Creating the Low-Budget Homestead

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Almost six years ago my husband and I were barely hanging on financially. We had just moved to a new town, he had just started a new job, I had recently become a stay at home mom, and we had 3 young children. Needless to say, times were very hard. I tried everything to stretch every last dollar we had.

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Finally, I was feeling rather defeated one day and sat down to watch some television and try to get my mind off of things. I came across the show, Alaska the Last Frontier. So I talked to my husband about it, got the support of my mother-in-law, and we began our homesteading dream. But the catch was, we were flat broke.

How were we ever going to start a homestead when we were struggling just to pay the bills? When we first began the thought process of homesteading, the first thing we did was created a plan. I told my husband that I knew that we needed some wiggle room in our finances. But the only way I could see us creating any wiggle room what so ever was slashing the grocery bill even more. However, I wanted to do this by growing our own food.

So my husband agreed, and we began talking about things we could do with our land. We looked at small homestead layouts and did a ton of research. The research helped us see all of the possibilities that were available for our amount of land. Naturally, we were stunned with what we saw people growing on less than an acre. We had two acres so we knew we could do this. Which led us to make a list of items we needed for survival. That list consisted of: eggs, milk, meat, vegetables, and fruit. Once we knew what we needed to survive, live a healthy lifestyle, and save money, we got to work.

Building a greenhouse was our first project. Here is how we created it. Well, for starters, I got this grand homesteading idea in the middle of winter. So my husband began researching greenhouses. Which led us to create our own. So my husband had some scrap wood in the yard from a wooden walkway he had taken apart. He knew he could reuse that to build the beds.

The Doable Off-Grid Homestead - Homesteading on the Cheap

Then he decided to use PVC pipe as the frame because of how inexpensive it was, and we went with the cheap plastic because we were broke. We actually had that happen. After the greenhouse was complete, we began planting fast growing and hearty vegetables like radishes, spinach, and lettuce so we could have some food.

Next, we decided to invest in chickens. Then we got creative again. But we could grow more vegetables in our greenhouse for them, feed them our table scraps, purchase corn when it was on sale during deer season, give them egg shells for their calcium, feed them fodder , and supplement, as needed, with store bought food.

You could also use some of these other cheap chicken feed ideas. However, we then hit a snag with how we would house them. Then we again got creative. We knew you could build a lot from pallets. Which is what we did. You can see our tutorial for building our practically free chicken coop here. We used pallets that we collected for free from a local business. The use and money savings over the years will not only pay for the cabin, but will allow you to build more, and potentially even give you an income stream.

A sawmill. This almost completely removes the need for you to buy lumber, drastically reducing the overall cost of materials.

Budget Homestead part 1

According to the National Association of Home Builders , the average cost of lumber for framing, trusses, joists, etc. There are a few reasons why I chose this route:. This might seem like a huge cost for a piece of equipment, but you have to weigh this against the total cost of the lumber to build your cabin or house.

Milling my own lumber just makes sense. The next piece of equipment you might need is a tractor or backhoe. A good tractor or backhoe is a great piece of equipment to own, and with the savings you have on the lumber, you have more than enough to purchase a good used one.

I look at off grid living as not just a lifestyle but a self sufficient necessity and when I pick the tools and equipment for my off grid homestead, I make sure that they can be used for multiple purposes. Being self sufficient means choosing the right tools, but it also means making sure you can do more than one thing with them.

Basic hand tools like hammers, screwdrivers, axes, knives, tape measures, and a good pair of pliers and wrench set are all obvious must-haves for your homestead. Since we live in a society that consumes unfortunately we can use that to our advantage and recycle and repurpose materials for use in our homes. Construction companies throw away and donate a lot of materials, manufacturing facilities have gazillions of pallets and crates that are normally just thrown away into landfills, and department stores have lots of surplus hardware that can be used.

If the earth is providing me with what I need to build my home, and is giving me the resources I need to provide shelter and a home for my family, then the right thing to do is give back and plant more trees than I use. Want to see an off grid cabin build from scratch?

Wendy and Mike Tanner built this cabin in Canada using the method described above. Like this article? Subscribe to our newsletter to get more great content and updates sent to your inbox! Continue with Facebook. Continue with Google. Enter your email. Have an account? Sign in.

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