Start Saving Today and Live Your Homesteading Dream Tomorrow

Start Saving Today and Live Your Homesteading Dream TomorrowYour dream of owning your own homestead is closer than it appears.

It might seem like you’ll never be able to purchase a homestead. But if you have a plan in place to save, you can be harvesting fresh eggs and vegetables on your own property before you know it.

It will just take a little work. Are you ready to begin saving?

Start with a budget

The first thing that you need to do is start with a written budget and put your money to work for you. When you are living without a budget, you often have little idea of where your money went at the end of the week or month. Even if you are making good money.

Attach a name to each dollar you spend. You’ll probably feel like you received a raise.

There are a couple different ways to get started, depending on how basic you want to go. That would just be a pen and paper. A computer program like Microsoft Excel is well suited for a budget. Or you can go for an online budgeting program like Every Dollar.

What I love about Every Dollar is that you don’t just list what you are planning to spend, but you include actual expenses for that month. You can do this with other budgeting formats. This just makes it easier.

So the first step to getting your finances in order is to know where the money is going.

Prioritize your expenses

Having a budget will allow you to do two important things: set realistic goals and prioritize spending.

Is there anything frivolous you can cut out of your budget? Maybe for just 12-18 months? With the goal of purchasing a homestead I would say it’s worth a shot.

Once you’ve made a budget, figured out where your money is going and cut unnecessary expenses, you can outline goals on how long it will take to buy your homestead.

One of the first things you will need to do is price out comparable properties. It’s not quite as easy as pricing comps in a subdivision, but you can get a general idea on land value and quality of the house.

This is also a good time to figure out if you need to move to make this happen. Either way, you need to know what you plan on spending.

And trust me, it’s a lot easier to save and sacrifice when you have a reason and you know how long it will be.

how to save money fast by spending less

Pay off debt

At the same time, work on paying off any consumer debt you might have. Your homestead will feel like a cursing if you buy it when you are still paying off debt.

Because something will come up. And when it does, you don’t want to wonder how you are going to pay to repair it.

Once your debt is paid off, take that money and put it toward your homestead.

Get a second job

If you’ve cut your budget as much as you can, but you still have a ways to go, you need to work on the income side of the equation.

Take a second or third job to make the homestead happen. Remember, this is just temporary until you hit your goals.

Here’s a tip: if you work in retail or fast food, you are going to be working a long time making very little money.

Rather, work for yourself. Cut grass, shovel/ plow snow (if you’re in that part of the country), freelance, drive for Uber or Lyft. Even though it’s small, these entrepreneurial style jobs will go much further to hitting your goals. And you can work on your time.

Sell stuff

Most people have extra stuff laying around their house that they never use. They probably don’t even realize it.

Now would be a good time to go through closets, attics or basements and see what you can do without. You can always have a garage sale, but eBay, Facebook, and Craigslist make selling items so easy that you almost don’t need to if you don’t want to take up half a Saturday.

Beyond small items you hadn’t seen in 10 years, maybe you have a larger item you are willing to part with. A motorcycle? A boat? I’m not saying you need to get rid of anything you love, but it’s something to think about.

Is it worth it? That’s for you to decide.

Understand the sacrifice

This ties in with budgeting, cutting out unnecessary expenses and working extra jobs, but understand there will be sacrifice.

You might not be able to eat out as much. Maybe you cancel a vacation and choose to stay around town this year.

That’s okay. It will be worth it when you remember what you are sacrificing for.

A homestead is not that far off. When you make these decisions to begin saving today, are intentional with your money and plan for the future, your dreams of living off the land will soon become a reality.

Now is a great time to get started.

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If you have money saving tips that have worked for you then please take a moment to add those tips in the comments section below. Thank you.

15 Comments

  1. Thanks, MD for another good article. This reminds me of when my wife & I took the Financial Peace University (by Dave Ramsey) class at a church. It’s about learning to better manage your personal/household finances. & I agree that when one has a financial goal, it’s easier to make sacrifices, knowing that your goal is a reward down the road. It can also help to track how one spends their money for a few months, esp if you’re used to paying for things in cash. Another thing that Dave Ramsey teaches is to save $1000 (or $500 if your income is below 25,000 a year); this becomes your emergency fund & a cushion between ur financial peace & any financial emergency. Best wishes to everyone!

