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Living a fully self sufficient life where you do not need to work as you rarely spend any money is a dream for many. While spending less and therefore working less is desirable, giving up all the modern luxuries sounds less enjoyable.
While we can’t all have these beautifully green homes on a large property fully equipped to be self sufficient, we can surely all reap some of the benefits. The following is a list of the top homestead habits you can incorporate in your lifestyle that will save you money.
1. Repurpose Old Clothes
Cleaning your home is inevitable. Paying top dollar for cloths to wash your car and home with is not needed. With an off grid lifestyle reuse and recycle is one of the biggest mottos. Old clothes shouldn’t go into the trash, they are simply an opportunity to get creative. There are many great ways to repurpose your old clothes.
Try cutting clothes down to make new outfits for your children. If you outgrew some clothes, try going to Pinterest for some great ideas of how to give them new life. For clothes that are really tired, you can always cut them down to be rags used around the home. These can be very useful for washing your car and for outdoor use.
2. Start Your Own Garden
A little dirt can go a long way. You don’t need a massive outdoor space to start your own garden although is doesn’t hurt. You can even start one living in an apartment building. All you really need is some access to sunlight
For those who really don’t have a green thumb, build your confidence by starting with a herb garden. These can be really small, even done in a mason jar. The price of fresh herbs is often expensive leaving it feeling more like a luxury. The small initial cost of seeds will make it so that you can have year round access to your favorite herbs.
If you have a small deck, you have more than enough space to grow all your favorite vegetables. There are even a number of veggies you can grow inside your home making it easier than ever to start saving on your grocery bill. Starting your own garden is easier than ever.
Pro tip: If you want your garden to be more organic and flourish beautifully, head to Starbucks. They give away the grounds from their coffee for free. These can be used as nutrients and help your garden to flourish beautifully.
3. Shop Thrift Stores
Just as you will want to repurpose your old clothes, why not repurpose lightly used items from other people? Heading to the thrift store, searching through Craigslist, or scouring your local buy & sell Facebook group are great ways to save big on your purchases.
Just as when you buy a new car and the items value reduces drastically the moment you drive it off the lot, many of our everyday items are the same. Doing your research and shopping second hand can get you a $100 desk for a fraction of the price.
If you’re looking to purge some of your stuff at the same time, look into trading for the items you need. Oftentimes you can get the upper-hand in this deal and trade up to get something big.
4. Invest In Solar Panels
Solar panels have become more affordable over the years. Now a days they are a great way to power your home. Sure they are a huge up front investment, but will be working to pay themselves off.
Check out Google’s site to find out all the information you need about solar power. It will show you how much sunlight your home receives, how much you can expect to make by using solar power and even how much the upfront cost will be. You can even enter your electricity usage to find out how long it will take you to start making money back on your initial purchase.
If you use less electricity than your solar panels produce you will start making money. This electricity will be put back into the grid. You will essentially become a source of power for others to use. With that, you will start getting checks in the mail from the electricity company.
5. Canning Your Summer Produce
One of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck when grocery shopping is to buy produce that is in season. Of course, this isn’t always the biggest window of opportunity which leaves you with limited options. Whether you are starting your own garden or are shopping seasonally, canning is a great way to enjoy your favourite foods all year long. This is also a great family activity. Heading to local U-picks
6. Learn To Be Handy
By learning how to repair your home you can save huge in repair bills. There are many reference books on how to repair everything from drywall to electrical. If you have the time you can even take classes at your local Home Depot.
Not only that, but their staff is very knowledgeable. Home Depot hires people who have experience in their trades. For example, a person working in the plumbing department will more than likely be able to answer any question you have about what you are repairing.
7. Take Up Knitting And Crocheting
You don’t have to be well versed in this in order to start making your own clothes. Knitting and crocheting are incredibly easy hobbies to start as they don’t require much supplies and are easy to learn. (Learn how here). Once you begin to get the hang of these, they become quite relaxing and enjoyable.
This is a great option as the possibilities are endless. From making dream catchers and baby toques to large quilts and intricate tapestries, there is so much you can do. If you are looking to make some extra money, selling your creations is a great way to do so.
