- 1. Paying for expensive hair salon visits
- 2. Buying coffee at work
- 3. Paying for foods I could make myself – like jerky, pickles and sundried tomatoes!
- 4. Bread, pizza, pasta
- 5. Composting mediums
- 6. Soap (and I now have a soap company!)
- 7. Buying makeup
- 8. Fashion clothing and shoes
- 9. I started micro investing using apps like Raiz and Spaceship
- 10. Barter more often
There are 10 things I stopped spending money on when we moved out of the suburbs and into the country. And whilst you don’t have to be a homesteader to be good with your money, frugality and consciousness around money definitely seems to be a prominent theme in the homesteading community.
There are many ways to start thinking about ways you spend money you don’t need to.
When I started homesteading, I became a lot more conscious of where and how I spent my money, much more than when I lived in the suburbs. I don’t know if it was partly due to a shift in ideology, which is what drove the move to the country in the first place. But I definitely think it helped.
My husband was also working away at the time and I was working a pretty cushy job and had a lot more spare time on my hands.
Some of my money saving came as a result of realising and learning I could make a lot of things myself.
Some of it was driven by having serious food allergies and wanting to control what was in my food, and some of it is coming now, moreso since covid and since working from home has become much more entrenched in our daily lives.
Whatever the case, it isn’t a bad idea to consider your financial position and ways that you have some more money for a rainy day.
I also think it ties in well with the other lifestyle ideologies such as self reliance, homesteading, simple living and sustainability and I think it tends to come naturally when any one of these types of lifestyle ideologies becomes more important to you.
1. Paying for expensive hair salon visits
Before working from home became mainstream, there certainly was a bit of an unspoken requirement to be prim and proper if working in corporate Australia. For women, this meant neat and tidy hair, tied back nicely or styled professionally, perhaps a neutral nail colour – that sorta thing.
I was never a fussypot when it came to hair or salon visits. I’ve never liked that stuff. But I have always had a corporate job which means at a minimum, I had to at least pay some attention to my hair colour, the cut, or the style I would wear for work.
This meant everything from bobby pins, to hair ties, to head bands, to hair dryers, curlers, wavers, crimpers, straighteners, hair sprays, hair putty’s, hair mousses, shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner, hair masks….
The list goes on.
Also, having long 2b/2c wavy to curly hair that was thin, dry and porous meant that all the expensive colouring and styling and heat treatments were damaging my hair, no matter how infrequent they were and no matter what fancy treatment the hair dresser was convinced would do wonders for my hair.
Here’s the kicker – they never did.
Anything full of silicones and chemicals will not be good for your hair. It’s all marketing.
I realised I was spending copious amounts of money on my hair to ‘look professional’ when all those treatments and products were cleansed from my hair due to working from home.
When I left my hair alone and didn’t fuss with it other than washing it, my hair got thicker, it became stronger, it became shinier and I didn’t need to wash it nowhere near as often.
Stopping all this nonsense with hair salon visits and the products that follow has easily saved me $1000 a year – perhaps even more.
To tell you the truth, I have never felt more happier and free!
For my business Homestead Soapery, I am now formulating shampoo bars in a new product line and the testing so far has been fabulous. I’m now making the switch to shampoo bars exclusively.
2. Buying coffee at work
I’m definitely a coffee or two person a day. I literally cannot speak without first having my coffee. It did not do well for my expenditure and budget.
I still drink my two coffees, but I do so at home. Even if I have to go into the office one day, I bring it to work with me in a vacuum sealed container that keeps it hot.
I also staggered my second coffee to when I get home, and sometimes I don’t even have it but will have a cup of tea or just plain water.
In terms of savings, this habit change alone is saving me $100 per week.
UPDATE JULY 2022: I’ve been drinking less and less coffee, which I can only attribute to being rested enough and not finding the need as much to purchase coffee. I now drink Tetley Extra Strong Tea which costs $4 a box for 100 pieces. My savings from reducing caffeine intake have gone down about 90% on what I was spending on coffee.
