Yes. And no. But mostly yes.
I’m a financial-minded person. One of the first things I investigate when making a decision is if there is a financial pay-off in it. Homesteading was no different. When we started this journey, we were still in the process of paying off a mountain of medical debt and I needed to know whether homesteading would save us money. While Lindy was rushing out the door to buy seeds and supplies to start our adventurous new life, I hesitantly stayed behind, asking “how much is that going to cost?!”
Here’s the deal with homesteading and money: There are start up costs and on-going maintenance costs. You are going to need certain supplies and tools in order to homestead, whether you are full-on homesteading or urban homesteading. You will need to purchase seeds if you want grow your own food. You will need to purchase chickens or other foul if you want to have fresh eggs. You will need to purchase feed for your foul until you can grow your own. You will need mason jars and a canning system (waterbath or pressure cooker) to preserve your harvest. You will need some basic gardening tools. You will need good soil that may need to be purchased if you just started composting. And those are just the very basics.
Now, ready for the good news? Homesteading at its core, is counter-cultural from our consumerist-driven culture. This is a lifestyle that glorifies salvaging and reclaiming, repairing rather than buying new, and trading and bartering when money is tight. The very goal of homesteading is to constantly be moving towards self-sufficiency. The homesteading lifestyle supports living simply and frugally more than any other lifestyle.
Here are three practices that will help you save money and live the homesteading lifestyle to the fullest:
Move at your own speed: There is no timeline and no “right” way to homestead. Your version of homesteading may look completely different than ours. The steps you take may seem completely out of order to someone else but make perfect sense for your life. Whether you baby-step it or jump in head first, the only thing that matters is that you are doing it. You can create a pace that is sustainable for both your life and your wallet.
Re-assess often: Homesteading, as a lifestyle, will absolutely save you money. But you will need to be very aware of what is worth investing your money in, what you can make yourself, and what you can do without. Are you reusing and repurposing materials? Are you salvaging and bartering for supplies? Are you fully utilizing your resources so that nothing is wasted? Are you stepping away from the consumerist culture we were all raised in? Examining your lifestyle often will help you reach your homesteading and financial goals much faster.
Never Compare: Surrounding yourself with role models and others who live the lifestyle will help reinforce your new values and spark creativity and new ideas but don’t compare. It is also easy to fall into the trap of comparing to those who do not live the homesteading lifestyle. You know, the people with the beautifully furnished houses because they don’t have chicks temporarily housed in their living rooms. The quickest way to become unhappy with your own progress is to compare it to others. Realize that your journey will never look like theirs and that it doesn’t need to. Make it unique and never settle for ordinary.