Contrary to what you have been told, homesteading with no outside income is very possible. People are doing it every day, and doing it well.
We left our posh jobs and suburban home 10 years ago and haven’t looked back. We learn something new every day and are always willing to adjust and adapt to whatever situation we encounter. Being adaptable is what has gotten us this far and what will ensure that we continue to succeed.
What We Did To Start Homesteading With No Outside Income
If you have a dream of becoming a homesteader, don’t let the fact that you have no outside income get in your way. There are plenty of ways to make and save money once you get started. The important thing is to make the move.
If you truly want to be self-sufficient, there are probably plenty of things you could give up. The less money you are spending, the less money you will be required to earn. Spending as little as possible is especially important when starting your homestead.
It takes most homesteaders a good amount of time before they really start to earn an income doing what they love. You need to make sure that you have enough money to carry you until that point, while spending as little as possible. Start thinking about all of the things you could give up if you wanted it bad enough.
My husband has a soft spot for any Boston sports team on TV. When we finally settle down at the end of the day, he loves nothing more than to sit on the couch with the dog and watch a Boston Celtics game. That being said, he knew that going without cable was a much when we got started.
You have to be willing to give up or cut into life luxuries if it needs to happen. If it doesn’t provide your family with food, water, shelter, or protection than it can probably go.
What could you give up in order to start turning your dream into a reality? Here are a few examples of expense that we could all probably purge from our expense:
- That Netflix account that you rarely ever remember you have.
- The cable bill that is probably costing you over $100, depending on where you live.
- Your 24GB phone data package so you can watch sweet YouTube videos all day!
- That fancy phone that can control a drone and answer a phone call at the same time.
There is always something that you can cut out to save money if you look hard enough. They might not sound like they are costing enough to make a difference, but they add up quick.
Be Intentional In Everything You Do
If you decide to go out and start homesteading, decide what you want to do and stick to it. Decide what you want to do, set goals, learn from others, and stay focused.
I touch a bit on this in my article about how to start homesteading, but the first thing you need to do is decide what homesteading is to you. Figure out what you are passionate about and build a plan off that. Using that information, you can lay out a plan with goals to move your homestead forward.
If you are passionate about raising, milking, and breed goats, than make a plan and commit to it. It is important that you set goals and do what you planned on no matter what. I know that those babies are extremely cute, but it is best for both you and the rest of the goats that you sell them as planned.
For us, homesteading was to start growing organic produce to feed our family, and raise alpacas. Our first goal was just to grow and can enough green beans to ensure we wouldn’t need to buy canned green beans before the next harvest. Eight years later, we moved forward to the ultimate goal of removing grocery stores from our lives entirely.
You Need To Be Willing To Adapt And Adjust
No matter how well you plan this out, you are going to run into things that you didn’t expect. There are always bumps in the road and you can’t do anything about that. You need to be ready to adapt and overcome those obstacles at any time.
The most important thing is this: to be able at any moment – to sacrifice what you are, for what you will become!
The faster you can change your plan and get moving in the right direction again, the more successful you will be. Change is a good thing, and the most successful people in the world can attribute their success to being adaptable.
Don’t Be Afraid To Harvest And Sell Livestock
You simply cannot keep every animal you get your hands on. It is important that you remove any animal that is not producing or saving money for your family. I know that it’s hard to hear that, but it is extremely important if you want to be successful.
You need to run your homestead as a business if you want any chance of lasting. If a chicken is not producing any eggs, for example, they are what most millennial parents would call “free loaders”. You need to purge that cost from your checking account so that you aren’t giving them food to get nothing in return.
As I mentioned above, you can’t be hesitant to sell that animals that you intended to sell. We have alpacas born every year that we wish we could keep, but it just doesn’t make any sense. If we own both parents than they are probably related to a large portion of our heard and are not worth keeping. No matter how cute they look, we need to sell them and move on!
Grow Your Own Produce
This one may seem like the most obvious because it really is. Growing your own produce means that you will not have to spend your money on groceries to feed your family. That is less money that you will need to make elsewhere and one of the keys to homesteading with no outside income.
The garden is one of the most important parts of any homestead. Make sure that you are taking good care of it throughout the year. Fertilize and water your garden regularly so that you can get the most out of it!
It is also important that you only grow fruits and vegetables that your family will eat. It doesn’t make much sense to grow 50 lbs. of Brussels sprouts, even though they are a great plant sources of omega 3, because no one in my house will eat them. I can make much better use of that garden space by planting beans and cucumbers!
Produce Your Own Meat
A lot of people that want to start homesteading avoid it because they don’t think they could handle this part. Honestly, this was one of the toughest parts of homesteading when we started. I can promise you that it will get easier and that you will gain a better appreciation for where your food comes from. It is also important that your children learn that steak comes from taking a cows life, not from a fridge at Walmart.
We started out with chickens and then moved on from there, and I suggest that you do the same. Chickens are great because you they can be very cost effective if you avoid these chicken keeping mistakes. Not to mention, they are producing eggs for you to eat while you are waiting to harvest them.
Cows are the second most common meat source on a homestead. If you have the space for them to graze, they will produce a few hundred pounds of meat for significantly less that you would pay at the store. You also benefit from the fact that you know exactly what that cow is consuming and can ensure the meat is healthy to eat.
Pigs are another great backyard farm animal that you should consider. They are very simple to take care of and can still thrive in small spaces. You can buy a few feeder pigs for $60-$70 each in the spring and have them be ready for harvest by fall!
Master Food Preservation
Whether you are looking to save money or remove the grocery store from your life altogether, you need to get good at preserving food. It doesn’t matter how well your garden does if you can’t make the produce last more than a week!
Canning is one of those homesteading skills that you will need to work on in order to be successful. The most successful homesteaders are often considered to be obsessed with canning by friends. It is the fastest and easiest way to preserve that food for as long as you can.
Another great way to preserve food is to dehydrate what you can. Dehydrating removes the moisture from the food and allows it to last much longer than it would naturally. Dehydrated banana chips are one of my family’s favorite snacks.
Don’t Get Carried Away
It is important that you don’t get carried away from the start. We started out by focusing on alpacas and a garden, and then we grew from there. That was the perfect starting point for us because we could build off of that success and move forward.
I hear of way to many homesteaders taking on everything that can and getting overwhelmed right away. You can’t go out and grow every vegetable, take in every animal, create every home good, and attend every farmers market. You need to choose where to start and build confidence off of your successes.
There are thousands of benefits to living on a homestead, but you can’t possible take them all in at once. Pace yourself so that you give yourself a chance to be successful in the end!