  2. MD, Very well thought out article. I will be 64 this coming June and remember putting into practice much of what you have written about over the years. My last major crises occurred twelve years ago when my first beautiful bride was called home. Our youngest was still a minor when his Mom passed away. Working with my son, I taught him how to grow a business using what we had available. We lived in a rural lake community with a mix of full-time and seasonal residents. It was amazing how easy it became to add “clients” for all manner of small jobs. Many folks wanted the roof of their seasonal homes cleared of snow after a blizzard. Clearing the driveway (my son had a 3/4 ton truck with plough) and bringing in the mail was a regular thing. Once a month or so we got paid. We would hook up a winch and pull over dead trees, repair a roof that was damaged in an ice storm and we were always well compensated. Tilling gardens, selling surplus firewood in the middle of winter when the price was highest added income. In addition to the cash, some sweet old windows would have home baked goods ready for us when we finished work. It was a great time together after our painful loss. While we worked, I continued to rebuild my retirement accounts. The “big crash” ten years ago was a buying opportunity for me. I bought everything I could and wrote OTM (Out of the Money Calls) for additional returns on my money. You should allow your money to work for you much more than you work for money. In fact, PFE (Pfizer) and GE (General Electric) did so well that when I sold the stocks a few years ago, I was able to pay cash for a great three bedroom three CR (bathroom) retirement home in the Republic of the Philippines where I now live with my wonderful second bride. MD and all, YES, there is opportunity everywhere IF you will only go out and look for it.

    • Jack ,

      I will be 64 this coming June and remember putting into practice much of what you have written about over the years. My last major crises occurred twelve years ago when my first beautiful bride was called home. Our youngest was still a minor when his Mom passed away. Working with my son, I taught him how to grow a business using what we had available. We lived in a rural lake community with a mix of full-time and seasonal residents. It was amazing how easy it became to add “clients” for all manner of small jobs. Many folks wanted the roof of their seasonal homes cleared of snow after a blizzard.

      I just turned 67 and the DW will turn 68 this upcoming June, and while I once thought of these ages as old, if you keep in reasonably good shape and don’t be a couch potato, life can still be challenging and fun.
      As you sort of mentioned, those seasonal communities can be a gold mine. Something a friend & I did years ago in the spring was to go through and look for torn out screens that had not weathered the winter very well. For a fixed price, we could take out the storm windows, remove the old torn screen and replace it with new screen and occasionally reuse the old spline; but, even when you had to replace the spline, the cost was minimal when you purchased both the screen and spline in large rolls. In some cases the windows could not be removed and we just charged a bit extra. The total investment in tools for a service like this is the Screen Spline Roller, that costs $10.00 or less.
      One other good way to get that homestead up and running is to not look for “perfect” when it comes to your house and buildings and to possibly consider renting before you purchase. We’ve live in this old house since 1984, renting it from 1984-1986 and then making the purchase. The house and some of the buildings had problems; but, we knew what they were, and when we purchased, we were sure to point them out to the seller’s representative. One of the problems was that it was heated with wood and had no real furnace.
      We ended up getting the property for $40,000 and the bank loaned us an additional $3,000 to have a furnace installed. The property consisted of a 2400 square foot 2 story house, two large post & beam barns, machinery shed, chicken coop and brooder house. The brooder house has since been torn down and will be replaced this summer.
      In the past 32 years since our purchase we have spent about another $35,000 for windows, insulation, a new roof, some upgraded wiring and plumbing and the propane tanks to run everything. Those first few years were a bit like camping, especially in the winter until we got the first of the windows and insulation added.
      My point here is that if you get something that is livable and acceptable you can often get it cheap, and then make upgrades to the property as you can afford to pay cash. If you are handy and can do your own plumbing, electrical, and at least rough carpentry, you can save a lot more.
      Often skills and time can do more for you than a part time job that is used to pay for someone else to do the same jobs.
      And finally, on debt and savings, the most important thing we have found is to really think any largish expenditures through and really identify and separate the “needs” from the “wants”, saving for those wants you really need.

