Is homesteading expensive? Should I start a homestead? Just what is the cost of starting a homestead? Those are loaded questions. The answer is “yes” and “no”. Let’s examine why with “How Much Money Does it Cost to Start a Homestead?”.
Initially, it is absolutely NOT cheaper.
One exception might be if you were able to purchase a turn-key homestead that had everything problem solved and all systems in place, but who would ever sell a place like that….if it EVEN existed.
But “Yes” in the long term, if you’re determined and well-prepared for the homesteading costs.
The homesteading lifestyle isn’t the easiest path in life, but it is by far the most satisfying, in my mind.
Anyone who lives this way will tell you that it takes time, money, homestead budget and preparation to get there. You’ve got to plan for the expected AND the unexpected, and believe me, there is LOTS of unexpected when you live rurally.
The very best advice I can give you as you prepare yourself for homesteading costs is to become debt-free now.
Ideas to Persuade Your Spouse to Homestead
The Best Situation is Being Debt-Free
Paying Off All of Your Debt
This the best way to live anyway, but it can be especially critical when you’re procuring the sustainable life.
A family would have a very difficult time putting in enough hours at their “normal job” to make debt payments each month, while trying to set up a homestead.
Actually, it’s very improbable.
Here’s how it works, and please take this point very seriously, because I’ve seen family after family leave the country and go back to their dependent lifestyles, simply because of their debt load.
How to Be a Modern Homesteader
Setting Up a Homestead, or Sustainable Residence, Takes Time and Money
You need major flexibility from your day job to be able to work on your homestead.
This type of work can’t be done only on weekends and evenings, unless you plan to live until you’re 150.
That kind of flexibility can only happen when you have very few bills to pay.
How to Homestead with No Money
It’s a very sad thing to watch someone with big dreams about being self-sustaining purchase a property, only to move away in a couple of years because they can’t afford to pay for it.
Sure, they start off like gang-busters.
Suddenly, you’ll see a big crew of friends and family all working on the newly purchased property!
How to Homestead Alone and Not Die in the Process
Backhoes are digging, lumber is being hauled in and trucks of gravel and the like are all over the place, making the beautiful noise of of progress!
Then one day, it all stops.
I already know what happened….they ran out of money because they didn’t plan and have a homestead budget.
Checklist for Starting a Homestead
Take my advice, get out of debt first.
Do whatever you have to do, and stick with it as you dream about your life on a homestead.
If it takes you 10 years to pay everything off, so be it.
You’ll need every penny for homestead costs.
How We Paid off $100K of Debt in 3 1/2 Years
Learn to Live Below Your Means
“Living Below Your Means” is the sister to “Getting Out of Debt”
Because they work together in tandem.
Just because you have the money doesn’t mean you have to spend it.
In the book “The Millionaire Next Door“, the authors describe attributes of the truly wealthy.
Surprisingly, they live far below their means.
The real millionaires of the world (not the people who look rich but the ones who actually have cash in the bank) are pretty comfortable in their skin and have learned that the secret to wealth isn’t necessarily making 7 figures, but living modestly and frugally.
Saving, not spending, is what accumulates cash.
Learn frugality and practice it. Make it your mindset. Every time you think about spending, say to yourself “You have enough“.
Folks who are debt-free are disciplined, plain and simple.
12 Easy Steps to a Debt-Free Life
Find Your Money
Do you currently receive a tax refund?
That’s your cash every pay period that you’re giving to the government interest-free! Here’s how to get your money now and start saving it.
Where else could your money be going?
Are you supporting adult children who could be standing on their own two feet?
Do you have other dysfunctional people in your life who seem to find their way into your billfold?
You might want to have a little chat with these folks and set some new boundaries.
Cancel cable, magazines, newspapers and gym memberships.
Never pay retail and buy used only if it’s truly necessary.
You will need every dollar you can salvage for homestead costs.
