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Who says homesteading has to be expensive? Last week, we discovered that homesteaders are naturally resourceful, but there are always even more ways to conserve on your homestead, no matter the size. Follow these four no-fuss tips to keep more money in your pocket on the homestead.

Share, borrow, and barter

Homesteading isn’t just about your work. It’s about the work of others, too. Great neighbors and communities make homesteading much more enjoyable and easy on your wallet. Consider sharing your surplus with neighbors; you never know when they’ll repay the favor! If you need expensive equipment or tools, try reaching out to neighbors before buying it for yourself. When in doubt, you can always barter or trade with neighbors for what you need.

Harvest seeds

Gardening, like any other homestead endeavor, requires a few startup costs. I like buying heirloom seeds, which fetch a heftier price at the store. The best way to save money on your garden in the long term is to always harvest your seeds. After this year’s planting season was over, I harvested three times the amount of lettuce seeds I planted last year!

If you’re on a tight budget but want to start a garden, see if you have any local seed banks. They’ll loan you seeds free of charge, as long as you bring back more seeds once your plants mature.

DIY animal toys

The last thing you want is bored animals on the homestead. Bored chickens are known to start pecking each other, and a bored goat is a goat full of trouble. Fashion your own DIY toys to keep the animals stimulated and entertained. IT can be as simple as old soccer balls for the goats, cardboard boxes for your cats, or pieces of string for the chickens.

Reusable mason jars

If you’re into canning like me, you know just how annoyingly expensive mason jar lids can be. You’ll pay a higher upfront cost, but reusable mason jar lids are the best way to save money long term when canning.

The bottom line

Homesteading isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be rough on your finances. Use these quick tips to frugally homestead and keep more money in your pocket.

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Natural Renaissance

Many African-American women are forgoing the hair relaxer and returning to their hair’s natural texture. Why?

To understand this, one must first understand what a hair relaxer is and what it does. It is a chemical that is applied to the hair, left on a set amount of time, then rinsed out, all in order to straighten naturally kinky hair. The straightening components are either sodium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide (thus the “lye” versus “no-lye” distinction). This is a permanent process that must be reapplied to the hair’s new growth as it comes in to keep a straight, uniform look.

Although proclaimed as a safe procedure, there are risks involved, especially if the relaxer is left on the hair too long or comes in contact with the skin. Women have been left with scarring from chemical burns when the relaxer was improperly used. There have been cases where the hair follicles were damaged beyond repair; consequently, these areas no longer will grow hair.

But it’s not only damage that is making many black women forego straightening their hair. The reasons are as varied as the women themselves.

Since many women have had their hair straightened from a young age, they may have no recollection what their natural hair looks like. They might be curious to rediscover their roots. Some women grow tired of the constant maintenance required of relaxed hair. On average, the process needs to be applied to the new growth every four to eight weeks. Factor in the time it takes to set relaxed hair on rollers or to blow dry and style and it can be quite time-consuming to keep up.

Still other women are embracing their natural heritage and a natural lifestyle. One of the surest ways to differentiate themselves from others is by wearing their natural hair proudly. Only tightly curled or kinky hair can stand up and out in an Afro.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, many blacks wore their natural hair in Afros, in part as a spurning of the subjugated way of life they and their ancestors were forced to live. It was a time of racial pride and upheaval. Once the Civil Rights Movement came to an end, many black people who wanted to join corporate America found they had to “assimilate.” To blend in with the powers that be, it was necessary to conform. For women, this most often meant straightening the hair. For men, it was a low haircut.

In the early to mid-1990’s, as black music evolved to include a Neo-soul sound, reminiscent of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, black style changed as well. Hair began to take a turn back. Braids and dreadlocks (or “locs” as most loc wearers prefer them to be called) became popular. Natural black hair began to be celebrated again.

At the start of a new millennium, more and more women are returning to their natural texture. Unlike the earlier wave of naturals, there are many more options for styling, instead of just the basic Afro. There are books and websites dedicated to the care of black hair, which are needed since so many women didn’t grow up caring for their hair in its natural state and don’t have a clue how to care for it.

Perhaps this renaissance will continue and natural hair will become the accepted norm. One day, maybe naturally textured black women will be the majority and few will remember a time when harsh chemicals were freely applied to kinky hair to change it into something it wasn’t meant to be.

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