A few days ago, a reader asked me this:
“How did you overcome the financial hurdles of homesteading, both starting and continuing? ….Obviously you are happily “living on less,” but you also have obvious real expenses.”
This is a huge question, one that I certainly cannot fully address in one post, but I thought I’d start plugging away at it.
Yes, homesteading can be expensive. If you are choosing to homestead on acreage, as we are, then there is the cost of land, of infrastructure like a road, or water. There is the cost of purchasing, renting, or building your home. There are expenses related to gardening, to preserving, to caring for livestock. There is a never-ending list of chores and projects, most of which costs money. Real hard-earned cash.
As many of you know, our decision to move to Missouri was largely a financial one. We loved Oregon, we love our community there, we love the ocean and the mountains and the abundant cultural opportunities. The West Coast truly feels like home to me, and thought I’d go on living there forever. And yet…
We had received an unexpected gift of money, partially from a relative passing away, partly a gift from family. With this gift, we could have made a nice down payment on a small piece of land in Oregon. For years we dreamed of purchasing the property on which we rented an adorable little cabin. We talked to our landlord, we brainstormed with neighbors, we crunched numbers.
We slowly (and sadly) realized that we could not afford to live in Oregon (at least in that area), and continue to live the life that we value – one of hard work and hard play, one of community and connection, one of spending time with friends and family. With two young children, our priorities had shifted dramatically, and having a livelihood that allowed one of us be at home with the kids felt really important. We began to critically evaluate how we could achieve this goal, and AND homestead in community. And then, a piece of land next door to good friends in Northeast Missouri came up for sale.
The land was cheap. So cheap that we realized that we could purchase acreage outright, and still have some money left over to build a small home and put in some basic infrastructure. So, we opted to make a huge move to a new state and start over debt-free, rather than stay in Oregon.
And that is where I am going to end this post, for now. In future posts I will detail some of the ways that we are able to make homesteading work, from our employment situation, to creative strategies to save money.