DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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16 December 2010

Using our time to make what we need

If you're making ginger beer with me, today you'll need to feed the beast, and you'll feed it every day for about a week, or for as long as it takes to bubble away beautifully.  Make sure it's in a warm spot if you're in the middle of winter.  The fermentation of ginger beer will depend on how warm it is in your home and the natural yeasts in the air in your kitchen.  The yeasts will settle in the mix and start feeding on the sugar, but they like a warm environment.  Our temperatures now are around 30C during the day which is ideal for making all sorts of fermented foods, like ginger beer and sour dough.  I looked at my ginger mix yesterday afternoon and noticed very tiny bubbles just starting to come to the surface.  That means it's started fermenting successfully.  It should smell of ginger and if it develops a slightly alcoholic odour, that's fine, it will be well diluted when we mix our beer up.


My ginger beer plant on the bench yesterday with its cousin, sour dough starter.  

I just want to make sure that you all used very clean jars.  You want to make sure you're cultivating only the beneficial bacteria and yeasts.  It's a good idea before you start to wash the jar thoroughly, then scald it with boiling water.  I wish I'd thought to tell you that at the start but if you decide to do this again, make sure you start of that way.

Today, add two teaspoons of ginger and two teaspoons of sugar and stir it in.  Then cover the jar and leave it on the bench again.  You'll have to feed it that way every day now.  I usually let mine go on for about a week by which time it's usually developed a good flavour.  You'll make up about six litres/quarts of ginger beer with this mix, so look for some plastic bottles to hold the beer when you make it.  Plastic bottles are better because ginger beer can explode.  Now before you run off to pour your mix down the sink, it's highly unlikely that a bottle will explode, but you need to be aware that glass bottles have built up so much gas pressure, they've exploded and sprayed their contents all over the place.  It's not happened to me but I have had ginger beer swoosh out when I opened the bottle.  There are ways around those problems that we'll talk about when we bottle our drinks next week.

Now, two questions for you.  

1.  Hanno and I have been talking about starting an Etsy shop.  I frequently have readers emailing asking if they can buy my bar soap and liquid soap but I'm also going to offer knitted cotton dishcloths, gift packs, seeds and maybe some aprons, tote bags, napkins and assorted odds and ends.  It will bring in a little bit of extra money and we'd be able to produce all of the goods here at home.  Hanno is keen to help with the packaging and posting, but just this week I taught him to make soap and he's happy to help make soap as well.  So, my question to those of you with online store, is there any advise you can give me about setting up a store and selling online?


Hanno's first batch of soap, and the result of his efforts below.  



2.  I'm currently writing the money chapter in my book.  I want to write it for all ages, so what would you like to see in that chapter?  I'm particularly interested in the ideas of younger single people, young couples, older people living alone and families with a mortgage.

Thanks to everyone who responds.  It's times such as now I really rely on my readers to steer me in the right direction.

73 comments:

  1. Hi Rhonda.I am really enjoying doing this little project with the ginger beer,thanks so much.Look forward to your etsy shop. Have a lovely day Carole

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  2. I have started a Etsy shop this past spring and sold a few items. I think it is a great way to make a little extra money...but I am sure you will make a lot of extra money:):) Wishing you all the Best!!

    P.s Hanno did a great job on the soap!!!!

    Renee

    Ky

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  3. hi
    Rhonda
    Happy to be the first one to comment.
    Its late around 12.45 at night and I was reading your blog (back dated posts) I get inspired...
    and when I clicked on the recent page I found that you had written...
    Keep up your good work ... I really appreciate....

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  4. hi
    I would have loved to buy soaps and dishcloths for you if I was nearer your place , I am from India...
    But you should have one it will be great for you and those who stay near your place..
    my BEST WISHES TO YOU ON YOUR NEW VENTURE...

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  5. On your question about a money chapter, I'd stress that young newly married couples should be careful to avoid getting into a situation where they overextend themselves financially. Specifically, too much mortgage. I regret establishing a lifestyle that required two incomes. My biggest desire is to stay home with my kids. I never would have anticipated that desire before kids.

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  6. Hi Rhonda
    I would love to buy your soap, too :-) Not sure if you're planning on posting this far, though?(I live in the UK)

    As far as the chapter on money goes, I think your past blogs contain excellent advice, already. I suppose the hardest thing for many people is the social pressure to spend, and to keep up with everyone else, regardless of whether you have the funds to do so.
    Anna

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  7. Question #1: We've had an Etsy shop for a year and a half now, and it's doing fairly well. My advice would be to make sure you have really nice photos of your items, so they stand out when customers are doing a search. Also, make sure you have a nice looking shop banner, as well as business cards, etc. It's all about presentation. There is a lot of competition on Etsy so you have to make sure you stand above the crowd a bit. But I'm sure you'll get lots of business anyway, from traffic coming from your blog. Have fun! I can't wait to see your new shop.

