We can answer this right now, no. Homesteading will not save you money. In fact, homesteading will cost you money. A lot of money. In the first year we were on our homestead we exhausted our emergency fund four separate times. Can homesteading save money? No. Not at first. But in the long run, it will absolutely save you money. Just maybe not in the ways your expecting. Be sure to read to the end for the “pay offs” I’m talking about.
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Why Should You Homestead Then?
Homesteading is not necessarily about saving money. Sure, there are somethings that we have saved a ton of money on, like eggs, milk, and chicken.
We no longer buy eggs because our chickens have solved that problem. We don’t have to buy chicken at the grocery store because we butcher our own. We don’t buy milk from the store unless we run out. But when you look at the $100/month we have saved by how much we have spent? We are solidly in the red.
Spend More To Make More?
Because the farm is an LLC, which I highly recommend you do, we are able to write off a lot for taxes. That being said, our first year’s return was eye opening. We spent over $3,000 in vet bills and another $5,000 on feed. That was only in six months. The following year we doubled that. That doesn’t include the well pump that went out, or the water heater. Or all the fencing and structures for the goats and chickens.
But homesteading is not about saving money. It’s about living off the land, having livestock, learning new skills, and being self sufficient. Of course homesteading means different things for different people.
Homesteading Is A Long Game When It Comes To Saving Money
What I have found is that homesteading is a long term goal and commitment. You are probably not going to save money your first or your second year. If you are starting your homestead from the ground up, you will probably not see a positive until year five. But it really depends on your goals. If you want your homestead completely self sufficient but you are starting from scratch, it will take time. If you came into a property that has fencing, a barn, and garden. You are probably already ahead of the game.
Why Homesteading Doesn’t Save Money?
The reality is that you are going to spend money at first. Rarely, though it does happen, are you going to stumble onto a property that is absolutely perfect for you. You are going to have to spend money to make that property the way you want it.
I preach the importance of setting goals and figuring out your WHY. But probably the most important thing is to define what your vision of a successful homestead is. This is no different. When you are trying to set up your homestead, you want to make sure that you aren’t wasting money on things that don’t matter in the long run.
While you may not see a big financial gain, you will see the “pay off” in other areas.
When Does Homesteading “Pay Off”?
For us, homesteading started to pay off within the first year. But it’s probably not the way you’re thinking. When we bought our property, we defined, very quickly, what a successful homestead meant, and then wrote down our year one, five and ten year goals. That’s when we started to see the “pay off.”
Chickens Doing Double Duty
The pay off was a significant decrease in fleas and ticks. This was because the chickens free ranged and took care of those bugs. That meant that Jared and Jaxson weren’t being eaten alive. This made them happier and more likely to be outside.
The chickens also helped break up the compacted soil in the garden spaces. They ate the grubs and bugs that could destroy the next years crops. They’re manure became compost for the next years garden.
Their eggs are SO much better than anything you can get from the store. Bright orange yolks mean very healthy and happy chickens. But it also means that egg is packed with nutrients.
Another great thing about chickens is that we can incubate the eggs because we have a rooster. That means that technically, we never have to buy another batch of chickens. Which of course means that we will buy more chickens because… chicken math is a thing.
Goats Earning Their Keep
Initially, we bought the goats to be long term lawn mowers. But after falling in love with these creatures, we started breeding and milking them. Their pay off has been a little slower because they are expensive creatures to maintain. But I realized very quickly that I could tolerate their milk.
Their pay off is in my health. For the first time in years, I am able to consume milk with pain. While I am not lactose intolerant, I do have issues with gut health. Their milk has helped ease that pain and has increased the good bacteria in my gut. Not to mention, I know exactly what is in their feed, hay, treats, etc.
The Garden Producing
Gardening is probably the biggest way that we save money on the homestead. But again, not at first and not in the way you are probably thinking. Our big garden is getting a face lift in 2024 and that means a TON of money is getting dumped into it.
Like the budget for it is about $10,000 and includes the orchard, chicken runs, fencing, the gazebo and more. That’s okay, though. Because the amount of money it saves us isn’t about the weekly or monthly dollars saved at the grocery store.
It’s about the health benefits of the garden.
We do not spray our gardens with ANYTHING. There are no pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers used…. at all. It’s grown in soil that comes from our neighbors horse manure and our own animals bedding. Neither one of us deworm or use chemicals our animals unless absolutely necessary.
That means that our food from the garden is literally the healthiest thing we can consume on the planet. This pays off HUGE because we are filling our plates with food that is so nutrient dense, that it helps ward off sickness, disease and other issues that are common for people who eat the standard American diet.
No, homesteading probably won’t save you money
But what homesteading will do is shorten your supply train. Homesteading will reduce your need on the grocery store. It will make you healthier, even if it’s only because you are more active. There are so many other pay offs when it comes to homesteading that it’s okay that it doesn’t save you a ton of money at first.
It will pay off in the end.
If you are already saving money on your homestead, I would love to hear from you!