I’m extremely comfortable being a weirdo.
I suspect it may have something to do with my homeschooled upbringing, but I have been accustomed to “sticking out” from day one. Now as an adult, I continue to own my weirdness in multiple areas of my life– including homesteading, entrepreneurship, and even in our finances.
I often ask my readers what is their #1 struggle when it comes to homesteading, and the answer that shows up more than anything else?
Hands down, it’s the response I see pop up time and time again, regardless of age, location, or lifestyle.
Money management is a subject near and dear to my heart, and it’s a big part of my weirdness. Choosing to push against cultural norms in how we’ve managed our money, has set the most amazing chain of events into motion for my husband and me.
Not only did these decisions enable me to have the bandwidth to focus on growing/starting my online business years ago, but those choices also enabled my husband to quit his traditional job at age 35 so we could focus on building OUR dreams, instead of the dreams of others.
Why Consider Money Principles for Homesteaders
I’ve written about our money mindset and philosophy in the past, and as many of you know, we are huge fans of Dave Ramsey. Years ago when we initially read his Total Money Makeover book (affiliate link), he was not quite the household name he is today. I quickly had to learn to embrace the ‘weirdo’ label once again as people thought we were insane for refusing to have a car payment and only paying cash for stuff.
But we stuck with it, despite the raised eyebrows and ‘comments’ from others, and I am so glad we did. The rewards have been more than I could have ever imagined.
With so many people struggling to fit their homesteading dreams into their financial reality, I wanted to share the 6 money principles that have guided and served us so well over the years. As you read through the list, you won’t see anything earth-shattering, but these simple concepts have made all the difference for us.
The key? Implementation. You must do it and stick with it– even when it’s not popular and not glamourous. Do it anyway. The harvest you’ll reap is worth it.
How We Started Homesteading on One Small Income:
Top 6 Money Principles for Homesteaders (or anyone!)
1. Avoid Debt Like the Plague
Thirteen years ago, my husband and I made the conscious decision to stay out of debt. That single choice has impacted our lives more than anything else we’ve ever done. I love seeing debt-free lifestyles gaining more accolades these days, but back when we started, it wasn’t exactly cool.
In fact, we were ridiculed and criticized for driving our $1500 Ford Taurus and refusing to carry a balance on our credit card. But we didn’t care what other people thought, and we stuck with it. This mentality of only purchasing what we could afford set us up for success in our homesteading endeavors. (We had a mortgage, but we borrowed far under what we were approved for and was paid off)
I don’t care how much debt you have right now– it’s never too late to shift and start a debt snowball. Will it require sacrifice? You bet. But it is, hands down, one of the best decisions we ever made.
2. Build an Emergency Fund
Stuff happens… And having all the working pieces of a homestead increases your chances of more “stuff” happening– equipment breaking, animals getting sick or injured, you name it. Start working today to build an “emergency fund” which is simply a dedicated savings account with 3-6 months of expenses set aside.
Our emergency fund has saved our bacon so many times and has prevented us from turning to credit cards when a horse has tried to cut her leg off (ugh), the truck has broken down, etc. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you have the funds if you need them is amazing.
3. Squash the Comparisons with These Money Principles
Keeping up with the Joneses… Or the homesteader next door… Or those picture-perfect Pinterest People. It’s a real temptation, man… I totally get it. Our human nature tends to drive us to compare and lament our perceived inadequacies, which in turn has a powerful pull in causing us to spend money we don’t have.
Can I offer you a gentle piece of advice? Stop it. Just. Stop. Because guess what? The Joneses are broke, and the Pinterest People aren’t showing you the dirty dishes and holes in the lawn. Water the grass on your side of the homestead fence, stay in your own lane, and you’ll be amazed at how your mindset will shift!
4. Embrace Humble Beginnings
Last week I found our list of homestead goals from 2011, and I couldn’t help but smile. Back then, those things were SO BIG to me. Compared to our homestead goals now, they seem like a drop in the bucket, but it makes me proud of the way we started out. We creatively scrimped (Here are 39 Ways to Make Money Homesteading ideas) and saved to make this homesteading dream of ours work. Thanks to these 6 money principles for homesteaders our finances grew and so did our ability to dream bigger.
Fight the temptation to go into debt or financial distress in an attempt to have it all at once. You don’t need to buy an “instant farm”. Start small if you need to, live within your means (and by these 6 money principles for homesteaders), purchase what you can afford, and add a little bit at a time. That’s what we did.
Get creative about different ways you can make your homestead work with you. This is what I like to call a self-funded homestead. If you aren’t sure where to start, you’re in luck I created The Self-Funded Homestead for just this reason. Figure out what you are “Already Doing”, that can help fund your homesteading dream!
It truly is about the journey, not the destination.
5. Be Mindful of Money Pits if Your Budget is Tight
People are often surprised to learn raising your own food often costs *more* than simply purchasing it at the store. Truly, if this was all about saving money, I’d be much better off buying the cheap gallons of milk from the grocery store, versus keeping our own milk cow. For us, this homesteading gig isn’t about saving money, it’s about quality of life.
It’s about raising kids who understand the rhythms of nature and the satisfaction of hard work. It’s about fulfilling the childhood dreams of my husband and me. It’s about boosting our self-sufficiency and learning new skills. Therefore, I’m willing to accept that some aspects of homesteading simply may cost more.
That being said, you should try to make wise decisions when it comes to which animals you raise and what projects to invest in. For example, we chose to purchase piglets from the breeder down the road, versus shipping in heritage-breed piglets. With our current feed sources, raising pigs isn’t cheap to begin with (even with feeding scraps and milk…), and we couldn’t justify having to feed a slower-growing, smaller breed. We would have them for a longer period of time and ultimately get less meat.
These sorts of decisions will vary from situation to situation, but I encourage you to carefully weigh which homesteading projects contribute to your long-term goals and quality of life. Then think about these money principles for homesteaders and decide which ones would just be throwing money to the wind.
6. Adopt an Abundance Mindset
Over the last year or so, I’ve become extremely aware of how I have lived my life in a scarcity mindset. Until it was pointed out to me, I had no idea how much it was negatively impacting my life and my thought process.
I define the scarcity mindset of living in a space of “never enough.” People entrenched in scarcity believe there is never enough time, never enough money, never enough resources, and if someone else gets ahead, then it means I can’t.
Holding onto this belief will have a huge impact on how you view your life and how you are able to reach your goals– homesteading or otherwise. Trust me– I know this all too well. Slowly but surely, I’ve been transitioning my mindset to one of abundance.
Embracing abundance and shifting my thought patterns have given me so much more peace in regard to finances, time management, and generosity. One of my favorite ways to remind myself of abundance is to simply go outside. Nature is full of abundance (you can’t count the stars, or the blades of grass, or the particles of soil in the garden, or the leaves on a tree), and immersing myself it in reminds me there is enough.
Are You Ready For These 6 Money Principles for Homesteaders?
See I Told You, Nothing Earth-Shattering! Following these simple principles has made all the difference for us as we’ve seen our homestead goals come to fruition. These six money principles for homesteaders can work for you too if you simply implement them and stick with them. The choice is yours. 🙂