Homesteading on a Budget: Enjoy Life Without Breaking Bank

Melissa Shelly

Are you tired of feeling like your paycheck is gone before it can get into your pocket? Have you ever wanted to have a small garden at home but don’t think it’s possible on a budget? I’m here to tell you that it is!

Homesteading on a budget can seem like an unachievable dream, but using my tips and tricks, I want to show you how to start right away, no matter where you are.

Table of Contents

Homesteading on a Budget: The Benefits of Enjoying Life Without Breaking the Bank

No Need to Buy All of Your Clothes at the Mall

Living on a homestead doesn’t mean sacrificing all of your fashion needs. You can look good on a budget by getting creative- it’s all about perspective, and it can be enjoyable! There’s no need to buy over-priced items like clothes or makeup- let your farm wardrobe show off for itself.

You Get to Live on a Farm and Have All of the Tools for Amazing Projects

Living on a farm is great for all kinds of adventures- especially for those needing old-time skills like carpentry, plumbing, and gardening to help keep things running smoothly. And for all of the guys out there- it can give you an exciting chance to have the tools and equipment to work on any projects you want!

You Have Flexibility in How You See Things as Inexpensive or Overly-Priced

The whole idea is to choose to see things one way or another- it’s up to us to think through what is essential in our lives and try to reduce spending wherever we can. If it doesn’t make sense to spend money on certain non-essential items, it may not be worth it! But also don’t forget that sometimes small luxuries can help break up your week well!

Homesteading on a Budget: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting Right Where You Are

Living Within Your Means to Avoid Stressful Situations

So many of us live our whole lives wishing we had more than we have now. We try to keep up with the Joneses by living beyond our means, but this can end up causing even more stress down the line.

I tell my kids it is always better to have money in the bank at the end of each month for security rather than to try to impress by having all of the latest and greatest things but no money in the bank to show for it.

If all of us could learn to start off right where we are and with what we have, it could help avoid so much stress! Being thankful for small daily blessings, no matter how big or small can take away worrying about striving for bigger and better things.

Making Use of Free Resources to Get Started

When my husband and I first got married all those years back in 2002, my father-in-law gave us a single-wide trailer home out of good faith.

The owner before him let it get wrong, but with some space, time, and love put into it, it was just what we needed!

All thanks to those three small walls of that old mobile home, my husband went on job applications for months before he landed a job making excellent pay – two hours away from our last place.

Once all bills were paid every month after starting off at this job, it felt like hitting the jackpot! With all the extra funds saved up over almost a whole year of being frugal, happy, and content with what we had at that point in our marriage, my husband and I purchased a brand-new double-wide mobile to call home.

Sticking It Out Inch by Inch Until All Dreams Are Realized

My family still resides in this same mobile home, but being on such a tight budget is also why my husband and I built a farmhouse on our little property for my children to play in and get out into nature!

But all thanks for those small beginnings in that old single-wide trailer over a decade ago; it set off into motion all big plans and big dreams for our future at the time when we barely knew what was going in store for us down the road!

Making the Most of Your Kitchen Budget

Pros and Cons of Growing in-House

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite pastimes on the homestead- cooking! I get so much joy from trying new recipes, experimenting with old ones, and preserving food for my family to enjoy all year. But it can sometimes get pretty tricky to keep up with it! In this post, I want to show you how to make the most out of your kitchen budget while homesteading on a budget.

Growing all of your own fruits and vegetables can be an enriching experience. Still, it is also essential to consider that increasing everything at home is not always possible.

That is why my husband and I buy in bulk at the end of summer/beginning of fall when prices are at their lowest to put away for those cold winter months.

We use a chest freezer and a deep freeze to store our produce. As for my parents, who have been growing almost all of their own food for as long as I can remember- once my parents retired, they moved off of the homestead but still have a small garden in town.

So we help them by bringing over fresh veggies from our garden at home during the summer months!

Making Use of All Existing Resources

It’s no secret that we have 5 fruit trees on our property- 2 apple trees, 2 cherry trees, and 1 plum tree! Apple is by far the most abundant crop in terms of yield. Still, once we age our trees, we should have no problem providing enough fresh (and possibly frozen) fruits for our hungry mouths during the winter!

Last year, neighbors brought us up bags full of plums, but unfortunately, it was mostly freezer-burned before we could get to it. We would, picked up the ones that were good and had to throw away the ones freezer burnt. Of course, we were a bit upset but had to make use of our existing resources. Nonetheless, the ones that were good, tasted delicious!