    Question #2: In the money section of your book, I'd like to see advice on how to manage when stable employment just doesn't exist. My husband and I are in our 30's, and like many people our age job security, health insurance and pensions just aren't there like they were for our parents. My husband has not had a steady job for almost 10 years now. We've managed by a variety of means (including starting our own business via Etsy) but it's been tough. I'd like to see what advice you'd give to younger folks like us who just can't seem to get a break.

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  8. First you need lots of patience, it takes time to establish a presence. Great photos, add a little bio to each listing and tell them a bit about why you make what you do, add a link to your blog. And the #1 thing that has gotten me consistent sales is at least 100 items for sale and either list or renew a couple times a day. It really does help.

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  9. Hi Rhonda and Hanno, I currently have a little etsy shophttp://www.etsy.com/shop/rosiemaye, I make and sell bags ,purses and clutches. I don't know how much advice i can give you, but I do enjoy it. I don't sell a lot but I have sold enough to keep me doing it. Sales are few and far between sometimes at least for me. If you enjoy making then I would advise you to give it a try, there is no great costs in listing your items, 20 cents per listing. I wouldn't advise investing a lot of money at first. Many sellers use recycled and reuse anything they can and still present a nice and attractive package to send. I have invested a little more than I really should have on things that I could have gotten by without. At least at first. You will learn as you go along. Just think everything through. Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions. Good luck with this and I would be more than happy to help you any way I can.
    Donna

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  10. I would so like to buy your soap! But I am in the USA, I am sure the postage would be prohibitive. I look for soap like yours on Etsy that would be local and never find anything like it, everything is all gussied up, I don't want that fancy stuff, I want plain and simple. I should really look into making it myself...maybe after the holidays...

    I think opening up your own Etsy shop would be an excellent idea, I think you would do good!

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  11. Hi Rhonda, Beware the % of sale price costs associated with online shops. and listing fees and the duration of a listing. I love that you have just taught Hanno to make Soap it makes me smile even more than I already was.
    Your shop will be a roaring success so be prepared and don't succumb to too much self pressure of maintaining stock levels and such.

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  12. As far as money matters, Rhonda, I think that two aspects are quite important to be included in your writing: Giving and Saving. People who are committed to 'tithing' or giving money to their church and/or charities usually give first every month before they pay bills, as a matter of principle. They give no matter what their circumstances are--but of course can adjust the amount regularly (usually going up as income increases, but people do adjust down if they need to). This includes all "categories" of people: single, married, married with children, single with children, divorced, widowed, pensioner, etc. I think it would be important to talk about these aspects as part of a comprehensive budget. The idea is that one doesn't have to wait to be in a certain income bracket or stage of life to Give and Save. Both can happen at any stage--and can lead to freedom. One term that is often used is stewardship--that we are stewards over our money (like a manager) since God ultimately owns it. We manage our money--so it doesn't manage us.

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  13. I'm glad to hear you are thinking of opening an etsy shop. Looking forward to it. Hanno's soap looks great. Merry Christmas to you both.

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  14. I have 2 online stores Rhonda. Madeit, this is Australian and has grown into quite a big store and Etsy. Just remember to calculate your prices and postage for the US dollar.
    I would like to see something in your book aimed at my age range, early 40's. I think it's a tough time for most, kind of in limbo money wise. I know where we would like to be, others seem so well off at this age but we feel like we are still struggling like in the beginning. Having 3 children still at home and not really understanding how we could possibly pay off our mortgage before we retire. It seems so far off, yet in reality it isn't. I work very part time as I choose to be a homemaker, but others say this is the time that you should be working as hard as possible to bring in the money. It's confusing.

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  15. For your money chapter I would suggest writing about how young people today tend to over-extend themselves because they feel they need to achieve the standard of living their parents did (only in a MUCH shorter time). Any insights into how we (young people) can combat the "keeping up with the Jones'" would be a great help in my opinion. I have far exceeded my parents standard of living and in turn will be paying off debt (including a mortgage) for the next 10+ years...

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  16. thank you all so much. Reading these comments is very helpful to Hanno and I.

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  17. Hi Rhonda,
    I am in my twenties and living with my boyfriend, so I thought I would let you know what we would find useful in your money section. I would like you to mention budgeting and living frugally, as well as providing ideas for saving for the future. I would also love you to mention how to prepare for babies and ways of saving money to prepare for them. Also some tips on going down to one income after baby comes would be advice greatly appreciated! Thank you!
    Brenna
    consciousearthveg.blogspot.com

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  18. Good for you starting an Etsy shop. I have two friends who run shops on there, and they always enjoy it even when their sales slump a little!

