How We Afford to Mini-Farm on One Income

Our southern pasture

First off, I think I need to clarify a few things right off the bat…

Originally, I had titled this post, “How We Afford to Homestead on One Income.” But that makes it sound like homesteading has to be an expensive endeavor, and that’s not necessarily true.

As I’ve stated in my Your Custom Homestead eBook, as well as all over my blog, you DO NOT have to move to the country or shell out the big bucks in order to ‘homestead.’

It can totally be done where you are RIGHT NOW- an apartment, in the suburbs, or on a couple acres of land.

However.

If you’ve read my About page, then you know our personal homestead/farm consists of 67 acres, cattle, horses, various smaller animals, multiple outbuildings, tractors, a one-ton truck, and several trailers.

Land and animals are expensive. Ideally, we would all be able to make our homesteads pay for themselves right away, but it doesn’t always work like that.

I’ve had several readers send me emails expressing a slight bit of skepticism as to how we, a young couple, have been able to afford our lifestyle. I think some folks wonder if we are independently wealthy or if we inheirited our land.

So for those of you who are wondering what our secret is, I’m going to spill the beans today.

You see, we really do live on just my husband’s income. (I quit my last “real” job in 2009 when I become pregnant with Prairie Baby.) While we are blessed that he makes a good salary, it’s far from being three figures…

We aren’t trust fund babies…

We don’t have rich relatives and haven’t inheirited a single cent from anyone…

We don’t play the lottery…

And we’ve never borrowed money from our parents…

The big secret is…

Actually not really a secret at all. There are lots of different little factors that enable us to do what we do.

How WE Afford to Maintain a Mini-Farm on One Income

1. We stay out of debt.

We were very fortunate to come across Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book right after we were engaged. We entered our marriage with ZERO debt and a plan to keep it that way. We committed right from the beginning of our relationship to be different than the average American and do everything we could to live beneath our means.

For our first year and a half of marriage, we rented a single-wide trailer out in the middle of nowhere with dirt-cheap rent. This enabled us to squirrel away a healthy chunk of savings. We knew that we would take out a loan for our first home, but set our price range far, far below what the bank was willing to loan us.

So yes, we do have a mortgage payment on our homestead– but it’s less than what some folks pay for rent in the neighboring town– and it’s the only bit of debt we have. Plus, we’ve been able to refinance and get an awesome interest rate, so our plan is to pay off the loan in 15 years instead of 30.

2. We buy things used.

This goes along with the whole idea of staying debt-free. We are strict about only paying cash for our vehicles, tractors, or trailers.

Borrowing the neighbor’s equipment to hay our pasture. We’ve since purchase an old tractor of our own.

Although that might sound glamorous at first, it means we have a lot of older equipment. Functional? Yes. Shiny and fancy? No. We do end up spending time tinkering on the stuff that breaks down or needs maintenance.

I’ll be honest, sometimes I feel a little dorky driving my old sedan… But then I remember that I don’t have a monthly payment on it, and that makes it all worthwhile.

The concept of buying things second-hand goes beyond just vehicles– I am a yard sale fanatic and purchase a large number of our clothes, household items, and kitchen stuff that way. People are shocked when I tell them that most of my home decor are repurposed yard sale finds. If you are creative, yard sale stuff doesn’t have to be tacky.

3. We are Obsessive DIY-ers.

I was fortunate to marry a very handy man. Not only is my hubby a Master Electrician by trade, he can weld, mechanic, woodwork, fence, and he’s knowledgable with general construction stuff. These skills have proven invaluable in allowing us to build and maintain our homestead on a budget.

When at all possible, we don’t hire others to do work that we are capable of… Even if it means some long, sweaty days.

Of course, there is no shame in hiring a professional when the task requires it (when our sewer line backed up last weekend, I wanted to kiss the repairman that unplugged it…), but we’ve saved a lot of cash by doing all of our own fencing, painting, landscaping, and remodeling.

One of our less-than-glamorous DIY projects… We’ve since re-roofed and re-painted the whole thing.

