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we are having a lean time but we are still able to make the bills and put a very little away each month. I do have a large garden and put up a bunch for winter but I will never make it through the winter without a weekly trip to the market unless I only wanted to eat a meager diet.

My electric bill hit the highest ever with me cutting 15% usage, my property taxes are up , and now my homeowners insurance is 15% up. Our monthly income is the same as it has been in the last year, but my basics are up around I would say 20%.

I have also seen a big increase on buying at a thrift store, department store, and just garage sales this year.

I have a good fear,that I didn't save enough for the hard times as I think the hard times are here. our family health insurance is over $1000 a month and I would hate to think if we needed to cut this expense and just pay the penalty( crazy I know ) . then lose all that we worked for.

I will keep praying and feeling blessed, as I know others are having a worst time of this new economy than we are.

but I'm still giving as much to others as I can, and giving encouragement when I can.

Happy fall and blessing to us all.
 

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yes we are having lean times but our power bill dropped 30,00 our home insurance went down not sure on the taxes yet but the value of our home went down 32,000.00 we can't figure that one out as long as our taxes go down i am fine with that,,we can no longer afford much beef but honestly i am okay with that
all we can do is pray for the best and expect the worse and hope it doesn't come
 

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Things are very tight but we can meet our bills and haven't missed a meal.

I thought some of our bills were going down but they have gone up.
Every time I go to the store prices are going higher.
There are some things that need to be fixed on the house but right now we just can't.
And I just realized our auto insurance is due again.

But we are truly blessed. We have a couple freezers and a pantry full of food.
We have a house and warm beds.
My dc are happy being at home.
We are all healthy.

I will continue to read the tightwad boards hoping to learn more.

Lots of people in this world are in way worse shape than we are. So we are lucky.
 

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I am no stranger to lean times. I am finding that I must be even more careful. I opted for our local co-op's truckload sale, 37.50 for 25lbs of pinto beans and about 40.00 for a 25lb bag of rice. It's really a blessing to love rice and beans! No hamburger meat anymore, only chicken when it is on sale. So far, I'm able to meet all the bills and I pray I continue to be able to do so:)
 

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yes hard times with me as well, just not enough coming in for the basics. Power bill really went up $189.00 last month from 89 and nothing extra running,dont get it. home and car insurance went up 35-65 $ a month, cut cable well they turned me off. phone and internet will be next. Just the electric bill and insurances will get paid I guess, not sure how to find money for property tax. I dont know what people can do to change things when you on a very low fixed income. I even ran an add to sell off my chickens, was not going to give ready to lays away, $15 each got 2 calls and they Both wanted to be very picky.and didnt buy any after I kept the birds locked up till they showed both people very late. Then one lady wanted me to catch each chicken so she could hold them. Buffs and jersey giants. what a pain in the butt. I guess I will turn them loose if they make it fine if not fine ***** and fox have to eat too, feed has jumped to $14.99 for the cheapest #50 bag. and no I dont butcher I cant eat it when I do so no point.
Just know you are not alone. Garden did little spent more on seeds and plants the it would have cost me at the food store, done with that. Man I miss tv. didnt think I would care but i really miss it. antenna gets me all the shop at home channels, ion, and qubo cartoons. no news shows.funny what not having tv does to quality of ones life. I know that sound dumb but when you dont have people to be around of talk too tv helps. even if it just back ground news.
 

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Totally understand. I try not...to shop...but needed to today with husband. Shocked at prices even at Audi's store..Even though I wasn't able to work much in the garden this summer due to health reason...I am still canning like crazy.Making spag. sauce..chili..tomatoes, pickles etc..Dehydrating also. I think I read too many doomsday books and have a little voice in my head saying..stock up...bills keep coming and income doesn't go up with them. Find animal food and feed getting harder to buy. But, my animals will be fed before me..The less I shop the less I buy and spend and during this flu season and the ebola scare now on the news I am able not to have to go anywhere except the drs visits..I always say as long as we can pay the taxes we can live without electric and propane if we have to with woodstoves and ingenuity. So very glad I began the homesteading life early in my years. It has taught me/us how to do with less and still be very grateful. I am afraid that things will not get better for the working class and older folks...Just keep trying to cut cost and pray and be thankful for yet another healthy day...
 

