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This year, many more people are wanting to start homesteading. While this is a very worthy effort, homesteading can take a lot of planning, time, and money. More than what most people realize. But I can’t think of a better thing to spend that time and money on!
There are a lot of blog posts out there that talk about how you can start homesteading with no money. Well, I hate to be a Debbie Downer here, but I want to tell you that it’s really not possible. Don’t get me wrong, you can be more self-sufficient, and you can start living a homesteading mentality. But you won’t be able to full-on start homesteading with no money.
If I haven’t scared you off yet (hopefully not!), I’d like to discuss what you should consider before you start homesteading.
Do I have enough money to start homesteading?
This should be the first question you ask yourself. While homesteading focuses on living frugally, it does take money.
Animals cost money, to purchase, house, and to feed. Gardens cost money, unless you saved your seeds from last year and have good soil that doesn’t need to be amended. Land isn’t cheap, so unless you can find a rental (like we did), you will have significant startup costs to buy land.
The good thing about homesteading, is you can buy little things as you are able. No one says you need to buy a whole herd at once! But there are many costs that will be spread out along the year.
Take, for instance, buying a calf and raising it to butcher. You can buy a calf for pretty cheap. But then you have to feed and care for it for over a year. Depending on the severity of your winters, you may be looking at buying a ton or two of hay per cow. If you feed them grain regularly, that is going to be quite the expense. Then you will have butcher costs when they are ready to go to the freezer.
Sure, these expenses will be spread out over the year, but they do add up. But compare that to buying a full cow that someone else raised. That will be a huge cost, all at once. And it will likely be more than if you raised them yourself.
How can I prepare financially?
If you are like many people and live paycheck to paycheck, you should do your best to get a better handle on it before you start homesteading. Start trying to live more frugally, start a budget, and start putting some money away.
Being able to budget and live frugally is key to successful homesteading. This is a skill that you will use the rest of your life. Start now, before you start homesteading.
If you need to buy land, try to get enough money saved up to do so, or look for loans that take a smaller amount down. Make sure you have a little wiggle room in your monthly budget to pay for your homestead expenses. Cut out whatever non-essential items you can to free up room in the budget.
Start a side hustle if your regular income won’t cut it. Do some research and see if you can make an income from your homestead. Get creative with raising income and cutting expenses, before you dive into starting a homestead.
Do I have enough time to start homesteading?
Homesteading is a lifestyle that takes time, in more ways than one.
First, the daily time that is required for feeding and watering animals. This chore takes us about an hour a day. Those with bigger homesteads and more animals will require more time commitment.
Second, the weekly or monthly time spent maintaining your homestead. Cleanup, fixing fences, and making repairs around the farm takes time on a weekly or monthly basis.
Third, starting a homestead involves constantly building on what you’ve done. It may take you 3 years or more to really get it to where you want it. Consider making a 3-year plan for build your dream homestead. Don’t rush things – that leads to homestead overwhelm!
I have a 3 year Homestead Goal Planner in our Subscribers Only Resource Page that you can download for free. Simply enter your email at the bottom of this page to get a password sent to you to access it!
How do I make enough time?
Think about who will be homesteading with you. Will you have a partner? Children?
Decide what each person is capable of doing. Then, you can either make a “chore chart” for each chore, or you can delegate certain chores to each person. Even though our homestead has many capable adults, a chore chart has been very helpful in making sure everything gets done.
You will need to work out a system that will help you be more efficient, in order to have the time to homestead. This takes planning and patience.
Maybe you can make some money from your homestead, so you can cut down your hours at work. Or maybe a 2-income family can go down to a 1-income family through being frugal and creative. That will leave one person open to be able to do more around the farm.
You may also be able to cut down your daily time requirements with some clever time saving hacks, but there is always something to do on a daily basis.
Do I have enough energy to start homesteading?
This is a big one for me. The Hubs and I don’t have as much energy as we used to! Luckily, we have our grown children here to help us with the bigger projects.
While I am in no means trying to discourage older folks from starting a homestead, please think about your energy and health before trying to start a homestead.
Homesteading is work. Sometimes hard work!
If you know that you are energy- or health-compromised, remember that it IS possible to hire outside help. But that will be an additional expense that needs to be taken into consideration.
How can I boost my energy levels?
Luckily, there are a few ways that us “mature” folks can boost our energy levels.
First, check with your doctor to make sure you don’t have any health concerns that need to be addressed. You may even ask the doctor about raising energy levels.
Second, eat healthy. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits. Avoid excessive carbs. Eating right and losing weight may bring back some of your youthful vigor.
Third, check into herbal remedies. You can use supplements for energy, or you can formulate your own. Sometimes a simple switch from coffee to green tea or Maca tea can give you energy without the afternoon crash.
Herbs can be a valuable ally in providing much-needed energy. Nettle is a soothing tonic herb that has lots of nutritive qualities, and can provide energy to last all day. Ginseng and Gotu Kola are two others that can be beneficial for both mental alertness and physical energy. And I’m experimenting with Ashwagandha for The Hubs’ low energy levels.
Make sure you keep your immune system strong, so you don’t get sick. When you’re sick, the last thing you want to do is work outside on the farm. Zinc and Vitamin C help greatly, and there are lots of immune boosting herbs you can take to reduce illness frequency.
Where do I want to start homesteading?
This is a big one, and one that can only be answered by YOU. It will likely take a lot of research, prayer, and visiting the area you’d like to move to.
Do you want to stay where you’re at now? Or are you willing to relocate?
Is property affordable where you want to start homesteading? Are there like-minded people there? Is the area loaded with restrictions on things like alternative power, rainwater harvesting, and raising animals?
Check into the codes and regulations of wherever you want to move to. Make sure you won’t have any road blocks to living the way you want to live. You don’t want to start working on your homestead, only to find out that you can’t do what you’re needing or wanting to do.
How do I find the perfect place?
Do a lot of research on your potential homestead areas. Go visit them, in different seasons if possible. Look up farms for sale in that area to make sure you’ll be able to find one in your budget.
Talk to a realtor in the area, and tell them what you are wanting to accomplish. Realtors are pretty good at finding the local rules and regulations, and giving you options based on your needs.
Finding the perfect place to make your “forever” home takes time, patience, and a lot of effort.
Keep in mind that you may also be able to find a rental property that is in your price range and desired location. We found our home, complete with 3.8 acres in the area we wanted to live, on Craigslist. Make sure you check there, Zillow, or sign up with a property finder of some sort if you are wanting a place to rent.
What else can I do?
Research is key. Read as much as you can before you start homesteading. If you haven’t gardened before, read gardening posts online. Buy or check out books from the library to further your knowledge.
Research to find out what animals you’d like to raise. Invest in a few books on the care of these animals.
Start a Pinterest board with pictures and articles that inspire you.
Practice homesteading skills that you will use in the future. Learn to become more self-sufficient.
Get into the reduce, reuse, recycle, and upcycle mentality. This will help you save money, and practice resourcefulness.
Do some goal setting for your future homestead. Start thinking about what you want to accomplish. Dream about your future gardens. Figure out the best use of the size of space you think you will be getting.
If you think you will want to make an income from your homestead at some point, figure out what homestead business you will want to have. Draw up a business plan. Make sure that you buy enough land to accommodate what you will need for your future business.
Am I ready?
Well, are you ready to jump in? With careful thought and planning, you can have the homestead of your dreams. Live the self-sufficient life. Be happy. Do what you love!
This post may be shared on Family Homesteading and Off The Grid Blog Hop, Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Farm Fresh Tuesday, and Old Paths to New Homesteading & Self-Reliant Living.