How to Build a Debt-Free Homestead

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Many people who dream of homesteading also feel that the cost of starting or running a homestead can be overwhelming. However, it is possible to build a homestead that doesn’t make you a slave to the bank. Here are 6 tips for how to build a debt-free homestead.

Why Build a Debt-Free Homestead?

Often, individuals and families desire to homestead because they want freedom. Freedom from the closeness of the city. Freedom to grow their own food and depend less on the supply chain. Freedom to roam and wander and grow and raise animals and dig in the dirt.

They purchase the homestead of their dreams and get started, and then soon find themselves up to their eyeballs in debt.

I’m not going to lie – it takes money to start a homestead. Apart from affording your home, you’ll need to think about the cost of infrastructure, animals, feed, seeds and plants, and whatever other resources you will need to keep up with your projects and property.

Here’s the good news though: you don’t have to get into debt to build your homestead. It’s possible to build a debt-free homestead, and with the tips we’re going to discuss below, it might not take as long as you think.

Not dishing out hundreds (or thousands) of dollars per month to pay off your debts gives you the ability to manage your income as you choose.

When you finally stand on your homestead porch, look around at what you’ve built, and realize that YOU actually own this (not the bank), you’ll hardly be able to believe the freedom you feel.

Is It Possible to Homestead Without Debt?

It is entirely possible to build a homestead without debt. Building a homestead without debt takes a lot of sacrifice, patience, and hard work. It usually requires plenty of saving, avoiding frivolous or unneeded purchases, and sometimes it means building your home and/or your property slowly.

How to Build a Debt-Free Homestead – 6 Tips

Here are 6 simple (but not easy) tips for building a debt-free homestead.

1. Get rid of your debt first 

This is one of the most vital aspects to having a debt-free homestead. Whether you’re still planning and searching for your dream property or you already live on your homestead, start by crushing your current debt.

Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball method is a tested and true, straightforward process that works excellently for destroying your debt. To implement it, you’ll start by listing all of your debts from smallest to largest. Then, while paying the minimum on each debt, you’ll throw all of your extra money at your smallest debt, regardless of the interest rates. Once the smallest debt is completely paid, you’ll continue the process with the next smallest debt.

This method builds momentum (like a snowball). As you see your debts disappear one by one, you’ll become more and more passionate about eradicating all debt from your life.

2. Buy a house you can afford, or consider living in a trailer while you start your homestead

The next step is being realistic about what you can actually afford when it comes to a homestead. If you’re still in the searching and planning for your homestead phase, sit down and humbly look at your finances. Talk to a financial planner or to someone else you trust financially.

Don’t look for a home that’s at the top of your budget. It’s no fun to move to the homestead of your dreams and then find yourself out of money that you need to actually build up your property.

Instead, search for a modest home that will leave you with funds for growing your property. You can always build on to your house later.

If you’re hoping to build your home but don’t have the funds you need yet, consider living in a trailer on your property for a few years while you save. It will be worth it in the end!

3. Start small

Whether your homesteading dreams include having acres and acres of gardens, hundreds of cows, or just a humble hobby farm, you don’t have to build it all in one day. In fact, you can start homesteading wherever you are – even in an apartment!

Begin small. Create a modest garden. Buy a few chickens. Start with a handful of sheep. Once you have a good grasp of how to manage one area of homesteading, consider whether you have the funds to move onto the next. Figure out if there’s a way to make money off your homestead by starting small. Then, as you grow your revenue, you have more to put toward new endeavors.

4. Make sacrifices

Next, be realistic about the extras you can afford. Remember your goals in homesteading. Why are you out here (or, if you haven’t moved yet, why do you want to be out in the country?)?

Debt-free homesteading often requires sacrifice. It may mean not running into town for takeout multiple times a week. You might not be able to afford the latest farm equipment. Instead, you’ll find yourself searching garage sales and Facebook Marketplace for the tools you need. Perhaps your home won’t be perfectly decorated right away.

This is okay! Be humble. The sacrifices that you make in order to be debt-free will be worth it.

5. Avoid hiring jobs out whenever you can

Doing it yourself can be an incredibly effective way to save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. Plus, besides saving money, you’ll learn new skills along the way.

Whether you have floors that need to be replaced, oil to be changed in your vehicles, equipment to be fixed, or you need a new roof, see if you can learn to do it yourself.

You might be amazed by what you can learn to do on YouTube and with all of the other resources available these days. You’ll definitely be amazed at how much money you’ll save!

6. Don’t compare yourself to the neighbors

Lastly, one of the most vital practices when it comes to avoiding debt is not comparing yourself to others. Just because John next door has a fancy new tractor or a huge pole barn doesn’t mean that you necessarily should. We’re all growing and learning and saving at our own speeds with our own unique sets of circumstances.

Being free of debt is more valuable than keeping up with the Joneses. As Dave Ramsey says, “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” By this, he means that the sacrifices you make today will give you the future freedom that not many people have – being debt-free.

What other tips do you have for how to build a debt-free homestead?

Are you working on making your homestead debt free? What do you find to be the biggest challenges? How else would you encourage someone else who’s on the same journey as you are?

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