How to Start Homesteading for Dirt Cheap | Homesteading for Beginners

How to Start Homesteading for Dirt Cheap | Homesteading for Beginners

This post is all about homesteading for beginners!

Homesteading can be a fun hobby for some, while for others, it's their whole way of life! In recent years, many people have wanted to return to a simpler and slower way of life by living off of their land, as our great-grandparents did. It used to be common for everyone to have their own garden and depend on their neighbors, because there wasn't a convenient store on every corner like there is today.

Personally, I wouldn't consider our farm, here at Faith Farms, to be a fully-functioning homestead. However, we do enjoy part-time homesteading through our farm business! We raise Nigerian Dwarf Goats, which allows us to have a goat milk soap business that we run right from our backyard.

On our property, we have a small orchard, drink our goat's milk, raise chickens for eggs, cook from scratch, and sell at farmer's markets with local farmers! We also have plans to start a small garden next spring!

Whether you're wanting to go totally off-grid or are simply wanting to learn a few life skills in order to be a bit more self-sufficient, homesteading could be the thing for you! In this post, we want to give you some homestead living tips that we have learned along the way and give you some tips on how to start homesteading today!

We hope this homesteading for beginners blog is super helpful to you!

homesteading for beginners



Homesteading for Beginners

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What's homesteading?

Homesteading simply means to live off of the crops and animals you raise on your land, and be more self-sufficient. It's a slower way of life that involves getting in the dirt and creating something from very little. It requires a lot of patience and commitment, but it is so rewarding to watch: A seed grow into food that feeds your family. A baby chick grow into a hen that provides eggs for your family. .... And so on!

Nowadays, it's not expected to grow and harvest food because of the convenience that grocery stores have provided over the last century. However, it wasn't too long ago that almost everyone had their own gardens, chickens, and animals.

Thankfully, homesteading has become popular again as more people have wanted to be more aware of where their food is coming from and how it's grown. Here at Faith Farms, our homestead is currently made up of:

  • Our goat farm which we use to make all of our goat milk products for our business
  • Chickens for eggs
  • A few pigs (we're still deciding what we want to do with them!)
  • Our entire family also lives on our land. You can have a little tour in the video below!
RELATED POST: An Exact List of Supplies Needed for Goats (And Estimated Costs)

How much does it cost to start homesteading?

The cost of starting a homestead varies greatly because each person and each homestead is different. You truly can "homestead," or in other words, be more self-sufficient, anywhere you live! You do not necessarily need to live on a sizeable piece of property to become more self-sufficient. Some examples of homestead startup costs may be:
  • Land
  • Garden tools
  • Fencing for animals
  • Shelter for animals
  • Seeds
  • Tools
  • Canning jars for food preservation
Homesteading can cost as little or as much as you like. For example, if you plan to garden, you have multiple options from sowing the seeds straight into the ground to buying raised beds, DIY-ing raised beds with scrap wood, or starting seeds inside your house or greenhouse. It really all depends on how you, as the homesteader, want to do it and what your budget and space allows!

What should I do in my first year of homesteading?

  1. Create a budget: Decide how much you can spend or want to spend on creating your homestead.
  2. Make a plan: You need to figure out how self-sufficient you want to be and what it will look like. Ask yourself questions like whether or not you want to raise your own meat animals. -- Do you want to grow fruits and vegetables? Do you want to make money selling any of your goods and, if so, what would you sell?
  3. Do your research: Talk and connect with other homesteaders, read books or articles, watch videos, and learn as much as you can about homesteading for beginners!
  4. Plant some fruit trees: If you have land, whether it's half an acre or 5+ acres, you should plant fruit trees as soon as you can. Fruit trees can take 2-5 years to start bearing fruit, so you will want to get ahead start so that you can enjoy years and years of a bountiful harvest of fruit!
  5. Learn how to cook from scratch and preserve food: Let's say you grow a successful garden and have tomatoes coming out of your ears! You will need to know how to preserve that produce and make recipes out of it. Some people choose to learn as they go, but if you have time to learn beforehand, that would be ideal. For example, you could visit a local farmers market and buy some tomatoes to practice canning, making tomato sauce from scratch, etc!

