Homesteading When You're Flat Broke

Categories: Tips & Tricks
Homesteading When You're Flat Broke

If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time you’ve probably picked up on the fact that my family is not rich. (Not monetarily, anyways.) We’re not even in the “middle class” category, financially speaking.

To put it simply, we’re flat broke.

Don’t get me wrong. God has been so good to us. We always have enough to get us by. But most months, it’s just enough. Which is all we really need, but it can make homesteading projects tricky to afford.

Why is it that we feel we have to spend so much money on projects anyways? I always wonder how they did it back in the old days, when everything was made from raw materials. Is it that we have lost the skills to build as they did, or are we too good for primitive structures nowadays? Perhaps for some of us it’s a little of both.

I’m sure a lot of you are in the same boat, and you feel trapped. You want to homestead. You want to have a piece of land and grow a garden or raise livestock. But you don’t have any extra income to get started. And you wonder how other people do it.

I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to be rich to get started homesteading. You don’t even have to have two incomes.

Allow me to dispel a common assumption which seems to be holding a lot of people back-

It’s TOTALLY possible to homestead with zero money to start with.

Will it be glamorous? Probably not at first. Your homestead might look a little rough around the edges for a while. But don’t let that discourage you. When you’re living on very little income, you really have to grasp the frugal mentality of the Great Depression era:

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

We’ve all heard it. But how many ways do we apply it?

When I sit down and think about it, it is my opinion that there are only four must-haves for beginning your homestead without upsetting your delicately balanced budget. And none of them cost a dime.Once you’ve obtained a firm grasp on these four things, nothing will stop you from achieving your self-sufficiency goals.

Are you ready for them?

down the driveway

Resourcefulness. Creativity. Determination. Contentment.

Honestly. That’s it. If you can muster up enough of each of these, there’s no limit to what you can do.

Let’s go through them one by one, in a little more detail so you understand exactly what each entails. Because although they seem simple on the surface, these character attributes can take hard work to obtain if they don’t come naturally.


When I speak of resourcefulness on the homestead, I’m talking mainly about making the most of what you already have available to you. When a need comes up you look around to see what you have and how you can make it fit your needs.

For example: you’ve started your garden and you really need a trellis for your sprawling pea vines to climb. But you really don’t have any extra money to buy one. What do you do?

You learn to be resourceful!  Do you have an old crib stashed away in the attic? The frame would make a fantastic trellis! Is there an old ladder laying around just waiting to be taken to the dump? Give it new life in the garden! Don’t have anything but a ball of twine? Grab your hatchet and get to work turning small, fallen branches into a sturdy trellis frame. You can use that twine to tie sticks together or to create a net for your plants to climb.

cucumbers on trellis

Here’s a trellis I made one year out of twine and branches for my cucumbers to grow on. 

homemade tomato cage

And here’s a tomato cage I built one year with sticks and twine.

They weren’t fancy, although I do love the rustic look to homemade structures such as these. They were made from materials I had on hand, so they didn’t cost me any extra money. And they served their purpose just as well as anything that would have come from the store.


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