Seasonal Ideas for Spring Savings

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By the author of the FREE online course Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture

 

In Eastern Ontario, we have now seen a few signs of spring. The sun feels warmer on my face when I step outside. The days are noticeably longer. Many birds are back, and I enjoy listening to them sing as I wake up each morning. As spring warms me after a long winter, there is something else that I celebrate, too: the opportunities for spring savings!

In this article, I am going to share some of my best tips for saving money in the springtime. I hope that you will share your own tips below, too! 

Foraging for Food/Accessing Food Stores

After a long cold winter here in Canada, you might imagine that I’ve already eaten all of my garden harvest. The answer is “yes and no.” While I did harvest much of the produce last fall, and a lot of it is long gone, I like to use old farm methods to store my produce in the ground, so I often still have some available in the earliest of springtime.

One example is simply leaving a row in the ground and burying it to protect it from potential animal thieves. Over the years, I have found that animals have tended to leave my parsnips alone! Another simple method is to store them in the best place you have in your home, which is most similar to a root cellar. Right now, I have half a dozen Waltham Butternut squash that are still good, sitting on the concrete floor in the back north corner of my eco-cabin.

Although it is only mid-March here, I will soon try some planting outside in a covered row. Sometimes, I will overwinter a row of young rutabagas under straw and plastic, mainly to eat the greens in early spring. This year, I will be planting a covered row of turnips for early greens. 

In a few weeks, I’ll be foraging dandelion and other greens every night, along with wild asparagus and milkweed shoots (leaving most of these for the butterflies!). I will gently sauté everything with some onion and either make an omelette or throw all the greens on top of a homemade pizza. Delicious!  The dandelion flowers themselves can be put into a plain muffin recipe. I think I’ll serve some for tea.

Economical Easter

I love chocolate, and even as adults, we used to buy a fair bit amongst ourselves. These days, I save quite a bit by limiting what I buy to one special item. I like to support a local chocolatier in a nearby village. His chocolate is handmade. He even makes the marshmallows in his marshmallow bunnies and eggs himself! 

When I visit his shop, we always have a nice chat. How different from buying in a big box store! After seeing a documentary about a lot of unfairness involved in the production of chocolate, I try to be mindful of consuming it. I will continue to look for ways to buy ethical chocolate, too. 

For children, creative solutions can help if there isn’t a ton of cash for Easter extras. One of the first steps can be talking to the children ahead of time around expectations. What if the children make their own baskets to leave for the Easter bunny by weaving them or making them out of supplies already in the craft cupboard? Fluffy filling for the basket could come from the paper shredder and that’s better for the environment than plastic, too. 

A fun Easter hunt can be created with the children searching for marbles, pebbles, or even Lego pieces rather than small, expensive eggs. If using Lego, the children could be challenged to make something creative out of the pieces they collect. The children can trade these items, or their Lego creations, in for one large special treat, like an Easter Bunny. Keeping a close eye on the flyers close to Easter could mean getting a great price on what is purchased, too. I once made an Easter Bunny shaped cake out of two round cakes by using one for the head and cutting ears out of the second one. If the items to make an Easter Bunny cake or cupcakes (or even cookies!) are already in your pantry, costs could be kept quite low. 

Spring Cleaning for Cash

I enjoy spring cleaning. The big bonus is that it often puts a few extra bucks in my pocket. This year, I already have several items on my list to sell: an old pool cue, some extra construction materials, some books. I plan to set a limit on how long they will be posted. Here’s some great tips for selling online.

Anything that doesn’t sell in two weeks that is related to construction will go to the local Habitat for Humanity. I will actually get a tax receipt for those donations! Anything else will go to a local church-run thrift shop that has reasonable prices and uses the revenue to help those in need locally. I will end up with some cash for gas in my pocket, and these local charities will also benefit. The bottom line: less dust and less clutter in my 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin! 

Starting Seedlings

Depending on the year, I may start more, or I may start less. I do start as many as I can, with my own saved seeds whenever possible. I like knowing where my seeds come from. I like growing heirloom varieties that do well in my specific locale. And, importantly, I like the cost of seeds compared to buying seedlings! As organic seedlings are even more expensive than regular ones, growing my own is one way I keep the cost of my garden low from year to year.  

Affordable Fun

I have a friend who is taking a spring trip to tour Ireland for an entire month! While that would be fun, my own choices for fun are more affordable and local. I hope to join a local naturalist group for a free hike in the next couple of months. I have been attending dance events at the local halls. $9 gets you four hours of dancing to a DJ and a light lunch. $18 gets you four hours of dancing to a live band and a full pork supper with dessert! In addition, I love attending traditional Irish dance with the local Irish community every week. It is like square dancing and is included in my annual membership with the group, which is only $25.

Spring is Springing – Are You Saving?

There are many ways to save a few bucks in springtime. Could you see yourself trying any of the thrifty spring tips offered here? Do you have any spring savings ideas you can share with us? Please tell us in the comments below.