8. Start Your Own Rainwater Catchment System
Your water bill can get quite pricey, but it doesn’t have to be. This is especially true for people with a big yard that they like to keep green and lush. Many places are met with summer water restrictions that make it tough to keep your garden thriving.
With a water catchment system in place, you can collect the rainwater that your area receives and then use it however you please. You can redirect it for use in any area of your home, one of the most popular being for your irrigation. This can drastically reduce your water bill and allow you plenty of fresh water no matter the time of year.
This is especially important for those who live in areas with regular water restrictions. It is also a great way to get fresh water to a cabin or somewhere that is located in more rural areas.
9. Ditch Your Clothes Dryer
This is such an easy lifestyle change that will save you so much money. Dryers are notorious money sucks. Not only do you risk getting you clothes shrunk and faded but the operating costs are high. From an unneeded spike in energy consumption to the cost of dryer sheets, it is much more than you will need. Air drying your clothes will make them smell better, last longer and save you money.
This isn’t a grueling task that requires tons of outdoor space either. Drying racks fold up easily and take up a small amount of space in your home. They are a great way to keep your clothes looking like new for longer.
10. Become A DIYer
If you account for all the money that you are spending on beauty and maintenance products in a year, the number is likely to be astronomical. Things like shampoo, body wash, soap, house cleaners, beauty creams and even baby wipes can all be easily made yourself.
When making these items in bulk or using ingredients that can be used over many different recipes, this can easily save you hundreds of dollars a year. Not only will it save you money, it is likely to be much healthier for your skin and body.
Hydrating your skin with coconut oil that you also use as a lip balm, add to your baths for a softener and cook with is bound to leave you feeling healthier while making your bank account happier. Shampoo, conditioner, soaps and household cleaners often only require a few all natural ingredients. Some must have items that are found in most every DIY recipe are castile soap, coconut milk and shea butter.
Take to Pinterest if you need some extra inspiration or are looking for some great homemade recipes. Getting a few mason jars and ribbon will make it so that you have all you need for some thoughtful and much loved presents for friends and family when the season comes.
11. Cook In Bulk
While this is only really useful for those that have the extra space to store it and may require you to scour the web for a cheap deep freeze, this is a great money saving tactic. It will also help save you a lot of time in the long run.
Cooking items such as soups, curries, casseroles and pastas in bulk and then freezing the leftovers will end up being much cheaper. You can use this bulk cooking as a step towards weekly meal prepping or by simply buying in bulk and then having ready made soup in your freezer that is ready to be heated all winter long.
Grocery shopping in bulk is often a lot cheaper than buying small quantities and also opens up a new realm of discount stores to shop from. Many times, you can get wholesale prices especially at places like Costco.
Further Reading: 17 Products You Should Always Buy In Bulk
12. Start A Medicinal Herb Garden
Your medicinal herb garden should be different than your regular garden and can prove incredibly useful. Herbal therapies and the use of essential oils are so widely underused and yet incredibly powerful. Peppermint is an incredibly effective way of relieving headache pain and yet it is rarely ever used. The cooling feeling of this herb against your skin does wonders in fighting the pain.
Chamomile is another great medicinal alternative that can be used as both a calming and can be used as a sedative to help aid in sleep. Drying chamomile to make tea is a great way to end your night and can be much cheaper and safer than other harsher drugs.
Not only can you save a ton of money by creating your own medicinal garden, but you can increase your health immensely.
13. Insulate Your Home
Off-grid homes place a huge importance on quality building. This is because they look to actively reduce the everyday costs wherever possible. This is largely done through thorough insulation and playing off solar efficiencies.
While it is thought that insulation is only important in winter months, it plays a big role in the summertime too. Be sure to open all your windows and doors to create cross breezes but make sure you are keeping your blinds closed to avoid sunlight from baking your house.
While it is important in summertime as well, insulation takes on a particularly important role in the cooler months. In older homes especially, you are likely paying far more than needed in heating bills.
This is because your insulation isn’t as strong as it should be and the heat escapes. This can be easily seen when icicles form or your windows fog. Checking your entry points (ie. all doors and windows) to ensure they have an air tight seal is important. Also be sure to check your garage and attic as these are places that heat can easily escape from.
