The Cost of Homesteading


Homesteading is an intriguing lifestyle for many.  It truly is rewarding, entertaining and challenging.  It's about taking responsibility for much of what you use and consume.  At first glance, it may seem an inexpensive way to live.  And it can be, provided you go into it with that mindset and goal.  Before you go selling all your belongings to "buy the farm" based on your dream of raising chickens and goats, factor in start-up costs and ongoing costs so they don't catch you off guard.

Entering the homesteading lifestyle with a frugal mindset will definitely pay off.  If you are already in the habit of reduce/reuse/recycle, this will come in very handy.

Actual costs will vary depending on where you live.  It will also vary based on what you currently
own, what you are looking to do and how you go about purchasing any or all of these items.  That being said, what I wanted to provide was a list of things to consider:

Property/Land
The largest and most important factor in homesteading.  The cost varies greatly depending on where you live.  Consider the actual piece of property and surrounding area.  Is electricity already run?  What is the water source?  Is the land cleared?

Home
If your property does not come with a house, what type of house will you build/buy?  Consider room for a pantry, storage and root cellar.

Barn/Outbuildings
This can be a large expense, but if you're planning on raising any animals it will be an important consideration.  If your property has no outbuildings, first check on the permit process.  Then factor in what type of animals and the type of housing they will need.  If you are raising cows or goats, will you be milking them?  If so, you will need a clean space for that.  Will you breed any of your livestock?  Will you raise chickens for meat and eggs? 

Tractor and/or Trailer
Depending on your property and what you plan to do with it, will you need a tractor?  Factor in not only the initial cost but gas to run it and maintenance on it as well.  Where will you store it?  This may need to be factored in to the Barn/Outbuildings section.

Fencing
This can be a huge expense depending on what type of fencing and how much land you need to fence off.  This should be considered for your garden area as well as livestock - goats/pigs/cows/chickens/etc.

Garden
You will need seeds, plants, tools and likely irrigation.  Factor in the initial set-up as well as any ongoing costs.  You may also factor in if an entire crop {or two or three} gets wiped out - what will you do?

Bees
Are you going to raise bees for honey or beeswax?  Consider the cost of the bees, hives and equipment necessary to raise them.

Livestock
There is the initial cost of any livestock as well as possible ongoing veterinary costs, feed, and equipment such as waterer's and feeders.  If you'll be raising livestock for meat, who will process the animal?  If it's you, what equipment will be needed?  If not, where will you take it and what will be the cost for that?

On-Grid or Off-Grid?
Is your property already set-up with electric?  If not, will you pay to have that run or will you pay for solar?

Water
What is your water source?  If it's a septic, there will be pumping costs associated with this every few years.

Greenhouse or Cold Frame
If you want to start seeds early and/or grow hardy plants late, you may invest in either a greenhouse and/or a cold frame or purchase/barter/find wood and windows to build your own.

Heat
Will you heat with wood or wood pellets?  There will possibly be annual costs associated with this.  If you are cutting down your own wood, do you have a chainsaw?  You'll need gas to run it as well.

Taxes
Property taxes will never go away and will always increase.  Something to factor into your annual budget.

Licenses/Booth Costs
If you plan to sell items you make, raise or grow, you may need licensing or certifications.  This may be an initial fee or an annual fee.  If you plan to sell at local farmer's markets or craft shows, factor in the cost to get there {food/gas} as well as your booth cost.

Personal Costs
Healthcare, gas, travel, hobbies, etc.  will be things factored into any lifestyle, homesteading being no different.  Of course, the further you live away from stores/gas stations/medical facilitiesetc., potentially the more gas you will use to get there.


As always, if you can sock some money away into a small emergency fund it makes the transition that much easier and if you learn to make do with what you have, the sheer pleasure of not having to touch that emergency fund is so satisfying!

2 comments:

daisy g said...

Great things to consider. It really helps to think these things through before making the move.

Farmer Liz said...

I think if you're sensible you can start to really save money though, we hardly spend anything on food now, it all comes from our property, it was just expensive to set up at first... and then there are ongoing improvements and good ideas... Great post!