But, there has still been a lot of skills we’ve had to learn along the way…

Since starting our homesteading journey, we’ve learned how to raise and kid goats, milk dairy animals, butcher a steer, garden, pressure can, make cheese, bake bread, and a whole lot more…

Neither one of us was raised on a farm, and we had no prior experience with any of those skills. So if we can learn all that stuff, so can you!

4. We Barter

Whenever we can, we like to barter for goods and services. This can really help to take the strain off of the budget. This year I traded some of our home raised grass-fed beef for a big box of cucumbers from my friend. We’ve also been blessed to trade some of hubby’s electrician skills for hay, and I swapped some goats for a Jersey bull calf this spring.

Of course, bartering greatly depends on your location and needs, but look for opportunities whenever possible.

Read Part Two HERE.

This post is a part of Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Simple Lives Thursday, Monday Mania, The Better Mom, New Nostalgia, Fat Tuesday

 


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Comments

  1. Great post! You are so right, staying (or getting) debt free is the best thing anyone could do to protect their future & their family, life just becomes so much cheaper then!

  2. Hi:) Loved your story..We also read and followed Dave Ramesy book,its such a great tool.We only have one income too, husband is self employed and I am a stay at home mommy.My kids are homeschooled and we r so very blessed to have such a great church family-we have a home schooling group/pool that we get together with everyday..kids love it!We had $30,000 in debt and we applied Dave Ramesys book and was able to pay off that $30,000 in 3 yrs..we sacrificed alot,we hardlyever ate out,if we did it was on the dollar menu :) We shopped at thrift stores,which I still love to do.We then was able to save $6,000 fpr a down payment on our first car as a family.We payed that off in 2 yrs..next step was buying land so we save another $6,000 in a yr and was able to put that money down on 4 acres..its our only loan we have..We bought a second hand trailor fixed it up this yr an made it homey husband is a handyman too :) He is a carpentar so we were blessed to not have to pay labor and also to have alot of church friends help.We had bought it for $ 4,000 which we had saved and in a month we made it like a home-new windows doors,walls-everything lol..In the end we still had no debt,and its our home!:) We are currently wanting to start a small farm,we want to buy animals for to live to cut costs..we only eat organics-but it can be pricey and hard to find a variety of stuff-any suggestions on some small animals to start with,really any info would be appreciated:)

    • Wow Ashley– you guys rock!

      As far as small animals, chickens are always a good starter farm animal. You can eat them and of course, the eggs are very useful. The feed can be a bit expensive, so if you can free range them or supplement with kitchen scraps, that helps.

      I recommend goats if you are interested in home dairying. Much cheaper than cattle, and they eat a lot less. Plus, you can use them for meat if you desire.

  3. Jill,

    You go girl! to be debt free:::OMG, how I dream of not having to pay on credit cards every pay day! some day:: were down to a couple of them::: I swear though:: I’m pretty sure the Devil came up w/ the concept of credit cards:::they are evil:: and I’m the first to admit:: I loved having them! but the older I get :::: the tougher it is to pay the suckers off!!! Love the pictures:: our little homestead is nothing compared to that! yours is so dang pretty!!!! thanks for the post: very educational.
    Sandy

    • Yes, credit cards are definitely a trap. So easy to get caught up with them…

      And those photos were taken last summer, before our drought… Unfortunately, it’s not so green or tall this year. :(

  4. Thank you so much for sharing. Your post makes the homestead life seem much more attainable. With the economy the way it is great deals seem to be presenting themselves all the time. We are working on our skill sets while keeping an eye out for property. Love the pics. My husband would drool over your tractor!

    • Yes, definitely keep working on those skill sets! They are incredibly useful, regardless of where you live. And now is a good time to purchase land in many areas of the country… Hope that perfect parcel presents itself to you soon! :)

  5. I love this post! It has given me a lot of ideas about how to reach that homesteading dream. We are a one-income, two person family, however with plenty of student loan debt on both our heads, we still live in a tiny, cheap apartment and try to live below our means. I’m forwarding this to my husband so we can start thinking of more ways to save and plan!
    Also, I have been bartering my services as a designer a lot lately – I see both my chiropractor and personal trainer with no money exchanging hands. Feels good.

  6. Roxanne Hill says:

    Great post Jill! Great job all around on your homestead and life!