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Our income dropped about 20% about 2 years ago. We have cut and cut. Turned off the direct tv. We do pay 7.99 a mo. for Netflix, and so far that has been worth it. We can stream cbs' full episodes, several on Hulu too. I tried Hulu Plus but ended up not really using it much so that's off now.

Groceries are insane, esp. beef! I bought butter today and about fell over. At Walmart, a "duo" pack was 9.58 (for a total of 2 lbs.). I haven't bought any for months, as we usually only use it during the fall/winter. Wow.

My "special" bacon was 4.98 for 12 oz. Hormel "natural choice", it has no cure in it as I cannot eat that stuff.

Ground pork was 2.98 per pound. DH makes up a delicious "sausage" with it, and we cook it ahead and bag it up as chunks. Use it in spaghetti sauce, burritos and scrambled eggs now and again. He wants to start grinding our own but time restraints have kept him/us from getting to the restaurant supply place to get the big pieces to do that with.

We changed our long distance plan to a per-minute rate as we never used to use up the full amount we were paying for. I don't call people as much now. All our calls are long distance as we are away from the city where my side of the family is.

We had to take a subsidy for the health insurance as we could not afford what it would cost us after the ACA kicked in. That is actually saving us. I hate that way it has come into being but the fact is, it's here and we have to have it. The "free" colonoscopy would have come out of pocket as would my mammogram if it were not for those being "screening" tests that the ACA covers fully now. That right there has saved us about 1700 just for those two procedures.

We don't ever go out and certainly never take a "vacation." Our biggest splurge is the gas money and some food items to go for T'giving to So. California to spend it with his family. We stay at their house.

Any other extra money goes to items that help us maintain our place so that we can stay here, and try to grow as much food as we can. I strongly believe in good tools, so hubby has a new chainsaw.

I too hope we can keep our heads above without dipping into "retirement" savings at all. It's getting harder and harder though..........
 

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We are very fortunate.
I was able to cut our car insurance bill and our mortgage payment went down, but we are still paying the extra amount so we can get rid of that bill in the 5 years.

I buy beef occasionally, but mostly we eat lots of chicken and pork. I use lite country sausage in meat sauces, instead of beef. It's much more affordable.

Our phone/internet/cable bundle price dropped by $10 last month. I still haven't figured that one out, but I'm not complaining!

Gas has gone down 20 cents per gallon in the past month. A big plus for us, because both of us work in different towns and commute - 20 miles for me and 50 miles (one way) for DH.

Our electric bill dropped, because the weather has been very nice this past month. Mild and not hot - so glad Autumn is finally here!

I try not make unnecessary or unplanned trips into town. My income is fixed, but we are fortunate that DH's business is doing well.
I think Oklahoma has faired better than many other states because of the Oil & Gas industry here. I'm not fond of the fracking wells, but many people are moving here because we have a solid economy, so far.

I pray for everyone that is having a difficult time. We've both been in dire straits before, after being laid off around the same time and having to get new jobs.
My in-laws are retired and even though they are very comfortable, I noticed my MIL thinks twice before spending an extra penny on anything. They are smart people and very thrifty. I really respect that.
 

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I am no stranger to lean times. I am finding that I must be even more careful. I opted for our local co-op's truckload sale, 37.50 for 25lbs of pinto beans and about 40.00 for a 25lb bag of rice. It's really a blessing to love rice and beans! No hamburger meat anymore, only chicken when it is on sale. So far, I'm able to meet all the bills and I pray I continue to be able to do so:)
I had a friend with a large family. She was single and had a hard time making ends meet. Anyway, in Nov. when turkeys go on sale she would buy as many as she could afford and freeze or can them. That girl could make a turkey go a long long way. Even cooking the carcass 3 times. 1st time to get the last of the meat and rich broth with old veggies, 2nd time for a weaker broth. And the last time she broke the bones and pressure cooked them in a very small amount of water to get every last drop of nutrition.

I moved and didn't keep in contact. Wonderful person.
 