      • theohioprepper, We are 100% in agreement. Life is still a blast for me, albeit with a few more aches and pains in my ageing body. When I touched down in the Phils I had an exit plan in place as well as one property back in the US in the event things did not go according to plan. At the 1 1/2 year mark when I purchased my home, I found an eight-year-old home, single story. While Filipinos almost always prefer two story homes and my resale value will suffer a bit, I am fine with it if the old knees give out. The home was perfectly livable, in need of a little upgrading and repair. Because it is all on one floor, there is no problem if I shut off a room for a do-over. I wound up paying a bit less than half the price of a brand new home in my subdivision. The money I did not spend will be applied to western style upgrades and split type aircon for the entire home. I am thinking I will end up with a better than average home for the subdivision, certainly we will get back more then we spent if we ever sell. The home and some charity projects occupy my days. Trading the US markets occupy part of my nights. Between my beautiful young Bride’s academic writing and our new business launched last July, we have a full plate. Stay well all and live life to the fullest.

  3. We bought this property in 1992, starting building in 1998. We lived in a single wide trailer while I built it. Hadn’t planned on this house being 3000 sq ft, but that is what it ended up being. It took me 7 years to finish it. I paid it off Jan. 2012 using one of the 401K funds. We have 18 acres with a 1/4 acre garden, chickens, a well, and plenty of room to expand for goats. Unfortunately, my peaceful homestead has been upset by the clown behind me developing his 40 acres into a subdivision. Folks living back there work at the university and the local industry. Noisy, imports from other states and in general, noisy. Since I’m retired, I don’t see me moving unless this state gets stupid and enacts gun laws, higher taxes and elects a damned democrat for governor. If all that comes to past, I’ll be looking at the Eastern Redoubt.

    • Oren,

      That’s what happened at my old homestead. Peace and happy days and then the trash moved in around me so I packed up and left.

    • Oren,

      We bought this property in 1992, starting building in 1998. We lived in a single wide trailer while I built it. Hadn’t planned on this house being 3000 sq ft,

      Your story sound similar to ours. My only comment is that I never touched my 401K or would recommend for anyone to do so; but, did purchase and sell my first home on a land contract. Where there’s a will and the ability to do a lot of your own work, there is always a way.

  4. Very good article. Keep in mind that some banks (USAA in particular) offer online budgeting in conjunction with your online banking. As you spend money, everything gets categorized (and you can make changes to those categories). All you have to do is set up the budget. If you have your credit cards with them too, the spending there also gets categorized and attached to your budget. I am thankful to finally be at a point where I can pay off my credit cards each month, so I can actually get a little cash back for using them.

  5. Vacation ..Nada, eating out rare, < 20$/2, TV, movies, unnecessary trips,, un necessary books,.. cook outs , parties, large gatherings. .. all zilch. Junk foods ..ie chips, dip, candies, prepared food,prepared cakes, cookies…limited to 2 buys a month( one each person)..with dollar cap.Trips to see children/grand children very limited,( due to other concerns) Books for learning/applications etc are strictly budgeted as necessary.. Phone and internet cheapest/stripped versions for home and emergency cell. .. one small note on appliance, on track for early pay out. w/ zero interest.
    Trips are combined, as multipurpose. Groceries are mostly bulk/family pak. and some weeks we go a complete week without leaving the house. No trip= no money spent.. Birthday parties, celebrations any expensive gifts/rewards for anything/anyone are long gone..
    Living simple has rewards. .
    REsult …all new appliances in two years..refrig, stove, washer, dryer, hot water heater, furnace and central air…house is paid for, remodel, in progress..doing ALL work ourselves….additional electric, plumbing, closet, storage, insulation,new walls( some areas) 2 new double paned windows installed, 4 others on property and availabel for install. additional door ready for install.
    2 chicken coops..( chickens producing all the eggs we need for now, meat will be ready soon,.. cost <than on eggs ).+ chicken coop improvements and additionalchicken tractor (in progress for meat and eggs,)
    ,Plans for : completion of remodel, plans for building double sided coop,…fencing,.. storage buildings, rabbittry, greenhouse/winter production and season extender…adding more raised garden beds, and more protected grow area for row crops…, restocking fish in pond…adding a few more fruit sources.
    Doing the budget thing works for most people, I have one, and Hate logging it…( pay bills first set priority.. from there. ….be it groceries,feed, or other needs..)
    .. Keeping a tight reign on money .WORKS! .(.ie, if not Absolutely necessary LEAVE it at the store!) No matter what your income, It just may take longer to get to the end goals…each thing is one step at a time. Having many necessary projects will often delay something.. Each family has to set own priorities.