  7. I so wish more people would do what you’ve done. My wife and I lived off one income during the early years of our marriage. We both worked, but the second income went to savings and paying off debt. We got rid of all our debt except the mortgage but like you, we only bought half the house the bankers and realtors thought we could afford. It has made all the difference in our lives. I applaud your choices and lifestyle.

  8. Love this post! Part 2! Part 2!

    My husband and I live in the sticks and plan on eventually doing something like this. We live on 5 acres but are looking to buy 164 acres down the street. We have hesitated since he works full time and I have little ones. But you make it seem so possible!

    How is your hunting? Been lately? I still haven’t gone. I don’t think I will until the girls are a little older!

    Are you going to Allume?? I would love to meet you!

    • Wow, 164 acres would be awesome!

      No hunting lately. :( We didn’t get drawn for our antelope tags this year– I was so bummed! Hubby might try to go out for deer or elk, but I won’t since I’m getting so close to my due date. And yes, it can be a challenge with little ones. I look forward to when ours will have their own licenses and can walk on their own, ha!

      No Allume for me this year– I really, really hope to make it eventually in the future, though!

  9. We’re also on one income and just getting ready to move to our 10 acre homestead. We just have one vehicle and are building a pole barn ::blush:: . My husband works full time “off the farm” and travels every week with his job so some DIY projects are not feasible for us, but even hiring out the labor for our home is less expensive than building a traditional frame home. We’ve almost always bought used furniture on consignment or caught a really good deal and the majority of my appliances have always been just the basics: no bells and whistles.

  10. Awesome to read another success story! My husband and I also have a similar story! We moved from urban PA to rural TN….what an experience that was! We owner financed 15 acres and build our house with our 4 hands from a patch of dirt. We paid off the land about 10 years ago, we drive old trucks and tractors, we raise about 50% of the food we eat(with 4 kids now!) We are about a year from being totally debt free . We sacrifice all the fancy baubles and shiny things our friends have but in this age of financial turmoil I would not trade my self-sufficient little farm for anything. I home school my children and they are the poster kids for how much happiness country life can bring. IT IS POSSIBLE!!

  11. We also have built our farm in this same manner. We barter all the time and get much of out supplies for building free off of Craig’s list. We have built all of our out buildings from other peoples throwaways All of our animals have come free or close too it. We own a Allis Chalmers Tractor that is from the early era also. We have 7 acres hill of paradise and we are buying it from a friend who no longer had the funds to continue paying for it from the bank. We paid off the loan and pay him. We have no payments on cars and everything we own outright. We have been trying to get our children to understand this is possible but they believe that credit cards and high bills are the thing. Yes it is possible

    • Yes, it’s totally possible! :) We have an old (1960s) Allis Chalmers, too. (The tractor in the photo was being borrowed from our neighbor). I love it- it’s a great piece of equipment!

    • We Raise Nigerian dairy goats, chicken, ducks and New Zealand rabbits and have recently set up a Tilalia pond for sustaining ourselves. We also have a few donkeys, one standard and one mini to protect everyone along with our Pyrenees dogs.We raise blueberries, grapes, peaches pears and plums all organically. In with the fish we raise strawberries and greens hydroponically too. My husband and I are both full time students and he has his own business building wiring harnesses for a small company. I will be graduating in Dec. with a masters in Teaching and will teach online and my husband will be doing the same in an other year and a half. We are very much into protecting the environment and have background in it. We are working towards a better sustainability for our future.

  12. Yay for being debt free…we’re working towards that goal right now. All we have left are student loans, and I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to pay off the last credit card. I’ve never had a car payment because we buy everything used as well. Hubby is a great hobby mechanic, so having older cars (some older than we are) isn’t a problem…in fact he prefers it that way because they are less complicated to work on. The thought of making car payments just floors me whenever I hear friend talking about what a “good deal” they got on their brand new vehicles, and how “low” their payments are. Another thing that I think is important is knowing the difference between wants and needs. I’m not saying that we can’t give into our wants sometimes, if we have the resources, but if we really don’t need it it truly isn’t worth going into debt for. I also love thrift stores and consignment stores. Baby’s crib and swing both came from consignment stores for less than 1/3 of what they would have cost new!

