Homesteading is a really good tool to dig yourself out of debt. That was one of my big first goals: to become a homesteader. I was disgusted in the way I was living; I was dependent on money for every single aspect of my life. I felt that from the time I woke up in the morning to when my head hit the pillow, the world revolved around money. Honestly, I am not a fan of it. I think of it as a necessary evil for the most part. I love to barter when I can and feel good about it.
Most people love money. This is how many people truly come into debt. I spent a good time of my life working for pennies to keep the refrigerator stocked with unhealthy foods that never sustained me.
Homesteading and permaculture got me out of debt, fixed my credit and fixed my life. I was spending about $450 every 2 weeks feeding my family. Every time I went to the grocery store I would leave upset and frustrated that most of my paycheck would go to one shopping cart of food. I would cringe standing in line feeling like cattle going through a shoot waiting my turn for the slaughter. I’m sure most of you can sympathize with me.
I asked myself: Why can’t I just grow most if not all of my food? So, my journey began into gardening. Everything I read said it would take acres of land to support a family’s food, so I just tried to do the best I could the first few years. Then I started to implement this wild idea of permaculture, and I abandoned the theory that I needed acres to feed my family. Not only did we produce most of our own food, but we even sold a few (CSA Community Supported Agriculture) shares that paid for the other food items we needed and could not produce. This saved us almost $1,000 a month. With those savings, you do do a whole lot!
The other byproduct of not going shopping often was the savings on fuel to get to the market and back. That was another $10.00 savings per trip along with less wear and tear on the cars! Driving less is also a more environmentaly correct thing to do. The hardest part of not shopping was that my kids used that as an escape from being home. We all suffered from cabin fever until we got used to less shopping.
I also saved so much money on impulse buying. While shopping, I would never stick to the list; my cart would always get an extra item or 2. The larger supermarkets even change placement of items knowing you will spend more time in the store looking for your items and add others. Just a couple of extra items a month can cost you hundreds of dollar.
So, we made the change slowly. As we produced more food, we just bought less. Growing your food enables this awesome ability to make you healthier and lose weight. Did you know your home-grown food has more value than the store-bought equivalent? If you grow using the permaculture method of growing you even have a greater value in your produce.
You may be able to eat 6 carrots from the grocery store and still feel hungry, but eat 2 of my carrots and feel full. This carrot scenario is a common one among gardeners using more natural methods. Sure, they look the same, but they aren’t even close. An analogy is like 2 children in the same class at the same school. One is an underachiever and one is an overachiever. A test would clearly tell you which is which. Our test is just to grow and eat the better one. So, you don’t have to grow as much food to sustain you as you buy to sustain you.
Our electric bill went down dramatically as we converted to homesteading. It seemed like we always had 2 tv’s going at the same time. Three to four of us were on a computer or iPad and no one was really interacting with each other much. Now our children help us do our chores, play with our animals and each other. So, we save on electric and saved our family structure.
Homesteading will save money on medical bills now and in the future. Growing your food not only gives you access to a healthier product; it gives you the full potential of vitamins and minerals.
From the time vegetables are cut from the plant they begin to lose their goodness. The longer it takes you to eat the produce or meat, the less you get out of it. A great example is to buy fresh cut corn and try one right off the plant. It will be so sweet like candy and full of vitamins and minerals. Try another ear after it sits for a day and you may not believe it’s the same corn.
Almost all supermarkets sell you these subpar foods that have been sitting for days or weeks on the shelves. All these extra vitamins and minerals will fill your body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Staying healthy for as long as possible keeps you out of the hospitals which no one can afford!
Raising your own livestock increases your savings. Consider a milk goat to make your own milk, cheese, yogurt and butter. Making our own butter alone covers the expense of our internet service.
Goats cheese is delicious and so is properly handled goat milk. We used to have larger goat breeds like Nubians and Oberhaslis but found that Nigerian Dwarf goats fit our homestead better. They also convert feed into milk more efficiently.
If you are having trouble paying your bills and are sick of the rat race, consider changing your lifestyle. I don’t know anyone that went to the homestead lifestyle and wanted to go back. Now I have met tons of city people that went to the homestead lifestyle and are happy. Sure, this isn’t for everyone, but it is a way out for some that may not have considered the benefits of this lifestyle.