Casa Adalia

Did you not say you have 5 children?

September 24th, 2016

Buy a cow and a pig and have them slaughtered. It’s a lot of money up front, but in the long run, the dollar cost averaging is HUGE. We eat steak all the time. It costs us $3.90 a pound for local, organic, free range NY Strips. I look at the meat at the grocers and it’s nasty. No thank you, plus, they are charging tons more than I pay for my fantastic beef cut as I need to suit my family’s needs that’s grown locally and organically. Next. Shop less. I shop every 10 – 14 days. I do swing by the dairy for our milk weekly, but otherwise, unless I’m going to the farmer’s market (which is still a better deal than the grocers), I’m only walking into our grocery store very 10 – 14 days. Your kids are old enough to start baking cakes and cookies as snack food for the family. This is a cheaper option than buying store bought. I bought a gnormous bag of popcorn from Sams along with a huge bottle of oil. Popcorn popped on the stove top is our normal “snack food”, and it’s definitely a better and cheaper option than chips. Lsstly, double up on meals when you’re cooking. You can make two batches of spaghetti sauce, two batches of meatballs, two batches of meatloaf, tow batches of taco meat, etc., etc. when you’re cooking, and you’ll have fast and easy meals already prepped when you need one rather than depending upon a fast food meal on a crazy night. Our newest gig is to mix up a batch of pizza dough in our bread machine just before we leave for Mass. When we get home, it’s already prepared, along with the sauce and the cheese I’ve grated from a two pound block (when 2 pound blocks are on sale for $4 or less per pound, buy 12 blocks until the next sale. Do this with butter too. When you can buy it for less than $2 for one of those 4 stick packages, but 12 of them). There’s lots of little ways to save money on groceries, but it’s a huge budget buster if you’re not paying attention. It’s actually the easiest place I can think of to save money, but you have to be thoughtful, and probably glean some additional info you hadn’t thought of .

Ideals for lowering grocery and personal needs:

September 9th, 2016

1.have a pantry challenge and use up what you already have. (It’s amazing the odds and ends we have when we really look.)

2.create a meal plan and buy only what you need.

3.Make as much as you can from scratch, rather than buying already made stuff

4.Use coupons on personal care items, etc that coupons do exist for (only if better deal than non-coupon brand)

5.If shopping at Wal-Mart—take in other ads to price match

6.Do you have an Aldi in your area? Great for basics and food items without having to use coupons.

7.If eating out—have an “eat-in” night at home instead—where you create what you were going to go out for. Example: my college kids want taco bell— I make Taco Salads at home for 1/4 or less of the cost.

You didn’t mention what is your budget? How many are you feeding?

Just some quick ideas off the top of my head

I need to know what others are doing to reduce their spending on

August 31st, 2016

daily living such as groceries, as well home and personal needs. Coupons are not a whole lot of good it seems, since most are for products that we don’t want or need. We looked at the extreme couponing, and that is a joke too since almost all grocery stores around here do not multiply coupons. At most, we can combine coupons with sales, and take advantage of sales. But even the sales are getting pretty weak. We have Walmart & Gshloans payday loans services who never puts anything on sale anymore, and they don’t seem to care to have the cheapest price (without credit check) in town anymore either. We have Albert son’s that now instead of putting meat on sale, they mark it way up and advertise buy two get one free type offers.

Fact is, most of what I know about saving money no longer really seems to work. Our grocery bill has continually gone up and up along with everything else. What is everyone else doing to save money on these things?

Thanks for bringing up this topic

August 28th, 2016

I think all of with businesses (for profit or non-profit) or charities we fund raise for need band together and get the word out, especially in light of my previous post about the magazine ad being too expensive for now.

And guess who I nominate as the person to be in charge? YOU!
LOL Maybe you can at least get it started since it is your brain child. 😀

Oh, and I am thankful to have been helpful even when I wasn’t aware of it!

There are no laundry machines in my apartment

August 26th, 2016

and the laundromat is miles away through sometimes crawling traffic — and expensive. As I live alone, and work at home, with no children, my laundry demands are fairly modest.