    • Oh me too– I think I’ve bought pretty much every single part of my baby gear second hand… And it’s all good stuff! ;)

  13. Deborah Jennings says:

    When I saw the title of this, I though to myself, “How can you NOT homestead on just one income?” Even though we have just 1-acre of land, are retired, and drawing a good retirement, we still like to Homestead. My favorite part is the putting up of fresh vegetables. We don’t have any meat sources on our property, but that’s OK. We aren’t big meat eaters anyway. Yes, we still have some credit card debt, but it is manageable and we are getting them paid down and off. Just 2 more to go and all we will have left is the mortgage on the house. It is a doable thing. We always pay more than the minimum payments on everything. I can’t wait to be totally debt free! At least the end is in sight! =)

    • Yes, it is definitely doable! :) Love that you are working on whittling away that debt. Keep up the great work!

  14. Wonderful post! I’m looking forward to part two. :) My husband and I are currently trying to get out of debt. My husband is a general contractor and so I definitely know the blessing of being married to a man who can do everything. I call my hubby Superman. And he is. :) The things we’ve been able to do on our farm is greatly because of his skill. Truly a blessing. When we bought our home we had to TOTALLY remodel the inside, and there is no way we could have afforded to pay someone to do it. It took three months of blood, sweat, and tears, but it was worth it and now we have a beautiful home. (Well, we need to do work on the outside, but that can wait. Isn’t it what’s on the inside that matters? :) And what’s amazing is that the Lord gave my hubby so much work in that three months that we were able to pay for the whole remodel out of pocket! Wow…we were stunned and sooo thankful!

    • Aren’t those handy hubbys the best?! And how cool that you were able to remodel your whole house like that and do it all out of pocket! I love it!

  15. Wow, I’m glad I’m not the only one who lives on a farm with a family and one income. My hubby is a carpenter so doesn’t make a lot, but by the grace of God, we have the cheapest rent around for our 10 acres of mostly bush. We have debt from some poor choices when we first got married, but our vehicle was given to us so we have no debt on that. We are trying to get out of debt so we can save for a farm of our own (with more pasture), but with our small income we’re not making much headway. But we love farming! We used our savings to buy a milk cow to add to our chickens and 2 horses. There are so many things we need to run this farm better but because it’s a rental and the lack of spare cash we’re not putting money into infrastructure, just time, using whatever free materials we can find. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Sounds like you have an awesome start Rebekah! And kudos to you for working on eliminating that debt. It’s a tough road, but SO worth it in the end. :)

  16. Shanan Bjelland says:

    I just had to tell you how much I LOVE this post! My husband and I have a small 2.5 acre mini-farm with cows, chickens, goats, a rabbit, dogs, cat…and we are also on one income. Many times my family and friends can’t believe we live the way we do! We love it and we love working for ourselves…getting our own meat and building/remodeling our own land and home. Your list says it all! And that is exactly why it works for us homesteaders! When the economy collapsed and I lost my job it became clear to us that the way we wanted to live might become harder…but going back to our roots and the “old” way of living has been more rewarding and everyday we learn something new! Thank you!

  17. What kind of chickens and goats do u guys raise? How many do we nee to buy to
    Start off with?

  18. Love this…makes me hopeful. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Thank you for this post, Jill! It is so inspiring to read all of the comments as see that what I dream of really *is* possible! I am single now, but I own my home and 1/3+ acre. Since purchasing my home, I’ve learned basic household electric, to patch drywall, to lay flagstone, make adjustments/repairs to my sprinklers, I’m in the process of building a manifold for my newly installed well (to water the garden!), and have become very proficient in the use of a caulking gun! :) I didn’t set out to learn any of this, but rather don’t want to pay someone to do it for me! It’s encouraging to know that this mindset/skills really will carry over to when I’m blessed with marriage and hopefully get to stay home to care for our home and children.

  20. Thanks for putting this post out there. It’s great to get some tips in order to manage a budget and live realistically. I’m off to crunch our numbers and see how we can do better.

