How To Become a Homesteader-Part 1- Finances

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Our homesteading school garners a lot of interest and folks of all walks of life are more and more interested in leaving the rat race and joining the simple life.  Most people have a romanticized view of what homesteading looks like, but the good news is, most of those images are true.  It is lovely to live so simply and to not worry as much and to have more freedom with time.

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We have a lot of people, friends and family, ask how to get to this point.  How do you achieve the homestead?  How do you get your own place, your own farmstead?  How do you leave your job?  How do you walk away from your lifestyle?

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Here is the very first thing that one has to realize, grasp, and accept before they pursue this lifestyle.  You must be prepared to give up your way of life.  You must be prepared to give up a lot of things, a lot of comforts, a lot, in order to get away with living this way.  But you get much, much more in return.

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1. Regarding Work- unless you are independently wealthy or are expecting an inheritance, you’ll need to make an income.  There are a lot of people with “regular” jobs looking to escape to this lifestyle but do not want to give up the RV payment, the car payment, the cable package, the all electric run home, the big house, et cetera.  But, a lot of times the reason that people want to become homesteaders is to get away from those rat race jobs!  To not be reliant on others to keep them employed.  To not work 40+ hours a week breaking their backs and then expect to be able to go do chores and call in to work if a sick lamb is born.  Homesteading is about being your own boss.

There are the few that enjoy homesteading on the weekends or love their corporate jobs.  This is more about those of you that want to choose what you do from day to day, who want to live closer to nature, and who want to be less reliant on the system, and have faith in their abilities to provide for themselves.

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There is a new wave of entrepreneurs coming up.  People are realizing that four year college is not the answer most of the time for our young folk.  Heading into their adult lives with debt is not a great way to start out.  Trade schools are rising in popularity and for good reason.  There are few people my age that know how to fix plumbing, who can do carpentry, or who can fix their own cars.  We all got used to hiring people and that is expensive.  But if these young people can grab some of the training and jobs out there to do these things they can work for themselves and make a fair income.  Not just young people, if you need a new career, look into trade work.  If you know how to do these things, focus your energies on these skills to make a homestead income.

I have friends that make their entire living off of farming.  One needs less bills in order to achieve that.  We make a very nice living (it may be considered poverty level, but it works for us!) making and selling herbal medicines and teaching.

If you get your bills down low enough, an enjoyable part time job might be sufficient.

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2. Bills- Do you need a cable package?  Do you need television?  Do you need internet?  Can you use free wifi somewhere?  Get your bills down as low as you can on paper and then you will see how much you need to make per month.  Forget the five year plan, the “when we get this paid off” plan, “when we retire” plan.  Life is short, life is waiting, act soon!

Take away preconceived notions.  You do not need to own a lot of land to homestead.  Find a cheap rental with a friendly landlord.

As you get involved in this lifestyle you will find that you will meet more and more likeminded people.  Homesteaders are an amazing community of people that are always willing to help with advice and expertise and who love to barter!

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3. Debt- It seems impossible to get rid of the debt we accumulated through student loans and losing our house from our previous lifestyle but we certainly aren’t adding any more to it!  We do not use credit cards.  We do not take on debt.  We highly recommend the Dave Ramsey program.  Assume that if you can’t afford it today, you can’t afford it later!  A cash based budget is easier to keep track of.

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4. Rely on Yourself- Learn how to make alternative medicines.  They are every bit as effective as pharmaceuticals.  Barter for what you need if possible.  Preserve as much food as possible.  Heat your home with wood if possible.  Make a list of where your money goes….doctors, grocery stores, clothing stores, et cetera, and see what you can do for yourself.  Break it down even further.  Crackers on your grocery list?  Learn to make them!

It is empowering and takes some stress off of you if you can do it yourself.

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5.  Learn New Skills- Can you get a book on how to make home repairs?  Can you learn to build a fence?  Can you learn to make antibiotics?  Can you learn to can?

Yes you can!

This is the first step in successfully becoming a homesteader and leaving the status quo behind.

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We get to babysit our granddaughter while our daughter is at work part time because we make our own schedules.  We have so much fun with that little munchkin.  We have time to run around with our animals and enjoy the views here.  We have few worries here.  We are in control of our life and is there anything sweeter than that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Much Does it Cost to Have a Farm Animal?

We knew how much it cost to buy the farm animals.  Approximately two or three dollars per chick.  $200 per alpaca (that was a smoking deal).  $200 for the pair of adorable goats to be bartered for herbal medicine.  (Another great deal.  We should be able to sell Katrina’s babies for $200-$300 each!)

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What we didn’t know and couldn’t seem to get answers to was how much is it to raise these guys?  How much to feed them?  Twenty dollars a month?  Two hundred dollars a month?  I needed to know if I would have to return the farm animals after three weeks if we couldn’t afford it.  I keep a good budget (it could certainly be better) and I save up money for months in advance because our main income is earned during the summer.  So, if some farm kid is going to eat us out of house and farm, Lord, I need to know about it!

Look who wanted in this morning!

I have gathered the numbers for all of you out there wanting to get a few cute farm animals yourself.

Introducing Ferdinand!

Alpacas are surprisingly affordable.  The upfront cost can make you choke (count on $300 for a fiber boy up to $20,000 for a prized breeding girl) but once you get the little guys they don’t cost much.  We’re talking one bale of hay between the both of them.  Around $13 a month.  With pine shavings and the pellets that have their minerals in it takes us to twenty.  So, each fiber boy costs $10 a month.  It’s a good thing they don’t cost much to feed because any animal that is that fluffy and cute should allow me to go snuggle with it.  No can do.  They don’t come near me.  Sad.

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Goats eat a tad more, but not much. They love to eat.  We got a pregnant mama here.  They don’t need the grain. (I was told at church yesterday by Jill.  We spoil them a tad too much perhaps.)  So with pine shavings, this makes the girls about the same.  $10 a piece per month.  We’ll give some sweet feed in a few months when we are milking Katrina, so that will raise it up slightly.  Jill gave us a good start on minerals.  So, when we do have to purchase minerals and the sweet feed, we may be looking at $15 a piece per month.  I have Nigerian Dwarves, so a larger breed would probably eat more.

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The chickens….wouldn’t you expect them to be the cheapest?  They are giving us eggs to pay for their room and board.  We feed organic feed.  It’s not that much more than the GMO stuff.  They have been going through much more lately because of the cold and lack of forage (and lack of things to do, in my opinion).  $36 dollar a month plus pine shavings which will take us to roughly $40 a month.  At the two to three eggs a day from fifteen hens and their useless (but good looking) husband, that makes each dozen of eggs cost $6 a piece.  No profit.  But, we do have to consider that we don’t buy eggs either.  So, I am okay with that cost.

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The greyhound costs $20 a month and eight cats cost $60 a month.  So, in the end, the cats are the ones eating us out of house and farm.  They better get back to mousing!

Of course these costs don’t take into consideration veterinarian costs.  But, we rarely to never use a vet.  We are herbalists and teach people how to treat their own animals.  Not much we can’t help take care of.  So, that saves us a tremendous amount of money having that knowledge.  We did pay $75 for the people we got Natale from to geld him.  Looks like the bratty Ferdinand may have to go that route too, we’ll see.  But, just having a cat can place you at risk for having a huge vet bill in an emergency, so I don’t count vet costs because that would come out of an emergency fund.

(To find out more about a Certified Herbalist Certification go to http://gardenfairyapothecary.com

It is nice though, to see a general cost of feed and housing.  A house is much more of a home with a rooster and a goat, don’t you think?  Now, how much does it cost to have a sheep….

petting goats