Right now, for us, our bills are very few.
We don’t have a rent or mortgage, our house and land is completely paid for.
We don’t have car payments, our car is completely paid for. We have ZERO debt!
We have our own well, a deep artisan well, a large creek, and two springs on our land (one is a year round spring, the other is seasonal) so we do not have to pay for water, but we do have to pay for the electricity to operate the well pump and run water into the house. We have plans to get a hand pump installed in the future though, it’s uncomfortable feeling to be reliant on something as fickle as electricity for something as important as water. That project will be paid for using money from either our “prepper fund” or “projects fund”.
We have a septic system and do not have to pay for sewer. We do pay $20 a year for septic microbes that we use religiously, by doing this and by not flushing the toilet paper, our septic tank still hasn’t gotten full enough to require pumping yet. We also have plans to buy a composting toilet in the future, again using money from either our “prepper fund” or “projects fund” of course 🙂
The bills that we do have are:
Electricity: usually stays around $130, but it can as much as DOUBLE in winter using two space heaters, plus we use the clothes dryer a lot more often in winter which adds to the bill as well. We do have AC but it never really gets hot enough here in the summer for us to justify running it. We have all the usual big appliances like an electric oven, washer and dryer and one fridge. But we also know how to live without those things. I know how to hand wash clothing (I got PLENTY of practice with THAT during Derecho 2012 when we went 11 days without electricity!) and we have a clothesline that I use pretty regularly during the warm months, we also have several different means to cook without electricity and the ability to store food without electricity. A word about the fridge, most of the stuff that people store in a fridge doesn’t even need to be in there, things like most condiments, most drinks and even most veggies don’t NEED a fridge! Neither do eggs, which when you harvest them fresh from your own chickens will last a week or longer just sittin’ on the kitchen counter (however, I never eat eggs that are more than a day old, why should I when I don’t have to??…I also never drink milk that is more than 12 hours old, again why should I if I don’t have to?? When you grow your own you can afford to be a food snob 😛 ) and, because we eat seasonally, most of our veggies are stored in the garden until we use them. You don’t have to keep the fridge as cold as all the “experts” always recommend, I know that most say 40F but we keep ours in the 45F-50F range with no issue at all. We don’t keep meat in the fridge though except to thaw it out, all of our meat is either killed fresh on the homestead or bought fresh and used within 1-2 days max or, for longer term storage, it is either thrown into the freezer or canned.
Internet/Cell Phone: my husband has a cell phone with unlimited data and we have cellular internet with 10 gigs, all of this we get through Verizon and pay a sum total of $210 a month for all of it, we used to pay less than that but it recently went up, again. 🙄 . This may seem like a lot, but it is necessary because we run an internet based business. The internet is also indispensable for entertainment purposes, buying things that we need (mostly from Amazon Prime and E-bay), researching different topics and gathering information on what is happening in the world, and, because we do not buy any sort of “official” curriculum, for homeschooling the children.
Netflix: $25 per month. We don’t have cable or satellite TV programming, we watch everything either on DVD or streamed over the internet.
Trash Pick-Up: like I said before, we pay for this all at once at the beginning of the year.
Human food and household items: we budget $400 a month and stick to it pretty religiously. But every six months, usually once in the spring and once in the fall, we order organic red spring wheat, organic brown basmati rice, organic pinto beans, organic lentils, organic thick rolled oats and Real Salt in bulk (in 25-50 lb. bags) which usually costs us around $200. We belong to a food co-op that is run by The Seventh Day Adventist Church in our local town and they order their stuff from Frankferd Farms in Pennsylvania. They also run a rather large thrift store that I have been shopping at for going on six years now and I buy the majority of our clothing from them, so they know me pretty well there and since we observe a Saturday Sabbath, same as them, we have things in common which have resulted in many interesting and edifying conversations with the ladies that volunteer there. However, we are NOT members of the church and have never even attended it, the co-op and thrift store are services that they provide to the community and I am so grateful for them!! 😀 When we lived in Maryland I shopped at a similar type thrift store, but it was owned and operated by a Lutheran Church. Also, every six months, usually in the summer and in the winter, I make a trip into “da big shitty” (as I like to call it 😉 ) and shop at Sam’s Club where I stock up on business supplies for our E-bay business and other paper products like toilet paper and paper towels, also things like dirt cheap industrial strength dishwashing soap ($4.98/gal.) and laundry soap ($15 for 35 pounds) that I buy in bulk or white vinegar and baking soda for example that are a really good deal when purchased there, usually spending a grand total of about $200 for all of it. So, four months out of the year we spend $600 a month on human food and household items, but these extra expenditures are planned and budgeted for ahead of time so that it’s really no big deal 🙂
Animal Food (for the 20+ chickens, 4 goats, and 5 cats): $200 a month at the very most, including the price of hay which we have delivered once a month from a farm five miles down the street, but it is often A LOT less in the summer when there are plenty of wild green things for the chickens and goats to eat.