    As for your money chapter, since you want to aim at all ages, please include a portion on 'how to help children be content with less.' It's one thing to train yourself to stop seeking happiness in THINGS, but it's another level to pass that attitude onto your children-especially in our world of ravenous consumerism. Mainly, that idea of 'I want to give my children what I never had' needs debunking. I really look forward to seeing how you write that chapter! Have fun!

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  19. I think your money chapter should also have something about single parents. Also I think a lot of young couple get in a lot of trouble by spending tons of money on expensive weddings. Then they over extend themsleves with a starter home. They do not realize the taxes and repairs on the home. This can cause emotional strain on the marriage and lead to divorce.I am a single parent and I had both of my children really yound, I had to learn to budget a lot and not buy my kids things just because they do not see there dad. SOmetimes as single parents we buy things to feel a loneliness void,we also but things for our children in hopes that they will not be sad about an absent parent or a recent divorce.I think an Etsy shop is a great idea for you, unfortunately I have no idea how to start one.Thanks for writing this blog it is great reading.

    http://www.singleparentingvoluntarysimplicty.com/

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  20. Hi Rhonda,
    I'd like to know how you'd go about saving up for a house if you're a young couple just getting started out. Or if you think it's even neccessary to own your own home? Sometimes I don't think it is....I sometimes wonder if I'll be able to be a stay at home mum if we buy a house - I don't think we'll be able to afford to own a home and for me to stay at home too...

    Thanks. Reges

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  21. I'd like to see the envelope method explained in your money section.

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  22. I look forward to your shop and im in Australia so I will be very happy to buy your soap! Good luck with setting up your shop!
    I love coming to your wonderful blog for inspiration

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  23. Hi Rhonda. I can't wait to have a browse at your Etsy shop once you have it up and running. I don't have one myself so have no idea on how to organise one lol but could I also maybe point you in the direction of Oztion possibly??? They have free listings for the first 60 days and then it is only 6 or 8 cents to relist for a further 60 days. Although it is more an Ebay type of place, there are quite a few selling handmade items on there and I think things like yours would do quite well.
    As far as money ideas, we are a family in our early 40's with 6 children between us. I am a stay at home mum and desire to stay that way. Sadly it looks like I may have to find a job in the near future as my eldest turns 16 which sees most of his family allowance disappear and his daughter turns 13 which sees child support jump up, so we are losing quite a bit of money in one hit which we can't afford to lose right now. I also think anything to do with frugality. A hints and tips type of thing would be brilliant!!!

    I wish you the best of luck in your new ventures!
    Colleen

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  24. Hi Rhonda Jean,

    I have two Etsy shops. One for soap, skin care and candles and one for vintage items. If you have any questions, I would be happy to help you. It is pretty easy to open a shop and I think it is a great idea for your to offer your goods there. Etsy can be a wonderful place to make additional income for your family.

    You can check out my shop here, owlnaturals.etsy.com, that might be close to what you would want to do. You can feel free to copy anything you'd like for your shop that might be helpful.

    The Etsy forums and the Storque (their blog) are wonderful places to start reading for helpful tips to make opening a shop easier.

    Let me know how I can help!

    Nicole

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  25. I am very much looking forward to your book Rhonda. Good job Hanno with the soap...what a great team you both are. As far as the money section goes we are in a position of having to spend a lot in school fees due to our daughters particular educational needs, we are an older couple and still have a mortgage, the fees seem to eat up most of the money. The usual tips like don't eat out, don't buy take away, coffee or magazines (never have) don't buy excess clothes or shoes (2 does me fine) turn lights off, shop in ops shops etc is how I've always lived and I just wonder if there is some way of even cutting things finer. Just a thought but would it be easier to set up a direct link to your own shop through your blog as you have so many followers or is Etsy the only way to sell?
    Hugs,
    Vicki

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  26. I am interested in hearing your progress towards a Etsy shop.Also enjoy seeing everyones comments with regards to financial advise. there are so many situations out there. It is mind boggling. I know you will be an inspiration.

    Marlyn

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  27. My daughter looked into opening an etsy or ebay shop earlier this year but with a limited profit margin found the fees too high. She opted instead for a facebook business page which is free and eventually set up her own website. She sells imported designer fabrics for well under shop prices and is doing really well with it. The only warning with facebook is all your hard work can dissapear in the blink of an eye if a bug gets in your page but I guess that can happen with any site.
    You can visit the mummytreemall on facebook for loads of helpful info.

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  28. I haven't done Etsy, but I did have an eBay business for several years. The best advice I can give you is to keep detailed records and keep them up to date. I'm not sure of the tax situation in Australia, but there may be rules concerning taxes based on the amount of income, etc., and I'd suggest you do as much research as possible before you start. Then when you do start, you'll be ahead of the game a bit. Good luck!

