Homesteading Where You Are Series: Save

Thank you for joining me in the Homesteading Where You Are Series!  This series came about because of the numerous wonderful emails I get from readers telling me they can't wait to have land so they can begin living a homemade life.  Don't wait! You can start wherever you are.  

"Save" is this week's topic.  Initially, you probably think about money.  Saving money is extremely important.  With homesteading I believe there's additional "save" topics such as saving seeds, saving electricity {especially if you plan on going off-grid}, saving food {covered last week in Preserve}, and saving things.  I've broken this post down into 3 saving sections.

Save Money
Saving money is a universal goal, not just applicable to homesteaders.  Even if you aren't saving for a piece of land, there are costs in homesteading {animals, supplies, equipment, etc.}, which means that having a savings account is a great idea. 

My theory on budgeting/saving is this.  Work to save money not to make more money.  Does that sound crazy?  Here's why- you can typically find extra money in your current lifestyle to save.  And the reality is, most people who earn more, spend more.  If you instead work to save money with the income you currently have, if you do end up earning more at some point you will be in a better position to put the extra earnings into savings because you've been living with that mindset.

If you aren't currently using a budget, you'll need to set up a basic budget.  Write down everything {every single thing} you purchase for 3 months.  Divide each purchase {some will be sub-divided, such as groceries} into either essential or non-essential.  Example:  you may deem basic cable as essential but the extra services you're paying for in your cable package should be deemed non-essential.  Basic food items at the grocery store are "essential", however, coffee, candy, etc. should be labeled as "non-essential" purchases.

At the end of the 3 months add up your essential spending and non-essential spending.  If you have no extra money in your paycheck to save yet you have non-essential spending, that's where you should start.  This will give you a clear picture of where your money goes.  Cut out some of the non-essentials and, instead, put that money into savings.

Think about what you want your homestead to look like - animals?  outbuildings?  garden?  And then look at the costs that may be associated with each of these.  Animals - purchasing animals, housing, feed, fencing, any special equipment, veterinary bills.  Outbuildings - building of them and maintenance.  Garden - purchase of seeds, cost of prepping the soil, cost of fruit trees/bushes, etc.  Will a tractor be a necessity? How about a generator?  That's another big expense.

You can also look at how you plan to make an income, if you do, on your homestead.  If you plan to sell products from your farm, you'll need money for advertising.  You also may need to look at zoning laws and will likely need additional insurance coverage which may also result in the need to have an attorney involved.  If you plan on selling at shows or farmer's markets, you'll need to pay up front for those costs.  Our crafts shows range from $100 to $700 per show and our farmer's market summer season costs $500-$700.  All fees are expected prior to the season/show.

It certainly is possible to just jump in and do it but you'll feel much more prepared if you've tried to anticipate and save for potential expenses.

Previous posts on saving money:
10 Easy Things You Can Do To Save Money
Living Within Our Means
Making Your Money Work For You
11 Tips For Eating Real Food On A Real Budget
Writing and Using A Meal Plan

Save Seeds
If you plan to garden this is a huge money saver.  Only seeds from standard open-pollinated, not hybrid, plants will reliably produce the same crop the following year.  Also, if you plant two or more varieties of a crop that is pollinated by insects {or wind}, you may not get a reproduction of the actual seed you had saved.  This includes if your neighbors garden is too close to your own and your crop is cross-pollinated with theirs.

There's many references out there for saving specific seeds and is something worth learning if you plan to garden regularly and/or sell produce.

re-purposed wood to make soap-curing shelving
Save Things
No, not hoarding, but on a homestead re-using things is so very important.  It makes it much easier if you have outbuildings to store the goods in, but regardless, not immediately throwing something that appears to be trash and instead saving and potentially re-using it, could save you time and money.

We have 2 outbuildings with second floors - my husband's shop and the barn.  We keep miscellaneous pieces of wood, old windows, roofing, flooring, fencing, etc.  It's sorted and organized so that when we need to either replace something on one of the buildings or, if we need to add a building, we can shop our stock first.  Having it organized so all the windows are together and easy to get to, wood is stored according to type/size, etc. saves time and makes it easy to find what you're looking for.

It also takes a bit of imagination or creativity.  You likely won't have exactly what you need so looking at what you have and figuring out how to make it work is part of the process.

What about you?  What types of things do you do to save or what are your saving goals?

The Series
The rest of the topics in this series are:


daisy g said...

Love your take on this! You sure know a lot about budgeting!

HeatherD76 said...

I consider myself a homesteader even though I live in a mobile home park. I have plenty of room to garden, just can't have the animals I want. I too have been blogging about how we do it.

born imaginative. said...

I need to get back on the wagon of saving for goals. Having 2 homes for a year, we were just trying to get by. Now I can start thinking of the future. :)

Sue Frelick said...

One of my friends lives off grid and she is very happy about not getting a power bill. I like your ideas for budgeting. It's so true that there are costs that are important, and should be figured into a budget, things like like vet bills and craft show fees. Love having a tinkering pile and I wouldn't want to be without one, although mine isn't quite as organized as yours sounds!

This is a great post. Lots to think about. :-)

Our Neck of the Woods said...

Saving seeds is a big one for us right now! We were able to save a lot of seeds last year so we didn't have to buy nearly as much for this year's garden. I can't wait to get them planted this spring!