I’m here to tell you that’s not true. You don’t need to be wealthy to start a homestead. You don’t need a trust fund or a rich relative. For most people, this isn’t a hobby or a vacation house, it’s a way of life.
A life of self-sufficiency. A life that includes hard work and discipline, but also one where you will feel rewarded when you lay your head down each night.
If that sounds like the kind of life you want, you can follow these steps and begin your dreams of homesteading sooner than you might expect.
Where you choose to live is important
We all know location is everything is real estate, and that is certainly true when looking to purchase a homestead. Generally, the further you are from town, the cheaper- and more available- land becomes. In some cases, that might mean moving to another part of the state or out of the state altogether to follow your dreams.
Whether you move across town or across the country, keep a couple things in mind. What is more important to you? More land or being closer to town? And if you have kids, school could be a consideration. Would you be happy moving to another state and potentially leaving your family?
There is no right or wrong answer. But these are things you will need to think about as you begin your life on the homestead.
Buy what you can afford
You don’t need to start out big. You can begin homesteading on a couple acres and build it up over time. That’s usually a great place to start so you don’t get over your head and potentially discouraged by the amount of work a large homestead entails.
And one of the great parts about living in the country is that you can usually buy more land around you as you have the money and the need.
But it will be no fun if your property is larger than you can work or more expensive than you can afford.
Go into homesteading debt free
As you prepare to begin homesteading, becoming debt free should be in your plans. Pay off your student loans, credit cards, medical bills or any other type of consumer debt before moving forward. You might think most everyone has debt, and that’s just normal. You’d be right, but you need to be different. Why?
Because your debt will just be a stranglehold on you and your homestead. You will constantly be paying back debts, and interest to the bank, rather than being able to save for the future. This will take commitment and might mean you put off your dreams for a few years, but it will be worth it.
If you don’t think getting out of debt is possible, I am here to tell you it is. To get started, I recommend you read Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover. It will bring you financial peace and change your life forever.
That new shiny tractor at the dealership looks mighty nice. And it sure would look really nice on your property. But I’m not interested in the fancy price tag that goes along with it. Like anything with a motor, it is going down in value. So buy used. Whether it’s a tractor, trailer or your truck.
This is part of debt-free living and living within your means. If money is not an issue, buy whatever you’d like. But if you are wondering how you can make it on a budget, buy used and save.
Do work yourself
Learning how to fix things yourself– whether it’s a plumbing issue in the house or something on the tractor- will save you mightily. You’ll save money, but you’ll also save time from not having to wait for someone to come to your property when they can.
But if you’re not a DIY pro right now, it’s okay. You will learn a lot along the way, whether it has to do with your house, your property, your animals or something else. Just be ready.
Monetize your homestead
First, and most obvious, is selling what you harvest. Fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk, even meat. There are still plenty of people who sell what they harvest out of the back of their truck on the side of a highway. You can do that, but in the interest of being more efficient, you can sell at farmers markets, online or through personal networks.
In this same category, you can also barter. If you need some work done that you can not do, instead of paying cash, see if you negotiate a fair trade.
You can also share your experience on the homestead through blogging. Blogging is how I was able to quit my day job and earn a full-time living without having a regular job and a boss. If you are interested in getting started, I’ve put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to starting a profitable blog. Be sure to check it out.
Live off the land as much as possible
Maybe one day you dream of being 100 percent off-the-grid eating only food you harvest on your homestead. Even if you’re not there, as most homesteaders are not, you can still save by living off the land.
A good way to start this journey is to set goals. These goals will be different for everyone depending on experience and size of your homestead. But outline what percentage of food you want to harvest by season. See if you are hitting those goals and increase them each year.
If you follow these steps and make some sacrifices along the way, you will be homesteading very soon.