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How to Start a Homestead: Tips and Advice for Homesteading for Beginners

Getting out of the city, owning land, and living more closely connected to nature has been a human desire as long as there have been cities to escape from. But for many, it remains just that: a desire. 

That’s because starting a homestead is a significant undertaking—one that requires investing time and money, learning new skills, and practicing an entirely new way of living. Fortunately, homesteading for beginners is possible. 

Keep reading if you are interested in how to start homesteading. Below we will talk about what homesteading is and how to start a homestead, even with no prior knowledge. 

What is a Homestead?

how to start homesteading

A homestead, or homesteading as we prefer to think of it, is a self-sufficient way of living. Contrary to popular belief, this does not require an old homestead with acreage out in the middle of nowhere (although that would be nice).

In reality, anyone can homestead or have a homestead wherever they are. That’s because homesteading is not bound by a place, but rather a concept: how to live one's life with as much self-sufficiency as possible.

To live self-sufficiently, homesteaders do everyone they can to live off and with the land. For example, small-scale farming is a critical component of homesteading; but so is urban gardening for those in urban environments and less space.

Besides growing their own food, homesteaders also preserve their food via techniques like canning and pickling. They make their own clothing or textiles, practice animal husbandry, handle their own repairs, and prep supplies for unexpected emergencies. 

They do all of this with the end goal of living as frugally and autonomously as possible, without a reliance on government aid, other people, and in some cases, municipal gas and electricity.


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Benefits of Homesteading

From an outsider's perspective, homesteading looks like a lot of work. That’s because it is! And some of us are not cut out for that type of labor and commitment.

But it’s easy to get caught up with the negatives of homesteading instead of focusing on the positives. That’s part of the purpose of this article—to help you learn how to approach homesteading for beginners, as well as focus on the many benefits that come with starting a homestead.   

1. Homesteading builds knowledge and new skills

    Homesteaders wear many hats. In other words, as a homesteader, you must be ready to play plumber, farmer, veterinarian, parent, and so much more. This means that you have to possess a lot of knowledge and skill.

    This may sound overwhelming at first, but once your homesteading lifestyle becomes a habit and your new skills become ingrained, you’ll wonder why it took you so long in the first place to learn how to build an off-grid water system or a shed in the backyard.

    2. Homesteading connects you to your food

    homesteading for beginners

      Unfortunately, in our society, there is a large disconnect between the food we consume from our plates and how it got there in the first place. In other words, many of us are unaware of the intricacies of food production, whether it be raising cows for beef or growing fruits and vegetables.

      Homesteading shrinks the gap between the plot and your plate. Starting a homestead more directly connects you to nature and the life cycle of your food.

      Not to mention—homegrown food tastes better!  

      3. Homesteading provides security during tough times

        Whether your largest concern is a short-term emergency or a long-term one doesn’t matter; homesteading better prepares you for both scenarios.

        One of the primary benefits of homesteading is the food you can produce and preserve. This helps ensure that you will have food to feed your family even during grocery store shortages, natural disasters, or more severe SHTF scenarios.

        In addition, the skills you possess as a homesteader—such as gardening, raising animals, trapping, fishing, hunting, and butchering—can all contribute to your family's well-being in a survival scenario. 

        4. Homesteading helps you live frugally and save money

          In case you haven’t noticed, nothing has gotten cheaper in the past few years. On the contrary, inflation continues to make the cost of living more and more expensive.

          Homesteading can counteract your reliance on goods and services from the conventional economy, making you more self-sufficient and helping you save money. 

          For example, if something breaks, homesteaders can fix it instead of hiring and paying someone else. Or instead of buying meat all winter, a homesteader can hunt and butcher their own game, freeze it, and enjoy it for months without spending a dime on food. 

          Yes, it's true that to get started, you will have some larger investment costs; however, once you establish your new way of living, you’ll notice that you spend drastically less money. 

          How to Start Homesteading for Beginners

          raising of animals as part of homesteading for beginners

          Transitioning into a homesteading lifestyle can feel overwhelming. That’s why we’ve outlined some step-by-step directions you can follow for starting your own homestead. 

          1. Consider what starting a homestead means to you

            Homesteading can mean various things to different people. That's why the first step to starting a homestead is all about considering what homesteading means to you. 

            For example, as we said above, homesteading is not necessarily bound to a rural farm in the countryside—you can lead a homesteading lifestyle wherever you live. 

            So, perhaps building a homestead for you involves urban gardening, learning to sew and making your clothing, and preserving food.

            For someone else, building a homestead could look like raising animals for meat and living “off the grid” (independent from the municipal power grid).  

            2. Decide where you want to begin homesteading

              After you have considered what homesteading means to you, the next important step is to decide where your new lifestyle will take place. 

              Most of you can begin a homestead where you are already living. Others may need (or want) to invest in a new property to begin homesteading. Regardless of your situation, it will be important to consider the following in terms of finding a location for your homestead. 

              • Type and size of land your budget can afford: What can you afford without spending all your savings, so you can have leftover funds for improvements?  

              • Access to water: Are you connected to city water, does the land have a well?

              • Type of community: Do you want to be in an urban, suburban, or rural community?

