You Don’t Need To Be Wealthy to Homestead

LOG HOME HOMESTEADSo you want to homestead but don’t think you can afford it? You see sprawling ranches on television with seven-figure price tags and think that is what homesteading is all about.

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Buy used

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Monetize your homestead

There are multiple ways that you can make money on 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.

  1. 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.

M.D. Creekmore

I've been interested in self-reliance topics for over 25 years. I’m the author of four books that you can find here. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about prepping, homesteading, and self-reliance topics through first-hand experience and now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

23 Responses

  1. Jesse Mathewson says:

    Solid list of needs/requirements- here in arizona a good well is most important and sometimes most expensive.

    Some areas I really love here in Arizona have quite reasonable water tables (10 feet through 400 is not abnormal) however, it is the extremely tough ground / caliche (hard clay) rock level and sand levels that can be difficult.

    Wouldn’t trade it for the world though!

    Great information!

  2. Sarah says:

    MORNING from SEATTLE,WA. FIRST I am 74 and 100% disabled I am 100% cheap and “FREE” I buy what I can and yes I shop at WALMART! I feel I have about 1 month of food. My son helps me reload ammo for me (NEVER HAVE ENOUGH AMMO) MY little garden is coming along I can somewhat do that BUT my chickens is a whole different subject I need a lot of help on that!! WHAT to move so bad away from the high tax the city of SEATTLE has! “SORRY” about my ramble on! I have learn so much from your web site and what others have posted THANK YOU

  3. JP in MT says:

    Our goal is to remove as much dependency on outside sources as possible, long term. The first step for us to get out of debt. The second is find a place outside of town with a well and septic. We’ll grow from there.

  4. Oren says:

    About 25 years ago I found 20 acres outside of town, all wooded. Today, I have about 5 acres of the land cleared. Of that, about 1/2 acre is a garden, the balance is in fruit trees and space for the free ranging chickens. It is obviously a work in progress. However, our home is heated in the winter with a wood stove fueled by felling dead trees. When we first moved in, we lived in a single wide trailer…I refuse to call it a mobile home. They “ain’t” mobile. The well we had installed is today used for irrigation but can be used for domestic water with the simple turning of a valve. It does however have an abundance of minerals that produce the typical sulfurous odor. We recycle all veggie waste as well as the chicken feces in a large three compartment composting set up. Future plans for the homestead include the following: a hand pump (windmill double action) for the well. There may come a time there is no power. A flock of guineas. They will keep down bugs and snakes and won’t tear up the garden. Continue with the garden, experimenting with the various crops to further the health of the soil. This summer it has sweet peas, string beans, lima beans, Beef Steak tomatoes, Brandywine tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, Kennebec potatoes, summer yellow crook neck squash, zucchini, egg plant, poblano peppers, red bells, green bull nose, onions and garlic. Believe it or not, it is not that much work. If it all hits the fan, I’ll open the front yard to expand the garden. Besides, I hate to cut grass.

    • Oren says:

      By the way. Other than chickens, and the future guineas, I have not included livestock. My wife won’t eat domestic animals we raise….yet. However, I do have an abundance of wild rabbits which I intend to capture and raise for meat. My son has a flock of goats. If need be, I’ll practice the old hillbilly approach to the goats…stake them out on a chain. In addition to the original post, I’m stocking up on fencing materials for livestock such as goats and also barbed wire to install entanglements if need be.

      • Livinthedream says:

        Hello, Oren! U sound like my kind of people!

        I am not an authority on anything. I an, however, a full-time homesteader. I work hard, every day. Thus IS the retirement life we have chosen.

        About rabbits – and I am just learning – but I believe, based on reading & word-of-mouth, that wild rabbits r far more likely to carry parasites than domestically-raised. While I once thot it “cruel” to keep rabbits on wire-floored cages, I have learned that colony-raised domestics r more likely to have parasites.

        When we add rabbits, it will b cage-raised.

        What thots do u have on subject?

    • Oren,

      Good job! Thank you for posting your progress. I hate cutting grass too.

