I think we all start homesteading with a dream of jumping right in and being able to produce everything we need right away. Instead I've learned that it's a journey, one that my family undertook a step at a time. While we still had the usual household expenses, we also had the cost of starting up the homestead and acquiring equipment and supplies, not to mention obtaining livestock, building their shelters, and buying their feed. Whew!
Today Bobbi Peterson from Living Life Green is here with advice on how to save money on our homesteads. Let's all give her a warm welcome.
When starting a homestead, you’ll incur many costs you hadn’t thought you would. You may need to pay someone to rig up your electricity or water system. You could refuse to live without certain appliances like a washer and dryer. You’ll be faced with budgeting your food and utilities, as you find out what resources are best for you to utilize.
setting up a source of side income. These ideas pay off by keeping and putting cash in your pocket for the long term:
1. Grow and Can Your Food
Spending money in grocery stores often results in spoiled produce, waste and overspending. Put that
trash to good use by composting, and use that nutrient-rich soil to grow your own food.
Starting a vegetable garden is easy, even for beginners. The time between frosts will be your growing
season. Before you plant any and every vegetable, realize the climate you are in and sunlight you receive are important to what will actually grow. Most vegetables need four to eight hours of full sun.
Soil issues may be resolved by using raised beds and making your own soil from compost. If there are vegetables you want to grow but can’t, you should consider constructing a small greenhouse to generate produce year-round.
To keep your produce shelf-stable, you will likely need to can your own vegetables. This will cut down on your grocery bill, and after practice, canning won’t take as long as you’d imagine. You also will have less environmental impact.
2. Sell Produce at the Farmers’ Market
When your garden grows big enough, consider selling extra produce at your local farmers market to at least put seed money back into your garden.
You don’t have to technically be a farmer to sell at a farmers market, but it’s important to know the ins and outs. You’ll need to comply with local and state laws, as well as health and labeling regulations. With a good product niche and attractive signs at your booth, you could pull in a few hundred or thousand dollars.
More selling options exist in your community. Barter or trade produce and eggs with your neighbors. You may also get permission from local businesses to set up one day for a mutually beneficial relationship, drawing customers in to buy from you both. Sometimes, a winery or festival looks for a produce vendor. Depending on area laws, a permit may be required. If you have other talents, bring along your arts and crafts to sell.
3. Buy Only Necessary Toiletries and Products in Bulk
Once you’ve cut down on your grocery bill, you may wonder if you really need certain products. Is there a way to make your own soap and shampoo, or use natural cloth napkins in place of paper towels?
For what you don’t have time to make, buy in bulk with a Sam’s Club, or similar, membership to save on unnecessary spending. Examples of what you may buy in bulk are items such as flour and sugar.
4. Thrift for Clothes and Upcycle
Unless you are spinning your own wool and sewing your own clothes, chances are you have to buy
clothing. You don’t have to rely on buying new – many thrift stores provide quality secondhand clothes and other items.
Sometimes, it’s easier to find clothes in thrift stores that actually fit your body and style, versus fighting shifting trends in department stores. With a little hot glue, fabric tape or hand sewing, you can upcycle a long shirt into a dress and more.
5. Used Recycled and Repurposed Materials for Building
Reclaimed wood, old tires and pioneer building techniques may be utilized to cheaply and affordably
construct a homestead’s house, farm buildings or fence. Pallets are versatile to build fences, shelves and even beds. Recycled and repurposed materials are a great resource for saving money on a homestead when you’re building.
6. Use Alternative Fuels and Materials
Research alternative fuels and materials for use on your homestead. For example, biodiesel fuel in cars reduces emissions and can run off of rendered chicken fat, vegetable oils and frying oils. Instead of using gas, heating your home with wood is actually more sustainable and affordable than you’d think. Investing in alternative sources early on can help save you money.
7. Be Careful With Credit Cards
Many people take out loans or go into to debt for their dream of building a homestead. If possible, only use a debit card and keep a credit card solely for emergencies. A credit card will still help you build and maintain a healthy credit score, especially when you make payments on time. Even when you have a homestead, chances are you pay home and land taxes. Your credit is important. Exercise caution when using credit cards.
Building and maintaining a homestead creates a feeling of community, sanctuary and freedom as you
become more self-sufficient and care for your home, family and land. However, financial challenges may also become a burden without clever strategies to reduce overspending and debt. Use these strategies to lessen your money concerns, and enjoy the gift of your homestead.
Bobbi Peterson loves writing and regularly posts on her blog She’s also a freelance
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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