Using Freezer Storage for Maximum Freshness

We also keep up on berry picking on our property; we have strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries growing in abundance! It can seem like quite a hassle to pick these once or twice every couple of weeks. Still, it is definitely worth it, in the end, to put away all these beautiful berries for wintertime! It certainly does take up a lot of room in freezers. Still, other than that, there really isn’t much fuss about preserving them for maximum freshness in future use!

Discounted Prices All Year Round

When it comes down to buying all non-produce items from local markets or big-box stores, end-of-summer/beginning-of-fall tends to be when prices drop drastically for central discount canning/freezing budgets for wintertime use! Keep up on these discounted bins throughout stores to supply hungry mouths through winter without breaking the bank!

Living Sustainably on the Homestead: Tips for Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables on a Budget

We all know it’s essential to eat at least five helpings of fruit and vegetables daily – but have you considered all the other reasons to start growing your own? Not only is it free of pesticides, but it also offers many more advantages, like improving the environment, saving money on groceries, getting plenty of exercises, and bonding with nature! Check out these tips for making the most out of your garden.

Fresh food from your garden tastes better than store-bought and is free of pesticides.

When you control what fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides come in contact with your food by using natural or organic alternatives – or by avoiding them altogether – you get to enjoy all of the fantastic floral flavors of fruits and veggies in their unadulterated form!

The environment should use fewer fossil fuels to get your food to you (or, in some cases – no fossil fuels!)

Growing fruits and vegetables at home help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in our air by using fewer resources like non-renewable energy sources. It also reduces waste by eliminating packaging!

It saves you tons of money on your grocery bill every month!

Using permaculture to live off of your land can help save you big bucks on groceries each month! Who wouldn’t want to leave the grocery store once-and-for-all?

You get a chance to spend more time in the sun!

Gardening is an excellent source of exercise and vitamin D, thanks to all that extra sunshine! Working in your garden for a couple of hours each day can help keep those pesky pounds at bay!

You get to choose exactly how much space to dedicate to your garden!

Gardens can range from small enough for a window box or large sufficient for fields like those seen in the olden days. Whether you have limited space or limitless acreage, go ahead and give it a go!

It’s just plain old fun to try all these new things in your garden!

Expanding into new gardening projects can give way to a slew of delicious treats like unusual squash varieties or special herbs capable of producing different flavors. Get creative in the kitchen by exploring new foods right at home!

If you need help knowing when to start seeds indoors/directly in the ground for your zone, check out my free planting guide for all of the spring/summer/fall crops here- Planting Guide for Spring/Summer/Fall Crops and then check back in the winter to see my updated free planting guide for all of the cool weather crops to get started on next year!

All it takes is a little knowledge about timing regarding seed starting. Once you have got all else set up, go ahead and let your inner gardener bloom!

Go Green and Save Big: Growing Fruit Trees on your Homestead on a Budget!

Having your own property can give you more incentive to start gardening or homesteading. When I first started, I read up on how to take care of all sorts of fruit trees and bushes for tears. I’ve also put my research into prevention to deter diseases from my fruit trees and put a lot of effort into my own two hands. But no matter what the knowledge learned is, Mother Nature can be an unpredictable force on her lonesome.

Surviving in Arizona’s Wild Weather

It can get to unbelievably scorching highs in the summer here in Arizona; it reached into the 90s for at least a whole month straight, but one hundred degrees of heat is also accompanied by no chance for precipitation!

I was about to go off-topic but let me tell you, once I get things like the weather out of my system… Before all this bad weather ensued, my fruition (pun intended) of hard-wrought labor had started to take tender form in small owers blossoming our fruit trees.

Cover-up My Trees for their Own Protection?

I like to think of myself as goodly-versed in matters like gardening, but it is not an exact science! But I decided in my calculated wisdom to use large buckets to protect all my small fauna from extreme temperatures by covering them up!

All instructions explained it worked well – but it wasn’t clear how hard it was to keep these buckets down in rough winds! Put it this way: My attempt to save my beloved fruit trees made them look worse off than when I initially found them!

Dead once? Shame on Me no more!

The trees that have grown on my small plot of land have thoroughly endured a challenging ride thanks to me trying to keep up with the care they need – I would go so far as saying they have died once before through lack of sight in great grief (empathy) – but now I no longer want gripes like that on my conscience.

