We can return to a frugal life through homesteading. I have found that homesteading has helped change my mindset on money and expenses. A frugal life seems to be a rather distasteful notion in our society. So many people idolize and strive for a reality star’s life; leaving them feeling empty and over-spent. But I have found a frugal life can be more contented, joyful and fulfilling.
Homesteading has made frugal living a reality for us. It is more than cutting coupons Let me share 10 ways that homesteading set us on a path for a more frugal life.
Return to a Frugal Life Through Homesteading
1) Shopping Thrifty/Used – I used to think that buying used was somehow degrading or even gross. But you start realizing there are better ways to spend your money than shopping at the mall you look for alternatives. Now I find thrift shopping fun! I love the hunt for something special; like a hand crocheted afghan for $3.99! I love that my girls enjoy it too. From Goodwill to garage sales, thrift shopping is awesome.
2) Re-using – Along the same lines as shopping thrift, re-using has become part of our life as homesteaders. I find new ways to use old items instead of buying something else or tossing things in the garbage. T-shirts become rags, quilts, rugs. Mason jars become drinking glasses, desk organizers and decor. Old storage tubs become chick brooders. We don’t need to go and buy something new when we can re-purpose something we already have. BUT I do have to watch that I am not thing EVERYTHING needs to be saved or my garage, closets and back porch start to look like a junk yard. I suggest never getting so attached to the idea of re-using that nothing leaves to find a new home. I have a bag of clothes right now to go to our church’s clothing closet.
3) Gardening / Growing Food – How can we eat well and still have a frugal life? Have you seen the price of organic produce? What about free range eggs? Or grass-fed beef? Not much couponing going on for these items! Sure, we can’t raise cattle on our micro farm but we do raise meat rabbits. Did you know that rabbit meat is about $1.33 a lbs to raise? You can’t get factor farm meat for a $1.33. Growing a garden has also made frugality easy to return to. Seeds are cheap; even organic heirloom seeds are cheaper than going to your big box “health” food store for organic veggies. And you’ll get pounds of veggies off a few seeds.
4) Learning Skills or Bartering – This is a biggie. When your homesteading you pick up a lot of new skills out of necessity. What’s that saying? Necessity is the mother of invention. Well is is also the mother of learning! Using tools, building coops, fixing things around the house. A frugal life in homesteading includes not paying someone else to do the work! BUT if when we haven’t been able to do something then bartering has served us well. It is amazing what you can barter with and for – use your skills, your canned goods, your fresh eggs or veggies.
5) Saving for long term goals – As we have become more and more in love with our homestead life it has helped us to make plans and learn to save. We want a large property someday. That takes money! Saving money, being frugal are all part of that long term goal. Whether we are saving for our large property homestead or a new canner; we’ve learned that credit is not our friend. A frugal life and credit are on opposing sides.
6) Hanging clothes out is down right relaxing – If you have read my Clothesline Love & Appreciation post then you know how much I love to hang out my clothes. And WOW can it save you some bucks too! Dryers are great, and I use mine. But hanging out clothes is relaxing for me; I really enjoy it. In the summers in Phoenix the electric bills soar – I’m talking choke a goat big! It is good to know that I can relieve our checking account by using the heat to dry and dry fast. Before homesteading, I simply didn’t see the good or the joy of clothesline drying.
7) Make instead of buy – So much more than just cooking from scratch; but that is an awesome place to start. I love to make my own products like lotion, lip balm, candles and canned goods. I have made some clothes in the past but now I hope to improve on that skill. I am teaching myself to knit again and to crochet (badly) in hopes of making scarves, blankets, pot holders and even gifts. Speaking of gifts…I have received so many great responses to hand made gifts. Frugality doesn’t have to be one that forgoes awesome gifts; especially when that’s my love language.
8) Less Waste – There is nothing quite like homesteading to make you realize how much food is really worth. A frugal life isn’t just about not spending, it should include wasting less of what you have. Did you know that Americans throw out thousands of pounds of food each year? Edible food that was allowed to rot, spoil or go stale in our kitchens. We can probably come up with many theories on that topic. But I think a huge one is that the populace as a whole, as consumers, has no idea the work and sacrifice that goes into producing food. So try to be ever aware of that, even with the food we don’t produce ourselves. Furthermore this frugal life has us throwing less in the trash by composting or giving scraps to the animals. You’ll never have healthier soil than when you’re composting – and you saved a lot of landfill space. But if you raise animals you’ll always be asking yourself, compost or livestock? 😉
9) Content to be at home – Homesteading has really given me a contentedness with being home. I used to want to go to coffee all the time or eat out several times a week, movie and this and that. I find that I enjoy being at home. I enjoy that I haven’t wasted money on things that aren’t necessarily contributing to my health and happiness. Now, I’m not saying stop watching movies or never go out – play is important. But so many good things can happen around your dining room table with family and friends and a game board or a deck of cards.
A frugal life need not be filled with fun & a little frivolity!
10) Gym? What gym? – It is shocking how much a gym membership costs. I can get a better, and considerably cheaper, workout mucking out a coop, pulling weeds, churning the compost and so on. Homesteading is hard work! Forget weights – I lift bins, boxes, wood, cages, kids. I dig, pull, shovel, rake. FEEL THE BURN! I’m not svelte but I can work hard.
These are just a few of the ways that a frugal life can come naturally through homesteading. Being frugal becomes a mindset, a way of life; and I have clipped more than a few coupons in years.
I’d love to hear how homesteading has helped you be more frugal. Leave your experience or thoughts in the comments below.