Guest post from Dina-Marie of Cultured Palate
Becoming grape farmers was a huge lifestyle change for us with important lessons about financial freedom… but first let me give a bit of background.
In 2008 our family moved from Alabama (where my husband had been a chemist for 20 years) to west Texas, to start a vineyard. At that time, we had 8 children… and leaving the secure corporate world was a big step!
We were counting on the sale of our home to fund our vineyard expenses. We rented a small house within walking distance of the land and began work to turn the old cotton circle into a vineyard.
It took 5 years for the house to sell but during that time, we learned 3 valuable lessons:
1. Frugality and Good Stewardship Go Hand in Hand.
We were able to use our retirement and another small investment to pay the needed expenses to plant and care for the growing grapevines. But, when the money ran out, we were forced to make a choice – return to Alabama or do what it took to make things work without debt. To make ends meet, my husband and older children took a couple of paper routes. They would wake around 4 am, deliver papers, return home to sleep for an hour or so and then work in the vineyard.
When money is tight, perspective changes and items which would have been thrown out now have value. With eight children still home, I had made a monthly meal plan and knew how much each meal cost to serve. I was already in the habit of budgeting so I knew where the money went. Shopping sales turned into shopping thrift stores and coupons became a way of life. Getting staple items like laundry detergent, free or almost free, became a game I really enjoyed.
2. Working Together as a Family Strengthens Relationships
Who would ever think of a paper route being such a blessing! It paid our monthly living expenses and I got all the unused Sunday papers, so I had a wonderful stash of coupons!
All the children helped with the paper route, milking, chickens, gardening, and vineyard work which gave us a stronger family bond. Working together for a goal builds character and relationships!
With everyone working together, and with the Lord’s help, we made it through until our first harvest. Plus, we learned so much about frugal living.
3. Staying Out of Debt is a Choice
We were committed to stay out of debt, so we planned our home at the vineyard to be built in stages.
It took three years, but we now live in what will eventually be the basement. This past year after harvest we even started the upstairs by adding the first floor walls and roof.
Doing the work ourselves has saved money and taught important skills to the children.
Yes, it is slow but it’s worth it!
We have a debt free, comfortable home and have learned so much in the progress!
Dina-Marie and her family live in west Texas on their family vineyard. She is the mom of 10 children and author of Cultured Palate blog where she shares about life on the vineyard and simple healthy living. Remaining debt free and encouraging others in financial freedom is important to the whole family. Home educating takes most of her time but she also enjoys cooking and gardening.