5 Solutions To The Kid Gift Problem


The problem: your kid has a lot of friends, and wants to give gifts to every single one of them. With your money. Of course, it is absolutely wonderful that your charming and thoughtful child is thinking of his or her peers over the holiday, and you want to encourage this independent spirit of generosity. You just don’t [Continue Reading…]

Brew Or Buy: Is It Worth It? It Depends.


Chow recently kicked up some great discussion in the homesteading community with their article “DIY or Buy?” I’ve gone through this exercise quite a few times with my homebrewing, pricing my expenses vs. the cost of running out and buying a sixer. And my results may not be what you expect, regardless of what you [Continue Reading…]

No Use For Coupons

I hate coupons. I consider myself frugal, and I love saving money, but grocery coupons just don’t do it for me. I’ve tried. About every 10 or 12 months, I forget that I hate coupons and decide that I could shave some money off our grocery bill if I just applied myself to couponing. So [Continue Reading…]

A Very Homestead Holiday


I hate to be the bearer of exhausting news but the holiday season is right around the corner. Personally, I think it’s obscene to see Christmas wrapping paper and Halloween candy on display at the same time, but there it is. This is the world we live in. Image from Premier Packaging, shared via Creative [Continue Reading…]

Taking The Homestead In For Lunch

I used to pick up lunch at work. You know, a cheapo sandwich from Safeway, a burger from the cool indie burger place across the street, takeout teriyaki from the stand that seemed to have new owners every week. Back in the day, four years or so ago, I used to budget $6 a day [Continue Reading…]

What Leftovers Look Like


I know people who refuse to eat leftovers. At least, they think they refuse to eat leftovers….little do they know how creative professional kitchens get to minimize food waste. Ever ordered the soup du jour or the daily lunch special? If so – you’ve had leftovers. Personally, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t know what [Continue Reading…]

Negabucks – What’s Your Hobby Time Worth?


I love food, gardening and economics, so it follows that I’m interested in looking at gardening from an micro and nano-economic perspective. As someone who gardens on a scale large enough to make a pretty significant dent in our family food budget, my gardening hobby is intimately tied to our household budgetary realities. Just another day at [Continue Reading…]

No Spend Month: Week 4 Review

Last Week’s Total: $216.03$7 – Parking at the county park when we went swimming$1 – Parking, Nick’s second job$46.09 – Tank of gas TOTAL: $273.12REMAINING: -$23.12 Well, we went over. For the first time ever, I blew through a No Spend limit. And it wasn’t the kids presents that did it either – it was [Continue Reading…]

Frugal Friday: Detox From The Treat Spiral

I’ll be honest.  I can’t wait for no spend month to be over. I can’t wait to spend money again. This is how I’ve felt every time we’ve done the no-spend exercise – by the time the month is over, I’m ready to start laying down some cash. We all feel better for the occasional splurge, for a treat [Continue Reading…]

"Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer" Owes Me Sleep


I was at the library a few days ago and saw Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter on the shelf. Novella was all over the urban homesteading blog world this spring when the City of Oakland kicked her in the proverbial nuts over her garden/mini-farm/oasis in the ghetto. She got [Continue Reading…]

No Spend Month: Week 3 Review

I had a dream last night that I went out shopping. I don’t remember what I bought, I just remember the dream sensation of handing over a big chunk of money. No Spend Month must be in full effect! Updated tally for this week: Last Week’s Total: $141.01$9 – Two large pickling crocks my friend [Continue Reading…]

Frugal Friday: What Farm Grandmas and Chefs Do (And You Should To)


When I was in culinary school, we learned how to filet salmon. Even if you are amazingly good (and we weren’t), when you cut the filet off a whole fish there is a little layer of salmon left against the bones. My instructor showed us students how to use a spoon to scrape the carcass [Continue Reading…]