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  29. Rhonda,
    I think you have already done the most important thing in establishing an etsy shop and that is you already have a great blog presence and following. "Word of mouth" is still the best way to spread the word.
    The question about what to include in your book is a wide one. I think that one of the most important thing is like someone else said to tell young people to not over extend themselves, however I think to include some ideas on how to turn it around if you have would be good too. People in their 40's and 50's, I think would like to know how to start planning for the next stage in life, the stage when the kids are grown and you know you are not getting any younger and your wage earning days are coming to a close.

    Always love to read your blog.

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  30. My mother-in-law used to make homemade root beer. I never tried making any but I think I'll have to give it a try next summer.

    I have been thinking of starting an Etsy store for awhile already. I have a number of friends who have a successful business on there.

    Best wishes for a very successful venture!

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  31. Money -
    My husband makes a decent income but we still don't seem to come out ahead. We have 2 little ones a mortgage plus a little (a home in a different state that friends rent out but we end up paying a bit). We want to pay off debt so we can leave where we are, be debt free (except for the house we live in at that time) and yet we/I have an issue with cutting back and essentials. How? Where? How does an individual arrive at a definition of what truly is essential for them and their family. It's complicated more so in my mind when trying to fix up/update the current house that was bought in hopes of turning a profit or rather just breaking even in this economy.

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  32. I'd like to see some of your money chapter addressed to those like me whose lives are not necessarily 'normal'. I'm single and in my 40s and working full-time to support myself. Everything I read assumes that I'm either just starting out, or married with children, and so much of it simply doesn't apply. The latest ABS stats show that single person households are the fastest growing demographic in Australia, so it would be nice to see my demographic addressed. There's a lot that's different when you try to do it all on your own.

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  33. Hi Rhonda!
    I am in my mid-thirties, married for 3 years and have 2 children (we acted fast!). I think the biggest challenge facing young couples today is to avoid the debt trap. Everyone seems to think they should be able to achieve their parents' lifestyles, but instantly, rather than building it over the years. We need to return to the ways of our grandmothers - making do with what we have.
    Because I had my first baby a little over a year after marriage, we went down to one-income quickly, and I have been forced to think and live differently. Thrifting, repurpasing, making it ourselves. It has been a struggle, but is starting to become a joyful way of living.
    Best of luck with your Etsy shop! I opened one selling handsculpted silver jewelry this summer, and all has gone smoothly (Purple Blossom Studio). I am planning on trying your soap someday soon - I've never done that before. :) Best, Erin, USA

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  34. Can't wait to see your book in all it's glory Rhonda. I would like to see information for young people who are just leaving home. With one daughter only a year off starting uni trying to get her to realise just how expensive running a household is on students income is difficult. Also information for those of us over 40 - still with children at home and a long way off retirement. How do we put money away for when we retire?

    My grandfather gave me the best piece of financial advice just before I was married. He told me that Ashley and I should never buy anything without discussing it thoroughly with each other. If we both agreed that we needed it then we could buy it but if there was no agreement then we didn't need it no matter how much one of us argued that we really did need that item. We have followed his advice since the day we were married and that included discussions on how much to spend on groceries and wether we could afford take away or not and how much to spend on Christmas presents. There have been several occassions when it has been the pivoting point of financial security or debt.

    Good luck with the Etsy shop. I'm sure you will be a huge success.

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  35. Hi. Rhonda..... don't know anything about Etsy, but as to your other question: I think the biggest thing I tell my kids is DO NOT GET USED TO living on 2 incomes! As a young family, it was tough.... but we held out. Then as they reached college age, I went back to work and my income came in and went out (on collge tuition) but we still lived on one income. Once the youngest was through college, we felt rich and started really saving for our retirement.

    If we had always relied on 2 incomes, we would not have been able to send 3 kids debt-free through college, and wouldn't have been able to save for our retirement. (And of course, I wouldn't have been home with them during their growing-up years!)

    Now they are ally 3 adults, I worry that it looks too easy to them, and often remind them.... we never bought a house until we had a thrid baby. We never had 2 cars. We never had a vacation except camping.... etc, I am always afraid they will only remember the good times. But the good times are the result of many lean times, which they were too young to remember!

    Barbara M.