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yes hard times with me as well, just not enough coming in for the basics. Power bill really went up $189.00 last month from 89 and nothing extra running,dont get it. home and car insurance went up 35-65 $ a month, cut cable well they turned me off. phone and internet will be next. Just the electric bill and insurances will get paid I guess, not sure how to find money for property tax. I dont know what people can do to change things when you on a very low fixed income. I even ran an add to sell off my chickens, was not going to give ready to lays away, $15 each got 2 calls and they Both wanted to be very picky.and didnt buy any after I kept the birds locked up till they showed both people very late. Then one lady wanted me to catch each chicken so she could hold them. Buffs and jersey giants. what a pain in the butt. I guess I will turn them loose if they make it fine if not fine ***** and fox have to eat too, feed has jumped to $14.99 for the cheapest #50 bag. and no I dont butcher I cant eat it when I do so no point.
Just know you are not alone. Garden did little spent more on seeds and plants the it would have cost me at the food store, done with that. Man I miss tv. didnt think I would care but i really miss it. antenna gets me all the shop at home channels, ion, and qubo cartoons. no news shows.funny what not having tv does to quality of ones life. I know that sound dumb but when you dont have people to be around of talk too tv helps. even if it just back ground news.

Forcast..

Could you trade the chickens for something you will eat or use? i.e. bushels of apples/pears, half a pig, etc.? Might want to run a Craigslist ad before you turn them out to be eaten by something and see if you can barter them.

Or list them here on the barter board. I know there are some folks here that live in/near WV that might be interested if they knew about your hens.

Give it a try. BTW - I gave up TV for 8 years. My son and I both and neither of us miss it. I used internet for "tv" if I needed weather or wanted to watch the news. Now I am married and my DH keeps that tv going all day and half the night when he is home. I usually leave the room as I can't stand listening to all the "gloom and doom" on the news.

If I can help let me know, if I lived closer and had more room, I'd love to have the chickens, I love hens :)
 

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My electric bill hit the highest ever with me cutting 15% usage, my property taxes are up , and now my homeowners insurance is 15% up. Our monthly income is the same as it has been in the last year, but my basics are up around I would say 20%.
Always question insurance increases. State Farm raised ours by 20% a couple years ago, claiming "increased replacement costs". We asked for an on-site valuation, and they dropped back to the original premium.

Also, most car insurance companies have rates based on miles driven per year. We've got 2 cars we drive very little, and it saved quite a bit to change them over.
 

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One thing to think about with car insurances, especially if you have a vehicle you do not drive very often. I have state farm and some of my farm trucks I do not use all the time. I call and they turn off the insurance for months at a time, then when I am going to use it, I call and they turn it back on. Thus a premium for one year (365 days) may last several years.
 

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Well idk about alot of that stuff. I have no homeowners insurance. We basically live in a cabin and if it breaks I'll fix it. I am the insurance. Property taxes are up, but still not too bad. We rarely shop anymore ( when we do we are blown away at how much it costs to get so little). Gardens are producing alot, and we have two freezers full of lamb, pork, and rabbit. We heat with wood and have plenty. No TV, no cellphone, just internet.

Alot of what is happening is stuff that most of us saw coming a long while ago. I expect it will get alot worse before it gets better.
 

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yes hard times with me as well, just not enough coming in for the basics. Power bill really went up $189.00 last month from 89 and nothing extra running,dont get it. home and car insurance went up 35-65 $ a month, cut cable well they turned me off. phone and internet will be next. Just the electric bill and insurances will get paid I guess, not sure how to find money for property tax. I dont know what people can do to change things when you on a very low fixed income. I even ran an add to sell off my chickens, was not going to give ready to lays away, $15 each got 2 calls and they Both wanted to be very picky.and didnt buy any after I kept the birds locked up till they showed both people very late. Then one lady wanted me to catch each chicken so she could hold them. Buffs and jersey giants. what a pain in the butt. I guess I will turn them loose if they make it fine if not fine ***** and fox have to eat too, feed has jumped to $14.99 for the cheapest #50 bag. and no I dont butcher I cant eat it when I do so no point.
Just know you are not alone. Garden did little spent more on seeds and plants the it would have cost me at the food store, done with that. Man I miss tv. didnt think I would care but i really miss it. antenna gets me all the shop at home channels, ion, and qubo cartoons. no news shows.funny what not having tv does to quality of ones life. I know that sound dumb but when you dont have people to be around of talk too tv helps. even if it just back ground news.
Forecast, Have you looked into feeding your chickens food that you grow? Are your chicken allowed to roam around and look for bugs. if I had a place for chicken I would take them. I want chicken someday, but I am not quite ready for farm animals yet.
good luck!
 

