Since the pandemic, a lot of people have been looking to make the switch to living off the land. Even prior to 2020, as we have learned more and more about what goes into our food and the realities of the lives of people who make our clothes and more, people have sought to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle. As such, you may be wondering how to start your own homestead, so that you can enjoy a healthier, simpler life that is more sustainable than one full of fast fashion and heavily processed foods.
When you start your own homestead, there’s quite a bit of pride in growing your own crops or making your own clothes. Being self-sufficient is very appealing and can save you money in the long-run. However, don’t let the cottagecore aesthetic fool you – when you start your own homestead, you must be prepared for a lot of work.
Starting a homestead can feel overwhelming. There’s so much to consider, so much to do. It’s definitely not something that happens overnight. There’s no one way to start your own homestead, because depending on your circumstances, your goals, and more, what works for you can be different from what works for someone else. However, we’ve compiled a list of some tips that can help you on your journey to a more self-sufficient life. Here are some of our top tips for how to start your own homestead.
#1. Determine How Self-Sufficient You Want To Be
When you start your own homestead, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to buy hundreds of acres of land and a farmhouse in a remote location. Many people are able to homestead in the suburbs, and even have some homesteading practices they can keep up in a city apartment. Thus, before you start your own homestead, you want to determine what that means to you.
Do you want to just grow your own vegetables? This is something that can be done in pots in apartments or gardens in houses. Do you want to raise animals? Depending on the laws and ordinances in your area, you may be able to have some animals like chickens in your backyard, or you may need to move somewhere with more land.
Figure out your goals, and remember that homesteading takes time. It’s a step away from the fast-paced city life, and requires both work and patience to yield results of any sort. Remember too that your goals can change, and that that’s okay! Homesteading can be very addictive. People often find themselves going from gardening to maintaining crops, multiple different types of animals, and more. Know that if your goals change, you can move, purchase some more land, or do something else in order to reach them.
#2. Start Small
It can be very tempting to jump all in when you start your own homestead. This can work very well for some people, especially if you’re already experienced at living off the land and caring for animals. However, for beginner homesteaders, this could be a massive mistake and cause you to get overwhelmed very quickly. Sure, planting all these different crops and having a milk cow and chickens and the like could be the dream. But if you’re new to this life, it’s best to take it one step at a time.
Start off with a few different crops in a garden space so that you can learn how to maintain a garden. Learn how to care for animals and ensure that they will have a comfortable life and that you can provide for them before you get them. Community gardens and the like are excellent for learning homesteading skills and for helping you make connections. YouTube videos and local classes can help you learn rural skills needed for homesteading, such as how to preserve your food, how to mend clothes, how to make candles, and more.
The more you learn, the more you can expand and try new things. Homesteaders are used to taking things slow and introducing only one or two new things at a time, to ensure that they can do them properly. There’s no need to rush when you start your own homestead. There’s always room for even the most experienced people to grow and learn.
#3. Make A Budget/Get Out Of Debt
In order to live a truly self-sufficient lifestyle, it’s best to avoid debt as much as possible. Homesteaders are familiar with being frugal and saving up for things rather than getting trapped in the modern-day debt cycle. Learning how to live within your means and paying off your debts will go a long way to help you live a self-sufficient life. Since debts can sometimes be unavoidable, it’s important to budget and come up with a plan for how to pay them off sooner rather than later.
Homesteaders are often very friendly people who are willing to share. This can help you cut costs. For instance, you can ask to borrow some of your fellow homesteaders’ equipment in exchange for some work or some goods. That way, you don’t need to spend all this money on something you only need once. Remember to share your own things, too. For instance, if you have a dehydrator, you can lend it to a fellow homesteader in their canning ventures.
You can also find a way to make an income while homesteading, such as by selling produce at your local farmers’ market. Many homesteaders still need a job in addition to homesteading, so finding a way to make money on your ventures can help with living expenses. You should also have savings in the event of an emergency.
#4. Simplify Your Life
If you’re looking to start your own homestead, you’re probably aware that this goes hand-in-hand with living a simpler lifestyle. Rather than constantly buying new clothes you only wear a handful of times or seeking out the latest phone or other money-sucks, homesteaders often abide by the philosophy that less is more. Often, homesteading itself can cause you to simplify your life, because you’re focusing your time and attention on maintaining your homestead rather than chasing the latest trends.
One natural way that homesteaders simplify their lives is by eating according to the season and eating what they themselves have grown, rather than eating out all the time. Homesteading can save you money, but it can do this even moreso if you’re already making the transition to a simpler, more frugal lifestyle that helps you stay out of debts.
#5. Find Your Community
Community is everything for homesteaders. It’s much less overwhelming to start your own homestead if you have a community to lean on and to turn to for any questions or concerns. Someone else may know exactly what to do if you’re struggling with your chickens or if you’re trying to find an easier way to keep your animals hydrated.
Even the most introverted people need human connection from time to time, so having a community can help both on your homesteading journey and with feeling validated. Some people may think that you’re crazy for wanting to start your own homestead, and it can be exhausting constantly trying to justify yourself. Homesteaders are often happy to support each other, and it can be so validating to know that you have a community of people on a similar journey to you when you start your own homestead.
#6. Ensure That You Care For Animals Properly
There’s nothing like going out to the chicken coup and fetching some fresh eggs for breakfast in the morning or making your own cheese from your cow’s milk. However, if you want to have animals on your homestead, it’s crucial that you take care of them properly. When you start your own homestead, remember that animals need space to move around, they need proper nutrition, they need easy access to water, and you need to ensure that they receive veterinary care as needed. If you cannot provide your animals with what they need in order to live a comfortable, healthy life, you should not have animals.
It can be challenging to keep your animals hydrated, especially if you live somewhere where it can get really cold. Rather than trekking out to the animals multiple times a day to break the ice over their water, you can install an automatic waterer that allows them to access fresh, clean water whenever they need. That way, you can rest assured that your animals can stay healthy and hydrated all year round.
Bar Bar A provides multiple different types of non-electric automatic waterers for horses, cattle, and more. Our automatic waterers can help you on your journey to start your own homestead by ensuring that your animals always have access to fresh, clean water. Here, you can see a video of one of our customers installing our waterers so that you can see what the process is like: The Amazing ELECTRIC FREE FROST PROOF Automatic Livestock Waterer!
There’s a lot to consider when you start your own homestead, but by taking it slow and really familiarizing yourself with the process and finding your community, you can enjoy a more self-sufficient lifestyle. If you would like to learn more about the Bar Bar A automatic waterers for your homestead, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!