It seemly tricky at times to try to protect all plant life on your homestead, but it is much worse if all of it perishes away over time! Keep up with all plants if you want nature calling around your place and enjoy its life!

The Thrifty Homesteader: How to Cut Costs with Local Markets and Stores

Find the Best Thrift Store Deals on Clothes (and Other Goodies)

When it comes to clothes shopping on a budget, it can be tough to find good-quality items in thrift stores. But it is doable! Remember that early birds usually snap up all the good stuff at garage sales. If you can get to Goodwill on a 50% off day, it can help ease the blow to your wallet.

Stock Up on Kids’ Clothes in Spring for All-Season Use

If you have school-aged kids at home, then buying all of their clothes for the coming year in spring is a good idea. Check out discount stores for good deals on shorts and t-shirts for use over summer months or during mild winters in areas like the northwest of the US, where it typically doesn’t get too cold or too hot. As children hit their teens, they also start outgrowing their fashion preferences anyway– so this plan works out all right!

Take Advantage of Cheap Produce at Farmer’s Markets

Look into farmer’s markets for cheap produce in season, but don’t expect discounted non-perishables from these locations! Discount grocery stores like WinCo and Aldi are usually better bets for non-perishables like canned goods and pasta. However, check out local prices for the best bargains, as not all chains offer the same good deals everywhere.

Buy Firewood in Summer for Winter Use

Buying firewood for winter use during summer can save money over time but keep in mind moisture levels in your area if stored outdoors! In damp climates like the US northwest, having enough space to store wood indoors is also helpful for proper drying before use since burning wet wood isn’t such a great idea, no matter how well you try to cover it up!

5 Tips to Grow a Vibrant Garden on a Tight Homestead Budget

Do it Yourself Whenever Possible.

Gardening can be expensive, but keep in mind that there are small projects like building raised beds and using natural pest treatments that you can do yourself! Get creative and look for ways to skip out on buying what you can get for free!

Look for Clearance Prices at the end of the season.

Garden-related items like soil amendments, tools, and even plants are often put on clearance at the end of the season. Be sure to check out garden centers for good deals before you start shopping!

Tap into Free Resources

Websites like Eartheasy, Frugal for Life, and Hometalk have awesome freebies for gardening! Look for resources like composting tutorials, information on natural pest solutions, free seedlings, and more.

Make Use of Repurposed Items

Using old tires as planters or making DIY trellises out of scrap wood can help cost-cutting! Get creative and think about what materials you have right in your home or yard that can get up-cycled into use in the garden.

Label All of Your Plants

Creating easy-to-make labels is another excellent way to keep track of your plants in the garden without breaking the bank! Look into DIY labeling options like using popsicle sticks or old jars with chalkboard paint, and never forget which tomato is which again!

Making Homesteading on a Budget Accessible – A Guide to Learning Essential Skills

Caring for Animals

It can be tempting to buy up all the animals for your homestead right away. Still, it is best in the long term to get comfortable with all of the skills needed for looking after them before committing to such a purchase. This also allows all of your animals to have time to get comfortable in their new home at separate times instead of all at once.

Gardening Basics

Gardening is an essential skill for anyone delving into self-sufficiency. It is much better to start small before attempting a more extensive garden. Also, remember that no matter how proficient you become in other areas on this list, it won’t help if you don’t have fresh produce to keep you healthy!

Preserving Your Harvests

Once you get comfortable with gardening, it is time to start learning how to preserve all excess food by canning it for use at another date. That way, no matter what season it is on your homestead, you always have all of the natural, wholesome ingredients necessary to keep yourself going!

Learning What You Have Around You

Not everyone will have access to extensive gardens right off the bat. Therefore you must take the chance to get to know your land before making any changes by foraging for its area-specific natural resources, like edible plants and fungi! Doing this also helps keep some of the grounds untouched and in their original form, which can naturally keep all local wildlife safe and healthy.

Breaking the Chain of Financial Stress: How to Homestead on a Budget

Understand the Problem at Hand

Many of us get into bad spending habits. Whether it be because of laziness, bad money management, or bad luck, it can all lead to bouts of stress. For example, bad money habits can be simple, like forgetting to pay a bill on time or even losing it altogether before it’s delivered. This, of course, is bad for your credit, but it also comes with the stress of worrying about it and how to pay it off.

