For many families, purchasing a beautiful little homestead is the ultimate dream. Just imagine…rolling pastures filled with cute little animals, a sprawling garden, and a creek for the kiddos to play in. But to actually get to that point can be quite a process, especially if you’ve never lived that lifestyle before. And while it might seem like your dream homestead is a million miles down the road, there are actually several things you can do right now, wherever you live, to prepare to buy your homestead.
1. Learn to Cook and Can
When you are living on a homestead and growing your own food, there is a lot of work that happens in the kitchen. And knowing the basics of cooking and canning before you have a whole year’s harvest you need to take care of will take a load of stress off your shoulders when the time comes.
Find meals that are based on whole foods, make a meal plan, and practice cooking as you would on a homestead. Learn the foods your family likes and dislikes. What do you eat a lot of and what do you eat very little of?
If your budget allows, shop at your local farmers market. Maybe even can some of the fruits and veggies you find there. Not only will you be supporting local farmers, but you will begin to learn what foods are easy to grow in your area and can practice planning meals around those foods.
2. Get Outside
When you live on a homestead, you will naturally be required to spend a lot of time outside, whether you’re taking care of animals, working in the garden, or maintaining your property. It will be very helpful if you practice spending a lot of time outside before you buy your homestead.
Start spending your evenings in the yard or on the patio. Go to the park or on a hike. Take a couple camping trips. Immerse yourself in nature, observe it, and begin to understand it. Appreciate its beauty.
Not only will this help ease your body into the lifestyle, but it will help you ease your mind into it as well. Learn how to be content without a screen. Learn to find joy in the little things around you. Learn how to be present in the moment. Trust me, getting outside will make a world of difference.
3. Get Your Finances In Order
A simple life is not always a cheap life, especially when you are in the beginning stages of building up your homestead. There will be animal enclosures to build, fences to put in, gardening equipment to buy, animals to feed, etc. And if you live a little way out of town, your gas budget will likely go up as well. If you can get your finances in order before you purchase a piece of property, you will be a world ahead.
Start by making a budget that will allow you to live well within your means. Once you have done that, begin paying down your debts with any extra money each month. With fewer debts, you will have more money to throw at your homestead, and a better debt-to-income ratio for when it comes time to purchase your land. Once your debts are paid down, begin building up your nest egg. This will be critical when it comes time to purchase your dream homestead.
Now, please understand, I’m not saying you have to be rich to buy a homestead or be a homesteader. That’s far from the truth, but being in a good space financially will make the whole process so much easier and more enjoyable for your family.
4. Get In Shape
Listen…homesteading is hard work. You’ll be spending your days digging in the garden, chasing animals, mucking out animal enclosures, putting in fences, cutting down trees, and building infrastructure. So start getting used to living an active lifestyle now.
Start going on walks in the morning before work or in the evenings after dinner. Limber up those joints with some yoga. Build some strength in the gym. Whatever movement feels good, start doing that.
5. Make a Plan
You’ve likely been dreaming up your ideal homestead while you’re driving to and from work or waiting in line at the grocery store. Maybe you know what foods you want to grow in your garden, what animals you want to raise. That’s great! Now get it down on paper.
Do some research. Find what animals and plants do best in your climate. Determine how big of a property you need based on your goals. Research the areas that will allow you to build your dream homestead. Begin putting a budget together and a plan of how you’ll get the funding you need.
Making a detailed plan now of what you want will keep your spirits up while you wait to buy your dream homestead, as well as ensure you purchase the one that is right for you.
6. Find a Mentor
Homesteading used to be common. Everyone knew how to grow and preserve their own food, take care of animals, and be safe in the great outdoors. But in this modern age, we have slowly lost a lot of that knowledge. In many ways, we don’t know what we don’t know.
Finding a homesteading mentor and learning as much as you possibly can before you even purchase your homestead will save you so much time and money down the road. You can find a lot of information online and in books. Devour it all! But even better is if you can find someone in your area who will let you tag along and actually get some hands-on learning.
7. Begin Where You Are
Finally, start homesteading wherever you are! You can begin homesteading whether you live on an acre in the suburbs, an apartment in the city, or anywhere in between.
Here’s what I want you to do: for just one second, I want you to forget about your dream homestead. Ignore what you think homesteading is and all your preconceived notions. Now look around you. What opportunities did you disregard before because the situation wasn’t perfect?
Whether it’s a little porch you could grow some tomatoes on, a corner of the yard where you could put a chicken hutch, or even just a mason jar on the counter filled with some sprouts, look for what you can do right where you are.
Not only will this help you practice as many homesteading skills as you can, but it will keep your spirits up in this often difficult waiting period that you are facing.
Keep Your Chin Up!
I know just how hard it can be when you are dreaming and yearning for a homestead. It can feel so far out of reach and can be so devastating when you see others living the life you desire. Sometimes it almost physically hurts.
But don’t let the wishing and the wanting keep you from learning and enjoying where you are right now. Make this a happy time in your homesteading journey and utilize it to its fullest. If you work to prepare before buying a homestead, I promise you won’t regret it!