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How to Start a Homestead with No Money

Many people put off homesteading because they believe it’s expensive to begin. However, it is very possible to start a homestead with no money.

Many people put off their homesteading dreams because they believe it will be expensive to begin. Truth is, it can be! 

However, it is very possible to start a homestead with no money. All it requires is a shift in your thinking. 

You may not have the money to buy acres of land, but you can use the land you do have.

You don’t have to have all the fancy chicken coop items when you can make your own.

Many beginners waste a lot of money getting started when homesteading is really about being self-sufficient and spending LESS money. 

The way to start a homestead with no money is to follow the mantra of those who lived through the Great Depression: use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. 

Read on for 15 ways to start a homestead with no money. 

Get out of Debt

If one of the main goals of homesteading is to become more self-sufficient, you must prioritize getting out of debt.

If you are forced to pay someone else (or a business) every month, you aren’t exactly living freely. You are shackled to your bills.

Instead, make every effort to pay down debt. Then, you can use the money you would typically spend to pay off credit cards to buy what you need for the homestead. 

Plan and Budget

Homesteading is a fun and exciting journey. Journey is the keyword here.

Too often, beginning homesteaders rush out and buy a lot of cool homesteading supplies that they don’t actually need.

For instance, you don’t need to drop a ton of money on a greenhouse if you haven’t even started a small garden.

Instead of getting ahead of yourself and wasting money, take time to carefully plan what homesteading projects you want to begin first and budget for them.

Homemade garage sale sign pointing in the direction of the sale.

Buy Used

One way you can start a homestead with no money is to buy used.

Make it a goal to never buy anything new unless you absolutely have to.

Visit thrift shops, garage sales, and Craigslist.

[Related Read: 6 Items You Should be Buying at the Thrift Store]

Use Up What You Have

Homesteaders strive to have no waste. In all areas of your homestead, strive to use up what you have.

Use every bit of space you have – especially if you have a smaller space.

Don’t throw away anything. Preserve food. Find other uses for materials, including wood and nails. Restyle clothing. 

Always consider ways you can repurpose items. 

Barter with Others

It’s also possible to start a homestead with no money by bartering.

While bartering isn’t accepted everywhere, it is a practice that the homesteading community embraces.

What do you have that you can trade? Can you trade produce for eggs?

Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be something physical. 

Skills can also be bartered. Could you provide tutoring or offer to teach others how to sew?

Become a DIY Master Learner

Homesteading is all about learning how to do things on your own so you don’t rely on anyone else.

So, make a point to become a DIY master learner.

If something in the homestead needs to be fixed, read books or watch YouTube videos to learn how to repair it.

Learn how to sew, knit, crochet, preserve food, make soap, and more.

It doesn’t cost anything to learn, but you can’t put a price on all you pick up from mastering these homesteading skills.

Woman planting in a small home garden box.

Start a Small Garden

You may be envisioning a huge farm with endless rows of produce, but it’s better to start small.

Learn how to grow your own food with a small backyard garden first. You can even begin with just a small kitchen garden.

Then, as you have more experience and more money, expand to a larger garden.

When starting, don’t feel as if you immediately need to grow all of your own food.

Remember that you can feed your family farm-fresh food without growing your own by shopping at your local farmers’ market. 

Raise Chickens

Homesteading and livestock go hand in hand.

If your zoning laws allow you to raise chickens, they are relatively inexpensive.

The problem is, a lot of people tend to go overboard. They buy pre-made fancy coops instead of building their own. They spend money on items that their chickens don’t really need.

It is also important to recognize that spending more money on chickens doesn’t mean better quality.

For example, I met with a friend recently who started her homesteading journey this past year. She was lamenting how much she spent on her first chickens. 

She made the mistake of thinking if she spent more, she’d get a better batch. She was wrong. She ended up with eight roosters out of thirteen. 

Find a Homesteading Community

For those who want to start a homestead with no money, your local homesteading community is where to go.

These people are just as excited about homesteading as you, but they have experience. 

Piggybacking off my previous story, had my friend talked to her local homesteading community, she would have known where to buy inexpensive quality chicks.

In addition to giving you solid advice, they are usually more than willing to help you get started when possible.

They will loan you tools, help you build, and give you cuttings. 

Start Composting

You won’t meet a homesteader who doesn’t compost – even those homesteaders who live in an urban jungle. 

This is because composting is practically free, and it will save you money in the long run.

Plus, it is another way to use up what you have. 

You can then use your nutrient-dense fertilizer in your garden. 

Three people working with garden tools outdoors at a community farm.

Share Land

You may not have money to move somewhere with acres of land.

That should not stop you from starting a homestead!

Look around and see if there are any free spaces available where you can get started.

For example, many urban areas offer community gardens.

If this isn’t an option, see if you can share some land with a neighbor. 

For instance, you may have elderly neighbors who have more yard than they know what to do with. Ask if you could use a portion of their yard for a garden with the promise to share your produce with them.

Get Starts from Others

You may think you need to rush out and buy plants or seeds, but you don’t. 

For example, you can ask your neighbors or homesteading community for cuttings. 

If you learn how to harvest cuttings, you don’t need to buy a brand-new plant.

Similarly, see if any of your friends have any seeds they are willing to part with. 

Look for Free Building Materials

People tend to throw away a lot of useful building materials, such as wood pallets, trellises, chicken wire, and more.

Keep an eye out around construction sites and landfills for useful free building materials.

If you see someone with useful “trash,” don’t be afraid to ask if you can have it. You’ll be doing them a favor by taking those leftover building supplies off their hands. 

Visit Your Local Library

If you want to start a homestead with no money, begin visiting your local library regularly.

Libraries are filled with resources that are helpful to homesteaders. You can use these free materials, such as books and DVDs, to learn homesteading and DIY skills.

Plus, many local libraries offer a free seed library. 

Make Money to Support Your Homestead

Ideally, you will be able to make money to support your homestead.

Even if you start homesteading with little or no money, look for opportunities to sell what you’ve produced.

Here are a few things you can sell to support your homestead:

  • Eggs
  • Extra produce
  • Cut flowers or herbs
  • Honey
  • Potted plants
  • Homemade products (soap, for example)
  • Baked goods
  • Crafts or sewn goods

Don’t let finances hold you back! It is possible to start a homestead with no money.

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