I have spent the past couple of days trying to justify a couple of purchases for the urban farmstead. I finally decided to post what I have done here and let the inhabitants of Earth judge the Martian:
First Scenario: I had completed a list of the various fruits that I would like to be grown on our property. Right now, we only have an old mulberry tree that produces fruit. Anyway, when I tallied up the strawberries, blackberries, grapes, vine peaches, blueberries, etc. The total was $68. I thought long and hard about this and then looked in my cabinets, deep freezer and two refrigerators. I decided to skip grocery shopping for the week. We probably would have spent around that amount buying food at the grocery store. We actually don't have to grocery shop too often because we are really stocked up. Given the uncertainty in the economy and the job market, we try to have food stored so that we won't have to buy much in the event of a layoff at TheMartianMan's place of employment. So, should I add the cost of the fruit plants in to the farm budget or is it really about the same as buying groceries? After all, these groceries will be on the table during the summer and fall!
Second Scenario: As you probably know, we really want some chickens. Our desire was to actually breed some unusual breeds. Now that I have a friend who is willing to hold a rooster or 2 for me at his farm, I actually have the opportunity to be able to breed 1 unusual breed. The problem is that for the breed that I want, I cannot seem to find chicks ANYWHERE!! So I must hatch eggs if I am to get these birds.
So I browsed around on Ebay and saw a used top quality, almost foolproof incubator. It works kind of like the rotisserie that they advertise on tv during the holiday season: Set it and Forget it! Though I bid and bid and bid...someone else won the item. Then a miracle happened! I remembered that I had a stash of American Express gift cards. They were left over from a vacation that we took last May. The cards were free to us since we cashed in reward points to get them. There was a grand total of $325. So, I used them to buy the brand new version of the top quality incubator. Since I bought it with free money, should it count against my budget?
Before you answer, I also have three plans for recouping the money that I spent for the incubator. The first plan is to hatch out some specialty breed eggs for others and sell them to people like me who cannot find them anywhere. This would help me to recoup some, if not all of the money over time. The second plan involves possibly ordering up some quail and selling quail eggs and or birds locally. I believe that there is a market for it. The third plan is to sell the incubator on Ebay when it has paid for itself. The auction that I was bidding on taught me that this particular model of incubator holds its value and that people are willing to pay an awful lot of money for it, even when it is used. I can also do a combination of any of these three plans and probably MAKE money on the deal. So, given all of this rationalization (fooling myself) that I have done, should the incubator count against the farm budget?