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  36. before you start an etsy shop or go on e-bay, perhaps you should try to sell your goods/rent a booth at flea markets or other retail shops. this will give you an idea of what sells and what does not. i have a 1/2 booth at an art/crafts mall (booth #35) and i sell homemade quilts, crocheted dishcloths, other small quilted items like cell phone cases, hotwater bottle covers, aprons etc.. the economy here in mississippi has been very bad so business is very slow at times. but the small things do sell and help pay the booth rent. my sister in law is my partner in business-she does bird houses and yard art as well as beading, wind chimes etc.. the reason i like this approach is because i do not have to report to soc.security, have a liscense etc.. the operator of the business charges me 10% of what sells plus the booth rent. it has been a good experience so far and gives me a good opportunity to learn marketing skills. the economy here has to get worse though and products people want has to become scarce before they will want to buy homemade goods as homemade goods do cost more. lol, i blame all my troubles in retail on walmart and china! God bless you and good luck. for your money chapter in your book-lesson one is get out of debt and stay out of debt.

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  37. Hi Rhonda, with your money chapter it would be great if you could include info on how to set up a budget and then how to compare your spending to this. Lots of advice going around about "set yourselves a budget" but not much detail on how you do this. I think that is why people, especially young people, don't put aside time for this exercise.

    I am a Mum mid 30s, married with two young children (and an accountant pre kids) and I was shocked when I actually sat down and looked at where we were spending our money - we kept every receipt for three months and then I set up an excel spreadsheet - it was the biggest eye opener for us. And it prompted us to change our way of living. As a result we have cut a 25+ year home loan down to 6 years!!!

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  38. Hi Rhonda,
    I don't have any advice for the Etsy shop, but PLEASE PLEASE do! I would buy things! :) I think you have a big enough following for it to do fairly well. Good luck with it!

    As for money, I am 28, married for 6 years with a 3yr old (so now on one income). I would have loved advice back when we were both working to save one income, and get used to living without the 2nd so that when I did stop working we had some savings to fall back on! It was a bit of a shock I must say, adjusting to 1 income, but we have managed (big thanks to your blog for that!! I have been reading it for 3 years now!).
    It seems like such obvious advice to me now but back then I didn't realise how much we could have saved in the 2 years when I was working before bub.

    Hope that's helpful.

    Mim

    PS I just updated my blog and would love you to take a look at the knitting that you inspired me to begin! :)
    www.mim-and-michael.blogspot.com

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  39. As for the Etsy shop, no idea how to go about as I have never done something like this. Have only ever sold one thing online - a trike we didn't want anymore.

    The soap looks really nice!

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  40. First thing - way to go Hanno! I love that photo in your home, taking charge of a new pursuit. It simply says, we share what's important. :)

    I don't have experience with esty type businesses, but I did want to make a suggestion about the money chapter you're penning out.

    I think it would be very important to dispell a few myths about the notion of financial secuirty. Many people start with money, but then let it take the lead in their lives. So many people of every age group (even kids) try to envisage money as the be all, and end all of their security.

    Very few people get lucky on the fantasy that it all comes to those who play high stakes. A mortgage is a very high stake, but how many people know the personal sacrifices made along the way? Or how many really appreciate the reality of tough times ahead.

    These are not monetary sacrifices, they're always our personal ones. Time spent with family gets handed to the bosses business plans, and we believe it's about building financial security for the family.

    It all starts with the first premise that money is our only currency of security. Well it is when everything else falls away - a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Dispel the myths. :)

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  41. Ideas that spring to mind for me are

    How to save money within your own income

    Learning to say no to the things you dont want / need

    Living happily on one income

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  42. Hi Rhonda
    I'd like to comment on what Becca said about giving to your church or charity first ,my partners Boss does that and with him doing so we some times have no money because he leaves him self short and can not pay the wages, so i dont agree with that not when we have 4 children to feed.. but on a happier note ..great job with the soap Hanno!! and i think the Etsy shop is a great idear :-)

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  43. I read your blog every day and really enjoy it. Thank you for taking the time to share with all of us around the world. I am on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

    I do have suggestions for your money chapter.

    My husband and I love to use cash for most purchases. We have, however, found that there are situations where paying by credit card is to our benefit. A doctors copay is one example that quickly comes to mind. We find that if we pay cash, they tend to re-bill us for it months and even up to a year later.

    Also, we use one credit card for on-line purchases and nothing else. This card has a very small limit so that if someone were to use it without permission, we aren't going to lose our shirt.

    And finally, have that nest egg. My husband was laid off for 9 months (I am a stay at home mom) and we made it with 2 mortgages (our house and his mothers, don't ask) and 2 car payments along with daily living expenses with 2 small children. We got by, by the skin of our teeth. Had we not had anything saved, we would most definitely lost everything. I would recommend to have at least 1 full year worth of living expenses. We are now trying to rebuild that nest egg. It is a lot of work but until you are actually in the situation where you really need it, you tend not to think too much about it.

    I am also wondering if your Etsy shop will be shipping world wide or if that would be too expensive. I imagine the soaps would be too heavy but maybe the dishcloths may work?

    Thank you!

