One of the most asked questions I've received since we started our new lifestyle this year has been 'are you saving any money'?
I would love to tell you there the answer is yes and that we have a secret bank account where we have been stashing all the extra money that we've saved away, but I would be lying.
What I would tell you is that we aren't struggling anymore like we use to and we now have the freedom to do the things we use to not have the funds for.
Last year I was spending $200 a week on the grocery bill making food shopping the single biggest outgoing expense after our mortgage. And this was on a good, well budgeted week!
Spending our hard earned cash at the supermarket meant there were minimal weekend events. Things like going to the movies, the swimming pools and even birthdays would put strain on the family budget.
Since we've stopped shopping at the supermarket and begun living off the hard work we've put into our backyard garden, we've saved a whopping $5,600 in six months.
Have that extra $200 or more a week in our pocket has taken a huge strain off the family budget.
There is money left when the weekend rolls around to do family things like go on holidays, shopping at the local markets and different activities for the kids want to do.
Above everything else the high cost of school has become fair less stressful on me and my husband.
By "supplementing" our income with an extra $200 a week by using our garden as our main food source and bottling and storing food, so much stress has been removed for us.
There is no worry about store runs or how to make the last of your money get you through the week and there is more time and funds to enjoy other things.
Over these past six months I've definitely learned that growing your own food is like printing your own money.
From Lydia's Garden: Chili and Garlic Butter
500g of garlic butter
Two deseeded, finely chopped chilies
Large handful of herbs eg parsley, oregano and chives
1 bulb of garlic minced
Soften the butter till mixable with a spatula. Mix through fine chopped herbs, minced garlic and chopped chilies and mix thoroughly. Roll out the mixture onto tin foil or baking paper. Roll it up tightly and pop it into the fridge until it is set.
Slice into rings and serve with bread.