Gasoline: $35-$40 a month. Most people require gasoline to fuel their car so they can get to and from work everyday, but because we work from home we just don’t require much. We make trips into town (which is 30 miles away) only twice a month and once a week we take the kiddos to the nearest library which is 6 miles away and right down the street from a Family Dollar Store that just built about 8 months ago. We get the hay for the goats delivered once a month so no gas is used there, but we do make a once a month trip to the farm store (which is about 15 miles away) to buy a month’s worth of animal feed at a time. Another way that we save money is by doing ALL of our regular grocery shopping every month at Kroger, for every $100 you spend they give you 10 cents/gal. off the price of gasoline if you buy it at their pumps, we almost always save 30 cents/gal. and fill our gas tank up only once a month plus we get extra gasoline to run the chainsaw.
E-bay Fees: this is almost always our BIGGEST bill each month and it is dependent upon how much we did in sales, so it can range anywheres from just a couple hundred dollars to a couple THOUSAND dollars. This might seem like a lot but when you take into account the cost of having an actual physical store front versus selling online the fees are WAY LESS than what it would cost to operate a physical brick and mortar business thus enabling us to keep more of our money as profit 🙂
So, not counting the E-bay fees (which can vary pretty wildly) or trash pick-up or car insurance or property taxes (which we always pay for all at once at the beginning of the year, one less thing to deal with..), we require about $1400 a month to live and that is for a family of EIGHT! I got this number by adding up the grand yearly total according to the above numbers and then dividing that total by twelve and rounding up. So, $1400 is a liberal estimate, we could live on as little as $1000 a month if we really had to. We eventually plan to go off-grid, we’re already 75% of the way to that goal, so if we got rid of the electric bill we could live on even less.
Now I am going to talk about food some more because it is SO important an issue when it comes to living frugally. Remember, I have termed my particular brand of frugalness as “practical frugality”, the main reason I use this term is because I want to be frugal in ways that are practical and not just in the short term but also in the long term. When people want to be frugal the food budget is often the first to receive the most severe cut backs, as if living off Ramen Noodles forever is enough of a sacrifice to get you noticed by the money gods who will grant your money saving request 😆 But, in reality, it’s just plain stupid! You might be saving money in the short term but only at the expense of your health, which, if you continue the lifestyle, will cost you even more money in medical bills in the not too distant future.
As you age, this is one of the main ways that the system continues to suck power from you. You eat their nasty frankenfood and drink their nasty soda pop and develop chronic illness which they then give you pharmaceutical drugs and other treatments to “fix” but nothing ever really heals because most things that we call “chronic illness” are really just severe forms of malnutrition and the drugs are designed to mask your symptoms (which, btw, is your body’s way of tell you that something is WRONG!) so that you can feel well enough to continue work in your wage slave job. After all, they gotta make sure that you at least make it to age 65 to get the best return on their investment, like cattle in an industrial slaughterhouse fed just well enough to keep them alive until butchering time. They don’t care about you! Let me repeat that: They DON’T CARE About You!! You’re simply the battery that powers their system and, when the time is right, you will be disposed of with the same disinterest that a Duracell D-Cell is tossed into the trash.
I’ll say it again: They.Don’t.Care.About.You.
Imagine yourself and all the many facets of yourself and your body as little russian nesting dolls. Like the dolls inside of dolls, each doll should be seen as a whole in relation to all the others. The smallest doll, lets say, represents the whole of nutrition…from the proper preparation of the soil, through the harvesting, handling, processing, and marketing of food; the careful selections which make it possible for each of the body requirements to be fully met; the precise and proper preparation and the gracious serving of that food; the pleasantness and relaxation necessary to assure digestion and full absorption of nutrients; and other factors which can be controlled to prevent destruction of nutrients in the body (things like limiting sugar and sprouting seeds to neutralize phytic acid for example) and the subsequent losses through the excreta.
