5 Must-Follow Winter Tips for Farmers

All famers know that just because the harvest is finished doesn’t mean that the work is complete. A little preparation goes a long way come spring. Use the acronym FARMS to remember these vital 5 winterization steps:

Fill Tanks – Topping off fuel and hydraulic oil tanks prevent condensation from forming as the temperature changes with the seasons. If you are planning to keep using your equipment throughout the winter, be sure to take steps to prevent the diesel fuel from gelling such as adding cold flow improvers.

Adequately Lubricate Metal – Any metal that is not painted needs to be greased to prevent damage from the elements like rust, which can diminish both the quality and value of the equipment. Refer to your user manual for more information about how to properly lubricate.

Repair Damage – Fixing broken or damaged parts now will protect the equipment from rusting or degrading over the winter. Be sure to check for worn or loose belts and leaks in addition to damaged parts. This will ensure that come springtime, you can get to work faster.

Maintain and Clean – Use a high-pressure washer to clean out dirt and debris from equipment before storing it for the season. Be cautious when cleaning seals and bearings. It is a good idea to remove the batteries and store them in a dry location.

Store Equipment – If possible, store equipment inside to avoid the worst of the winter elements. When storing equipment outdoors, cover it with material that is both water-resistant and protects delicate electronics from too much sun.

Always remember to consult your equipment’s user manual for the best way to winterize and care for your specific product. Equipment is a large investment for most farmers. Taking good care of it will ensure that it will serve you for several future growing seasons.

Madison Mutual is dedicated to protecting you and your farm this upcoming winter and always. Read more about our Farmowner Coverage here.

9 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Save Money This Holiday Season

The holiday season can be a bit draining, and we’re not talking emotionally! Beginning with Halloween and ending with a huge celebration to ring in the New Year, preparing for the holidays can be daunting. Oftentimes we can find ourselves going overboard, and the credit card debt builds up in the blink of an eye. This year, though, we’ve got 9 easy ways to help you prepare and start saving money now:

Make a Budget – Before setting foot in a store or even considering whom you’d like to buy gifts for this year, set a budget. Make sure to consider not only gifts, but also things like decorations, party favors, postage, and travel expenses. Don’t forget to factor in a little extra for those unexpected costs. Now that you’ve set a budget, don’t forget to keep track of your spending. A budget is useless if you don’t intend on sticking to it.

List Out Your Recipients – Now that you’ve completed your budget, it’s time to establish who will be on your gift-giving list. Go through each individual and allocate part of your budget toward each person. If you’re noticing that you don’t have enough money to cover your budget, go through your list again and cut names or amounts. It will also be easier setting dollar amounts per person, as opposed to gifts you would like to buy for individuals; this saves you from overspending because you had your heart set on a specific gift that is out of your dollar range.

Pay Cash – If you find yourself swiping without thinking, it’s time to seal up those credit cards and tuck them away until after the holiday season. Using cash will make you more aware of what you’re spending and will keep that budget at the forefront of your mind.

Don’t Wait – Don’t wait until the last moment to begin purchasing your gifts. You’ll miss out on sales and end up paying extra because of the hiked prices that stores tend to implement closer to Christmas. On top of that, you could be spending extra on postage the longer you wait to mail your gifts.

Cut Back Preemptively – Start saving now! Cut back spending in other areas of your life as you prepare for the holiday season: pack your lunch, carpool as the weather gets colder, and order water instead of soda when you go out. Little things can add up quickly, and the savings you receive can be put directly toward your holiday spending.

Use the Secret Santa Method – Have a lot of family members or a large group of friends? The Secret Santa method could be perfect for you. Set a price point, draw names out of a hat, and buy a gift for one person instead of ten.

Create a Christmas Closet – You know all that leftover wrapping paper and those unused gift tags you threw away from last Christmas? This year, find a large bin that you can store all of those extra items in. Take inventory before you head out to buy more the next year!

Curb your Kids’ Expectations – So many commercials these days are targeted specifically toward kids. While they draft their extensive lists to Santa, make sure you’re helping them set realistic expectations. Set financial boundaries with your older children.

Minimalist Decorations – It’s easy to go overboard with decorating during the holidays. Instead of adorning your whole house, focus on just two or three places that guests will see most. For instance, your fireplace, living room, and dining room table tend to be high-traffic areas. This saves you from spending money on decorations for every room.

What other ways do you save money during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments section below or stop by our Facebook Page. Make sure to call an agent at Madison Mutual to make sure you’re saving money on your insurance. Call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or learn more about us online at www.madisonmutual.com.