Undies and light objects can certainly be done in a bowl and last longer when washed by hand, but “hands” aren’t the only option!

I have a “washing machine” for sturdier items (such as shirts and jeans): a utility bucket with a hole in the lid through which passes the handle of a rubber plunger (used ONLY for laundry).
I fill it while I’m in the shower with water that would otherwise be wasted. Add soap and laundry. A few minutes of plunger action is little different from a real washer except for the useful aerobic exercise.

And at bucket scale, I MUST do (if not “a load a day!”) small loads on a regular basis.

If not, my penance is a long haul to the laundromat with piles of quarters.

The real problem is drying in humid weather, sometimes best achieved by a trip to the big driers, but in winter, drying clothes hung by a radiator just help improve the dry air.

Not for everyone obviously, but an option for me. And in 15 minutes too.

The issue of marketing and generating sales is a HUGE piece of any small biz

July 21st, 2016

Any biz of any size, actually. That’s where most businesses fall-down-go-boom. Sure, we go into business because we can make X gizmo over and over again and have it come out really well. But can we sell it? And can we find a big enough flock of people, to sell enough of it to live off the proceeds? There lay the difference between success and failure. And you’re well on your way now to figuring out how big a role that plays. My decision this week to go back to hourly work for awhile is exactly due to this conundrum. We can make the bacon. But we can’t sell enough of it yet to live on.

Taking a step back from the “list an ad here vs list an ad there”, have you considered consulting with a small biz advisor in your area? There are a lot of different programs offered for small business owners, for exactly this type of question. SBA offers a lot of workshops and classes through various community colleges. You may have a chapter of SCORE nearby (Service Corps of Retired Executives, www.score.org), which are retired yet successful business owners who want to mentor new biz owners like us. I just went to look up that website, and it looks like they’ve got online classes now too.

Even talking to other shop owners or crafters like yourself, but making different products, will give you some insights into what works and what doesn’t in your area. They’ve already gone and tried a lot of the things you’re thinking about.

For me, we’ve consulted off and on with other small farm owners, we have mentors who have successful small farms, and we’re on email lists like this one, but for various farm categories. Joining up with like-minded folks trying to do the same thing, but in different communities, gives you access to a huge volume of information without directly competing with them on sales. It can create a lot of camaraderie. I know I’ve learned a lot about how to market and sell farm products that way. We just need more $$$ coming in first so we can go DO some of those marketing ideas.

Hang in there. You’re feeling growing pains right now and that stinks. For that matter, so are we. But an hour spent with someone who’s been-there-done-that can save you days (weeks, months, years) of effort trying to blaze that trail for yourself. Hopefully you can find someone who can help you sort out options, choose the ones you’re going to go for, and make the most of it. Onward and upward!

Just two:

June 7th, 2016

1 – When you do the show, make sure to let people know that they can get on your mailing list for special deals and offers.

2 – Offer something as a prize in a drawing among everyone who makes a purchase that day. Need not be present to win – another reason for the mailing list…

This morning I talked to the advertising lady from Point of Vue magazine

May 2nd, 2016

And tell her I would not be able to take out an ad at this time but to call me in a couple of months. I explained it was not in the budget this time…. as hard as that was to do. However I told her it gave me something to work towards. I told her I had some cyber friends in similar situations with small businesses and we’re encouraging each other in this kind of thing. I think she sorta liked that idea.

On the up side, she told me she mentioned my business to the editor of the magazine and he MIGHT call me at some point in the future to do an article on my business. Okay, when she said this, I was thinking … “who doesn’t like FREE advertising?!” LOL LOL LOL Of course it is not guaranteed he’ll call me or even if they interview me it may not make it to press. So we’ll see. **If** it happens, I’ll let you know.

I am thinking I need to set some financial goals to work towards. I am not sure how much or where the business will come from. I need to find more means of marketing so it’s sort of a vicious cycle. So all the more reason for FREE advertising.

On that note, I am expecting another check to clear for another craft show … $120. That will make a big dent in the funds. I am hoping to get in but I have not heard yet but should be soon.