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  44. This is wonderful and I am so glad you have the confidence to start a little shop. I am sure it will flourish. I was thinking about your dish clothes last night in fact!

    About money, the thing with teens being raised in the 21st C world - and I suppose even us kids of the 80's - it's all about instant gratification. And this is where a lot of people come unstuck financially. Learning to wait and assess each purchase as to whether we REALLY need it is a good ability to encourage in teens, I think.

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  45. wow so many good comments. my parents never taught me to save so i spent years living from payday to payday. weve had a show in nz called money man, who helps people get out of debt. one thing he tells people to do is allow some sanity money...but i disagree, this idea that we need "pocket money" each week to waste is unnecessary. as others have suggested a return to old ways, living on 1 income and saving the other if there is a second income. weve had an emergency fund saved, and in april my partners contract was cut, its been an essential to survival, albeit nearly run out. the one point that needs to be in a money chapter is the need to have a budget and stick to it, including a savings plan, even if its a dollar a week.

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  46. Hi Rhonda,

    I'm a stay at home mum in my early 40s with 2 kids 6 & 3.

    I use some of my time to do things the slower and cheaper way: make sure you can cook from scratch (most of the time), learn to create an edible garden, buy 2nd hand or source though freecycle. When people know you're happy to source second hand, they often send items my way. I do the same in my community. I also swap babysitting with a few trusted friends. Gifts for other children double as craft activities and include painted pot plants with flowers in them or cooked treats with utensils.

    I live in an conservative leafy suburb of Sydney, but feel if you hang out with like minded souls who are interested in the environment, its easier to avoid splurges although I admit, sometimes I do feel like I could be better dressed. Just have to try harder op shopping.

    Also think planning a flexible job is important. Im a librarian but am retraining as a teacher so I can work PT and continue working around the house when the kids are a little older.

    Good luck with yr book, Anna

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  47. Starting an etsy shop would be a good idea for you,I think! You are already a "known quantity" on the web, and people can read on your blog about your soap making process. Also, your blog is a great testament of your honesty and integrity, wich is always a good thing when it comes to internet sales. Since you can not touch and see the item before you pay it, it is always good to know that my money goes to a good person :)

    I do have two shops at "Dawanda" (the German equivalent of etsy) where I sell my sewn bags and accessoires, and at first it was hard to get sales. It took around a year, but by now things are going well.

    That's not a problem I see for you since your blog has so much traffic and a lot of readers here would either buy or recommend your shop. Go for it, I would say! As another commenter pointed already out, the etsy forum is a wealth of knowledge!

    Best of luck!

    Katja form Germany

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  48. Hi Rhonda.

    I love reading your website and ways to slow down and prioritise what really matters in our hectic and fast pace lifestyles.

    On your money chapter question, I think financial independence is a biggie at any age. I agree that there is a lot of social pressure to 'keep up with the Jones' and many of my family and friends have overextended themselves and often have financial crisis'. My husband and I are in our mid thirties and have worked against the social stereotypes and marketing to be debt free prior to starting a family. We budgeted and save for 10 years in our 20s to pay off our mortgage, HECS debts and avoid buying anything on credit. We had our wedding at home with our family and friends that we self catered for and put the money we would of spent towards our home loan saving thousands! Often we look at quality second hand goods and never never pay full price by waiting and saving up until the item comes on sale. The sacrifices we made early on have enabled us to be able to juggle our work and family commitments around our priorities not the banks, and be financially free.
    Wendy

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  49. Hi Rhonda,

    Regarding your book, especially the money chapter: I live together with my boyfriend (no children yet). I spent the last couple of years reducing my debt, and would like to see some strategies for reducing it (setting yourself a budget, writing down what you spend etc.), plus some reasons for young couples to reduce it (as a motivator).

    For example, when you have children, it will cost money, so there will be less room to reduce debt. Having debt also reduces possibilities for having a one-income family and becoming a stay at home parent, thus missing out on quality time spent with the children and seeing them grow up.

    Also regarding mortgages: I don;t know how it works in Australia, where you are, but I would advice any family to have a mortgage that can be paid with just one income. Here in Holland many couples buy a house on the basis of two incomes, and get into financial trouble when one of them becomes unemployed or if they decide to get divorced.

    Maybe it would be an idea (?) to acknowledge that reducing debt is hard work and means making sacrifices, and by no means easy. I haven't found much acknowledgement of that online.

    Good luck with the chapter, and I would be more than happy to have a look at it/help out further.

    Anna

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  50. I did have an Etsy shop for a while but had no success with it whatsoever. I also found it a bit difficult to work out costs and pricings as it is all listed in US dollars and I'm in the UK.

