We were overwhelmed by the amount of work and the discipline that comes with being frugal, but were willing to change both ourselves and our property to gain financial independence.
I’m sure you can relate.
Frugal living has become our lifestyle, and I use these secrets on my homestead every day. Not only will they save you money, but they’ll also empower you into a more self-sufficient, fulfilling lifestyle.
Imagine being able to shape your own tools, and not run to the grocery every time you want pizza (which is every day here). Life is just simpler when you’re frugal.
Incorporate even a few of these frugal tips into your homestead, and you’ll soon see the benefits.
A lot of these are apartment-friendly for the urban homestead. If you’re a family trying to adjust to the frugal nature of a one income life, these tips are for you!
1. Pallets, pallets, pallets
Pallets are beyond useful on the homestead for a variety of projects from chicken coops to flooring to sheds. We practically built all our horse stalls from pallet wood.
We also made sub flooring for our mud room from pallets.
It’s sturdy and does the job, and it was free.
Not sure where to get pallets or how to use them? Read about our various pallet projects!
Before you use them though, make sure your pallets are safe to use in your projects!
2. Seed saving
This year, one of my homestead goals is to save more seeds. It’s easy and frugal, and you’ll be assured the following year’s crop will get off to a great start.
Pick the best produce from this year’s garden and save those seeds. If you’re not sure what to plant, here’s cold crop suggestions.
3. Shop sales for items you can’t produce yourself.
The day I came home with nearly 50lbs of sugar, I thought my husband’s eyes would roll out of his head. And when I find an amazing deal on flour, I’m not shy.
Here’s the deal:
Although you might feel ridiculous at first, you’ll soon see the benefit of this frugal habit.
Bulk buy when the item is on sale and you won’t spend more when you really need it!
4. Breed for sustainability.
Last fall, I placed orders for chicks to be delivered in March – seemed like a frugal idea for the homestead because we could then sell the eggs.
Over the winter, I’ve been hatching chicken eggs from a pair of hens bought last June.
I realized today that we now total over 30 chickens on the homestead, with more on the way.
The only cost has been to run the incubator, which isn’t very much. This isn’t for everyone, but if you keep hens and a friendly rooster, building and sustaining your homestead flock will make a big, frugal, impact.
I’ve since canceled my chick orders, saving a few hundred dollars – and we still get a ton of eggs for our homestead.
Not sure which breeds to buy? Here’s 5 great chicken breeds to start your backyard flock.
[Since writing this article, we’ve been fortunate enough to go all out and bring along a breeding pair of pigs on the homestead as well as goats – we now have a frugal, sustainable supply of meat, milk, and cheese!]
5. Keep tools in good repair and fix instead of buying.
I can’t tell you how many handles my husband has busted with the various homestead DIY projects we have going on.
This frugal activity is huge on the homestead, and not as difficult to learn as it seems.
Our handheld tools are older hand-me-downs or auction finds. Instead of buying a new tool, he just reshapes and attaches a new handle (remember that pallet wood?).
It’s a frugal and important skill for any homestead.
6. Butcher and preserve meat yourself.
While not everyone can produce their own meat, but if you have an apartment homestead on a rental property, this one’s still for you.
You can save a TON buying meat in bulk. Next time you’re at the store, examine the prices of pork shoulder or loin sold in bulk cuts.
If I buy chicken, I only buy the whole chicken and butcher it myself. It’s a lot easier than it seems, and is an unbelievable money saver (think chicken breasts for $0.95).
Looking for an amazing video about butchering? Check out this one by the Portland Meat Collective.
You’ll see how frugal homestead butchering can be (and you might be inspired to start preserving meat by brining, drying, or canning!).
7. Make your own cheese, yogurt, and bone broth.
Cheese, yogurt, and bone broth are all super easy and frugal to make, with a little practice. (Have you gotten my free cheese making book yet?)
If you have a raw milk source, you’re in business, but even if you have to use store-bought milk, you can still make your own cheese and yogurt on your homestead.
It’s easy, and it’s frugal for any homestead.
From one gallon of milk you can make several types of cheese and yogurt. You can even make your own cheese press like this one!
Bone broth is one of the easiest and most nutritious pantry staples you can make. Once you start, you’ll keep making it because it takes little effort, but yields big results.
8. DIY your cleaning supplies.
Aside from the frugal aspect, making your own laundry detergent is a great idea.
You’ll avoid dangerous chemicals on your homestead, and you can use your favorite scents using essential oils.
Use my tutorial to craft you own laundry detergent.
9. Save on grain with sprouted seed.
The first time I saw a fodder system in use on a homestead, you could see the explosion in my head a mile away.