Plus I need funds to buy more tiles. I need about 6-8 boxes to get my stock up for this big show I mentioned yesterday so I can get some coasters made. I also need some trivet sized tiles, probaby 10-15 of those. Also need some cleaner.

So I better get to moving on moving some of my current stock. I may send out an email to friends letting them know I am moving current stock to prepare for the show and see if it garners some action.

I had an appointment with an ad saleslady from the local magazine I had mentioned

April 3rd, 2016

Much to my dismay, but not totally shocking, the rates are too high for me right now. They offer a lower than “rack rate” (or whatever they call it) if you do a contract for 3 months, a year, etc. I cannot do that right now. I am thinking about saving enough to do it but it is simply beyond my reach. So, I am disappointed and trying not to worry about losing potential sales from the ads.

On the happier side …

I got official word today that I am accpeted in to a HUGE craft show here on November 2. It has 6000-8000 visitors each time they have it. It is a true craft show. More on that in a minute. All booths are 10×10 though anyone is welcome to get more booth space. I will have one 10×10. They have community involvement with clubs like Rotary, etc. My dh will work the Rotary booth for a while. The clubs sell different food/beverages to help raise money for the museum which puts this on. Here is a link to the museum … http://www.southdownmuseum.org/marketplace. This is a huge show that many attend faithfully and it’s held twice a year. Many people schedule their spring and fall around this event. Of course, not all the visitors visit every booth. However, I expect a lot of action that day and down the road from repeat business or those who could not buy that day but do so later.

Too many are called “craft fairs/shows” and they’ll have 1/2 or more of the booths filled with “resellers” … tupperware, avon, mary kay, scentsy, etc. I have nothing against those products and have bought from all those companies and more. However, for people like me it cheapens the whole event to have that kind of product in with real, true crafts. This event does NOT allow resellers. If you start out with a commercially manufactured item, it must be significantly modified. I aum, no, that’s not the motivation, and I was pained to hear that was ever a suspicion. Suffice to say we both learned a few new things. And now we both feel like we’re on the same page again, in terms of financial priorities and spending limits. That by itself feels great. If you live close enough I hope you’ll come to Southdown. I will be in booth number 55.

The other good news is that I have the custom book cases in my studio. I hope to get pics posted in the next couple of days after things are loaded into the room. I am waiting on the table top. We are having a granite top cut and polished for my work table. I am crossing my fingers it can be delivered by week’s end.

Dh has given me some work to think about. I really need to do it. It more alogn the lines of “office work”. I need to set up an official leger (eletronic or written). I have been saving receipts but have not done more with them. After getting my studio set up I need to get with him on the ledger business. I am sure I need to do more official book work in some way.

So I guess I have the proverbial good news, bad news report. However it’s not really bad at all concerning the magazine. It just gives me some goals to work toward.

