Making the most outta what ya’ got.

Urban homesteading is tough work, not for everyone, sometimes rewarding other times upsetting. There’s many skills at play all the time, whether it’s do-what-ya’-can carpentry on your weekend, backyard gardening, duct tape and bailing wire mechanics or preserving food when your hands are clean from the latter.

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It’s so essential to know what resources you have available and how those means can impact the urban ‘steader like yourself. Because, we’re always trying to cut our bills, stretch our budget and do more with less.

This past week I bought a used freezer on craigslist. The idea for the auxiliary freezer came as I had just about run out of room to store the fresh produce I had harvested this past summer, along with fresh made pastas.

The freezer is 11.5 cu. ft., more than I will need, 10 years old, has a few dings, scratches and dents in it, but so do I. So with this new [to me] freezer I’ll be able to store more fresh produce along with stocks for soups and stews, and pie crusts.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have nearly a $1,000 to spend on a new model. But I did have $75 to spend on a freezer at half life. Even if I got two years out of the old thing, I think that would be $75 well spent.

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Online resources like craigslist are such a boon to money saving homesteaders, especially when you can get a great deal. Beyond websites there are free resources out there too, so we can save that hard earned cash.

Wooden pallets. I have actually just discovered what a great building resource these are. I just gathered up a bakers dozen for free and I have plans to reconstruct them into a series of compost bins, which I must get started on before the snow sets in.

Our culture trashes just about everything, and you know what, once it hits the curb it’s free game. I recently got some great iron pails out of the trash, drilled a couple holes in the bottoms and made them into some sturdy container planters for tomatoes. Call it recycling, up-cycling or reusing, I got them for free and nothing ended up in the landfill wasted.

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You scratch my back and I will scratch yours. Basically, favors are great resource and a great way to help others out. We had some family give us some expert help with a window installation on the green bungalow recently, you may have even seen the progress on The Cast Iron Pan fan page. And then in turn we helped them by picking up some furniture for them with the truck. How could we say no, they’ve given us so much help!

And don’t ever throw anything away! Those nails or screws you took time and effort to carefully pull out straight from those wood pallets, save them, they can be used again! It’s little thing like this that can end up saving you big time, and not just cash, what about time, you won’t have to run to the hardware store if you have those screws and nails. Especially if you’re working on a project at off hours and the stores are not even open!

But what about the fact you’re sustainably using available resources and you’re being conscious of consumption and not squandering. By up-cycling or recycling you’re giving new life to a resource that many people would see as deadweight, you’re using your brain and making smart moves.

I hope this was a helpful general guide to saving some cash, time and energy.

So how do you make the most out of your resources?

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