Saturday, June 6, 2009


My husband and I join a local, organic CSA every year.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  We have been long time supporters of local farmers and their products.  We believe that in order for a community to thrive, supporting your local businesses is imperative.  So every year, we do what we can in order to put that belief into practice, joining a CSA was is a great way to start.

The initial cost of the CSA can seem somewhat prohibitive to a family that is trying to be frugal. This year the cost of 26 weeks was $615.00.  At first glance, one might gasp at this number, until you do the math.  After calculating the math, the cost is $23.65 a week for fresh, local and organic produce.  While the first few weeks of the season, the box is a little light, that quickly changes. For the bulk of the summer, we are getting far more in produce than what we would get at a grocery store for $23.65.  By season's end, we realize that we have saved a lot of money over the course of the spring, summer and fall, truly remaining frugal.

This week our box included asparagus, romaine lettuce, bok choy, radishes, salad turnips, spinach and chives.  Of course, that will not be enough vegetables for the week, we will have to supplement with a few from the grocery store.  But at the height of the season, our box will be overflowing with a bounty of vegetables that will easily get this family of five through the week, without the need for any extra vegetables from the store.  Joining the CSA has also forced all of us to try vegetables that we would normally not try if they were not given to us.  For example, kale.  Never, in a million years would a purposely buy that.  But, when we get it a few times during the season, I do prepare a meal with it.  I have to be honest though, that is one vegetable none of us like.  I have found that it is best chopped finely and added to pasta sauce.  By adding it to a sauce, I am able to serve it to the family without wasting it.  Better yet, we don't have to taste it.  

As summer quickly approaches, we are looking forward to what is in store for us with our CSA. Strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, etc.  The list goes on and on.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Major Home Repair

Tomorrow we are starting a major home repair.  We need a new roof.  Yikes!!  What an expensive project.  Fortunately, we knew that this was a repair that was inevitable.  We have had some minor leaks, our gutters and downspouts are notorious for getting clogged and the shingles have started to curl.  We knew that if we have the same weather this spring that we had last spring, the roof could cave in during a torrential downpour.  Time for a roof.

Because we knew this project was in our near future, we saved for quite awhile.  I set up a separate savings account specifically for the roof.  It took a couple of years, literally, to save the money for this project.  We finally hit the magic number in the last couple of months for the roof. 

For anyone planning on a huge project like this, I would recommend setting up a separate savings account to cover the expenses.  Take out a little bit out of each paycheck and save, save, save.  Because we did it that way, we can do this project without a loan.  What a relief that is for us.  To know that when we pay for this project, we can be done with it.

Make no mistake about it though.  Saving for this was not easy.  Many times, I was more than a little tempted to dip into the roof fund for something fun, extra expenses or even day to day living.  It also took a really long time to save the money.  Sometimes, I would get so frustrated, because it seemed like we would never get there.  Whenever the roof would leak, it was more than a little tempting to just take out a loan, or God forbid, use a credit card.  But, we persevered, stayed true to our frugal roots, and saved.

Here's to a new roof!   We will be ready for the next downpour, that is if it does not rain while tear down is occurring.