bucket of fancy daffodils
Frugality, Weekly Frugal Wins

Weekly Frugal Wins // (Almost) All About the Flower Farm

This is a series in the style of The Frugal Girl’s Five Frugal Things, where I post weekly about what I’ve done lately to save money and make things stretch in order to further our financial goals, which currently include us paying off a decent hunk of debt. I encourage you to play along and post your own weekly frugal wins in the comments section below!

Wow guys, I sure didn’t mean to take a month off of doing these “weekly” posts, but man, this first wave of planting out this season has been kicking our behinds. There was no way we had the space in our basement to grow all our own transplants this year now that we’re scaling up significantly, so we ordered in about 2,500 plugs on top of the thousands that we ourselves have grown, so it’s just been basic madness trying to take care all of those with the wildly fluctuating temps while trying to prep all the new beds as fast as humanly possible while still needing to keep our four kids alive and happy (including our baby, who requires that I pump milk about every 4 hours during the day).

Madness, I tell you.

Not complaining, mind you, because this is the exact life we’ve chosen for ourselves, but I do recognize after doing this for several seasons that there are certain stretches within the season that we just devolve into pure survival mode (fueled by caffeine and chocolate) and that’s just kind of how it’s probably going to be until our kids are a little older and more independent.

Anywho, I’m sure I have all sorts of frugal wins the past several weeks that I’ve totally forgotten about, but let’s see what I can dredge up, shall we?

Note: There may be affiliate links to books or products mentioned below.

We asked for a credit when one of our orders came in wrong

Since everything we plant in fall doesn’t bloom until spring, it can take a long time to notice if there was any error on what we were shipped. And sure enough, one of the tulip kinds we were shipped was incorrect, which meant we now don’t have any of a particular kind we were counting on.

Although dealing with returns or asking for credit can be such a pain, any company that cares about its reputation is going to usually be pretty good about it, so I made sure I made the time to email my wholesale rep about it, and I was issued a credit for my fall bulb order within about 24 hours.

Also, one of my daughter’s birthdays gifts arrived broken, so I also did the work to get an Amazon refund on that. We also had my husband go in to our local Walmart (TWICE!) to return two separate sprinkler heads they sold us that were dysfunctional.

Amazon returns in particular are extra annoying for me because we don’t have a UPS store location close by (the nearest one is over an hour away), but I made sure to include that errand on one of my trips up to the bigger cities up north.

Sometimes you have to weigh the value of your time and inconvenience against the size of the return or credit you’re asking back, but in all of these cases, it was worth me putting in the extra effort.

We took advantage of a voucher and an early bird offer to sign up for a business conference

There are all sorts of programs and grants and cool opportunities for small business owners (especially in rural areas), which is something I didn’t really know anything about until we started a business. We’ve been so lucky that almost as soon as we started the farm, we were taken under the wing of the local college’s entrepreneurship center, and they have thrown SO many opportunities our way, not to mention funding.

The latest was a business conference that’s normally a few hundred dollars to attend, but we were able to send my husband to the training for just $45 thanks to a scholarship voucher issued by the college and signing up early to attend. It’s important to us to prioritize education as we go through this (very new) process of being entrepreneurs, so I’m always happy when we have the chance to do it very affordably!

I discovered a helpful podcast

Speaking of prioritizing our own education as business owners, I’ve been trying to look for resources and podcasts from people who have been doing what we’re trying to do for a lot longer than we have. In the beginning of my flower farming journey, I enjoyed following other people who were just starting out because it was nice to feel less alone in the steep learning curve of the first couple of years. However, now that we’re more established and looking to scale and grow, it’s not as helpful for me usually to look at businesses who are at the same point I am — it’s much more helpful to learn from farms who have several years of experience on us.

I have found a few podcasts that have been particularly useful at this point in our journey, like The Dirt on Flowers Podcast and Six Figure Flower Farming. I’m definitely newer in the podcast sphere, but when I find one I resonate with, I’ve found that it can feel like getting a fabulous (and free!) college-level dive into various subjects.

We tried a new business idea/sales strategy

Before we started our season, Matt and I really sat down and tried to hone in on a specific profit plan for the year — what were our various sales outlets? How much could we reasonably expect to make from our different ventures? While that exercise has been invaluable in getting us off to a strong start this year with a definite focus, we’ve also tried to be open to new opportunities that present themselves, just so we can feel out what is the best fit for our business.

One idea that kind of totally came up on a whim was the idea of having a self-serve option out of the floral cooler in our garage (kind of like a “floral vending machine,” if you will). There’s definitely a distinct lack of relatively inexpensive grab-n-go options for bouquets in our county, so we decided to try it out and see how it worked. Thus far, it’s actually done pretty well, and I think that as word gets out and it gains even more traction, it could potentially be a much bigger part of our business plan.

As a business owner (and just as a person in general), I’ve tried hard to keep an open mind about just trying new things. Sure, I might “fail,” but if you view everything as research, it all becomes valuable experience that only better informs your decisions down the road. This applies to anything new you want to try, whether it’s decluttering your house, starting a new way of eating or exercise program, or trying out a different parenting strategy around a particular behavioral situation. Just view everything with a curious mind and be open to trying new things, and you’ll often surprise yourself.

I shopped around for an accountant

Up until now, we’ve been able to lean on my mom every year to help us do our taxes (since she graduated with an accounting degree). However, our farm has now grown to the point where it is no longer straightforward, and we have finally accepted that we’ll need to hire somebody.

We heard advice from many small business owners about the importance of choosing an accountant who’s a good fit for you personality-wise, especially one who won’t make you feel silly or stupid or incompetent. It was kinda funny that I happened to re-hear that exact advice the day or two before I started calling around, because the first guy I talked to on the phone made me feel very, very small and like I was ridiculous for even calling him to ask such (apparently silly) questions like what his going rate per hour was, or if he was familiar with working with farms. It definitely wasn’t a good fit, so we kept looking, and I started asking around in the flower farming community specifically for recommendations. Lo and behold, I was able to find an accountant who I believe will be a much better fit AND has specific experience working with flower farmers, but she also 1) is a bit less expensive, and 2) didn’t make me feel like an idiot.

I’m so relieved to finally be taking this piece of our business off my plate, at least partly!!

Other Frugal Wins

  • I asked a neighbor if I could use some her flowering branches in exchange for cut flowers
  • I exchanged cut flowers and plants with two separate small business owners in exchange for their services (I’m telling you, that’s the beauty of working with small business owners — I LOVE doing trade outs with people since we both benefit!!)
  • We had my mom make a delivery up north for us since she was heading back home anyway, saving us over an hour of driving (not to mention gas)
  • Matt gave both of our boys haircuts
  • I searched for promo codes online on several purchases, as well as going through Rakuten
  • I was able to cash out nearly $30 on my Ibotta app after uploading several receipts from Walmart
  • We needed to buy several sun protection long-sleeve shirts for both Matt and I since we’re outside constantly and needed something lightweight that we could continue to wear in the heat of summer that would help protect our skin. I originally bought 4 shirts for myself at around $20 apiece, but then Matt found a 7-pack (!) of sun shirts for men for only $40. I ended up liking his about the same as I liked my more expensive ones, so I just bought some more of the men’s for myself 🙂

What have you been up to so far this spring? We’ve got some catching up to do!!

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