About Colette

Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. Her website, Half Acre Homestead is attracting followers from around the world who want to become more self-sufficient.  Colette invites you to stop by the Homestead and check out all of the great resources including the practical How To Guides, A Tiny Home Resource Center and her organic gardening stories on her blog. She shares her wholistic model (body/mind/spirit) for achieving self-sufficiency in her Free Course, “Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture.” Stop by the Homestead today to register free of charge!

Colette

Colette

Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. Her website, Half Acre Homestead is attracting followers from around the world who want to become more self-sufficient.  Colette invites you to stop by the Homestead and check out all of the great resources including the practical How To Guides, A Tiny Home Resource Center and her organic gardening stories on her blog. She shares her wholistic model (body/mind/spirit) for achieving self-sufficiency in her Free Course, "Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture." Stop by the Homestead today to register free of charge!

11 thoughts on “Seasonal Ideas for Spring Savings”

  1. I will be planting open pollinated seeds in saved toilet paper tubes filled with potting soil revived by alternating layers of last years potting soil with vegetable waste. It makes beautiful potting soil with limited effort. Also it prevents the vegetable waste from going into the sewers from a disposal or going to a landfill. Since I live in a condo, I have only a deck and a small porch to have plants, but the deck rail supports cucumber and zucchini vines and basil and parsley are decorative on the porch. The peppers and tomatoes go in corners of the deck. Again a use for the revived potting soil. I also will have pots of flowers next to the garage doors for a little cheerful color.

    1. Hi Mary, Thank you so much for sharing. In particular, you comments would be inspirational for those who might feel that they can’t grow a lot, due to being in an apartment or condo. Good for you! I can imagine how satisfying it would be to sit out on your deck and watch the pollinators working on your future food. Wishing you a wonderful gardening season this year!

  2. Easter season means discounts on baking supplies. After the holiday, I hope to get some ham, plastic pails and candy. It probs will be our last chance before hurricane season starts here.

    1. Oh my, Corsaire! Saying a prayer that you and your family are safe and sound during hurricane season! I honestly can’t get enough plastic pails. I love them and they will always come in handy. That is a great tip about the baking supplies. Never hurts to have some extra sugar and flour on hand. Wishing you the best for hurricane season and beyond!

  3. Lots of plants overwintered nicely here in southern AZ. I have a ton of salad greens actually, and some potatoes popping up their heads, and even some rat-tailed radish that never died off. Green onions aplenty. Have some tomatoes starting – mental note, must start them earlier next year!

    I’m probably not saving as much as I could because groceries are still sky high but every bit helps. Fun finding: The organic barley at the natural foods store is cheaper than the non-organic barley at the regular store! I’m preparing to make cat toys with the plethora of plastic eggs I’ll soon be finding for low prices. (Cut a hole in the side to make a treat-dispensing type!)

    Hope everyone has a great spring season.

    1. Hi Redbranch, Was so excited to read that so many plants overwintered so well for you. What a great feeling it must be to have an early start like that. I agree that every bits helps. Having the skills and experience with gardening should you ever need to expand for survival…priceless! That cat toy sounds like a lot of fun. I will mention that design to my friends who just got a cat. Enjoy the barley, too! One of my favourite soups is a simple beef-barley that my friend makes. With the filling and healthy barley, not a lot of beef is required to make a hearty meal. Wishing you a great gardening season. I look forward to hearing how it all goes! Much appreciated.

  4. Easy beef barley recipe for you: in a crock pot that can hold at least 1.5 quarts, put 1 cup pearl barley, a nice little piece of beef or chicken, maybe half a pound or possibly less. A big handful of dried mushrooms, crumbled. A tablespoon of beef or chicken bullion powder. Spices and herbs to taste – I like marjoram, tarragon, sage, thyme, things like that. Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste. Cover with water, about six cups. Put on high for four to six hours at least, or overnight. Stir well and devour. It’s really good and filling! Cheap too. I get my dried mushrooms at Asian import stores, shiitakes or similar are generally fairly cheap.

    1. Ooooooh! Thanks, Redbranch! I appreciate your sharing this. I have already copied and pasted it into my records. If I don’t have a crock pot, I imagine that simmering for a few hours would also work. Much appreciated!

  5. Hello Colette.
    Another great article. I always enjoy reading what you have written. Hearing you and others talk about their garden plans also puts a smile on my face. I am hoping to plant at least a couple of things after I get past my next chemo treatment. It is scheduled for March 25. So, by the time I am feeling better (8 to 10 days) it will be appropriate to put out a couple of things here in Tennessee.
    Would also like to thank Redbranch for the recipe. I think I will give it a try.
    Best wishes to you. May your garden be wildly successful.
    Trish

    1. Trish, I hope your chemo treatment goes well and you recover quickly. You’re welcome for the recipe. So easy to make! May your garden grow lush and green. 🙂

    2. Hi Trish, How wonderful to hear from you here. I continue to pray for you daily. I am planning to write you an update on how things are on the homestead in the next day or so. Thinking of you and wishing you the best. I hope this next round of treatment goes well for you. Praying for you!

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