8 Tips to Teach Your Teenagers About Money
Make Your Homestead Profitable
Can you make money homesteading? Absolutely!
I’ll go further and say that you should make money from your homestead!
The premise of homesteading is “independence”, and that means freedom from a job/career you don’t like.
Check out my book “Start Your Own Homesteading Business” and begin to think about making your homestead profitable!
Build Your Credit Rating
While you’re paying down debt, take a look at your credit rating and see what needs to be done to improve it.
You might need to borrow some cash down the road for a large ticket item for your homestead property, and there’s nothing wrong with borrowing, as long as you have a quick plan to pay it off.
The last thing you want to do, however, is be cash-strapped and then take out a loan.
Taking a loan to keep your own cash liquid can be a good decision, but not if you’re just desperate.
Use borrowing to your advantage.
Fancy term for “save a bunch of money”. You will need capital for your homestead to purchase:
- *Large equipment (front loader, back hoe, tractor, etc.)
- *Dependable car and or truck
- *Tools (chain saws, hand tools, shovels, post hole diggers)
- *Infrastructure (Solar panels, septic systems, wells, pasture fencing, barns, driveways/service roads)
How much money you’ll need to accomplish sustainability for your homestead will depend upon your skill set and the type of property you decide to buy.
You might decide to start with raw land and live in a mobile/tiny home for a while as you build your own home.
Write down everything you could possibly need, item by item, all the man hours, etc. that you will need to accomplish this.
Count the cost ahead of time!
My husband and I went a different route, we purchased a home on 10 acres with public utilities already in place, with the plan to become grid-free over time.
As income provides, we change systems and transition into sustainability.
This works best for us for a number of reasons.
Another way might be to purchase a run-down homestead and fix-it-up!
Once again, scrupulously investigate all possible issues with the property and plan appropriately!
Never say to yourself “Oh, it’ll be ok.”.
No, it won’t be.
Homesteading costs just crop up sometimes!
Expect the unexpected.
About a year after we moved into our home, we had a major fire in a pole barn that held all of our storage items, which included a “new” used zero-turn mower/front loader, most of our family heirlooms, tools, furniture, etc.
You can’t plan for that kind of thing except for with property insurance.
Even then, make sure you’re covered for the purpose you’re using it for, rural properties are insured a little differently.
It took us over a year to get the melted barn hauled away, new foundation laid and new building erected.
Not everything was covered by homeowners insurance, so we took a pretty good hit financially.
It could have set us back even further (or worse, sent us back to the suburbs!) if we hadn’t planned ahead financially and saved.
My intention isn’t to scare you out of homesteading, but rather to prepare you to be successful by considering all of the homestead costs for the modern homesteader!
This Post Has 8 Comments
I appreciate more information about how to truly get ready to homestead and all of the information provided here is especially helpful. Thank you!
Hi Leilani! Thanks for reading and commenting! It’s a process, one day at a time.
This is awesome advice! I love your infographics as well. We are looking at moving to a more rural area and I was starting to wonder about how much heat would cost so seeing it laid out is really helpful!
Thank you for reading and for your comment, Jennifer!
Excellent tips for newbies *and some of us that are homesteading while trying to figure out our finances!* Thanks for sharing on Homestead Blog Hop!
Thanks for reading and commenting, Liz!
Great advice and than you for the great insights. We are in a search for our next homestead which will be a part time
second home until we are retired in two or three years. We will be paying for two homes at once as the two places are almost two hours apart in travel time. A temporary situation. So we ARE looking at every expense and planning the needed renovations, land work and garden area, driveway maintenance (it’s a long one and uphill to the house and area around the house), all the things we WILL spend money on we intend to have on paper. That is happening before we consider the offer we hope to be making in the next three or four months. No we are not rushing in .. and if it gets sold first …no problem. We can keep saving and do more planning until the next place comes into sight.
Hi Al! Thanks for your comment and for reading. I love the way you’re looking at things, too many people rush in with no Plan B. Best of luck to you both!