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Super Savings Part 1


We’ve had some great success lately gettin’ thrifty with it!  Thanks in part to Austin’s first Trader Joe’s opening, and some meal planning, bulk cooking, and at-home activities, and some good ol’ country ingenuity.  Here’s one story of a recent win.

Since we got the goats in July, they’ve been without a proper shelter from the elements.  Not only do goats hate rain, but it can make them sick.  So, after several rounds of cleaning their, um, fertilizer, off of our back deck, where we let them ride out the storms, I decided it was high time they have a shelter of their own.

I thought about making a simple lean-to out of used pallets from craigslist. But finding the pallets, buying/transporting them, figuring out how to attach them in a shelter-like way, seemed like a project destined for difficulty and maybe failure. And I really didn’t want to spend money on any part of this project, like pallets, or hardware, or any kind of tool I don’t already have.

I went out in the back yard to see what might be out there.  I found a length of woven wire fencing about 10-12 feet long, rolled up.  I was able to unroll it into an arch shape, but getting it to stay in place was tricky.  I found a utility hook in the shed that I attached to the side of the shed and hooked onto the fencing to hold the top in place.  A couple old wooden stakes were laying around that I used to hold the sides down.  And I remembered I had an old tarp in my trunk that I could use as a roof.  I attached the tarp to the fencing with various hair ties, nylon string, and some twine that I found laying around.

So, it’s not pretty.  It looks a little redneck.  But we had a pretty good storm and the ground under the shelter was perfectly dry. I’m super proud of this project because the out of pocket cost of this goat shelter was precisely $0.00.  And I can say it’s because of the support and accountability of this community that I didn’t go for an easier route that would have cost some money.

So our goats are safe and dry, and now Emily is saying she’s ready for chickens!




  • Reply Ashley |

    Yikes, is that safe? Just thinking that since its made from metal that it could be a potential lighting-hazard?? I really don’t know anything about caring for farm animals (just an indoor dog), but that really doesn’t seem like a long term fix to me….more of just a band-aid, if anything. Not meaning this as a judgment because, like I said, I know nothing about caring for farm animals. But, this just jumped out at me as not necessarily a great solution. : /

  • Reply dojo |

    I presume it’s a temporary fix, so it works OK. They will need a proper shelter, especially if you have the kind of winters we have here. For something that didn’t cost a thing though and helped them get through the storm, it surely did a great job 😀

  • Reply Walnut |

    I think we need to get a ‘Use What You Have’ acronym trending, as it is sort of the personal finance version of ‘YOLO’. Awesome job coming up with a no cost solution (even if temporary) to solve the problem. Plus, it looks like you were able to put to good use some stuff that was just lying around. Do you use freecycle? You can always watch that to see if someone is looking to part with scrap lumber. As materials come available, you can expand their shelter area.

  • Reply jp |

    just the way the photo is, or maybe because I’m not wearing my glasses, but it looks like the tarp is levitating – a haunted goat hut 🙂 haha!
    what are you using the shed for? are you using all of it for storage? Could you cut a goaty-door (like a doggy-door but for goats) and allow them to use a section (or all) of the shed for shelter?

  • Reply Joe |

    Very industrious! I agree with Walnut — I think you’ll need something a little bit more robust eventually, but at least now you have time to come up with a good solution.

  • Reply OC Budget |

    As another commenter has said before, I really recommend freecycle. We’ve gotten perfectly great christmas tree/decorations, a huge camping tent with minor holes, a really nice crystal set (container and glasses) for whiskey, etc. I’ve seen free lumber posted on there many times before too. Of course, it’s great to also give back to the community by posting things that you have no use for anymore.

  • Reply Ellen Edwards |

    Definitely creative and it does not get much more budget friendly then free! I agree with JP..it does look like it is levitating. Lol. I did hear chickens are great pets. What would be the low to no cost plan for protecting them?

  • Reply Rebecca H. |

    I am all for being thrifty but not if you’re going to make animals suffer. Please get your poor goats a PROPER shelter with four walls and a roof and heaven forbid a dry floor.

    I don’t believe for one second that little tarp is going to be dry enough for them. What if it rains sideways or so much that the ground is all wet? What if the rain or snow collects on the tarp and it collapses in the middle of the night? This is borderline animal cruelty.

  • Reply Paul |

    I am new to your site and was expecting to read about saving money tips, based on the title. Such as investing in a Roth IRA, eliminating high interest credit cards, investing in the right business opportunities or stocks, etc.. I guess you have to live on a farm to understand this post.

So, what do you think ?