How to cut costs on the Homestead
When my husband Frank and I decided to start homesteading, it was truly a decision to get back to the basics and become self sufficient. In a world where our economical security is questioned every day we decided to be less dependent on others for our family's survival. And in doing so we can be better caretakers of the land, resources, and animals that have been entrusted to us by our creator. Getting back to basics requires the utilization of unusual resources and requires us to be creative in how we obtain and utilize resources.
We have gotten very creative in how we fund our projects. For example when we built our chicken coop we used materials from an old dilapidated barn. The only thing we purchased was galvanized wire fencing to make it predator proof. Everything else was repurposed. Keep in mind our objective was not to create a cute chicken house, but a functional and long lasting chicken house as inexpensively as possible. Inexpensive should not mean cutting corners on projects and creating things cheaply and that aren't built to last. This in the long run costs you more in time and in resources. Time is a commodity that I believe many small farmers and homesteaders fail to take into account when determining cost. My time is valuable and when I am using my time I want to work as efficiently as possible. Sometime this means I need to bite the bullet and go purchase something from the local store. But there are many things that are completely logical to repurpose from someone else or yourself. The following are some ways we have cut costs on our homestead.
1. Utilize the FREE listing on Craigs List: We often find building materials, fencing, wood, pallets, concrete blocks etc, for use on one of our many projects. It is important to take in account how far you will drive to get something because sometimes the gas can cost you as much as it would to just go down the street to the store. Sometimes you can find people who just want to get rid of something but you have to come tear it down and move it.
2. Use what you have and get creative: When we purchased our new lawn and garden tractor it came in a wooden cage. We took the wooden cage apart and have stored the lumber to use for upcoming projects. Don't throw any wood away. Make a wood storage bin and keep it for projects and repairs you will inevitably find yourself needing to complete.
3. Wooden Pallets: You can find free wooden pallets and shipping crates that you can use in the garden, for fencing and a hundred other uses. Look at your local feed and animal supply store, granite and marble sales stores, rock companies, etc. Our local Tractor Supply has stacks and stacks of wooden pallets they just give away.
4. Barter: We love to barter! If I have something you need you might have something I need and we swap items. This is a great way to cut costs. Its great for services as well. I will trade chicken, eggs, lamb and vegetables for work and services around the farm.
5. Junking or scrapping: Okay this may throw you off but I keep track of the local big junk pick-up days in the city. We take the pick-up truck and drive around neighborhoods looking for items we need but that others may be throwing away. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Seriously it really is. I have found PVC pipes to make chicken feeders and waterers. Any metal you find grab it because it you won't use it you can take it to the local scrap yard and they will pay you for it and you can use the money you make to fund other projects. I have seriously found some good stuff. One time in one of the nicer neighborhoods someone set out two real leather recliners,. These were really nice recliners that were in very, very good condition. I just cleaned the leather and conditioned it and they sit in my living room. These recliners were probably $1,500 a piece brand new. So try big junk day, it is kinda like going on a treasure hunt! I think it's fun but I am kinda weird like that.
Do you have things you do to save money? Share them with us!