Saturday, February 10, 2018

Income....The Poor Farm Budget 2018

The Poor Farm's Phone Booth
My father's old shop stool holds up my aunt Bernies 1960's phone


As promised, I'm going to share our Poor Farm finances as I did last year about this time. Those posts start HERE if you weren't a blog follower then, or just want a refresher. I mentioned then and I'll mention it again  now, homesteaders, small farmers, and those just trying to live on a budget can benefit each other by sharing some of this financial info. Specifics like health insurance for those who work at home, getting by with decade(s) old vehicles and building your own outdoor buildings with recycled materials or new materials bought with cash only, are struggles we can soften through information sharing.

We Americans are quite weird that way though. We have no problem bragging about how much we make, how many things we own, how expensive our vehicles are, how many vacations we can afford, but we are shy about sharing how to survive on LESS. How often do you hear a person say with pride, "I get by on a low five figure income"? Frugality is frowned upon rather than applauded or at least accepted.


I find this sad as we were once a nation that prided itself, especially during depression times, on getting by with very little through self sacrifice ( a dirty phrase during these "entitlement" times) and sharing of resources. During the war effort of the 1940's, rationing and recycling was the norm.  Often this past year, when I've spoken to others about our goal to survive on less and less income, paying less and less taxes, I get quizzical looks at best and out right sneering at worst.


Enough rambling. Let's talk Poor Farm Income


Last year, based on projected expenses, we estimated we needed an annual income of $23, 640. Our actual income for the year (Keith's county custodian salary plus my small nursing pension) came in at $20, 701, obviously short of our projected needs. But never fear, we made up the difference with some beef and pork sales and Facebook sales of pig feeders, seed spreaders and a few other things we no longer needed.


Interesting to note: this is our lowest combined income in the last 25 years. Keep in mind, our children are raised and we are not financially responsible for any elderly family members.

Consequently, because of our low income, our completed tax return (thank you Turbo Tax) will result in a 100% refund of all federal income taxes paid but only 12% of or state taxes are being refunded. Oh Illinois how you vex us!   Therefore one of our goals, not to pay income taxes, was nearly accomplished.

Well technically we did pay them via payroll deductions but we're getting them back. Now that we have one year behind us of low income, Keith was able to submit a new W-4 form claiming he is exempt from paying income taxes. So that money is ours to use right away rather than the US government sitting on it for a year without paying us any interest. Confusing isn't it?  No one said having less was easy. :) 

In my next post I'll share some of our expense areas, specifically those where we did not meet budget, and how we plan to improve in 2018. 




18 comments:

  1. Donna, I can assure you, and others who are reasonably frugal, that I have a far better standard of living than many who have an income far bigger than mine. It's not the sum one earns that is important, it's how one spends it.

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    1. You put into three sentences, what I tried to do in 9 paragraphs. Well done you.

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  2. I, too, applaud the frugal life. I spend less every year (which allows me to 'nest egg' for emergencies). But you are right - the "F" word (frugal) is much derided. And as in any society, without a sharing of info/knowledge/wisdom - that society will fracture and can then be easily manipulated. So looking forward to your next installment where you illustrate how being able to live well on less is not only financially sound, but that lifestyle is totally EMPOWERING. Certain factions dislike, even fear, an empowered person/people. You go girl!

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    1. Ah yes, the nest egg. Ours is a broken shell at the moment. But what we've not been able to put away financially, I believe we have stock piled well into the life satisfaction bank. And yes, I see a fractured society coming our way too, or at least in our grandchildren's time.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your progress with us, we to find that less is more, as long as you like work. Every one tells us how lucky we are living the life we wish to live.

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    1. Luck has so little to do with it doesn't it? Choice is a more powerful word, and work. It does take work to cook and not eat out, to make baked cooks from scratch. But when I worked full time away from home, there was little time to do those things. Telling folks I "work at home" now is a mystery to many. I mean after all we have no children at home. What do I do all day?

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  4. Were you always financially savvy, or have you come to educate yourself and learn lots in the past few years? I agree that people tend to want to appear richer and that they have a great deal of possessions rather than appear frugal. It is the problem of the ease of credit where you can owe far more than you have. -Jenn

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    1. I have been called many things before, but never financially savvy. You've made me giggle. All has been learned on the job, in my nursing management days, while we ran our organic meat business on the old farm, and now here. The ease of credit is indeed a crutch. Even with our low income we get credit card pre-approval notices every single day. We use them to start the fire in the rocket mass heater.

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  5. Frugality does seem to have become a word of the past in this USA. Always working on the treadmill. It is a 100% turnaround on what was American thinking. Being content and not spending, absolutely no credit. Always enjoy your thoughts.

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    1. Well thank you. I's like to thank my parents too (but not the academy). Depression era children they were thrilled to have indoor plumbing and meat once a week. And if my father had an extra $5, he was known to treat his buddies to coffee and donuts. Socializing with friends and family, made my parents happy.

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  6. Timely topic. My best advice for those of us looking to make bare bones budgets work is : avoid interest- but everyone knows that lol. Will be looking for more tips in your next posts.

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    1. I cringe when I think of the money we wasted in past decades on interest paid on loans and credit cards. So happy we did our part to build corporate America. Now we'd like to just finish building our new (old) barn from scrap.

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  7. Thank you for visiting my blog, Donna, and yours here sounds like it will be right up my alley! :) I have added you to my blog roll and happily so. Blessings~ Andrea

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    1. Il mio blog E' il tuo blog ! (As the Italian might say)

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  8. I think it's frowned upon here too. Living a frugal life is like saying you're a hobo to some people who turn their noses up. I think it's freedom and bliss! Thank you for sharing your finances, I'll be keeping watch, I think it's great information to share!

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    1. "Freedom", that's a great word to use in this instance Rain. When I think of the burden individuals have when obligated to two, three. four or more car loans, I do feel free knowing our old vehicles are completely paid off. Of course, we always have the nagging worry that one might break down soon. Of well. Life is a payoff one way or another.

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  9. I've had a couple of 'snotty' comments and emails criticising our latest challenge, saying 'why bother' and much worse. People are so turned on to making excess to spend even higher excess.

    I would rather have just enough and live a good life ❤

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    1. People. I'll just leave it at that. People.

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Comments are good, as long as you're a real person and not some goof telling me how you were cured of hepatitis by snorting a pulverized neon blue crayon. Your comments don't even have to agree with my viewpoint, I love a good discussion, but civility does matter.