The next larger doll might symbolize the body as a whole, all of it’s parts and organs functioning cooperatively and in harmony with each other. Health is not simply just one part of the body, not something outside it to which we must attain, instead it is the cumulative effect of every cell in the body functioning in a right and normal manner. Whether recognized by the mainstream medical community or not, disease is not simply one part of the body but exists in every body cell. If the cells don’t have what they need to be healthy the logical result will always be disease, whether it be communicable disease (like the common cold) or a diseases of malnutrition (like heart disease or cancer).
The third doll would symbolize the needs of the body as a whole…such as love, worthiness, peace of mind, psychological adjustment, relaxation, and personal recognition as well as the needs of the physical body such as exercise, sleep, fresh air, sunshine, and warmth.
The fourth doll would represent the individual in relation to his environment; family, friends, work, hobbies, and recreation. And the largest and final doll would be representative of the individual’s personal philosophy, religion, convictions, ethics, prejudices and morals…which, in turn, would determine the part that he/she plays in the world. In order for the largest “doll” to function rightly all the other “dolls” within it must also be in good working order…nutrition, when seen in this light, is still a small part of the whole; yet it remains the most VITAL part.
What you do, know, and believe is almost entirely dependent upon the state of the body…if you are sickly because of poor nutrition (and this is the state of the majority of the population) work will seem like drudgery, you won’t have any energy for hobbies and you would care less about anything having to do with philosophy or religion or morals because you would hate your life and therefore hate God. It’s difficult to think in a “higher consciousness” type way (choosing the Love Filled Spirit response/reaction over the Fleshly Fallen Human response/reaction) when your body is beaten down and sickly…this is the overall reason why they tamper with the food supply, making things that should not be so… abominations like corn or soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and all the crops that have been genetically tampered with in the name of the Almighty Dollar (their god)…we were never meant to eat these…these foods make us SICK, and on top of that they give us pharmaceuticals in the name of “making us well” which just makes us sicker, and sickly people are easier to control.
I personally categorize food according to two values: Nutrition per dollar and Calories per dollar. First, all foods containing things like soybean oil, canola oil, safflower oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, trans fats (listed as “partially hydrogenated” on the ingredient list) or high fructose corn syrup are automatically eliminated. For the most part, I do not buy foods that contain these ingredients. As I said before meat and protein products, like eggs and milk products, almost always contain more nutrition than fruits, veggies and grains. Don’t believe me? Then, check out and compare the nutritional analysis of 1 apple, 1 egg and 1 potato.
Nutrition Analysis of 1 medium apple:
Nutritional Analysis of 1 large egg:
Nutritional Analysis of 1 medium potato:
Now if you took an egg, an apple, and a potato and sat them in front of a random person and asked them to point to the one that is most nutritious, odds are they would most likely point to the apple because that is what they have always been brainwashed to believe…I mean, apples are healthy right? RIGHT?! But not when you look at the nutritional analysis, the egg and the potato BOTH have FAR MORE nutrition than the apple. And if you look even closer you’ll see that, nutrition-wise, the egg and potato compliment each other, this is why fried eggs and potatoes (eggs fried in butter and potatoes fried in refined coconut oil) are our main breakfast meal…easily grown, easily prepared and easily eaten! 😀
You can do this with ANY meat and with ANY fruit or vegetable and almost always the meat/protein will have more nutrition, the only instance where this isn’t always true is with fish, which is the least nutritious of the meats…funny how that one is always being promoted as nutritious as well, huh? If I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d say it almost seems like the diet dictocrats purposefully promote that which is LEAST nutritious, but why? And do YOU have the guts to answer that question for yourself?
This is why I center our diet around meat and protein with vegetables and sprouted or fermented grains being second. All of those grains that I mentioned before, that I buy in bulk, I routinely sprout them before cooking (other than the oats which I ferment before cooking) because once sprouted the seed is no longer a “grain” but now a baby plant, doing this eliminates most of the bad stuff in the grain, even things like gluten are partially broken down, and it increases by many-fold all the GOOD THINGS found in the seed! Not too mention, these things are CHEAP! …buying the organic version in bulk only costs me around $1.30/pound on average.
There WILL be a part 3 as I have the time, so stay tuned for that!