What is a homestead management binder? It’s a tool that many use to organize their homestead. Why do you need one? To organize this crazy life called homesteading, of course!
While there are digital options, the homestead management binder is typically printed out and kept in an readily available place in the home. There are all different kinds of binders available.
Many people use gardening binders to organize and track planting and harvesting dates. Or livestock binders to track registration information, birthdates, and medications. Or just the general “to do” binders to organize all the work needed on the farm.
Lots of homesteaders use a homestead management binder to track income and expenses. They use it to determine whether or not their homestead is profitable. These are important numbers to track if you are looking to make an income from your homestead.
The garden management binder
There are lots of garden management binders out there, and they are so helpful to maximize your garden yields. Usually they help you plan out what you are going to plant for the harvest you need. They help you keep track of when you need to start your seeds, and when to put them outside, based on your gardening zone.
The garden binder should give you space to map out your garden as well. This will help you to plan out companion planting and crop rotation.
At the end of the season, your garden management binder will also help you to track how much you harvested. These numbers will then be readily accessible when you are planning your garden next year. You want to be able to figure out how much to plant to get the amount of food you need.
A lot of garden management binders will also help you keep track of the amount of the foods you were able to can or preserve. With these types of binders, you can make sure you are getting the “most bang for your buck” out of your garden.
If you just want an easy-to-access guide on starting your seeds, Seeds For Generations has a wonderful Garden Planning Calculator. And it’s totally free!
The Gardening Notebook by Schneider Peeps is a wonderful resource, that I strongly recommend. It has 120 pages, chock-full of gardening info! It has ample space to sketch out your garden plan,an area to track what seeds you have, and has sheets for tracking your gardening expenses.
If you have the whole garden planned and producing lots of veggies to harvest, you might want to check into the Food Preservation Planner from The Free Range Life. It is full of planning and record sheets for preserving your food, handy cheat sheets for successful food preservation, inventory sheets for your pantry and freezer, and even has pages for meal planning and recipes!
The livestock management binder
A very important binder for you to have if you have animals, is a livestock management binder. A good livestock management binder should allow you to put in a picture of each animal, along with their registration information, birthdates, and any medical issues and medications that they have been given.
You can use this binder to track when you worm your animals, when you trim their hooves, and when you give them vaccinations. That way, you know when they are due for a booster, or when you need to worm or trim again. These binders make it so much easier to raise livestock!
Another important reason to have a livestock management binder is to track how much your animals are costing you. It’s imperative to most homestead operations to know how much input goes into raising their food.
When you just buy your food from the store, it’s easy to stick to your budget and know where you need to cut. Raising livestock for food, while much healthier, is harder to track how much you’re actually spending on that food.
Buying hay, grain, and feed is spread out so much more, over a period of time. It is extremely difficult without a good expense tracker to determine how much it costs you to raise your animals to butcher. With the expense tracker, you will need to input how much you spend each time you buy feed for your animals. It can be hard and tedious to remember to write down the amounts each time, but I promise you it will be worth it!
If you are able to track your expenses while you are raising your livestock, you can determine if you need to cut costs. You will be able to decide if it’s worth the extra expense of buying organic grain. Or see if you can formulate your own feed at a lower cost. Maybe help you decide if it’s worth the garden space to grow some of your own grain?
If you have goats, The Busy Homesteader’s Goat Management Binder is a wonderful planner that helps you organize everything that goes into successfully raising goats. It has everything from herd record sheets, breeding planners, illness symptom checklists, and medication and poisonous plant information.
The chicken binder
If you raise chickens for eggs, you know that it is often more expensive than it would be to buy your eggs at the store. But it doesn’t have to always be that way!
A good chicken binder can help you track your chicken expenses, as well as how many eggs you get, so you can do a cost analysis. This is so important in getting the homestead budget under control! Like with the livestock binder, you can determine how much your eggs cost you. Then you can decide if it’s worth the cost of organic or non-GMO layer feed. You can see if you are spending too much on your chickens.
If the figures in your chicken binder make you realize that you’re indeed spending too much on your chickens, you can look into ways of saving money on chicken feed. Lots of people have had success with fermented feed, or growing fodder for their chickens. And did you know that you can feed your leftovers to your chickens? Chickens love kitchen scraps. Have you ever seen them devour spaghetti? Hilarious!
Your chicken binder should also give you space to track purchases and sales. If you sell eggs, chicks, or even laying hens, these figures can be put into the planner so you can make sure you are making enough income from them. Likewise, you should be able to keep track of how old your chickens are, so you can determine the viability of keeping old hens.
My favorite chicken resource is The Busy Homesteader’s Backyard Chicken Binder from The Free Range Life. It has an incubation checklist, egg collection charts, health records, show charts, income and expense sheets, and lots of helpful general chicken info. They also have it available as a bundle with their goat binder in their The Busy Homesteader’s Goat Management and Backyard Chicken Binder Bundle, or you can get all of their collections in The Complete Busy Homestead Collection. You should definitely check them out!
The homestead planning binder
If you want to make the most of your homestead, you need to plan it out and set goals. A homestead planning binder is good for this. In a good planning binder, you can list all of your daily and weekly to-do’s, the goals for your homestead, and plans for the future.
Most homesteaders have big dreams for the future of their homestead. However, if you don’t break it down and plan it out step-by-step, you are likely to get overwhelmed. A homestead planning binder can help you avoid that overwhelm.
The homestead planning binder can be as simple as a regular planner, or as specific as you want it to be. It should include your 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year plans for your homestead. And it should have enough space to plan out your daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal tasks. There is always so much work to do on the homestead! And a good binder can help you organize it so you can stay on top instead of always playing catch-up.
The Homestead Goal Planner is a wonderful planner to help you organize all of your homestead goals and to-do’s. It helps you break down everything that you have to do into bite-sized chunks so you can actually achieve those goals!
If you are trying to get serious about homesteading this year, you should definitely check out The Complete Busy Homesteader’s Collection from The Free Range Life. It has all the planners that you will need to have a successful, profitable homestead. The complete collection has a homestead goal planner, goat management binder, a chicken binder, a food preservation binder, and a garden planner, as well as a lot of other bonuses.
The app, or digital planner
In these days of extreme technology, there are several apps and digital planners out there for homestead management and expense tracking. I have found that at times, these are easier than writing things down in a physical planner. I always have my phone with me, so it makes sense to be able to input costs right when I incur them.
The downside to these types of planners, is that the information may not be easily printed off. A phone app will most likely not be able to be printed to keep accurate records from year to year. And if your phone ever breaks, you might not be able to get that information back!
If you are partial to technology, the app or digital planner may be a good choice for you. Just make sure you have a way to have off-line access to this information as well, so you can keep it for years.
SmartSteader is a wonderful app that helps you track expenses and income, as well as egg production and garden harvests. And it’s currently only $2.99/month! 4-H Livestock Record is free and helps you keep track of your 4-H projects. Count Your Eggs is a decent free egg production tracker, but doesn’t let you do much else. Check the App Store or Google Play to see what might help you out.
Using a homestead management binder is the best way to keep yourself organized and efficient. It will help you make sure your homestead is successful, and you don’t get overwhelmed. Make sure you check out these options to see what style works best for you.
Do you have a favorite binder? Please share in the comments!
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