the barefoot budget

unconventional grit for a mindful life


Autumn is (Almost) Here

With temps still in the high 80s, I am hesitant to declare autumn’s arrival down here in Georgia, but something in the air has definitely changed. Last night we were sitting outside chatting and I declared June and October my two favorite months of the year, with December a close third. This October is already looking to be a good one.

It’s was a busy summer on all fronts. Our little homestead did a whole lot of brewing and fermenting – beer, mead, kombucha, ginger beer, and a few veggie ferments. Andrew is making turmeric soda tomorrow. He bought me lots of soy beans to try my hand at soy milk and tofu but I haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve been preoccupied with keeping the ship running – that is my gift. I make sure the kitchen knives stay sharp (sharpening them by hand with a whetstone), I make sure all the CSA food gets either cooked or preserved, I bake the bread, I clean the home, I mend the clothes, I make the toothpaste and soap and laundry detergent and an array of cleaning solutions. And of course we continue to eat delicious farm fresh meals like tonight’s eggplant, tomato, and pepper stew. Nightcapped with half a chocolate-y craft brew.

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The Barefoot Home, Part 2: Hiatus

This is the second part in The Barefoot Home series: a series detailing my adventures in buying my first home and turning it into a homestead. Part 1 can be found here.

Life is crazy – you know that. I’m not buying a house this year. It’s just not meant to be. The market is too difficult. I don’t have the time and energy to flip a home that’s in god awful condition (basically everything in my price range). I’m only 5 months into my new job, and as it’s a newly created position, I’m busting my ass trying to get it off the ground. It’s sucking all my time and energy, but I’m making serious progress and need to stick with that. And as I have shared a bit of on this blog, I’ve been going through a lot of personal stuff and I’m not in the best place to make a monumental decision like buying a home. Phew! Glad that’s off my chest.

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Living Simply and Less Wastefully: Household Items

When I first began the quest for a simpler life, I found it easiest to attack things in my life I was spending a lot of money on. I used to visit Target and blow $100 easy in things like makeup, paper towels, a different cleaning agent for every surface of the house, and various fancy tools for scrubbing. These little household items add up fast and unknowingly. On the surface, they seem like necessities, right? You need to be able to maintain your home and yourself. So, I would let these expenses slide under the guise of “something I have no control over.”

Yes, self-sufficiency is all about regaining control in your life. But for me, the reality was I needed the money I was spending on this crap to put towards my debt, and later savings. I started learning about homemade cleaning products and alternatives to costly paper goods. My interest in natural living and less chemicals only came after the monetary concerns. Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson was a huge inspiration when I began revamping this corner of my life. There are so many resources on the internet about homemade this and that, but I’ve had to do quite a bit of experimentation to find things that actually work.

I am proud to say I now spend at most $50/ year on household items (big chunk of that is TP). This has opened up my household budget to allow me to invest in awesome toys like a pressure canner and homebrewing equipment. Below is a list of common household goods and whether I have gone without or substituted with something homemade.

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We’ve added onto our family, in the form of a tiny gold and black cat named Mirah. She’s feisty, clumsy, and sweet as can be, audibly purring the minute you enter her room. We named her after the K Record artist Mirah, but the name also means aristocrat, princess, or treetop. She’s less princess, more prissy, and seems to have fell from the tree tops into our front yard.

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