Financial Hurdles of Homesteading

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.

 

Shared with From the Farm Blog Hop and Homestead Bloggers Network.

16 thoughts on “Financial Hurdles of Homesteading

  1. Good topic that nearly never gets covered! We’re coming to the end of our first year on a “proper” homestead (not an urban one, an actual acreage) and it’s been shocking how the expenses have piled up. I think a lot of people assume that living simply and living cheaply are one and the same – they’re not! Good for you for being brave enough to make the right decision for your family – lots of folks wouldn’t have the courage.

  2. I can’t wait to hear about your employment. My hubby and I are ALLWAYS trying to figure out a way to “get out of the rat race”. He would love to be out of the work place and working w/his hands and basically doing what you guys are doing. Thanks for making this blog. You guys are an inspiration for the rest of us! 🙂

  3. I was going to ask how you both make extra money to live there. Thanks for this post…
    We sold everything we owned and moved across Canada. A few months later had enough to buy land with CASH and build a shop with cash. Now we have saved some money over the last year to build our home. It’s going to be small but we think this was very cheap. The money you save when you build things yourself is BIG. When you live very minimal, it can be done.

    • Yes, it’s true. Not paying for labor is one of the ways that we are really saving with this house construction. That, and the time and effort we’re putting into sourcing reclaimed materials. At an auction today, my husband got tongue and groove flooring, several stacks of wood, and assorted tools for $65!

  4. We are trying to homestead ourselves – but it’s taking a lot longer. We bought our land 7 years ago and have been slowly improving it – as we can afford to with cash only – while we live in our current home and hubby continues to work. The future homestead is about a 1-1/2 hour drive away from our current home. During weekends and vacations we have put in a septic tank, solar powered well, fruit and nut orchard, tool shed/guest cottage, cut in a new road to make a loop for big trucks (cement trucks) to get in and out of our property (county code) and have set up a nice place for our travel trailer so we can live comfortably while we are up working on the property. Everything is just about ready to build our new home – as soon as I can get hubby to retire! We want to live as simply and sustainably as possible with a nice raised bed garden, bees, chickens and the orchard – off grid. We aren’t really “preppers”, but we know that with the cost of living constantly rising and our income (pension and social security) at a standstill, it will be more important than ever to not owe anyone anything, except taxes and insurance! Of course, we will still want to have internet and satellite TV, and we plan to do some travelling once everything is in place. But we should be financially “set” with no mortgage or energy bills and a greatly reduced food bill – which will enable us to enjoy these “finer” aspects of our retirement.

  5. This is really inspiring Teri! We’re dreaming of land also and not sure how the pieces will come together, but we talk a lot about just buying the land and slowing building a little house….I’ll be watching your adventures! 🙂
    Blessings,
    Kelly

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