Frugal Friends!

It has been awhile. Turns out, a pandemic and trying to remote school 3 children while you AND your husband work full time also remotely, is a bit more difficult than anyone expected.

Here we are though, pushing through and making slow progress. I have lots of things that I’m ready to write about and not a whole lot of time, but hopefully soon I’ll start getting back at it. I do also realize that I say that almost every time I add a woefully delayed post.

Today, I actually have a post from my best friend to share with those of you who are still reading and sticking with me. Jess is my sister from another mister if you will. She’s the kind of friend who if you called her in the middle of the night and said “I have a crazy plan and want to go see, build, do, etc.” She’d be down for it. She also happens to be fabulously frugal and wonderfully creative. Pretty much everything a girl could ask for in a best friend. So, without further ado- here she is!

Frugal friend here-allow me to introduce myself.

Sarah and I have been friends since first grade-since I passed a tall girl with coltish legs and a pretty, blue calico dress in the hallway of Auburn Village School and I thought, “I like her dress. I bet she’s nice.” We bonded over a shared love of Gund stuffed animals, dolls, and books and haven’t looked back since. Sarah and I have a friendship that is the type that you can pick up right where you’ve left off-no matter how long a lapse in communication.

I am also married, with kids-though mine are in the next age bracket up from Sarah’s. My daughter is fifteen and in high school (ok, virtually attending high school, but you get the idea) and my son is 13 and in eighth grade. I have been married for 16 years to a lovely man who is the bread winner for our family and works in a job that both pays the bills and that he is intensely passionate about. I work part time, currently cleaning houses (one house right now, due to the pandemic) and make jam to sell at craft fairs in my spare time as a side hustle. No fairs this year….having to be a bit more creative on that front. The hubs and I own a duplex with my mother, each of us having a side and sharing the tax bill.

A silver lining to the pandemic was that our particular family, though going down in income, also went down in expenses and up in payments of debts. From March to August, I paid off three credit cards and tackled some home repairs that desperately needed doing. Over a three month period, we were able to financially swing the replacement of all our doors in our house(3) and redeck our front porch with trex and completely rebuild our back deck. The doors were an important repair as one was leaking cold air in the winter and our slider was broken and leaking, as well as causing rot to the house and back deck. I feel really good going into winter, knowing we are all buttoned up.

We heat primarily with our wood stove, which we moved into our basement several years ago for more even heating and mess control/bigger wood storage. We are lucky to get all our wood for free from my father-in-law’s land and from a friend who manages a property. The hubs hauls, splits and stacks everything himself and this saves us a bundle on heating. During the time that his work was closed, he split a ton of wood and we are set for a couple of years anyway.

My son hatched chicks from our own fertilized eggs and saved us the cost of new birds this spring. He and the hubs are currently building a new bigger coop for our 30+ birds and are doing it themselves for a savings of about 50% of the cost of having it built. We have chickens to keep the tick population down and for the delicious eggs. Our dream is to someday have a micro farm and our birds are the first step down that road.

What are some of your dreams? Have you been able to take any steps towards them, even tiny ones during this pandemic?

Till next time!

-Jess (aka Frugal Friend)

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