Ask anyone who has an interest in getting started with homesteading, what their biggest obstacle is, and the will more than likely offer a reply that ties directly into the amount of finances they have available for embarking on this type of lifestyle. Quite a few people have the ambition to transition from an urban lifestyle to one on a homestead, similar to the way their ancestors lived, yet they do not feel they have the finances to make it happen.
Now obviously, there are advantages to be had when living on a homestead; however, before any of us can experience those benefits, we must first establish the homestead. In order to establish the homestead, we must put together a plan of action; finding the right property, purchasing said property, developing said property, and maintaining it. This is going to require money, and that is why we put together this simple little guide to help you get headed in the right direction.
Avoid Accumulating Debt
One of the first helpful hints is to avoid accumulating debt. Modern society operates on the basis of credit. Everywhere we look businesses are offering credit. This has led to more people buying things they cannot afford with money they do not have; an epic recipe for financial disaster. Up until about 10 years ago, I played “Russian Roulette” with my finances by using credit cards like they were blank checks. After digging that hole, I cut up every credit card but one. I carry a single credit card for couple of reasons; hotel reservations, which I pay for in cash upon arrival, and emergencies, which I pay off immediately upon getting home. I do not buy anything I cannot pay for with cash, and I never pay full price for any of my purchases. I save additional money by making what I can, rather than purchasing overpriced prefabricated products from the debt driven industries that enslave most Americans. If you want to get out of debt, then you have to put together a solid plan of action for making future purchases. You have to make a commitment to this plan, and you have to be willing to make sacrifices. For instance, I see things I would “like” to have, all the time, but I only buy the things that I “need,” there is a huge difference.
Establish Emergency Fund
Although I maintain a single credit card for emergencies, I also have an emergency fund established. In fact, the emergency fund is usually what I use to pay off emergency purchases made with the credit card. I do this as an increased security measure. Rather than carry a couple thousand dollars in cash with me everywhere I go, I carry the credit card. If an emergency arises while I am away from home, I use the credit card to cover costs, then tap the emergency fund the minute I get back home to pay off the credit card and ensure there isn’t a remaining balance that can be targeted for “interest” by the card issuing company. You can use whatever formula works best for you, but my current emergency fund has 6 months of household expenses set aside.
Quit Trying to Keep Up
Modern society has also taught us to covet what our neighbors have; we want to keep up with the Joneses, the Smiths, and the Johnson’s, but the truth is, we don’t need to. Society has taught us that those who have the most toys at the end of the day, are the real winners in life; none of which is true. The fact of the matter is this; people show you their best side. The Joneses, Smiths, and Johnsons all have the same kinds of problems you do, they just not showing that side of their family to you. Keeping up with these folks is an exercise in financial futility; you will never realize your homesteading dreams by trying to one up those within your inner circle. Stay on your path, keep focused on your plan, and let those around you do the same. Do not get wrapped up in “Comparison Championships,” your neighbors don’t have the trophies you want anyway.
Start out small; be humble. If you’re not currently living on a homestead, then start from scratch; buy small, start small, and expand as finances allow. Be real with yourself when you develop your homesteading plan. Even if you have the finances to invest in a large tract of land, erect several buildings, buy all the livestock you want, as well as all of the crops you intend to raise, you will not be able to transition into this type of lifestyle overnight. Building your homestead will take time, several years in fact, and you will never stop learning throughout the process.
Avoid Money Pits
Do your homework on crop cultivation and raising livestock. Each of us lives in a different region; what works well for some, may not work as well for others. You need to do your homework on the aspects of homesteading you intend to invest in, prior to making the investment. This may serve as an extreme example, but it will make the point; people living in Montana are not going to have the same level of success growing pineapples as people living in Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, or other tropical climates. Weigh your purchasing decisions and focus on those opportunities that will improve life on the homestead, rather than those that represent throwing money away unnecessarily.
Start Seeing Surplus
Modern society teaches and trains us to believe we are always “running out,” of whatever it is we need. We never have enough time, enough money, enough food, etc. Living on a homestead will provide you with the opportunity to enjoy a surplus of all the things modern society tells you we are running out of. You need to develop this type of mindset in everything you do, and it will eventually help you with transitioning to the homestead.