebook for 24 hours after stating you’re interested in something.

3.) Be prompt about picking your items up. If it’s Monday, don’t schedule a pickup for Saturday unless it’s furniture or some kind of huge item that requires friends and a truck or possibly disassembly. Figure your shit out and get there to get your item. This isn’t the Walmart layaway program. There’s no need for a seller to hold your item until payday in 2 weeks, or worse yet – until Christmas.
4.) Negotiate the price through a PM. That’s absolutely fine if you want to haggle on the price, but do so over PM. That way, the seller won’t feel obligated to sell the item at the lower price you negotiate if you wind up not making the purchase. You never know if someone is selling lower because of convenience or not. Personally, I’ve agreed to a lower price in order to secure a faster pickup.

5.) Ask all of your questions before you pick up the item. It’s not hard to ask most questions ahead of time to avoid wasting the seller’s time if you decide not to purchase based on the answers. If you’re looking for a demonstration on how something works, that’s one thing, but asking if it’s in good working order when you pick up is not the best choice.

6.) Never ask why a seller is selling an item or how much they paid for it. It’s called the internet. If you want to know how much something costs, Google it. It doesn’t matter if the seller got it for less than they are selling it for on Black Friday if you can’t currently get it for that price now. If you think you can get a lower price in a store, go there. It’s also not okay to ask why a seller is selling an item. Maybe they are out of work and need to pay a bill, maybe they are selling something they just don’t use to get something they will use. There are so many reasons that someone would sell something that there’s absolutely no excuse for asking. It’s none of your business. You either want it, or you don’t.
5.) Message the seller if you’re running late. I cannot stress this one enough. If you are running late, even just 15 minutes, hop on Facebook – we know you’re on it all the time anyway – and message the seller to let them know. It only takes a couple minutes and won’t get you put on any buyer blacklists.

6.) Have the exact amount of cash, in bills, ready to go. Don’t wait until you’re at someone’s house to ask for change. If you only have a $20 and the item is $10, stop and get your $20 broken or ask the seller ahead of time if they have change. It is your responsibility to have the right amount of money on hand. Also, don’t pay with change. Even if the item is $1, please please please don’t pay with quarters, or worse yet, a handful of change from your cup holder. That’s just tacky.

Use these helpful rules to be a good and courteous Facebook yard sale buyer. If you do, you won’t find people cringing every time you say you are interested in their item.

Product Review: Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs

leglotion

Today I’m reviewing Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. Right up front, I’ll tell you that I’m not a huge fan of self-tanners or anything like that because the colors are straight up funky. I’m a proud Italian-American woman and the Umpa Loompa orange of most of these products doesn’t even come close to mimicking a shade I actually turn in the summer.

So without further adieu, here’s my rating: stars

Why? well, the lotion has a nice creamy feel and it goes on super smooth. It’s not streaky AT ALL and if you apply too much to a crevice you have plenty of time to move it around and get it just right. The lotion has a light scent that’s not really offensive, but is definitely there. You know what I mean… that, “Oh, is she using self tanner?” smell. It gives it away every single time.

What I really just can’t get past is the color. I tried the “light” and I thought it looked amazing. It was about a shade darker than my au naturale color and looked super subtle. Finally, I thought, a self-tanner us Mediteranean women can use. I got all dolled up (ok, I put actual clothes on instead of my around-the-house garb) and headed out to the grocery store. I stepped into the sunlight in my driveway and then I saw it. In direct sunlight, the color was just off. It looked super fake. I was so bummed.

I aborted the grocery store trip immediately and came inside to change into pants. After I picked up a few necessities, I came home and hopped in the shower. That stuff is hard to get off! So, on the bright side, if it works for you color-wise, it won’t sweat off. Silver linings, right?

If you normally use self-tanner or have a fake-looking natural tan, this will definitely be a step up. However, if your arms are tan and you don’t happen to have the same undertones as the target group at Sally Hansen, this probably won’t work for you. Your best bet? Pick up a tube and try it yourself.

FREEBIE ALERT! Get a Free service on Fiverr! Go now!

ATTENTION! Fiverr has launched a referral program, allowing current Fiverr-ers to refer their friends to the site. Anyone that signs up through a referral link gets a FREE $5 gig!

That might not sound like a lot, but here’s just a few things that $5 can buy you on Fiverr:

-1 amazing blog post article
-Help with Google Analytics
-A Facebook page setup for your business
-A logo
-A banner
-A 30-second video testimonial

What’s that? You don’t know anyone on Fiverr that can get you in on this AMAZING freebie? Fear not! I happen to be a Fiverr seller and I’d be glad to post my referral link:

https://www.fiverr.com/s2/df214267eb

Boom. Right there. Click it.

As a complete disclaimer, if you happen to like free things and decide to click on that link, you’ll automatically share the wealth with moi. If you happen to like Fiverr and decide to purchase a gig or two beyond your freebie, I too will get a free $5 gig for referring you.

I’m Not a Winner!

Shock upon shock – My big prize that I was chosen for and told you all about before? It was a time share presentation, just like I thought. I was NOT a winner.

Now, try to hold back your surprise here.

When we were at Lobster Fest, the only thing I entered to win was a $500 Lowes gift card. The timeshare presentation offered me 2 plane tickets for going. That is NOT a $500 Lowes gift card. Losers. Talk about phishing for people’s information.

I’m disappointed, but not very surprised. It seems like there are very few legitimate things happening at fairs these days. The prices of ride tickets have gone up, the cost of food has gone up ($7 for fried dough without anything on it? What?) and it’s become a hot bed for scammers and as-seen-on-TV sellers. I think our days of heading to any and every local fair are over… the end of an era.

I’m a Winner!

I haven’t been posting much on here lately because it’s the summer and… life. Anyway, I HAD to share that I got a pretty sketchy phone call the other day letting me know that I’m a winner!

Intrigued?

About a week ago we attended the Lobster Festival in Rockland Maine. I filled out an entry form to win a $500 Lowes gift card. Well, yesterday (a Saturday no less, because only legit places that most definitely do NOT sell timeshares operate on a Saturday), a guy called and left a rather lengthy message on my voicemail letting me know that I won a “large prize” and some other “gifts”.

Do I think I won a $500 Lowes gift card no strings attached? No. Of course not.

I *think* that I won a the opportunity to get a gift card by purchasing a time share. Only time will tell. I’m going to call the young man back and see what he tries to sell me. I’ll post an update once I know!