14. Ride A Bicycle
This is something so simple that can reduce your costs in a very real way. For those that live in colder climates where riding a bike in winter months isn’t as logical, they can take advantage seasonally to still reap rewards.
Not only can ditching your car in the summer save you in fuel, but you can fully un-insure your car in the summer months which will effectively work to save you in car costs almost entirely. This can effectively reduce your seasonal costs by at least $150 a month.
Not only will riding a bicycle, or walking, save you a lot in monetary costs, it will also increase your fitness level. Use this as a great way to ditch your costly gym membership and watch as your level of fitness climbs to new heights.
15. Skip Cable
It blows my mind that some people are still spending the $60+ a month on crippling cable bills. That accounts to more than $700 a month in unneeded expenses. Every show can now be streamed online for free, downloaded, or streamed through a much cheaper source.
Netflix for example cuts cost drastically by being less than $9 a month and having a much larger variety at your disposal. Cutting this monthly cost works to save you big without having to make any big sacrifices. An internet connection is all that is required to start saving big every single month.
16. Search For Free Events
When living in a homestead, you often don’t indulge in night out luxuries in an effort to keep costs down. Any minimalist will tell you that finding If you live in or near a large city, there are likely many free events all around you that are incredibly enjoyable to take part in.
From free concerts to farmers markets there are plenty of activities around town that are fun to go to that won’t cost you a fortune. Be sure to check your local city listings guide, bulletin boards at coffee shops, and the library or community centre to see what is happening near you.
17. Opt For Handmade Presents
Christmastime is one the most expensive time of the year. Many people spend so much for this season that they end up in debt for the remainder of the year. Still paying off your christmas debt in August is a common occurrence for many people.
This time of year doesn’t have to be expensive though. All that is needed is some spare time and some creativity. Head to the thrift store to repurpose some gifts, buy some mason jars and make hot chocolate jars and diy beauty products.
18. Repurpose Free Materials
The off-grid rule of thumb is reduce, reuse, recycle. If you are looking to add a little life to your home, or are needing something in particular, train your mind to find creative ways to get it for free rather than going to purchase new from the store
Did you know that there is a whole free section on craigslist that is there at your fingertips? Repurposing is a great way to get your house looking one of a kind.
For this one, think: pallets. Businesses everywhere are giving pallets away for free and with a simple google search you will find hundreds of ways to repurpose them to be everything from bed frames to couch swings to gardening accessories.
19. Shop Directly From The Farm
Skip the third party grocery store and try to shop directly from the farm. Oftentimes, farmers have connections with butchers which can make it so that you don’t have to do a thing.
You can buy a full chicken raised fresh from the farm and get them to butcher it for you so you do not need to do a thing. This will give you high quality meat that isn’t full of water and additives. It is a great way to start eating more natural.
If this doesn’t sound appealing to you, consider buying your beauty products, honey, dairy and eggs directly from the farm. By cutting from the middle man you not only save money but actually pay the farmer a larger profit as well.
Moreover you will receive higher quality, natural and fresher products than when at the store. This is a great way to support local businesses and keep the money in the hands of the people.
If you don’t live close by any farms, try heading to a local farmer’s market in an effort to support local businesses. These still come with a smaller price tag while being the freshest and healthiest option for you.
20. Organize Your Days
While it is arguable that this is much easier for those living on a homestead as they do not have long grueling work weeks, it is something you can do as well. Planning your week out ahead of time can save you a lot of time, energy and gas money.
Not having to run out to the store 3 times a week will save you gas money and leave you with more time at the end of the week. Organizing your routes to be set in the most economical ways will save you time and money not to mention sanity. Try focusing on the big things, like work and kids school, and plan your running around around these must do’s.
It may sound greuling to put the extra effort into planning your week around chores but it will do wonders for your gas budget and your time management.
You don’t need to buy a big piece of land hundreds of miles from the nearest town in order to get all the benefits of living on a homestead. Sure, you aren’t quite living off-grid but you can still save a bundle by adopting the habits of the lifestyle.
Have you incorporated any of these off-grid habits in your everyday life? Let us know how they have changed your life in the comment section below. We hope you enjoyed reading our 20 homesteading tips to help you save money. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!