Getting it All Together in One Place

So let’s say that you are under some stress over your finances. What should you do to help get yourself back on track to better health? First of all, it really depends on what the problem at hand really is. However, it can also help to get better at money management all around to avoid more stress in the future.

Do you need to start to pay off debt right away to ease up on stress? Perhaps you need to look at all your bad habits at once to get it all taken care of. Are you in need of a better job to get more income to help ease up on the stress of living paycheck? Sometimes really all depends on what is in particular that is stressing you out at the moment.

Put New Habits into Practice

To help ease stress, try to find better ways to deal with everyday life so that it doesn’t give you such a hard time in the future. Remember to start small but think big at all times in your money goals to help ease up on stress in the end.

Don’t put off things for tomorrow when they can get done today; this will help ease stress in everyday living for many of us! Get into better money habits to help ease up the pressure for all of your financial needs. 

Auditing and Record-Keeping: Establishing a Homesteading Routine on a Budget

Being frugal is an essential part of budget-minded homesteading. Knowing where your money is going and ensuring it is used most efficiently can help keep you on track during tough times. So let’s look at some of the best ways to keep up with your finances!

Set Aside Regular Check-Ins

It may seem like busy work, but it is essential to set aside time at least once a month to review your finances. I check my finances at least once weekly to catch minor problems before they get out of hand!

Keep All Your Receipts in the Check

We keep all of our receipts in an accordion folder. We have it organized into sections for each of our enterprises, which helps us get a good idea of our income and expenses for each by the end of the year.

Look Out for Unexpected Bank Fees

To avoid any surprise fees or charges, make sure to go over all of your bank statements! Sometimes banks charge for things we think are free, but you can keep yourself in check by taking a few seconds to go over it.

Keep Credit Use in Check

Using credit cards can get out of hand quickly if not regularly kept up with. I think it is good to have on hand for big purchases – but keeping up with your credit card statements is also essential! It can help avoid getting into dreaded debt down the line.

Keep All Loan Paperwork Updated

By ensuring all interest rates are up-to-date and searching for better deals, managing loans can help you save money in the long run! Keeping up on paperwork enables you to avoid unnecessary fees and headaches months later.

Tracking Inventory Helps Avoid Waste

Whether it be livestock, fertilizer, fuel, or extensive tools, small investments matter! Keeping up with inventory records to help manage costs for big-ticket items like these can really add up over time. It also lets you see if it is worth keeping something around another year or unloading it for something else down the line!

Maintain Vehicle Maintenance Records

Maintaining vehicles, farm equipment, and other significant investments keep them in tip-top shape for as long as possible! Look through repair records for all these items before taking on any significant problem down the line; this can help save you both money and stress when tackling challenging projects!

Keep Up With Everyday Purchases

Lastly, keep track of all everyday items that need purchasing, such as food supplies and animal care products like feed! New small expenses can rack up over time if they are not accounted for correctly – think of it like having someone pinch pennies off your pocket each day!

Making Homesteading More Affordable Through Collaboration

Networking With Other Homesteaders

If you want to take on homesteading but need help getting it all done, look for help by networking with other homesteaders in your area. All kinds of services are available to make your job on the homestead easier!

This can lighten your workload, free up time to prioritize projects, and get the job done better in less time than it would have taken. Get to know the folks at local farm stores, or check out a local homesteading group on Facebook to start networking and let people know that you need help on the homestead.

Barter for Help on Your Homestead

An alternate way of finding help is by bartering for it – use skills and services that you have to get help on your homestead tasks! See if there is anyone in need of your help in exchange for muscle on the job. Let others know what kind of help you need and see who responds. Freeing up some of your eggs for a few months to get free labor is one example of this!

Hire Help On An As-Needed Basis

When extensive job duties arise, try hiring outside help for once-off jobs like butchering animals or a massive garden harvest once or twice a year. Use free room and board in exchange for their support – let people know about this opportunity! Search out someone to give specialized help when needed without having to keep it up all year through an ongoing hire.

Final Thoughts

It all comes down to no matter how much money you have in your bank account, it’s possible to begin homesteading on a budget. I’m living proof!

Since I’ve put into practice the tips I’ve read about in my upcoming book about homesteading on a Budget – like growing my own plants for veggies and saving up for projects I need by doing odd jobs – I can see the real-life benefits of this book every day of my life!

Thanks to it, I can buy sustainable products and live off-grid in harmony with nature while also changing my lifestyle for the better and taking back control of my finances simultaneously!

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