  6. Do-it-yourself is great for the things you can do. On the other hand, I find there’s real value in paying professionals. A month after we moved into our current house in 1991, I spent the 3-day Columbus Day weekend painting the kitchen walls and trim (thankfully, Hubby came down with a cold and spent the weekend in his recliner, i.e. Out of my hair). The kitchen at that time had paneling halfway up the walls (uggggly!) which I didn’t paint, but it’s a fairly large room. At the end of the weekend, my arm ached! A few weeks later, we stripped the 25-year-old flocked velvet wallpaper (uggggly!) off the dining/living room walls, hired two painters to come in and paint the walls, trim and ceiling, and they were done in a day and a half, in a room twice the size of the kitchen. We’ve since done three major remodels in various areas of the house, all of which I contracted out, and it was worth every penny. Self-reliance is good, but the kitchen reno (stripped to the studs, got rid of that awful paneling!) was done in 6 weeks, whereas if we had tried to do it ourselves, we’d probably still be at it 3 years later. Time vs money. And a job professionally done. I was lucky to find the contractor who wears the Contractor King crown. Sometimes you have to recognize that certain things (roofing, plumbing, deck building) are beyond your reach.

    • MaineBrain,

      Time vs money. And a job professionally done. I was lucky to find the contractor who wears the Contractor King crown. Sometimes you have to recognize that certain things (roofing, plumbing, deck building) are beyond your reach.

      In my case I grew up with parents who could do and did nearly everything and taught my sibling s& I to do the same, although only my youngest sister and I still try nearly everything. It does however often come down to time vs. money and finding that great contractor as you did. I have done everything imaginable from plumbing and electrical, to rough and finish carpentry, roofing, and drywall. I can pretty much still do all of these things; but, experience has taught me that roofing and drywall are boring and tedious jobs, and that roofing is too darn hot, so I hire these done anytime I need them.
      Back in 1990 I completely stripped our bathroom down to the studs and rebuilt it. The original house had a toilet, old sink, a horrible shower stall, and the laundry area. I started by building a laundry area with a work sink behind it. I then stripped out the sink and the shower stall, leaving the toilet in place, since that plumbing was something I didn’t want to tackle. My final tasks were to install a sink and counter and a full sized tub and shower with surround and overhead and a large closet. For about 3 weeks of the project we had neither a shower nor a tub and simply used the newly installed bathroom and work sinks to take sponge baths. When completed we had a great large bathroom with a separate laundry and a work sink, that will become an integral part of the summer kitchen and only spent about $600.00 total, saving more than $2000.00 in the process over having it professionally done.
      By the end of May I should have the greenhouse installed along with a small deck on the back of the house, and will finally be able to setup and use my smoker. By fall we hope to have the summer kitchen mostly complete and functional.
      This is where long term planning and patience comes in, since a lot of these small projects were conceived 20 or more years ago and if you just keep chipping away at them, they will eventually get done.