3. Paying for foods I could make myself – like jerky, pickles and sundried tomatoes!
I’ve long been a fan of doing as much as you can yourself. Traditionally, my family made these types of foods yearly anyway because it’s food we’re used to eating and were raised on.
Not just that, but once you get used to eating your own pickled and preserved foods with no bad ingredients, you cannot stomach the commercially preserved stuff. It’s so bad for your gastrointestinal system.
On occasion though, be it for a morning tea or bring-a-plate type function, I have had to purchase something pre preserved and have found the cleaner ones to be the most expensive. The cheaper ones taste positively awful.
I do stockpile, and I do encourage people to have plans and think about preparedness and food security. This is incredibly important.
So I can’t say I am totally devoid of buying this stuff because I will buy it if it is on special and specifically, if I know my stockpile will only get me so far.
4. Bread, pizza, pasta
The other week I was on a podcast and the host asked me what skills should people know and I said all of them. Whether it’s something as elaborate as bushcrafting, or something as basic as baking a loaf of bread – all traditional skills are important skills.
Learning basic bread, pizza and pasta recipes will not only save you a heck of a lot of money in the long term, but will provide you with a necessary skill that will bring more love and connection into your home through the foods you make.
I honestly believe food is my love language and maybe that’s why food security is also so important to me, but learning to bake and cook, being able to nourish your family, being able to bring joy and happiness to people through good food – there is something incredibly human and special about that.
By learning to make bread, pizza and pasta, we save on external food costs (minimum $40 per week) and bakery costs (minimum $50 per week).
5. Composting mediums
The minute you throw the word organic into something, expect the price to double, even quadruple.
We were recently looking for a premium organic soil to introduce to our gardens and it was almost 4 times more expensive than the cheapest soil, and this was at a nursery in town.
Learn to make biochar (usually with wood/log scraps from around your property and animal droppings, weeds, etc) and learn to manage a compost heap.
Learn about no till gardens, and learn about green manure crops.
Learning about all these things separately means you can put it forward to creating custom composting mediums and soil improvers without breaking the bank.
It’s also a good way to manage your property in terms of maintenance and scrub, and also teaches you how to be resourceful with what you have on hand.
6. Soap (and I now have a soap company!)
It’s a no brainer that a soap maker will have lots of soap at home! Making the switch to bar soap and/or learning how to make basic soap is an incredibly useful skill.
You can formulate mixtures for laundry washing, dish washing, shampoos, body bars, face bars and even bars for difficult to remove stains on clothing. All of this is dependant on lye % and superfat.
So if you haven’t switched yet to the much more eco-friendly and zero waste option of bar soap, I highly recommend you do so.
Find an artisan who makes natural soaps, scented with essential oils and coloured with clays or natural micas. Those soaps will be most suitable for acreage properties, farms, ranches, homesteads etc, and will also be supporting someone’s homestead business.
If you don’t already know, my business is called Homestead Soapery, and you can get more info here.
7. Buying makeup
Like my requirement to use hair salons, I also had a requirement for makeup that I wouldn’t even apply every day.
I hated wearing makeup but it was almost like if I didn’t I wasn’t as professional as others. I hate those stigmas in corporate Australia, that women need to be these dolled up pretty little things to be taken seriously.
The only good thing I did was buy less, but buy quality so when I did need to attend an event and wear makeup, I wasn’t going to break out or have a bad reaction.
My initial outlay on quality makeup items was likely more expensive than most – think maybe $300 – but I used everything I had and what I have left over is suitable for special occasions. I don’t repurchase anything and haven’t made new makeup purchases in years.
8. Fashion clothing and shoes
The introduction to ideas on minimalism was one of the best things that happened to me a few years ago and came with Marie Kondo.
Minimalism gave me the mind to sell off portable things that I love keeping but don’t really need. Or as she says, release what doesn’t bring you joy and thank it for being in your life for the time it has been.
I had so many things I was not actually using in my house, my wardrobe, my kitchen!
I had old and new bags, plus shoes, lying in a corner for months even years untouched. A lot of the corporate clothing I had for when I was working interstate was not suitable for this climate, and I never wore it again.
I sold all of these excess items and I was able to make an extra $1000 from everything!
