It’s not always easy to figure out how to start homesteading when you’re strapped for cash, but with some creative thinking and a little bit of hard work you can start on your journey to an independent lifestyle. After all, if the idea behind you beginning homesteading is to be more frugal and independent, then it makes a lot of sense to start getting there right from the start.
10 Steps to Start Homesteading on the Cheap
Getting started is always the toughest part, but here are 10 easy and inexpensive ways to get started.
1. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead before you start spending your money is one of the keys to actually pulling this off. Neglecting to plan and just “winging” it might appeal to some, but it’ll hurt the long term viability of actually pulling things off.
Even if you have no money to invest, coming up with a rough timeline and the steps you need to accomplish will give you a blueprint to success as long as you follow it. If you’re looking to start cheaply, take your time in getting it established.
2. Make a Budget
Make a budget, and stick to it. If you’re planning on only going in for a $25,000 plot of land with a mortgage, don’t let a real estate agent upsell you. It’ll take some time, and you might leave an exasperated trail of people behind you but getting in over your head definitely isn’t putting your best foot forward.
Whether you’re limited to the online community or you actually know some people who are pulling it off in the real world, it’s important to make sure that you stay on your best footing with others in the community.
Whether you need to borrow something or need some advice on how to do something cheaply, people who are already involved are essential to your long term success.
Whether you’re reclaiming lumber for a rabbit hutch or just trying to get a project done, always consider finding something for super cheap or free to make things happen before you buy new building materials.
With a little bit of creativity you can make some wonderful things happen while spending very little.
5. Save As Much As You Can
At this stage, every dollar matters. You might want to consider foregoing some small day-to-day expenses at the very least. Something as simple as making your own coffee at home can drastically increase the amount of money you’re saving.
Calculate how much money you’ll be able to save with some of these purchases and you might be surprised. Even a couple of dollars a day snowballs into a lot of money saved for your homesteading needs over time.
6. Learn How to Synergize Your Purchases
Since you don’t have the budget to be able to do everything all at once, it’s a good idea to make sure that everything you’re doing serves more than one purpose. This can mean a lot of research in order to make the investment that will pay off the most, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
For instance: goats can clear mid-level brush, provide milk, fiber, and meat while being hardy animals. They’re a great investment if you have the land, since they serve a number of purposes on your property.
7. Practice While You Can
Even if you’re a ways off from buying your land and getting going in a “real” way, chances are you have enough space around you to get started. Growing plants for food and practicing different ways to preserve them can be done with a remarkably small amount of space, you can do small renovations around the place you currently live, or even start raising smaller livestock like rabbits if you have the space.
Practicing your skills before you’re relying on them will allow you to see your weak points clearly, and put you in much better shape when you finally take the plunge.
8. Keep an Eye Out For Free Stuff
If you’ve followed along so far, and you developed a seriously viable plan to start with then chances are you know what you need. Whether it’s tile or tin for roofing, you can probably find things for free if you keep an eye on local Facebook groups and Craigslist.
Spend a little bit of time each day looking for materials and tools under cost and you can take a serious dent out of your budget and if you move the money around you might even end up ahead of schedule.
9. Leverage What You Have
If you’re developing your skills, then chances are you’ll have something to show for it pretty quickly. Whether you’ve got a ton of sprouts of different varieties of heirloom tomatoes or you’ve managed to build up some serious skills in fixing things, chances are you can either trade or outright sell some of the things you’ve done.
Think of it as an investment and you’re on the right track. Take the money and put it right back into your homesteading budget for the best results.
10. Keep Taking the Next Step
Most of us aren’t going to be able to just get out there and get going right away. If your head up, learn from your mistakes, and get started on whatever is immediately actionable as soon as you can you’re on the right path.
Now all you need to do is follow the path. Take each actionable step as soon as you can, and you’ll find that the whole thing feels both cheaper and less overwhelming as you move closer and closer to your dream of a self-sustainable lifestyle and a beautiful home.
This post was contributed by Victoria Owen, a mom, DIY blogger, and downright fanatic about all things home improvement. She is the founder of Homethods, a blog which aims to make doing it yourself a simple experience for people of all experience levels. Contact her on Twitter or catch up on the latest updates.