  21. Just wanted to thank you for your inspiration. I read your post last week, told my husband about it and he got me the Dave Ramsey book on the Kindle five minutes later. I read the book, and we are already committed to this and have started the process. I am excited and anxious about it, and hopeful too. I hope in a few years we can be where you are at. Thanks again-and bless you!!!
    Heather

  22. Jill, I’m so glad to see you doing this article. My oldest daughter would love nothing more than to have her own farm (and we’d love that for her, too!). She is committed to living debt free and loves thrift store shopping. I’ll be sharing this post with her as I know it will encourage her not to give up and that her dream is certainly possible if the Lord wills. Thanks for sharing!
    ~ Amy

    • Yes– it’s definitely possible! And I think your daughter has a splendid start– especially considering all the experiences her mama has shared with her. :)

  23. Fantastic and inspiring as always, Jill! Yours is one of the blogs I turn to when when the goals of having a “complete” homestead of our own seems unattainable. We’re debt free and slowly building up savings for the land purchase. It’s a slow pace, but every day we’re closer! We already grow a lot of veggies, and will hopefully have some chickens before June. Thanks for all you’re sharing, keep it up!

  24. Jennie Ware says:

    Okay my turn, love everybody’s post! We bought our 15 acres 13 yrs ago with the intent to build a camp house, We reused materials we found, my lavatory was picked up off the side of the street in a very nice subdivision , probably because they didn’t like they way the hot water turned on and off, seems backwards…but it was free. Our windows were used, lumber was reused materials our rafters, roof, and stone, plus foundation we paid for. Over the course of the 13yrs…and several coastal hurricanes that my hubby hauled telephone poles by the trailer loads to our place! I kept saying we were getting to look like a junk yard! Well, 3 barns later, alot of expense was eliminated due to his salvaging, my husband is in construction too, and can do ANYTHING, this is invaluable to us! We have built everything ourselves! Our camp is now our home, as of 1 yr ago! Which the only inconvenient thing I have to deal with is that we don’t have any closets! Our home is maybe 1000sq ft! But we are perfectly happy! I knew that when we sold our prior resident (our houseboat) he was planning on living at our camp/home. So I thought I would try it a yr before we tried selling our boat. Then the hubby said I needed something to do with my free time…….that’s were the Nigerians came in a yr ago. Now if I could get rid of our houseboat we lived on for 10 yrs (a bucket list ck off) we would be debt free totally!!! You see we have a love affair with the water and a deep love of the woods, we love being with nature, the very core of Gods creations! I feel deeply blessed! We now, pretty much homestead, with chickens, goats, gardening, canning…..I don’t need the city life, ” Green Acres is the life for me! “.

    • What a wonderful homestead you have going on- I love it! And I think it’s sooo cool that you used salvaged materials for your house– way to go. :)

  25. I think it also helps the budget to not have a case of “Iwantitis.” Then you don’t want everything you see. Being content with what you have makes a huge difference in any family’s budget.

  26. I like your story but in my mind I can’t see how you afford that much land and horses and other animals. We have no mortgage but could never afford that much land. Horses are so expensive, that’s why I’ll never get one, sigh. We repurpose, buy 2nd hand, and DIY many things. Hubby can fix most anything and if he isn’t able to fix it then it’s beyond hope. Hope this is a great help to others starting. We always had one income also as I was a SAHM when our kids were young. Never had enough money for that much land though. Not sure where you’re at but we’re in Ohio. Hope everythoing continues to go well for you.

    • I’m pretty sure the land prices in WY are very different than OH. Our 67 acres are also very far from town and flat with few trees– so land like that is priced much lower than acreage in lush, wooded areas.

      • Oh. Thanks for your description of your property. I love the trees but unfortunately we only have 5 acres with a few mature trees but I’m growing my forest. I let maple seedings grow and have added many other free trees from woods, fencerows, son’s property, etc. so someday someone can enjoy lots of trees.
        Did your propery come with a house and buildings, too? In 1995 our 5 acres, 1-1/2 story 4 bedroom home with poutbuildings was 90K. Then we had 3 kids at home, now all gone. My ‘kids’ are rescued cats from dumpers. Have 7 chickens hoping for eggs by Sept.
        I enjoy reading your posts and enjoy photos.

