Homesteading is all about simplicity. It’s hard work and really nothing about it is simple. Simplicity in the homestead life refers to a frame of mind, and an older way of doing things. By following these 5 steps, you can be on your way to a life of simplicity.
Make the sacrifices!
In the post “5 Reasons You’re Stuck in the 9-5”, the first thing mentioned was you aren’t willing to sacrifice. Here we’re going to look at the sacrifices in detail. Hopefully, you’ll find it isn’t all that bad. The first place to start is with your bills. If you own anything that you’re making a payment on; yes, even that new car, sell it! Pay off your debts, cut up the plastic and don’t ever look at it as an option again.
Your home you still need, but once you have everything paid off, you can start saving for land. Decide on where you want to homestead, research land prices and save. Do NOT finance land for a homestead. As mentioned in previous posts, homesteading isn’t a consistent income so you really can’t afford a mortgage for land. Pay cash based on what you can reasonably afford and keep in mind it doesn’t have to be the biggest lot. You don’t have to have 100’s of acres to homestead. There are people who do it in under ¼ acre. You just need enough land for your family to have a small, modest home, an outhouse and crops. Livestock is ultimately up to you, but chickens and bunnies don’t take up much room.
Next, take a look at what you’re actually spending money on every month and cut anywhere you can. Get rid of your cable or satellite bill, cut your phone plan down to the smallest available or go pre-paid. While the practical side is, you need a phone for emergencies if nothing else, you don’t need to watch TV. Use your internet (if you have enough data, but don’t go over because it’ll cost you extra) to keep up with news and current events. Invest in a television antenna like the one here from Amazon. It should get you the major network stations, so you’ll still have some entertainment, just not a few hundred channels.
Cut the societal cord.
This is a hard one for most people, and since I’m being honest here, it’s hard for me at times as well. My husband on the other hand could truly care less what others think, it makes me jealous sometimes. But the fact of the matter is he’s right. How cares about what society thinks of us? We’re happy, healthy, and absolutely love our life.
Some of the things we’ve faced in the last year include me being asked why my husband isn’t supporting our family. Talk about heartbreak! I had to attempt to explain to this person that he does indeed support our family. Just because he doesn’t work outside our home doesn’t mean he doesn’t do anything for us. In fact, he’s busy from sun up till sun down, making sure we have wood to stay warm, a place to plant our garden, feed for the chickens and bunnies. He’s always fixing something because we stick to the cash method and this usually means we buy things that others would normally trash just because they need simple repairs. My husband is my rock and there is NO way I would be able to do this without him.
Another one I was asked is how we can live in such a tiny space. Our cabin is cozy indeed, at 12×16 that’s only 192 sqf.! We do have a full loft, though it’s not tall enough to stand in. Our son has that as his room and it’s even 4 feet longer than the downstairs, lucky kid! Truth is it isn’t always easy to be in such a small space. Here’s what it does do for you though: it makes you realize what you need versus what you want. Eventually we hope to be able to add on and make it a little bigger, but for now it functions perfectly for our needs.
While these stigmas can be painful, all I have to do is realize that most of the time people don’t really mean any harm in their questions, they simply don’t understand how it’s done because they’re used to their 200 sft. homes.
Learn how to fix it yourself!
As mentioned above, we live by the cash only method. If we don’t have the cash for it we either pick up a side job to get it or we find what we can in our price range. Either way, we never finance anything.
Some of the things we’ve acquired in the last year are a motor home; we used this to live in until we found land and built a cabin. We’ve purchased 2 ATV’s, both much older models, but both only needing minor repairs to make them perfect again. We have had chainsaws and a snow machine gifted to us because they were no longer working. My husband was able to fix them all and get them going like new!
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My favorite is the wood cook stove that was gifted to us. Visiting a friend one day, I saw it sitting outside in a field at her property. I mentioned to her how beautiful it was and she said we could have it because it had just been sitting there for years. The top was completely rusted from being exposed to the harsh Alaskan elements over the years and the inside didn’t look all that promising. With a lot of elbow grease, we have it cleaned up and looking like new. (We’ll be posting about this project soon.)
All these things needed repair, and we did them ourselves. Most of it we had to google and learn along the way, but we did. It’s so satisfying to take something that was once broken and damaged and make it look new and loved again.
Learn how to cook!
Growing up, my parents worked such long hours that we ate out most of the time. If we weren’t eating out it was TV dinners for us. Twice a year I remember my dad cooking, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! It was great food but doesn’t get you very far in the variety cooking side of life.
When you’re first starting out on the homestead, you’re still going to need groceries. It takes time to grow crops and stockpile supplies. This is where learning to cook it yourself comes in. Some basic staples are inexpensive: beans, potatoes, carrots, grains. I’m not a bean fan, something about the texture makes me want to gag. But I’ve learned to cook them and love them! A very simple and inexpensive recipe for lentils is here. It’s very filling, healthy and makes for a great meal on a cold day!
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We spent many months living on the property of an elderly couple to learn from. They are vegetarians and I learned a lot of recipes from her. While the vegan life isn’t for us, everything we ate was great! If you want to get really creative, shake things up a bit and take your leftover lentil soup and make veggie burgers!
It’s a good idea to start with things you know the family will eat and then take a risk once a week. Trial and error is the method I learn from the most.
Break free from the electronic evolution.
The hardest thing we can do these days is break free from our electronic devices. It’s still an adjustment for us, but we’re enjoying it more and more. You don’t really need the newest mobile phone, if you have a ‘dumb’ phone you’re probably better off as they won’t bog down over time and they last forever.
You don’t need that new 60 inch smart HD flat screen TV either. When you use an antenna, a TV is a TV, even if it’s an old tube one.
You definitely don’t need the exercise tracker in this lifestyle because you will know you’re getting plenty of it. There’s an old saying, wood warms you 3 ways. Once when you chop it, once when you haul it, and once when you burn it. It’s also three times the workout! No gym membership needed.
We hope this has helped you see things in a different light. Remember, keep your eye on the goal and work towards it. The rewards of this life far outweigh any sacrifices we’ve had to make.