Homesteading doesn’t have to be a scary and complicated endeavor. With some tips from experts and hard work, even you can homestead on a budget.
People from all sorts of backgrounds express an interest in homesteading, and it is a practice that often unites those concerned about the environment and individuals who want to be self-sufficient. It is often labor-intensive, but self-sufficiency helps minimize expenses and maximize your produce. (Related: You Should Really Learn These 10 Homesteading Skills.)
- Tip 1: Make your home self-sufficient — To start your journey towards self-sufficiency, learn some do-it-yourself skills that can help you homestead. Read up on your home systems and basic maintenance and repair. Take free classes at home improvement centers or take online tutorials. Another way to be self-sufficient is to generate or collect your own resources. If you have the means, you can use a solar energy system or a residential wind turbine. You can also start small with an affordable option like a solar hot water heater. Maximize energy audits and energy management monitors to evaluate and run your home’s systems more efficiently with less power. Choose manual systems over automated ones. Sweep the floor instead of vacuuming or hang your clothes on a clothesline instead of using the dryer, etc. These small changes will add up to big savings.
- Tip 2: Live healthy, stay healthy — Health care and insurance are often significant expenses. Manage your health by eating well, taking preventive natural medicine, and reducing the potentially toxic chemicals you use daily. Instead of commuting, ride a bicycle to school or work. Home gardening is also a great way to stay active while growing produce. Attend health fairs and state health clinics for free or affordable routine tests and immunizations. Sign up for regular checkups so small ailments don’t turn into big problems.
- Tip 3: Eat green — With some basic gardening skills and a plot of land, you can grow your own produce. Consider converting your lawn into growing space so you spend less on fertilizing and mowing. Replace grass with herbs and when landscaping, plant fruit trees and berry bushes instead of ornamentals. Utilize your space by doing something big like getting a greenhouse, or start small with container gardens. Cut gardening costs by using your own compost instead of buying fertilizer. You can make compost by simply combining leaves, kitchen scraps, and lawn clippings. Keep rain barrels so you can capture rainwater and cut down on municipal water reliance.
- Tip 4: Grow your own produce and save money — When you grow and prepare as much of our own food as you can, it helps you save and improves your health. Manage your yard as a mini-farm and once you’re used to maintaining your garden, try to cultivate other plants that you can also harvest. Raising chickens supply you with eggs, whereas keeping a beehive can give you honey and help you pollinate your plants. Buy seasonal produce from local markets to maximize your budget and lower food costs. Buy staples in bulk and preserve produce to add to your pantry. Learn how to make your favorite food from scratch so you can enjoy healthier variants like homemade bread.
- Tip 5: A little help can go a long way — Self-sufficiency and asking for help might seem like contradicting ideas, but you can get more things done by helping each other. Look for the nearest food co-ops or join homesteading groups and emergency preparedness teams. Use technology to your advantage and create an online homesteading group to shares tips with your neighborhood.
- Tip 6: Make financial freedom your goal — Paying off debt, including your mortgage, is a great step to true self-sufficiency. Run a garage sale to generate cash and get more storage space. Follow a strict budget to keep your finances in check. Consider starting an emergency fund so you’re ready for anything.
Why should you homestead?
Aside from the tips listed above, homesteading offer other benefits such as:
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- It teaches life skills – Homesteading is a great way to foster good work ethic among children.
- It can beautify your home – Aside from being a source of produce, homesteading makes your yard a thing of beauty.
- It can educate people about food – Through homesteading, anyone can learn more about where food comes from. Sometimes, both kids and adults need a helping hand when it comes to learning about natural food sources.
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