Do you have a homesteading dream but not sure how you can do it with your current finances? Well I’m hear to tell you that you can homestead on a tight budget! It really isn’t about how much money you have to spend, it is about getting creative, starting slowly and building up as you go.
You don’t need to break the bank to start homesteading. I have a few tips to help you in several homestead areas to get you on the road to homesteading on a tight budget. Remember the saying, Rome wasn’t built in a day? Keep that in mind; you don’t need to do it all right from the start! Do what you can afford in both time and money and add as your schedule and finances allow.
How to Homestead on a Tight Budget
As a homesteader, a garden in the pinnacle of self-sufficiency. It is a great place to start for every homesteader and finances don’t have to keep you from gardening.
- Start Small
This can be in fabric pots on your porch or a 4×4 raised bed. You can, of course, dig out a garden right in your dirt but I recommend you have your soil tested first (especially if you’re in an urban/suburban area). Starting small will also allow you to see how this will effect your water bill.
- Plant Only What You Already Eat
When you’re on a budget you don’t want to get too experimental with the veggies you’re planting. You want to be sure if you grow it, you’ll eat it. So start out with the vegetables you already eat, which will HELP your grocery budget during harvests.
- Start with Seeds
Transplants are great but they’ll cost you more. Start with seeds for a more budget-friendly garden. Buy quality seeds, that is worth the investment.
- Make Sure You’re Planting at the Right Time
One of the biggest mistakes new gardeners make is planting during the wrong time of the year. Find out what what your planting zone is and get a planting calendar for your area.
A compost pile will actually save you money as a homesteader / gardener. You’ll be making rich, healthy soil from kitchen and yard scraps, instead of throwing them away!
- Think DIY
Make a DIY Compost Bin instead of buying an expensive tumbler.
- Check Out Craigslist
If you don’t want to DIY check our your local Craigslist, thrift stores or yard sales for compost containers you can buy on the cheap.
- See What Your City Offers
Many cities offer FREE compost bins to their residents! Call your trash or recycle department and see if they have a program.
Most homesteaders what to raise livestock for meat and dairy. You can still do this on a tight budget!
- Go Small
Smaller livestock eats less, takes up less space and may be easier to DIY their living quarters. Consider meat rabbits and quail as your budget-friendly starter livestock. Chickens and goats are great but you’ll need more space, equipment and feed for them.
- Start with Babies
Young animals that are not producing a food source yet will be less expensive that an adult. Yes, you’ll have to feed them awhile without anything in return but the initial savings will make up the difference pretty quickly.
- Reuse Materials to Create Livestock Enclosures
Instead of spending a lot on fancy equipment, look at reusing and recycling materials. You do want to make sure you don’t use treated or toxic materials that could harm your animals.
Canning is an amazing way to preserve your harvest and will be savings in itself as you begin to eat from your own pantry. The initial and on-going investments and feel a little overwhelming but you can do it with a few tips!
- Start with Water Bath Canning
Pressure canners can be expensive but a good water bath canning set is very reasonable. You may be surprised at how much you can preserve with the water bath method. I do HIGHLY recommend you have the latest copy of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for safety and current recipes.
- Buy Jars On Sale
When the big canning season ends a lot of stores will put canning supplies on sale! So after the summer, in most areas, check out your local stores for sales and stock up.
- Consider Sharing Equipment
If you and a friend both want to can, consider sharing the costs of equipment and supplies. I love canning with a friend too so that’s a win!
Another great way to preserving your harvest is to dehydrate it. From drying herbs to make jerky! When you are trying to homestead on a tight budget you don’t need to invest in an Excalibur Dehydrator. I have a Nesco and have been very happy with it.
- Don’t Buy Dehydrator Right Away
There is a lot of dehydrating that can be done in your oven! You can use your oven as a dehydrator without much modification at all.
- Thrift Is Your Friend
A lot of people get a dehydrator or are gifted one and they don’t use it. Check yard sales for great deals on a dehydrator.
Property Isn’t Everything!
- No Acres, No Problem
There is so much you can do while you wait on that dream. See my article What to Do While You Wait on Your Dream Homestead.
- Start Where You Are
Never let your current situation keep you from thinking you can’t do anything. There are even apartment-steaders out there!
Income From the Get-Go
Your homestead or backyard farm can make money very quickly. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Homesteading is never going to be free but you can homestead on a tight budget. Don’t let finances keep you from starting the journey; just make adjustments to meet your goals. I hope this shows you how you can homestead on a tight budget and still meet so many of your goals. One thing I’ve learned over the years is how resourceful homesteaders really are and finances won’t stop them!