We’re backyard homesteaders here, and in a way, it’s really fortunate that we are. We don’t have money for land or livestock or a house right now, and that’s okay. This is the stepping stone to the homestead lifestyle we dream of.
There are still costs associated with homesteading, wherever you are. This year, our big project is our garden, so most of our money is going there.
We sat down this week and did our first budget together. After bills, pet care, and groceries, there isn’t much leftover for homesteading projects. So how are we going to fund this new backyard homestead?
1. Set a budget and stick to it, but acknowledge where you’ll be saving money by homesteading.
We set a budget so that we could live within our means and still tuck a little money away every month for the car we are saving for and unexpected emergencies.
We are also setting ourselves up to save money down the road by homsteading.
For example, I’ve decided that baking our own bread is the way to go. It’s healthier, and at almost $2 a loaf, we’re saving money. I can get a small package of whole grain flour for $3.99 and get 5 or 6 loaves out of it. Imagine what I’d save buying it in bulk!
We also know that gardening is going to reduce the amount of money we’re spending on grocery store produce through the summer and fall, and maybe through winter if I do well with preserving food.
2. Reuse free or inexpensive items as homesteading items.
I am saving coffee cans and plastic containers to start my seeds in March. I have everyone I know saving me all sorts of buckets for container gardening this summer.
3. Bite off little chunks at a time.
Because all our gardening expenses are coming out of our “personal allowance” portion of our budget (a.k.a. our “fun money”), I know I can’t afford to order all our seeds or buy all our gardening supplies at once. In February, I’ll order about a quarter to half our seeds, buy a large trash can to build our compost bin, and still have a little to spend on other things. The next month, I’ll buy more seeds and some of our gardening tools. Sometime before summer, we’ll build our raised beds. It’s a slow way to get it done, but it makes it more affordable.
4. Put projects you can’t afford on next year’s goal list.
I wanted rabbits this year for pets/fertilizer. They’re the only homestead animal we can legally have in our borough. Unfortunately, we just can’t afford to house, feed, and care for more animals right now, so it’s going on my to do list for next year.
5. Look for ways to supplement your income.
Have a yard sale. Sell on Ebay. Sign up as a language partner on italki and get paid to help people practice their English conversation. Babysit. Dog sit/walk. Pick up some extra hours or cover other people’s shifts at the job you’re at. Write an ebook. Help someone with a household or farm project.
Small amounts of money add up to a larger homesteading fund.
Here are some blog posts with more ideas for bringing in extra cash:
How are you funding your homesteading projects? Share in the comments!
(Image modified from creative commons.)