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The cutest lamb of them all

Lessons from the Farm

Like any family, we have some annual traditions that we look forward to year after year, and one of our favorites is checking out a local lamb farm since my wife is a wool spinner and knitter. Now, for any of you who don’t regularly visit sheep farms, spring is lambing season and so sheep farms across the country open up their barn doors to anxious visitors who want nothing more than to spend some time with the weeks, days and even only hours old baby lambs. You’re going to have to trust me that this is very entertaining, especially for kids and adults who spin and knit wool. It’s like a trip to the lumber mill for all of the carpenters out there or a trip to see the Tigers on Opening Day (actually it’s nothing like a Tigers game at all).

For me, it was a chance to spend some quality time with the family and to try to take a couple of cool pictures of some sheep (like the one above). But how in the world can we learn something about personal finances from a sheep farm? Well, let me tell you, it’s actually not as far of a stretch as you would think.

Farming is an everyday job, just like your budget.

Farmers don’t get a vacation, and this is true of all farmers not just the one at the sheep farm. Every day, farmers of all kinds, get up and milk the cows, or feed the pigs or fertilize the corn or any number of other jobs to keep food on all of our tables. It’s kind of like a budget. When you have a household budget, you have to stick with it every day in order for it to be effective; you can’t just keep to it during the week and then go crazy over the weekend. Just like the farmer can’t go a day without milking the cows, you can’t got a day ignoring your budget.

Lambs are cute, but that doesn’t mean that you should buy one.

I literally said this 15 times during our trip to the farm. Literally. They are cute, but do you need one? It’s just like that amazing 85-inch 4K TV that you have your eye on. It’s amazing and it would almost take up the entire wall of your Man Cave, but is it that much better than the 60-inch TV that you already have? And is it really the best idea to buy that new TV in the first place? Maybe you should consider using that money to pay off a credit card or deposit it in your emergency savings account or put it towards your retirement. We all love something shiny and new (or fluffy if it’s a lamb you’re talking about) but it pays to be smart with your purchases.

Protect your money, your basket of cash can disappear.

While we were at the sheep farm, I talked with the farmer for a little while and he told me a story of how the day before, someone had walked away with a basket of money where farm visitors could buy some food for the sheep (side note: if you own a sheep farm, it’s a brilliant idea to get visitors to buy the food you were going to give your sheep anyway, brilliant idea). The basket didn’t have a lot of money in it, but it was still stolen. Consider this our PSA that you should always be sure to practice good safety habits when using an ATM.

There’s always somebody who has to clean up the mess.

Sheep farms are very messy work. It’s like having 300 dogs (or 300 cats if you happen to really like cats) that you have to feed and pick up after every day, a dirty job if I’ve ever heard it. Fortunately for the farmer that we visited, he’s got some extra hands to help him clean up the mess. But what do you do if your finances become a mess? Even though you probably don’t have any stable-hands to help with your checkbook, there are a ton of great resources out there. Try a quick Google search for budgeting help, or check with your church or a civic organization that you belong to and see if they have any financial seminars that they’re offering. You can also give us a call. After all, helping you with your finances is what we’re here for.

Need help understanding a financial question?

Have a great idea that you’d like us to write about? Drop us a note at contactus@securitycu.org and put “AskSCU” in the subject line, or ask us on social media with the hashtag #AskSCU and we may answer your question in a future blog post.

 

Photo courtesy of @thebillherron.

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