No, these weren’t mystery shops dining out these were lucky coupon finds

February 20th, 2016

The first was on Tuesday. I’ve often wrote about being on mailing lists for fast food joints and restaurants to get discounts. Well this meal was a great example of why. I received an email that contained a one day only coupon for a regular Arby’s roast beef sandwich for $.63, limit one per visit. I printed it twice and had dh print it twice at work. He and ds had drove in separately that day due to appointments. Ds went in late, due to his appointment. So he took the two coupons I had printed with him.
There are 2 Arby’s directly on their route home from work. They went less than a block out of their way total to do this. Each went through the drive-thru at each location and got 1 regular roast beef sandwich for a total of 4 sandwiches. Technically the 2 restaurants, although only 2 miles apart, are in different towns and so the total with tax at one was $.69 and $.70 at the other. For a total f $2.78 for four Arby’s regular sized roast beef sandwiches.
Meanwhile at home I turned two potatoes into potato chips and brewed ice tea. The grand total to feed three healthy adult appetites was far less than I could cook a from scratch meal for.
On Thursday I received from a freebies list I am on a $5 off coupon off of a purchase of $5 or more from Smashburger—one of our favorite places to eat. Limit 1 per person. While we could have done the homemade chips and tea again the guys could have only got 2 burgers because of the coupon limitation. So we opted for me to meet them there. Technically we could have eaten for nearly free again if we’d decided on no sides and drank water. But we all decided to get 3 different sides, one each, and share them and a beverage. So that meal did cost us around $5 total, because we had coupons for two of the sides as well. Still cheaper than I could have made the meal at home.
A coupon and a meal deal at Subway fed dh and I lunch on Friday for under $5.
All three of these meals had surveys on their receipts. These surveys will be completed and we will get additional coupons for free items as well.
We had two opportunities to eat free meals for 2 from mystery shopping over the weekend, but those would have required us to pay up front and be re-imbursed later, plus considerable fuel to go to the restaurant. So we stayed home and did major chores instead. Fewer calories consumed that way too.
The point of this post is to show that you can eat out, occasionally for free or near free if you just watch for coupons and specials, then take the time, usually less than 5 minutes to do the surveys. When we cash in te coupons we always try to make it where we are not going out of the way to do so, because fuel cost needs to be factored into the cost.
The rest of the meals for the week were all out of our food storage (week #5). Other than doing home repairs and clean-up with what we had on hand that is pretty much our budget news for the week.
Oh I did my first true snowball payment on BB, so that made me smile big time. We now have officially paid, so far this billing cycle, the equivalent of 4 months minimum payments on BB and we still have a couple of days to go on it so I may be able to do a little more.

First of all, our first “budget meeting under new rules of management” went really well

February 17th, 2016

Surprisingly well. We have a tentative budget for August, with both of us agreed to the various amounts and limits. We’re putting a moratorium on all extra projects and purchases until we BOTH feel like we’ve got our collective spending under control.

Second, DH is just about done prepping not only his July spending info for sharing, but also May/June. Interesting little evolution with that situation. Keep in mind that one of the reasons we’re still in therapy is that he has a lot of difficulty with expressing his opinions, concerns, idea, etc. (Whatever my limitations in life, that’s obviously not one of them). So this whole time that we’ve been living beyond our means post-DR, he thought he was doing a good job communicating his concerns and frustrations. Um, honey, you actually have to say this stuff OUT LOUD before anyone else knows about it; walking around scowling doesn’t convey much detail! But his reluctance to share account info was based on his conviction that I had totally blown off DR and just wanted to spend all his money anyway. Wow, um, no, that’s not the motivation, and I was pained to hear that was ever a suspicion. Suffice to say we both learned a few new things. And now we both feel like we’re on the same page again, in terms of financial priorities and spending limits. That by itself feels great.

But the biggest news is that I’ve had a major change of heart concerning my own earnings potential. As I mentioned last week, DH and I were already in agreement that farm income HAD to improve. And as I reviewed this-or-that option, I kept running into the same problem. We’ve got the production end of things down pat. We can produce garden goodies. We can produce piglets and chickens and rabbits and eggs and hay and a whole host of other products. The crunch comes, though, in the sales and marketing. There is no single product we’ve created yet so far that we’ve consistently sold out. We’ve come close on some items, but we’re not at that “demand is greater than supply” stage yet. Furthermore, our cost of production is still high enough that whatever we do sell, we only make about 5% profit on it. And we don’t have the scale yet to make that 5% add up to enough for me to live on. Long story short, I could produce my little heart out over the next few weeks and months, and maybe sell all of it, maybe sell some, maybe sell nothing. And still not quite earn enough to meet our financial goals. A lot of that is because we’re still building out our capacity. But bottom line, I can’t meet our income goals for the year, with just the farm. So, over the weekend, I made the hard decision to button some things up here and start looking for non-farm part-time work again. It’s the only way I can guarantee that I’ll actually be paid for effort made, and get paid enough to make a difference. I came to that decision kicking and screaming, but the numbers just wouldn’t allow for any wishful thinking in that regard.

So the job search has already begun, and I’m already putting together application materials for two different listings I’ve found so far. Yikes, back in the job market after 3 years of self-employment. Not for the faint of heart. But that’s my homework report. I might not get an A for achievement yet, but I sure as heck hope I got a gold star for effort.