    I have noticed several people with UK blogs have set up a small shop by themselves and linked it to their blog. I'm assuming this is fairly simple to do - just set up another blogspot blog for online sales. This way you save any listing fees, confusion with US dollar pricing and can link really easily to your shop blog. Payments usually seem to be via Paypal invoices. Anyway, just a thought. However you decide to sell your soaps and things I hope it goes really well for you.

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  51. Giving to others eg charities, church, needy people in one's community is important and I hope that a chapter on money in your book Rhonda would include it--this can be in money, time, teaching in community centres, joining babysitting clubs to swap time instead of money, sharing veggies or sewing skills, giving clothes to others, being a school class rep, volunteering in one's community in so many ways etc. But, when volunteering or working or exercising (whatever) takes away time or resources from one's family, then this subject needs revisiting eg drop the gym membership and walk/run/exercise for free. Same goes for giving money--it is sad to hear about "primitive old frugal mumma's" partner's boss not paying wages but giving money elsewhere--I would guess that the boss is not handling business and personal life very well....a poor example of a boss, I'd say! Thousands of people give AND are decent bosses.

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  52. Hello Rhonda Jean: Here is "What is on my mind." I post on my Thurs it is very close to your Friday. I love this idea. Thank you.
    I think it is nice to see Hanno enjoying making the soap. Good luck on the venture.

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  53. Hi Rhonda!

    First I want to say I love your blog, and it's a huge inspiration to me for my own blogging and my own life!

    As for question #1: I don't have any advice per se, but I do wish you luck, and I know I'd definitely buy your products!

    For question #2: Ironically, my most recent post on my own blog was "Financial Management for the Newly Independent" which was a 2-part post about money and finances for people in their early/mid-twenties (or anyone, really). My partner and I are 24 and 25. I hope you don't see this as shameless self-promotion, but I can share the link to my blog with you if you want to see my post about the financial issues I think are most important for 20-somethings: http://traditionalgirlmodernworld.blogspot.com/

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  54. All of the financial books and articles I come across assume that people have married young, had their children in their 20s, and bought their home early on as well. As a result, all of the financial advice for someone my age (48) assumes that the kids are grown, the mortgage is just about paid off, and that one is ready to make planning for retirement a priority.

    I married late, had my children late, and bought a home late! The advice and plans these financial advisers suggest just don't work for me. If I could offer one bit of a request, try to write your financial chapter without assuming that people are all at the same place just because of their ages.

    I really enjoy your blog.

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  55. I've enjoyed reading all the great comments along with your post. I agree with those who mentioned the mentality today that we should start out with what it took our parents many years to attain. My sister and her husband built a brand new home as they were getting married and always had brand new cars. Now they are stuck in a situation where her income is needed although she really wants to be a SAHM. My husband and I found that part of the thrill of starting a life together was building it together from the ground up. I certainly wish that I had known back when we were starting out how to be as frugal as we've learned to be now, though. Neither of us were raised this way. As far as housing goes - when we were looking for a home we started out looking at rentals. We found that in our area it was much cheaper for us to buy. Even after paying taxes and mortgage insurance we only pay 1/2 of what it would have cost for us to rent. And we have no rules about not digging a garden and things like that with our own home. I just think it pays to look at all angles before deciding. Good luck to you on your book and shop. I'm looking forward to both.

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  56. Rhonda

    Can this ginger beer be made with freshly harvested ginger or only dried powdered ginger?

    Thanks

    Dani

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  57. I would suggest that young couples RENT for their first year of marriage. Buying a house takes extra work and money. Something always needs to be fixed. This is a time when they need to work on their marriage and save. It is hard enough being newlyweds, but to throw a house in adds a lot of stress. I would highly encourage following Dave Ramsey's babysteps. Debt free is the way to go!
    Just my two cents. Hope this helps.
    Ashley

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  58. If you can make more than you need, then sell it on - I've no experience with Etsy but it makes sense to trade with someone else.

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  59. Hanno's soap looks great! I used to make a batch of goat milk soap from time to time. Haven't done any in a while, but maybe getting back to it soon.

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  60. impressive soap making! Money: would like to see you mention that keeping a log of all expenses is the easiest way to save money, regardless of age. If a person were gifted with $$$, what would they spend it on? Bet no one would say bottled water or cokes, yet BIG money gets spent on those things every year. Adding up expenses helps us to make sure our money goes toward the things we truly value.

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  61. For possible inclusion in your money chapter: Something that worked well for us was including our children in our regular budgeting sessions - my husband used to only get paid four times a year, so these had to be very thorough! Right from when the children were tiny each member of the family had a small personal allowance which covered clothes and any other personal items. When the children were young their portions were administered by me, but gradually they took control of more and more of their money until by their early teens they were responsible for their whole amount, paid quarterly. As a consequence they never asked for anything extra - they knew the money was finite - and they have turned into adults with a very good grasp of managing their money and capable of living on very little when necessary.
    Bella

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  62. thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

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  63. looks like your and Hanno have fun doing things together..... just my guy and me.