        • Our property came with a small house (1200 square feet), and a shop/barn that were in serious need of repair (the roof on the shop was partially burned, and need to be completely re-done, and both buildings were waist-deep in trash.) Much of the fence needed to be replaced, there was trash EVERYWHERE, and the place hadn’t been mowed in years. So, the average person would NOT have wanted to property, which is why we were able to afford it. Now, after 5 years of work, it looks pretty shiny, but people don’t realize how much sweat equity we’ve put in. :)

  27. Erika Jaeger says:

    I loved reading this article, we have a 1/4 acre homestead in the city of worcester,ma We grow all our veggies and as many fruits as we can during our short season. I can, freeze, dehydrate etc. We raise chickens and ducks for both meat and eggs and have learned to slaughter and prepare our own meat for the freezer. It has been quite the journey, especially with our runins with Animal control:) My kids who are 4,5 are homeschooled and know more about animal husbandry, canning, baking etc. than most adults. Its hard sometimes, but it completes me and I know I am giving my family the best food that I can as well as the best education. Good luck, I feel you are my kindred spirit:)

  28. I love the Prairie Homestead! My family lives on 17 acres where we raise pastured chickens and turkeys, free-range hens, grow organic produce and keep honeybees. We are not only homesteaders but are trying to make our small farm, Third Creek Cottage Gardens, our main income source. It is so nice to feel like there is someone out there that can relate and inspire you to keep going. Farming is hard work! I also homeschool our four children so I stay very busy, but very fulfilled. I have recently started blogging and I “linked up” for the first time on this blog. I hope I did everything correctly. Please forgive me if I didn’t. My blog is just getting started so it isn’t very fancy. Thank you so much for sharing your life.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Bevin! Sounds like you have a wonderful farm– and thanks for linking up to the Barn Hop this week!

  29. I really enjoyed reading your post. I’m a “newbie” and nervous, but we are in the process of looking at a wonderful piece of property. 53acres of a mix of forest, open plowable land, a couple outbuildings, and a house that we can live in while making necessary repairs. I am disabled though and while I have 2 teens and my husband I’m worried I may be biting off more then I chew. The goal is to live between the 2 locations while the kids finish school, planting berries, fruiting trees, etc as well as beginning compost, prepping the soil and making the home repairs, then move to the farm full time after our youngest heads off to college. I have modified my gardens to make them easier to manage, but we currently live on just less then an acre. Can you offer any advice for beginners or pitfalls you may have encountered that we could try to avoid? Thanks!

    • Hey K.E. –
      Sounds like your plate will be very full! My best advice would be to avoid over-extending yourself (if possible!) and simplify your life in as many areas as you can to keep from going crazy. Best wishes on your new adventure, though!

  30. Hi Jill! I just found your site through the e-book bundle available this week. I have read such a huge amount of your site in the past couple days it’s ridiculous, but I am thoroughly-enjoying myself! I have a question on this topic, though. Right now, both my husband and I work full-time (40-hr a week desk jobs), but we are seeking to establish a small homestead near our current city of Raleigh, NC. The plan is for me to quit my job and stay at home to raise babies (something I am BEYOND excited about) while he keeps his job for our primary income, but we are concerned as to how that would all work. Money is something we feel like we are able to figure out, but what we are most concerned with is the balance of labor on “the farm” daily. How do you and your husband work that out? Does he just help when he’s home at night and on weekends? Which tasks, specifically, seem to work best to be done by each of you? We are looking to have a milk cow, its babies each year (to raise for meat), a bunch of chickens (mostly for eggs, but maybe broilers sometime later), a beehive, and a big garden; we might end up with a sow and her piglets each year (probably keeping one or two to raise for meat), but that’s last on my list.

    Any advice for a sister in how to still let her husband be leader when she’s taking care of a huge amount of the work at home and he’s gone all day? Any advice from you/your husband for a man who hasn’t had a lot of experience doing handy work, but will soon be thrown into the small-homestead lifestyle? What resources would you suggest for learning the ins and outs of homestead life? We have both grown up in cities, and so right now I just spend a lot of time reading blogs by people like yourself with similar ideals to us and also reading the books those folks recommend.

    Thanks so much for your advice. Like I said, we are really just taking our time praying and learning all we can from whoever we feel has something to teach us while we ponder what this will look like for us. Thank you, also, for your wonderful site. I admire folks like you who are willing to spend their time putting their lives out there for us to enjoy and learn from! You are a blessing!

