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Trimming the Bottom Line

Editor's Note from January/February 2012 Hobby Farm Home

By Stephanie Staton, Hobby Farm Home Editor

Hobby Farm Home editor Stephanie Staton peels an apple in farmhouse kitchen
Courtesy Stephanie Staton

For many of us, the beginning of a new year symbolizes a renewal of mind, body and spirit as well as a fresh start. We strive to tighten our belts, literally, and look for ways to tighten our purse strings, especially after a month filled with gift-giving and holiday food-bingeing. Rather than make a resolution that is (at least in my case) destined to fail, such as sticking to a rigorous workout routine seven days a week—that’s what chasing after a toddler is for—or vowing to keep that pile of papers from collecting on the end of the counter, I’d like to commit to something that’s as beneficial to my bottom line as it is to my waistline and is, perhaps, slightly more realistic: couponing.

I don’t plan to go crazy with it (news reports of people stealing newspapers for coupons seem outlandish, but trust me, I’ve read them, and I don’t recommend it); however, I never put much thought into saving money with coupons beyond a few household supplies that I regularly buy—after all, I prefer to buy items that are eco-conscious, organic and local, whenever possible. After reading “Click or Clip,” I realized there are ways to save when purchasing fresh and organic items for the home and kitchen. Get inspired to save cash while purchasing eco- and health-friendly products, with Nancy Mann Jackson’s suggestions for traditional paper- and tech-savvy online-couponing techniques.

Don’t stop with coupons, though. Get the biggest bang from your home larder by planning now. Extend your organizing projects beyond the linen closet and junk drawer to your freezer, pantry and cabinets with Lisa Kivirist’s tips for planning, tracking and putting up farm produce. If you know exactly what you’ll need and how you’ll use it, less of your hard-earned summer-preserved foods will go to waste, feeding you and your family healthy, seasonal foods year-round. (Wasting the delicious apple dumplings I helped my family prepare and freeze would be a crime!)

If you’re hungry for more resolution-based ideas for your farmhouse, roll up your sleeves and learn a new skill, such as tiling a backsplash, installing a floor or even making sausage. Give your farmhouse a facelift with a new tile backsplash in the kitchen (“Hands On: Make a Backsplash”) or pet- and family-friendly flooring alternatives to replace your worn-out carpets (“Floor Better or Worse”). Freshen your perspective on sausage by making your own.
In this issue of Hobby Farm Home, the list of project ideas for replenishing your creative juices and directing your renewed energies is long, so set aside the standard New Year’s resolutions and resolve to try a money-saving DIY project (or three) instead.

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