When we got started, we brought the term frugal homesteading to the next level. I started following as many frugal blogs as I could find and we did everything we could to save a penny. I believe this is one of the main reasons for our success!
If you are reading this with a dream of homesteading but don’t think you have the capital to get started, you should reconsider. While it does take a bit of cash to get started, it doesn’t take as much as you might think.
If you do your research and find out what you need and what you really don’t, you might be surprised at how little money you do need. If you learn to be frugal, know what you can live without, and check out these tips on homesteading with no outside income, I’m sure that you can turn your dream of homesteading into a reality.
Now that I have you motivated, let me teach you the ways for frugal homesteading. Keep in mind that you don’t need to master all these tips, but every dollar you save is a dollar that you don’t need to earn. From my experience, it is much easier to save a dollar on a homestead than it is to earn one!
8 Frugal Homesteading Tips
Don’t Spend Money On Things You Don’t NEED
Society might be trying to convince you that you need premium cable in order to function but that’s simply not the truth. The first step towards frugal homesteading is to take a step back and figure out what you really need.
I promise you will be surprised at how much money you can save by cutting out things that you really don’t need.
The less money you spend, the less money you will need to have saved before you can get started. That is one of the first things I learned from the frugal homesteading blogs I follow. This should be the first step for anyone that is really looking to get started!
You Can Build Just About Anything Out Of Pallets
If I could reach through the screen and shake you so that you could remember this, I would. Pallets are free wood that people are begging to give away. I don’t understand any homesteader who is not making full use of pallets on their homestead.
My husband and I make everything we can out of pallets. He takes a monthly trip around town and collects them from regulars that keep them in a pile for us to grab. We get free supplies and they get rid of something they don’t want for free and with no effort.
When he gets them home, he will take them apart with a special tool that is meant for taking decks apart. Then he stacks the wood in the barn according to size so we can use it when we need to.
Anything you build out of wood can be built from Pallets. Here are a few examples of things that we have build out of pallet wood in on our homestead:
- 4 chicken coops
- 3 alpaca shelter
- 2 sheds
- 2 rabbit hutches
- 1 kitchen table
Anyone that builds things out of wood on their own can tell you how much of a savings that really is. If I had to give you a conservative estimate, I would say we saved over $2000 in lumber on those examples alone.
You Can’t Be Afraid To Sell Your Livestock
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a beginning homesteader is to get too attached to your livestock to sell or harvest them. You breed them to produce food and income for your farm and you need to follow through. Failing to follow through will cost you dearly, in feeding costs and space.
Alpacas are the main source of income on our homestead and we work hard to keep it that way. We have about a dozen cria’s, a term for baby alpacas, each year and they are always cute and amazing.
If we didn’t sell our young alpacas, we would quickly run out of space. On top of that, our feed bill would increase significantly and that’s not an option when you are starting out.
I encourage you to breed your livestock, but make sure you are willing to do what needs to be done!
Barter Anything and Everything You Can
Since we started homesteading, I have become somewhat of a bartering expert. Don’t be afraid to offer someone a trade of goods or labor for something you want. You might be surprised at how willing they might be to accept a trade for something they would be buying anyway!
When we first started, we focused on a large garden and did not produce any of our own meat. We quickly found other homesteaders that were doing the direct opposite and needed produce. They were more than willing to trade some of their meat for some of our produce and we both benefited.
Even if you barter for part of something you are buying, that’s less cash you need to produce. My husband gets embarrassed of me sometimes because I am always looking to barter when I can!
Saving and Storing Your Seeds
Whether you plant the same crops every year or rotate them over several years, you need to master long term seed storage. We spent over $300 on heirloom seeds the first year we started seriously gardening. Since then, we haven’t spent a dime!
Saving seeds is one of the simplest frugal homesteading concepts out there. All you have to do is let a portion of your crops go to seed. When they go to seed, you will be literally harvesting money from them and storing them for next year.
Even if you don’t use the seeds next year, they can be used down the road if you store them correctly. I have used seeds that were stored for 4 years and still had a 60% germination rate.
When you start to build an abundance of stored seeds, you can even start trading them. That is how we have expanded our garden without spending any money of seeds. There are numerous seed trading websites on the web and we have had great luck trading with other local homesteaders too. In fact, we traded a variety of seeds with another homesteader for some Russian Banana seeds this past spring.
Buy Items Your Cant Produce On Sale
If I am going to grow cucumbers on our homestead this year, I am going to grow enough to can two years worth of pickles so that I can grow something else in that spot next year. I do the same thing when I shop for things that I can’t produce myself. I am not afraid to load my pantry with 3 years worth of sugar because it was 40% off at the farmers market.
You might get some weird looks and feel ridiculous walking out of the store with a shopping cart full of sugar, but you will be the one laughing in the long run. Frugal homesteading isn’t always the popular move but necessary if you want to be successful.
Take Care Of Your Tools!
If you are anything like us, you will be amazed at how many handles you break on your homestead. I thing we have broken every handle or every tool at least once in our various DIY projects.
If we threw the shovel away every time it broke, we might be out of business by now. You can but a new handle at the hardware store for a fraction of the cost for a new shovel all together!
Repairing your tools is a frugal homesteading task that is quick and easy to do. The internet has hundreds of articles on how to replace a handle and I promise you will be surprised at how easy it really is.
I can’t tell you how many times I have made my husband stop doing something, to his dismay, so he can fix his tools before they completely break. Our post whole digger is the perfect example of this. We purchased a nice metal post whole digger for all the wholes we dig and a single post gets loose every few holes and it is a pain. I need to remind my husband that it will cost us $130 if he doesn’t take the 45 seconds to stop and tighten the bolt when its loose!
Don’t Be Afraid To Attempt A DIY Fix
One this I learned from other frugal homesteading blogs is that I shouldn’t be afraid to try and fix things ourselves. Luckily, I have an amazing and talented husband who is very handy and can fix just about anything.
You don’t need to be an expert plumber to figure out why the show drain is slow. Before you make the phone call, try and snake the drain yourself for free. You will be surprised at how much you can fix yourself when you don’t have money to throw at the problem.
I wrote a great post about homesteading skills that new homesteaders should work on before they get started. I strongly suggest that you check it out when you have a minute. All of those skills will help save you money and increase your chance of being successful.
My Favorite Frugal Homesteading Blogs
The Frugal Farmer
Rick and Laurie left their life in suburbia to start their own hobby farm in the Midwest, and their blog covers everything along the way. They share their knowledge experience, and perspectives on life as they run their farm and home school their children.
What makes this one of my favorite fugal homesteading blogs is the fact that they share their journey to debt freedom. They do a great job of sharing their experience with others and help them work towards the same goal. Their goal is to “help people overcome the lack of money knowledge and move onto a new chapter in life”.
On top of personal finance, they write about preparedness and homesteading as well. Make sure that you check them out!
Little House Living
Little House Living is a great blog about how Merissa and her husband worked hard to get out of debt and gain freedom over their lives. They are what I would consider “modern homesteaders” and provide great material to their readers.
Merissa says she started the blog, back in 2009, with the goal of teaching people how to shop and be thrifty in every area of their life I would agree that she does a great job of that and so much more!
When you have a minute, head over and read their “about me” page. If you can’t find some inspiration in that then you are a lost cause!