    He helps with my special chocolate cherry cookies with stems... ...they are lot of fiddling...and he loves to do them..... thank goodness.

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  64. Hi Rhonda,
    Regarding your money chapter - I think the most sage advice we've heard is that "the best way to get rich quick is not to." I think it was in a Dave Ramsey book? But from personal experience we have found that patience really is a virtue, and one that is hard to cultivate in our instant-meal, instant-mortgage society. Getting rich quick really is a myth (though a very tempting one at that)and a bit of hard work really doesn't hurt. If I could say anything to people in their 20s from our experience, it would be not to rush...it is surprising how fast time goes in the end so goals that are 3 years or 10 years out might seem so far when you are 20, but suddenly, you find yourself 30 and a 2 year goal doesn't sound so bad anymore. Grin. I am pretty sure that your money chapter will caution people of all ages to set realistic goals and work at them, which I think is true for anyone. Amy

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  65. RE: Money chapter...There is a common theme of buying too much too fast (over-extension), and I agree 100% when I look at my peers & see how their money crisis develop. There is a definite personal triumph that comes from working hard to make money, saving the money toward the goal, and finally seeing and FEELING the results. I think many folks weren't taught, nor take the time to work toward goals and feel good about the process...they just buy and worry later.

    Also, I think it's okay for people to know they CAN spend $$ on the gadegets & big TV's they want. We don't live in the pioneer days, after all. I think people miss out on the fact that purchases should be thought through, planned, and followed through when the time is right, not when the mood is right.

    Guess my theme & suggestion for the money chapter is: s l o w - d o w n.

    Love your blog!
    Gayle

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  66. I am thrilled that you will start an Etsy shop! I also hope that you will consider selling some of your rag bags. I admired the one you posted a picture of a few days ago and have been unable to find anything close to it for sale. :)

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  67. Hi Rhonda Jean
    There's no reason why you couldn't start up a virtual shop more directly linked to your own blog. I have a website called http://www.flowersack.co.uk which is a sideline which was done on google sites. It is a free website. I added paypal buttons on it (paypal have good merchant ideas for the small business) and it does OK. Though your shop would get a lot more traffic than mine ever will.

    Then, if you can happily keep up with stock, then I would suggest etsy. Keep in mind though, there is less profit in this as you will pay fees and percentages back to etsy for every sale.

    So what I'm saying is have both! But I personally would rather dip my toe in with something that is free first.

    Good luck!
    Jennifer @ HomeMattersMost

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  68. Hi Rhonda,

    Looks like Hanno is doing great with the soap! Congrats to you both, and good luck with your online shop.

    For Question #2: I am 24, in Canada, and living with my long-time boyfriend away from our families. I would love to see information on an emergency fund, and how to avoid becoming house-broke (spending more than is reasonable on your mortgage, with no money left over to cover repairs or anything unexpected). Also, how to avoid the consumerist lifestyle.

    I am excited for your book! By the sounds of things, it will be a real treasure on any bookshelf.

    All the best,
    Mandi

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  69. I used to listen to a Christian radio station on my way from one job to another. The show was about finances. People got out of HUGE amounts of debt by taking pretty extreme cuts in spending, but hey, it is possible. Let people know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel...save..save..save
    Save up instead of buy on credit. Wait and you may not even find you HAVE to have it after all. Start off this way, and you don't have to change your habits. Today I was wearing a sweatshirt that is 13 years old. Buying quality most often will pay off in the end.

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  70. Hi Rhonda,
    Can I just say that Etsy is American I believe?
    Where as in Oz we have Madeit.com.au
    I sell a few craft items through madeit and am very happy. Madeit only sells items made in Australia. There are soap sellers on the site.
    Also we have to think of the posting internationally, is it ethical in this climate of food miles and the like? You can still post internationally from madeit though if you desire.
    Just a few thoughts, I would love to hear from anyone who has used Etsy.
    cheers
    Dayla

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  71. Dayla, yes I know about madeit. There is also an Australian Esty. Just google 'etsy au' to find it.

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  72. I too would look forward to your Etsy shop. It means more people will be able to enjoy lovely handiwork and add to the quality of their home, sanctuary.

    ~thumbs up!~

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  73. I don't know if you've finished your money chapter... but my big concern is knowing where to draw the line between 'diy/ crafting because I like it' and 'diy/ crafting to save money'. So often it seems like I set out to save money and end up spending more e.g. sewing the children pjs and then finding them on sale at the store for $10... much less than it cost to buy fabric and patterns, Not to mention time. So any thoughts on this sort of reality check would be good :)
    Carla

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