Cutting costs key for frugal farmer
In six months last year, Taranaki farmer Lyn Webster saved $16,000 by slashing her weekly shopping budget to just $100.
She explained how she did it, and why, during a talk this week as part of Positively Clutha Women’s Week for Women activities. About 100 people heard Ms Webster talk about her life as a 50:50 share-milker.
When Fonterra made its record payout for milk solids in the 2007-08 season, her farming partner wanted to sell the herd, and Ms Webster did not have the finances to buy it.
Up to that point, she said, she had thought: “I work hard, I don’t need to budget for myself.”
Being faced with losing everything she had worked for forced her to find an alternative, cheaper way of living.
Her concept could be summed up simply: “Put a limit on it.”
“I was gobsmacked when I added up my grocery bills,” she said.
“I put a $100 limit on my week’s groceries. If I spent that $100 by Wednesday, I couldn’t spend any more till the next Monday.”
Ms Webster said going from unlimited spending to $100 was hard at first.
“Once you crack it and change your habits, you are away laughing.”
The thought of running out of shampoo, laundry powder and toothpaste all in the same week motivated her to find ways of making her own products, for a fraction of what she had been paying for “branded products”.
To demonstrate, Ms Webster made 1kg of washing powder from two cheap and easily obtained ingredients – a bar of yellow laundry soap and washing crystals – which she blended in front of the crowd.
Through buying in bulk and making her own products, Ms Webster was able to sort out her farm finances.
“I call on all my resources to get it for nothing,” she said.