It revolutionized my feed program.
When you sprout seeds for your livestock, you’re taking advantage of a natural process that at least triples (some say up to 600%) the nutritional value of your feed.
It’s a simple and frugal idea for any homestead.
For the full explanation and space saving tips, check out my guide to growing fodder at home.
10. Don’t be afraid to barter.
You’d be surprised at what might transpire – and anything frugal for your homestead is a great idea.
When we sold our old tractor, a neighbor asked if we would accept an ATV instead of cash.
After blue booking the value of the atv, we found out it was worth 3 times the value of the tractor, enough that when we sold our truck, we could trade the ATV for a new truck or as partial payment.
We turned a $700 tractor into a truck worth several thousand dollars – pretty frugal.
You can barter eggs for meat, vegetables for services, you name it. You never know, and the money you save goes right in your pocket.
Finally, know the value of your goods or services, and don’t be afraid to ask for an even trade.
11. DIY repairs.
YouTube is a wonderful (and frugal) resource where you can find the answer to pretty much every repair question you have.
When we repurposed the abandoned barns on our property, YouTube became our go-to resource. We’ve been able to turn our shed into a great new horse barn, and an old pier and beam barn into an updated car shop.
(We’re lucky because we don’t need to ask county permission to do our own repairs on our homestead.)
If you have a plumbing issue, before you spend money, see if it’s an easy repair you can do yourself. It pays to be frugal, and you might learn a new skill for your homestead!
These are 11 easy ways to save money, but incorporating them all into your life at the same time can be overwhelming. The most important way to incorporate these tips into your life is to start slowly, and to start with the tips that make the most sense for you and your family.
I’d love to hear from you!
What’s your best money saving tip? Email me, or comment below!
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.
Love all these tips! No matter what your lifestyle, you can live frugally by thinking creatively and stretching your resources. So much is about your mindset — focusing on all that you have, and how to best use it, rather than complaining about what you lack.
Yup! These can apply to any lifestyle! Glad you like it!
Stumbled! Also, I do appreciate the idea of bartering, but I hate to be the one to initiate it. And I sell wine, so I know most people would appreciate bartering with me, ha ha!
Why do you hate it? Just uncomfortable about it, or is there another reason? I’ve found that in bartering is more common in other areas of the US than others.
On the east coast, it’s almost unheard of (at least where I’ve lived), but where we’re at now, there’s a large barter economy, so I’ve gotten used to it, and actually found it helpful in certain transactions.
Thanks for stopping by!
These are great tips! I cannot wait to own a home so I can have a garden. We eat so many vegetables and fruits, that it would be more cost effective to grow our own. Also, I’d rather control what goes into my body. Oh, and thank you for the link to bone broth. I’ve been wanting to learn how to make it. I’m headed over there now to read it.
Glad you like it! We’re working on installing a bigger orchard now. I’ve been planting berry bushes the past few days.
Great tips. With a small farm/homestead, we are constantly trying to improve, save money and make money. Will be checking back here often for more great tips.
Glad you like it!
I would love to make my own cheese and yogurt. You’re inspiring me to try it! Great post for anyone–not just on the homestead!
These are such great tips! You’re making me want to buy a farm! 😛
thanks for these tips! Wish I lived on a farm after reading them haha. Will try to implement some of the things I can do whilst living in my apartment 🙂
stop by and chat: http://storybookapothecary.com ♥
I just moved to the country…but not a farm life. Small garden, a dog and chickens. What I beautiful life! I loved this post and think I can still apply a lot of it to my family life! Thanks for sharing!!
I’m working out a plan to move from Urban Gardening to Country Homesteading, and i’ve just stumble across your website/blog/pintrest. Exciting stuff here! I’ll be sure to promote anything I can for you!
Thank you! Glad you like it! If there’s any questions I can answer, please do let me know.
This was a fascinating post, Maat, because your life is so different from mine and yet we have a lot in common. I have felt the power of fixing things myself, and YouTube is such a great resource for this. Congratulations on being a winner for SBO. Love your writing style!
Thanks for stopping by, glad you like the article! Yes, I use YouTube every day to figure something out!
Great tips Maat! Love the frankness and honesty of it.
I love these tips, and I love the way your barn turned out with those pallet boards. I have a small backyard homestead with a huge garden and my chickens (I’m thinking of getting bees next year when I put in my fruit trees) and I love having the ability to raise my own food. It’s so nice to walk out to the coop (built from leftover wood) and collect eggs, then stop by the garden and pull up fresh carrots or pick tomatoes for lunch.
Thank you for these great tips, I am going to go look for some pallets now!
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