Achieving your homesteading dream may mean learning to be a better manager of your finances. Here are 5 money principles that homesteaders should embrace…
Homesteading isn’t easy. In fact, most modern homesteaders will tell you it can be downright difficult and exhausting. It is usually a labor of love, and many homesteaders don’t make much (or any) money from their homesteading venture (although some do).
Homesteading can mean a lot of extra work after hours, while working a full-time “regular” job.
However, if you’re wanting to cut back at work so you can spend more time on the homestead, you will need to learn to manage your finances more carefully. The lessons you will learn in financial management through running your homestead will serve you well throughout the rest of your life as well.
Below are 5 money principles for homesteaders from ThePrairieHomestead.com that can help you stay on track with your financial goals, while living your homesteading dream!
1. Avoid debt like the plague
Ten years ago, my husband and I made the conscious decision to stay out of debt. That single choice has impacted our lives more than anything else we’ve ever done... This mentality of only purchasing what we could afford set us up for success in our homesteading endeavors... I don’t care how much debt you have right now– it’s never to late to shift and start a debt snowball. Will it require sacrifice? You bet. But it is, hands down, one of the best decisions we ever made.
2. Build an emergency fund
Stuff happens… And having all the working pieces of a homestead increases your chances of more “stuff” happening– equipment breaking, animals getting sick or injured, you name it. Start working today to build an “emergency fund” which is simply a dedicated savings account with 3-6 month of expenses set aside. Our emergency fund has saved our bacon so many times, and has prevented us from turning to credit cards when a horse has tried to cut her leg off (ugh), the truck has broken down, etc. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you have the fund if you need it is amazing.
3. Squash the comparisons
Keeping up with the Joneses… Or the homesteader next door… Or those picture-perfect Pinterest People. It’s a real temptation, man… I totally get it. Our human nature tends to drive us to compare and lament our perceived inadequacies, which in turn has a powerful pull in causing us to spend money we don’t have. Can I offer you a gentle piece of advice? Stop it. Just. Stop. Because guess what? The Joneses are broke, and the Pinterest People aren’t showing you the dirty dishes and holes in lawn. Water the grass on your side of the homestead fence, stay in your own lane, and you’ll be amazed at how your mindset will shift!
4. Embrace humble beginnings
Last week I found our list of homestead goals from 2011, and I couldn’t help but smile. Back then, those things were SO BIG to me. Compared to our homestead goals now? They seem like a drop in the bucket, but it makes me proud of the way we started out. We creatively scrimped and saved to make this homesteading dream of ours work, and as our finances grew, so did our ability to dream bigger.
Fight the temptation to go into debt or financial distress in an attempt to have it all at once. You don’t need to buy an “instant farm”. Start small if you need to, live within your means, purchase what you can afford, and add a little bit at a time. That’s what we did. It truly is about the journey, not the destination.
5. Be mindful of money pits if your budget is tight
People are often surprised to learn raising your own food often costs *more* than simply purchasing it at the store. Truly, if this was all about saving money, I’d be much better off to buy the cheap gallons of milk from the grocery store, versus keeping our own milk cow. But for us, this homesteading gig isn’t about saving money, it’s about quality of life. It’s about raising kids who understand the rhythms of nature and the satisfaction of hard work. It’s about fulfilling the childhood dreams of my husband and I. It’s about boosting our self-sufficiency and learning new skills. Therefore, I’m willing to accept that some aspects of homesteading simply may cost more.
That being said, we still try to make wise decisions when it comes to which animals we raise and what projects we invest in… These sort of decisions will vary from from situation to situation, but I encourage you to carefully weigh which homesteading projects contribute to your long-term goals and quality of life, and which ones would just be throwing money to the wind.