Granted, I didn’t recoup all my costs, but I recouped some. Someone else got items they needed and had better use for, and I was no longer cluttering my home.
9. I started micro investing using apps like Raiz and Spaceship
I started a fixed monthly saving challenge of $200 in addition to my round-ups from Raiz. I was able to save $5,000 quickly and without feeling it.
Because Raiz and Spaceship now have so many additional ways to invest, such as doing surveys or paying bills with retailers they have an agreement with, you can quickly boost your allocation in the investment.
For reference, both Raiz and Spaceship are micro investing apps and they invest in ETF (Exchange Traded Funds) on the stock exchange.
Being a total newbie to things like the stock market, I also started sending an automatic amount weekly to my share account with the same bank.
Soon enough I’d saved a few thousand dollars and started investing in different ETFs and shares myself. I do this because once we move out to our bigger farm I’d like to have a more diversified passive income stream.
I also invest heavily into physical gold and silver. Silver more because it’s much more affordable and easier to trade with and to be honest, I really like shinies!
10. Barter more often
As a society, we have become accustomed to exchanging currency for goods and services. And that’s ok. But there may be scenarios where that won’t work.
Sure, there are folks out there who strongly believe that if our current currency is devalued or an economic crash occurs, we will be buggered. And I don’t disagree.
Looking at the issue with current events, and we can already see how one event has impacted the entire globe, causing lockdowns, mandates, protests, food shortages, gas and diesel shortages, new wars – you get my drift.
One thing we saw a lot of in the covid times was toilet paper being sold out everywhere. For some reason, people were terrified if they were going to be locked in their homes for extended periods of time they’d need soooooo much toilet paper.
I mean really, if it came down to it and you really had nothing else, a shower fixes a lot of problems (apparently saying that out loud though is uncouth according to one of my cousins).
The problem is, that people are not prepared. People are not prepared for when shit hits the fan, whatever the shit may be.
If we lose all internet and all electricity, how will you go to the ATM to get money out to pay for goods and services?
If we have a natural disaster that wipes out main roads, how are trucks going to get to towns to deliver food, water and essentials? If we have another pandemic, what are people going to do?
People very quickly forgot about it when they were not locked down, but didn’t change their behaviour.
Instead of being caught out once, they kept getting caught out because the expectation was that in this current era and in this society, we will always have everything within arm’s reach. This is so far from the truth.
So the toilet paper fiasco of 2020 was a repeat scenario in 2021, and 2022…
How does this relate to bartering?
Well, easy. If you learn to barter, and if you learn with whom you can barter, and if you develop a small community of friends or associates you can barter with, then life becomes a bit easier.
In Australia, there’s a bit of a thing. Sometimes someone will say they’ll do a job for you – could be anything from a vehicle service or making something – for a carton/slab. As in, a carton/slab of beer.
It’s quite common for Australian’s to exchange work ‘for a carton/slab’. But as a society more broadly, we should be doing this.
Homesteaders certainly do more of it than others and that’s because your lifestyle and location dictate that often the person who will help you the most is your neighbour, and not some external or third party person.
If you have an abundance of eggs, swap them for fresh milk.
If you have an abundance of meat from a butchered animal, swap it for beeswax and honey.
It doesn’t have to be food – you can swap anything for anything – If I have a machine that you don’t but you have a skill I don’t, then that is something that can be bartered, too. Example being, you can drill post holes with your tractor driven auger, and I can tile your bathroom.
Barter as far as your imagination takes you. You never know what kind of experience you’ll have from it if you don’t try.
And once you get more comfortable bartering, you’ll have much more physical cash left over, and much more enjoyment from sharing your wares with someone else in the same way.
You’ve also now developed a skill and a network of people with whom you can exchange with that doesn’t involve cash – and the whole point is to try and be a bit more independent of a reliance on cash.
All in all, by knocking out some of the above expenses we’ve been able to easily save $3-5,000 over 6 months. We’ve been able to diversify investments, clear out clutter and excess, learn alternate skills and simplify our life.
Have you ever been able to save up so much money by cutting off things? What were your success tips? Leave me a comment below with your answer.
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.