              • Access to schools and health and emergency services: Where are the local schools, hospitals, and police departments?

              • Type and quality of the land: Are there pre-existing buildings, or is it vacant land?

              • Connection to municipal sewage and power grid: If there is no sewage, is there a septic system?

              3. Set goals for your homestead

              Set goals for your homestead

                Figuring out where to begin homesteading is half the battle; but once you get going, you’ll notice that the momentum of your new lifestyle carries you forward. 

                To get started, we recommend setting goals for your homestead. In doing so, you can create a roadmap for the type of homestead you want to create and the goals you want to accomplish. 

                Here’s a helpful list of potential goals you can set for your homestead to keep you motivated:

                • Growing your own fruits and vegetables

                • Raising animals for meat

                • Reducing the size of your carbon footprint by investing in solar energy

                • Learning to identify wildlife and plants

                • Learning survival skills, like building shelters

                • Trapping, hunting, or fishing for food 

                4. Make a budget for your homestead

                  One of the many advantages of starting a homestead is living frugally and saving money on food, water, and other services. That being said, there may be some important initial investments to get started. For example, you may need to purchase land, equipment, materials, solar panels, animals, and otherprepper supplies.

                  However, once you begin to reap the benefits of your homestead lifestyle, you’ll notice that you’re spending less money on insignificant items. 

                  To get started, you’ll need a budget. This is especially important if you plan to give up your job or work less to completely commit to homesteading.

                  Important items to consider in terms of building and following a budget include:

                  • Non-negotiable monthly expenses like rent or mortgage, utilities like water and gas, insurance, etc.

                  • Establishing additional sources of income, such as selling milk products, extra produce, and other homestead crafts.

                  • Creating savings in case of emergency, like when something breaks or a family member gets sick or injured.

                  5. Start on a small scale

                    Whenever you start something new, it's important to make sustainable and gradual improvements over time instead of jumping into the deep end. As you accomplish small goals, you will gain confidence and create good habits you can sustain.

                    It’s the same for homesteading. If you overcommit, you may become overwhelmed and unhappy with what you can accomplish. 

                    To avoid this, start small. For example, you don’t need a 40-acre farm to start homesteading. Instead, you can learn to grow herbs and other plants in containers in a small garden on your patio. Or if you learn to sew, learn how to patch old clothing first, and then move on to making new pants from scratch.

                    If you do have a 40-acre farm you want to transform into a homestead, we still recommend starting small. Pick one or two projects at a time and accomplish them before jumping to something new. For example, instead of building a barn for your animals, a new greenhouse for your plants, and a rainwater harvesting system on your roof all in one year, choose one task and do it really well. Then move on to the others. 

                    6. Connect with other like-minded homesteaders

                      Unfortunately, homesteading can feel somewhat lonely sometimes. Yes, you are surrounded by your family, which is the most important; nevertheless, sometimes homesteading can take you away from other parts of your life, especially if you live in a rural area.

                      But homesteading does not have to be lonely! There are thousands, if not millions, of other like-minded homesteaders who appreciate many of the same things you do.

                      Connecting with other like-minded homesteaders is important for building community. You can learn from others, share skills, pool resources, and mentor others. For example, you can trade food or supplies with other homesteaders and receive moral support when everyone else in your life thinks you’re crazy for living off the grid.      

                      Combining Homesteading with Emergency Food Prepping

                      One of the most important benefits of living a homesteading lifestyle is the security you can offer to your family. For example, by starting a homestead, you become more self-sufficient and learn new skills to help you in emergencies, like providing first aid

                      But the best example is food prepping. One of the most critical components of homesteading is preserving the food you grow and/or butchering the animals you raise to build an emergency food supply.

                      Fortunately, your stockpile doesn’t have to consist solely of food from the garden. You can also prep long-shelf-life foods, such as grains, pasta, and beans, canned soups, dried meat, and MREs.

                      Another way to beef up your homestead’s food supply is with Valley Food Storage’s professionally prepared and packaged freeze-dried emergency food kits. Of all the food you can preserve, our freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are the best, thanks to their shelf life of 25+ years. During this time, the food maintains its nutritional content and delicious flavor. Even better, the ingredients we use in our recipes are non-GMO, and we don't use junk ingredients. And we are proudly 100% owned and operated within the U.S.A.  

                      [product_render product-handle="family-emergency-kit"]

                      Final Thoughts: Beginner Homesteading is Challenging, Yet Rewarding

                      Like we mentioned above, starting homesteading can be a lot of work. It can be challenging to balance your homestead lifestyle with family, friends, and work; but when things begin to look grim, and when you’re ready to give up on homesteading, remember that it's all worth it.

                      Despite the challenges, beginning a homestead will help you…

                      • gain more knowledge,

                      • learn new skills,

                      • connect you closer to nature,

                      • help save money,

                      • and provide a level of self-sufficiency and security that you and your family have never experienced before.  

                      We hope you found this article interesting and helpful. For more like it, such as how to start prepping on a budget, visit our Practical Prepper Blog. Or to speak with a product expert about any of our fantastic products and place an order, schedule a callback.