Is 1 acre enough for a homestead?

Yes, absolutely! You do not need a big plot of land or a lot of acreage to be more self-sufficient. Even with one acre, the possibilities are endless if you put your mind to it! On one acre, you could:
  • Have a small garden
  • Raise chickens for eggs or meat
  • Can and preserve food
  • Plant some berry bushes or fruit trees
  • Raise small goats or a cow for milk
I remember when my siblings and I were younger, we had a single pear tree growing on our property. One year we picked over 200 pounds of pears from one tree and we were able to make pear preserves, pear jelly, and eat the pears the rest of the winter! So, even with one fruit-bearing tree, you can become a little more self-sustaining!

Does homesteading really save money?

Homesteading can save you money if you plan well and know what you are doing. Especially if you are new to homesteading! There can be an upfront cost in the beginning, whether you plan to buy some land, start a garden, purchase animals or livestock, etc.

A huge part of homesteading is cooking from scratch with what you have on hand. This can help cut down on grocery bills and save money that you would spend on eating out. A great way to save money through homesteading is to find items in your fridge or pantry that you could learn to make or grow at home!

You also need to take into consideration that there will be a learning curve and you'll probably make some costly mistakes that may not help you save money. However, it will be worth it in the end! Homesteading is often more about gaining life skills, being more independent, and providing healthy food for your family than it is about saving money.

A more seasoned homesteader may be better at saving money and cutting down on their budget after gaining experience and the initial upfront costs of homesteading.

Is homesteading a healthy lifestyle?

Homesteading is definitely a healthy lifestyle! When homesteading, you get outside more with fresh air and sunshine, move your body more while taking care of your garden or animals, and grow your own fruits and vegetables without harmful pesticides or preservatives!

What are the challenges of homesteading?

Just like all things in life, there are some challenges with homesteading. Homesteading often requires learning new skills, making mistakes, overspending or underspending, and even hardships.

A part of owning animals also involves dealing with illnesses, injuries, and even death. One thing you constantly have to be learning about is what your animals and crops need in specific environmental conditions.

For example, raising chickens in the winter requires a lot of different care than raising chickens in the summertime. Many first-time homesteaders get way too deep over their heads when adding new things to their homestead.

As I stated before, make sure to do your research whether through reading books or watching educational videos, and take the steps to be as prepared as you can be before investing time and money! Even with preparation, there will be a learning curve when starting anything new.

homesteading for beginners

Homesteading for Beginners: Tips and Tricks

Checklist for starting a homestead

  1. Prepare and plan: Figure out what you can do with what you have
  2. Choose what you are passionate about: Do you have a passion for eating fresh fruits and vegetables? Love caring for animals? Want to know where your meat is coming from? Ask yourself what is most important to you!
  3. Have a positive and open mind: Do not be afraid to make a lot of mistakes and be determined to grow and learn!
  4. Connect with and learn from others: Visit your local farms or farmers market and ask questions, learn, and make friends with like minded people!
  5. Simplify your life: Homesteading is all about going back to the basics. So try to simplify your life by getting rid of clutter and extra curriculars that make your life busy, complicated, and stressful!
  6. Research, research, research: You really don't have to go it alone or uninformed when there are so many recourses to help you beforehand! Read books, blogs, and take advantage of Youtube videos!
What are you waiting for? Dig in and get your hands dirty starting today!

How to start homesteading with no money

If you're wondering how to afford homesteading or are starting a homestead with little to no money, just realize it does not take a lot of money to start! A garden can be done with a few $5 packs of seeds, dirt from the ground, and sunshine. Chickens could be done on a small budget too.

Here at Faith Farms, we're currently building a chicken tractor out of scrap wood and free pallets we found on facebook marketplace. Baby chicks cost anywhere from $3-$5 each, then you'd just need some starter feed. When chickens are little, they can live in a small box or cage inside until they are big enough to move outside to free range.

Homesteading books

Here are a few homesteading for beginners books we'd recommend because they have helped us along the way: This post was all about homesteading for beginners!
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