I was really stoked to publish the first installment of “How We Afford to Mini-Farm on One Income” last week.
I always enjoy giving my readers a peek into our life, plus I was hoping to be an encouragement to some of those who want to homestead, but aren’t quite sure how to get there with their current budget.
Little did I know that I would be the one who would be encouraged! As the comments poured in, I was humbled to read all of YOUR stories. So many of you are already debt-free or working like crazy to get there. Even though choosing to live a lifestyle that is different that the “standard American” way of life is a challenge at times, you guys are doing it with style.
Today, I’ll share the rest of our “secrets” (that aren’t really a secret).
How We Afford to Mini-Farm on One Income- Part 2
5. We are creative with smaller income streams
When I started this blog, I never guessed that it would grow into what is has today. Now trust me, I am NOT making thousands of dollars per month with it, but the little bit that trickles from affiliate programs and sponsorship most definitely helps. (A big THANK YOU to my readers who make that possible!)
But that’s not the only way we bring in extra cash. I am also a ruthless de-clutterer and have listed many items to our local sale papers and craigslist.org. The extra money that comes from selling our unwanted clutter is useful for sticking in the savings account for a rainy day.
When time allows, we try to pick up various odd jobs when possible. Again, not a huge money maker, but an extra hundred bucks here or there always helps.
6. We cook from scratch and grow as much food as possible.
Eating healthy and eating frugally at the same time can seem contradict each other sometimes…
Back in the day, I was all about getting the cheapest food I could possibly buy… I didn’t read ingredient labels– all I cared about was the price tag.
As I’ve done more research and become more educated, eating like that is no longer an option for us. However, neither is buying all the expensive “organic” food from the health food store.
Paying a little more for quality, wholesome foods IS worth it. You just have to be creative about it.
Home food production is a huge part of homesteading for us and that greatly reduces our food costs. I haven’t bought milk, eggs, or beef from the store in nearly two years. Does it still cost money to produce those food items on the homestead? Definitely. But, my home-butchered, grass-fed beef is far more affordable for us than the $6/lb packages of “natural” hamburger that my grocery store sells.
As far as the rest of our food items, I try to make as much as I possibly can from scratch. Making the majority of our bread products and pantry staples (tortillas, pie crusts, pizza dough, broth, breadcrumbs, etc) saves a lot of cash, which leaves me more wiggle room in the food budget to buy items that we can’t grow or make ourselves (nuts or dry beans, for example).
It’s a balancing act, but I truly believe that a person can eat a whole foods diet without going broke. It just takes a little more work and forethought.
7. We forego many luxuries
Living this lifestyle on one income doesn’t come without sacrifices.
We don’t eat out at resturants very often. We rarely go to the movie theater. We don’t take expensive vacations. We haven’t had cable in four years (although we love our Netflix account!).
My version of a “shopping spree” is spending $20 at garage sales… I definitely don’t go to the mall and spend wads of cash. (I pretty much hate the mall anyway, so it works out well.)
There are things that we want that often get pushed aside for our needs. It’s a trade-off– but is it worth it? We think so.
8. We bought cheap land
The part of Wyoming where we live is known for it’s harsh weather…. The wind blows relentlessly for most of the year. Our winters can be downright brutal. But if you can tolerate that, land is fairly affordable when compared to other areas of the country.
There aren’t a lot of trees, and water is scarce. If you are picturing our 67-acres as a lush oasis filled with elegant trees and a meandering stream, you are sorely mistaken. It’s prairie. Grassland. Flat as a pancake.
Although I have found a certain beauty to the prairie and love living here, it’s not for everyone.
Our homestead is also 45 minutes from the nearest town. That distance suits us just fine, but some folks think that living that far out would be fate worse than death… It seems that everyone wants a little piece of the country, but they don’t want to be more than 10 minutes from downtown. If you are looking for more affordable land, you might have to sacrifice the convenience of being 5 minutes away from the store.
Although hubby drives to work everyday (sometimes he is able to carpool), I try to only run errands once or twice per month. We can’t order pizza or run to the store if we need an ingredient for supper, but we’ve learned to adapt to that.
One more thing…
I couldn’t hit “publish” on this post without giving credit where credit is due. God has truly been the reason we’ve been able to succeed thus far in our homesteading adventures. He is the one who developed these desires in us, even before we knew we had them. Without Him and His hand of blessing on us, we could have never made it here on our own. And Lord willing, we will continue on this path for many years to come.
How do YOU off-set your homesteading expenses? I wanna hear your “secrets” for balancing a homestead and a budget. Share in the comments!