    • hey Chelsea! I’m so glad you found me!

      As far as work balance, I do most/all of the daily chores and duties- my hubby does the tractor work, heavy lifting, and building projects. I would definitely say that I’ve had to learn more skills that the average American woman, but it hasn’t effected my husband and I’s roles at all. If you are going to homestead as a husband/wife team, you will definitely have to do things that are “less than feminine,” and in my experience, hubbies usually greatly appreciate the help!

      I would encourage your hubby to find mentors/neighbors who can help him learn the skills he’ll need on the homestead. Our neighbors have helped us greatly– especially in doing things like castrating or haying. Hope that gives you some ideas– best wishes on your new adventure!!

  31. I am thrilled that I came across your website while looking for a recipe. My husband was raised on a farm in Southwestern Ontario in Canada and I loved visiting my aunt and uncle’s farm every chance I got. We have always wanted to have a hobby farm but have never had the money to do it with !!!! Over the years since we were married at the ages of 20 and 19 in 1985, we made a lot of financial mistakes. We went into a huge amount of debt, bought things we didn’t need, had new cars, spent every dime we made. Then, we gave our lives to the Lord in 1993 when our first child was born and really started learning and growing a lot in a lot of different areas, one of them being finances. Three years ago I read through the Dave Ramsey book and started using his system as I was the one paying the bills at the time. Two years ago my husband took over paying the bills and he took the Dave Ramsey course at our church and we got on board and were more faithful after that. We have paid off all of our debts except our furnace for our house and our one car which we are working on diligently. Recently we looked at a house in the country where the neighbors were willing to loan us a stall in their barn and there was room for a chicken coop. There wasn’t much land, not enough for the townships regulations for a hobby farm so we walked away from it feeling very disappointed. However, you have inspired me to not give up and keep looking and something will turn up, if its the Lord’s will.

    Thank you and may God bless you richly…..Deb

  32. WELL NOW I DO FEEL BETTER.WE HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS.WE LIVE OFF SS,NO RETIREMENT BECAUSE OF HEALTH.BUT WE DO IT .CHILDREN ARE GROWN AND THEY WANT TO HELP US BUT WE MAKE IT A GAME TO SEE WHAT WE CAN DO WITH WHAT WE HAVE.LET ME SAY IT MAKES US FEEL BETTER.MATERIAL THINGS DON’T MEAN NOTHING TO US.WE HAVE A SMALL PIECE OF LAND WE HAVE GOATS,RABBITS,CHICKENS,TWO LARGE GARDENS,FRUIT TREES,BLACKBERRIRS,STRAWBERRIES.WE FEED ALOT OF PEOPLE.GOD HAS BLESSED US SO MUCH.SO WE SHARE WHAT WE HAVE.LIVING ON A HOMESTEAD IS WORK BUT ITS NOT SO STRESSFUL LIKE IN A TOWN.WE ENJOY YOUR BLOG AND HOPE TO READ MORE.

  33. PFFFT
    uhh, you might want to rethink if your husband is making “far from three figures” unless you mean that he makes less than a hundred dollars.
    Three figures = $XXX
    Six figures = $XXX,XXX

  34. Idahomestead says:

    Jill, I just read your blog titled “How We Afford to Mini-Farm on One Income”. I am so very impressed with you, your hubby and family. I personaly know your story is true as “Your Hubby” was the ring bearer at my wedding 30 years ago. I have watched him grow from a child to a very responsible young man with a great wife and family! You both are truly blessed!
    I think a big problem with society today is we are constantly bombarded (phone, mail, internet) with credit offers of
    “No payment or interest for 12 months”, “Low interest rates” etc… We have became a society of we just have to have it now! So we buy disposable junk items that fall apart and are thrown away and forgotten before those low monthly payments are even started! We must have new, flashy junk that will give our piers the illusion we must be well off! What a joke! Sure I care about what my family thinks of me but the success of my life and who I am is not measured by what I own, wear or drive! I want to be remembered as a great Husband, Dad, Grandpa and son-in-law for having time to help and be supportive of the people I love! I am poor when it comes to possessions but I am extremly wealthy with the love of my family!
    Money problems are the leading cause of divorce in America. Sit down with your spouse and discuss money isuues so you both know what you make, what the bills are and set up goals to pay those bills down and off. I would highly reccomend following Dave Ramseys “Financial Peace” teachings. I never knew of Ramsey when my marriage was young but we did just fine using “Common Sense and Cents” that is all it takes! Dont buy things you cant pay for! Work towards paying all bills off except your mortgage then start paying extra on it. The less stressed you are about money matters the more energy and time you will have to spend on what truly matters in life! Your family!