  5. Goatlover2 says:

    Homesteading and self sufficiency have been my full-time hobby since 2008. It’s always a work in progress, but I find it peaceful AND challenging at the same time. Wouldn’t have it any other way as I need a challenge to prevent boredom. I estimate that I am growing/raising at least 50% of my food. Earlier this week, I had a visitor to my place who is a retired plant biologist (or something like that!) She was amazed at how healthy my tomatoes and basil and grapes were. She’s all about chemicals and such rot. You should have seen her face as she asked me what type of fertilizer I use…goat poop and chicken manure! LOL

  6. Norman Franklin says:

    Excellent article MD

    The longer one goes down the ‘path’ the greater the rewards become. Almost like compound interest that builds on the principle year after year. The hardest part for us was just getting started. Had the idea and read lots of stuff from the early 2000s however we didn’t get our 5 acres till 2012 and didn’t live here full time till spring 2013. All the things one can learn from reading/watching videos cant compare to the trial and errors of real life.

    Imho setting realistic goals is the hardest part. Unless you grew up on a farm the learning curve is rather steep. The light and space of not having neighbors always in our business put the zap on my brain. Overall we have achieved about 60% of what we set out for our first five year plan. The house was a foreclosure that we have made a modern home we like living in.. We still have a long way to go toward complete food and energy independence

    Anyone reading who is still on the fence get stated now. You will become a blessing not a curse to your countrymen when the curtain comes down on this kabuki country. The only thing I disagree on with the article or comments is the grass. I truly enjoy the 3 or 4 hours a week I spend on my riding mower with my I pod as the sun goes down.

  7. Livinthedream says:

    Everything u have said here is on-target!

  8. Roger says:

    Thank you for this. Grateful to have stumbled across your blog. Endeavoring to become debt free and learning the ropes of homesteading along the way. Keep up the good work!

  9. marine mike says:

    We bought or “mini farm” 3 years ago with plans of retiring to it in five years. I go there regularly, its a 12 hour drive one way, to cut the fields and building the homestead. I have established a orchard and I’m in the process of grading some of the land for garden and goat fields. They broke ground on our log home last week and it should be done in about 90 days. So retirement may come a year early but we are ready. We have paid cash for everything and I have been going to auctions for the last three years buying anything and everything I think I will need. My wife had the great idea to buy everything we need now, while we have an income above our retirement income. My goal is for chickens, dairy goats and bees. I have one hive active and 6 more to start when we make the move. Like Oren my wife will wont eat any farm slaughtered animals that we raise. I have a neighbor who processes chickens, deer, pigs and rabbits. So I will have a source for homestead raised meat, he does not garden so we will work out a barter system. I am just so excited about the move to self reliant living I can hardly contain myself. We are in the process of selling our business to our employees and that should be finalized in Sept. I will be 60 this year and my wife 62. She has health issues, knee replacements and back operations and needs to start living a life where she can do what she wants when she wants. I will run the farm and take care of the animals. I am the type of person that needs something to keep me busy and active. I am so looking forward to this next phase of my life

  10. AZ Camper says:

    I love the new focus of the blog, M.D. Reading about homesteading was always my favorite part of the old one. We have some veggies and melons that are growing well in our raised beds this spring. I changed the soil to just compost and the mulch is also compost. I think that is what made the gardening so much more successful this season. Wanting to get a good start before the hot AZ sun had a chance to damage them, I decided to use organic starters for most of the plants, and that means a quicker harvest.

    On another note, we rescued a pup from a high-kill shelter recently and are having fun training her. She is a Standard Schnauzer/German Shepherd mix, and so loving and cute. I think she will be a good watchdog, too. We also will be adding a purebred German Shepherd that was picked up as a stray to our little pack so I am thrilled to have a big dog again. We have had labs, which are amazing family dogs, but I love the idea of having a naturally protective dog (who will be well trained) to watch over us.

    We have spent time getting the ATVs in running shape and have made improvements on the camper as well. Our daughter is graduating high school this month. We are looking into starting a home-based business together,