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we've steadily been cutting back on all kinds of things over the years. really hung in there though and feel like we have a better quality of life than before, so it's nice for the kids to not feel as though they go without.

love this thread topic. thanks for starting it. very encouraging to read through other people's posts and feel we're in good company.

things we've done.
homeschooling - saves tons of gas/time, can't cook no time costs.
no more cable
no more house phone
cut back on driving in general
bought a kia rio 2 yrs ago. great car 40+ mpg. manual transmission, manual windows, locks, etc so easier to fix ourselves if needed.
no xm/Sirius subscriptions
no video store/red box, buying dvds or going out to movies
very little eating out
very little ground beef, we eat our goats now. love ground goat. dogs get some too.
glean corn from neighbors after harvest, helps feed livestock.
got permission to hunt neighbors land, so no more expensive outings to get to huntable land
changed to bantam chickens in sept. they supposedly eat 1/5 the feed, forage well, and their eggs should be 1/2 to 2/3 regular sized eggs, so that may save quite a bit. will get meat birds when we want to raise for butchering instead of having meat/egg layers year round.
bought 2 med freezers and one small one instead of one huge one to be able to unplug when I just don't have the volume to run them efficiently. at one point I used the kilowatt meter to track our old fridge and freezers and we were using something like 2000+kwh a month! they were old. ironically I have newer freezers now, but my new fridge is a monitor top from the 1920s/30s and we use somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000kwh a year for all!
decluttered our life big-time, that helped on so many levels
found a GREAT family dr. that has saved us so much. we can actually get in when sick and get a hold of him when he's closed, so trips to the ER/urgent care are down a bunch. he also does lots of procedures himself like wart removal, stitches, casts for broken bones, biopsies and collecting things for lab tests. my goodness, that has saved us so much over the last years it's mindboggling.
also have cut back on lots of premade and junk foods and that is a big $$ saver.
no video games and very few computers. lots of the type of stuff people like at best buy and apple store, etc we just don't even have, so I know that's an expense we've avoided.
also, have spent good money where needed on good quality stuff like barn rehabs, better fencing. better quality has actually saved us money and time after the upfront investment.

we've done lots of other stuff too and still have lots more we can do to improve.
 

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Every thing is going up....taxes are higher, our supplement insurance doubled, the garden did not make this year, no fruits due to late freeZes, even farms around that sell crops did not make......ground beef is close to six dollars a pound here....blessed to have church friends that share tomatoes or pears....we are carrying all our renters, they are having hard times with hours cut back......I see it only getting worse
 

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Times feel tough here, but I don't think that they are. We're making more money than we ever have, but I just feel like we're still very limited in what we can do. That said, we don't need for anything so I thank God for that every day. I just wish we had a lot more disposable income than we do. We both have our masters degree, but it doesn't always feel like that. It would be nice to be able to go to a local fair, pay the admission, and buy lunch without feeling like the money could be better spent somewhere else. :)
 

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Well idk about alot of that stuff. I have no homeowners insurance. We basically live in a cabin and if it breaks I'll fix it. I am the insurance. Property taxes are up, but still not too bad. We rarely shop anymore ( when we do we are blown away at how much it costs to get so little). Gardens are producing alot, and we have two freezers full of lamb, pork, and rabbit. We heat with wood and have plenty. No TV, no cellphone, just internet.

Alot of what is happening is stuff that most of us saw coming a long while ago. I expect it will get alot worse before it gets better.
We would be in same way if we didn't have a Mortgage where we have to have Insurance.

big rockpile
 
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