      • TOP and Mainebrain, My point exactly in doing what one can do themselves. when money is not available.., can do projects for materials costs..enabling more completed projects. You cited 2000$ saved on one project alone.
        Easily would be he case here. tearing out after a 4″ flood from burst pipes and” down” thermostat… all below 4 ft….Building closets in concrete foundations, running exterior and interior plumbing.( to already installed septic) taking natural gas lines back to meter and adding additional appliances. Hanging drywall. ading insulation…all in capability,with supplies. We have no idea what the savings are because we have not priced a contractor for any one job, but would keep one busy for several months, if he could be paid…..We know we ahve done it for pennies on the dollar with most labor costs here being thrice (minimum) what supplies are.
        Health issues are holding us back, but they are now clearing with slowly increasing hours of ability, to be up and about each week. Recovery from DH’s extensive ablation is expected to take two years.. Heart dysfuction stops everything.
        Like you we will chip away at projects most important until we can get them done.. On the painting, that is why they make paint sprayers. and we have had a cheap one , now have a better one.! tools are important to have and be comfortable using. The older I get the I am more thankful for the air compressor and the air tools…ie stapler , nail gun, sprayers. power drills for concete,….just makes each job easier. ..and glad my DH is adept at using them.

        • Anonamo Also,

          My point exactly in doing what one can do themselves. when money is not available.., can do projects for materials costs..enabling more completed projects. You cited 2000$ saved on one project alone.

          Also keep in mind that the $2000.00 was back in 1990 when I was only making about $50K and still had a mortgage, payment on our first round of windows, a vehicle payment, another boy still living at home, and an 80 mile round trip to work, so back then every penny really counted. You make your budget, do as many DIY projects as you can, and tough it through, since eventually it does really pay off.

          Easily would be he case here. tearing out after a 4″ flood from burst pipes and” down” thermostat… all below 4 ft….Building closets in concrete foundations, running exterior and interior plumbing.( to already installed septic) taking natural gas lines back to meter and adding additional appliances. Hanging drywall. ading insulation…all in capability,with supplies. We have no idea what the savings are because we have not priced a contractor for any one job, but would keep one busy for several months, if he could be paid…..We know we ahve done it for pennies on the dollar with most labor costs here being thrice (minimum) what supplies are.

          I’ve done a combination of all of that except the gas was to my propane feedline that’s accessible in our basement and more recently paid for whole house foam insulation and to have some exterior doors installed. Over the last 30+ years we’ve done wiring, plumbing, drywall, and a ton of little improvements as we had the time and cash to pay for them. Many people upgrade homes until they finally sell the big one and use the money to downsize; but, in our case we rented and then purchased the fixer upper and are now within sight of finally being complete. Well almost, since there’s always some little tweak you want to do, meaning that home ownership is never really quite finished, LOL.

          Health issues are holding us back, but they are now clearing with slowly increasing hours of ability, to be up and about each week. Recovery from DH’s extensive ablation is expected to take two years.. Heart dysfuction stops everything.

          May I ask what kind of ablation? I had A/v node ablation back in 2015 making me pacemaker dependent; but, pacemakers now have a lifespan at nearly a decade with my last check showing at least 6 more years. I’m back doing cardiac rehab 3 times per week and my stamina is much improved. I can do strenuous jobs for short periods or less strenuous jobs for longer times. My biggest issue is still my impaired vision, meaning every task just takes longer; but, once again, patience and persistence can pay off here.

          Like you we will chip away at projects most important until we can get them done.. On the painting, that is why they make paint sprayers. and we have had a cheap one , now have a better one.!

          We have a couple of the Wagner power painters and some roller attachments that go with them, so the little painting that needs to be done is rather manageable. Like other projects it just takes time and patience.

          tools are important to have and be comfortable using. The older I get the I am more thankful for the air compressor and the air tools…ie stapler , nail gun, sprayers. power drills for concete,….just makes each job easier. ..and glad my DH is adept at using them.

          We have air piped to several buildings on the property and I have been recently introduced to good quality battery powered tools. I’ have some Harbor Freight that work OK; but, the Ryobi tools have better batteries and a much wider selection of tools. Batteries now replace many of my air tools, since they are now truly portable and the battery technology is marvelous. Having air on demand is however handy, since there seems to always be a tire on something needing a bit of inflation.