    • Well howdy! :) I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the post and honored that you took the time to leave such an awesome comment! Yes, we absolutely adore Dave Ramsey–without his teachings, we probably would have started our marriage in debt like everyone else. And good for you guys for having the “common sense and cents” even though you didn’t have Financial Peace University to show you the way. Hope to see you guys soon!

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  36. Hello, Jill. I’m a Christian and Dave changed my life as well, and becaue of that, I hope to join the homesteading life in about 5 years when I can retire early from my job (in my 40s!). I found Dave to be great for learning about general financial things, but really, things like early financial independence and investing are not his strong points. He knows the right things to do and say, but he doesn’t say all of it becuase it would jeoparidize his ELP program (prior to his ELP program really taking off, he advocated investing in index funds). If you don’t know, his ELP program is setup to reward him and not help his listeners as much as it appears. This is how it works… You put your info on his website to be contacted by an ELP, the ELP pays Dave a referral fee, (somewhere between $30-$80, we can’t find the exact amount), and then the ELP advocates load-based funds to you (normally American Funds) so they get a commission from you for the rest of your life when you put money in those funds. The biggest thing to know is that ELPs are NOT fiduciaries, meaning that they do NOT have a legal responsibility to put your financial interests first. If you want to use a financial advisor, the first question you should ask is if they are a fiduciary. These advisors charge a fee upfront, which is the better way to go. So yeah, it’s a rigged system, but yes, you can still build wealth by following his plan, just not as much if you use his ELPs. Just listen to his show, his ELP program is a cash-cow and he’s always taking calls that enable him to push that program; you literally can’t go 30 minutes without hearing about it. There is a better, and easier way, and you can do it without using any advisor.

    If you want to learn investing from someone who isn’t making money off of you, read The Bogleheads Guide to Investing, or The Four Pillars to Investing. Just a recommendation. Investing is actually incredibly easy and can be done with 3 funds at Vanguard. That’s it. Low costs, and does better than the funds ELPs push, especially when you consider the fees you’re paying for the ELP-recommendation. Those funds for folks who want to know are: Total Stock Market Index Fund, Total International Stock Market Index Fund, and the Total Bond Market Index Fund; 3 funds and you’re done. You can even do the Vanguard Target Date Retirement Funds, which are these funds all in one and then they automatically adjust for volatility based on your retirement date.

    So this info just isn’t for you so much, but for all those Dave fans out there. Follow the baby steps, but when it comes to investing, use Vanguard index funds and NOT the ELPs. Read the books above and if you’d rather watch a documentary, there’s a good PBS one (available online) called The Retirement Gamble that shows how the expenses of mutual funds completely destroy your portfolio.

    For folks who want to retire early and start homesteading full-time, then websites like earlyretirementextreme.com or mrmoneymustache.com would be helpful to look at. It’s because of sites like these and the books I recommended above that will enable me to retire in my 40s; I couldn’t have done that had I only followed Dave (but props to Dave as he did get me on the path). It doesn’t happen overnight, I’ve been on this journey for 8 years now.

    Hope this info is helpful to future and current homesteaders as well as those folks who just want to build wealth.

  37. Jill!
    My Husband and I also follow Dave Ramsey’s principles. We have no debt, only pay cash for vehicles and try our best to live below our means. We are currently searching for our perfect homestead and our only debt will be our mortgage. We have a nice chunk of savings and have a plan to pay off a small mortgage in less than 20 years! I am so excited to see how it has been working for you. We also only have my husband’s income. We started a blog to document our journey and I will definitely be following yours for much needed advice! Thank you for making this available to people like us :)