How to finance your homestead
Many people have asked me over the years how I went about setting up my finances in order to homestead properly? For our family we work very hard to live on half of the income that comes into the home. This is not easy for us but we do our best in order save as much money as possible. We pour in a lot of blood sweat and tears into our work instead of hiring things done and this helps us to save money. The other thing that we did that most people hate to think or talk about is budgeting. We will discuss budgeting in more detail in a later episode. Today we will just touch on a few key points of a budget.
The cost housing
Like I have mentioned in another post we live in the nature coast of Central Florida. The housing cost here is much much less than living in other areas of the country and even in the State of Florida. Many people would rather live in a more city type areas like Orlando or Tampa in order to enjoy all the fun and materialistic lifestyle that city life can give them. But living closer to these cities the housing cost would be three to five times higher than where I live now. In order to keep our housing cost down we choose to live here and by doing so we were able to pay off our house and property and live mortgage free. I will admit that there are days when my materialistic mind says let’s sell everything and build a new fancy home, but then I think what would happen if the economy tanks and the banks call in all their mortgages, we would be homeless. Since our home is paid off I don’t have to worry if the country falls back into a depression my family will have a roof over our heads.
Think before you buy
One of the main problems with our country today is the economy. From our government leaders all the way down to the blue collar worker we purchase things on credit. People need to stop pulling out their plastic credit cards and start paying for items in CASH ONLY. If for any reason you need to finance something do some real soul searching and decide if the item is really a need or a want, and if it is a need then try to work out some creative financing in order to keep the interest payments to a bare minimum. Many young people today finance everything that they own, credit card companies play these games with travel points to cash back deals and so on. Don’t fall for these scams, they sound great but they sucker you in with these scams and the next thing you know your credit is maxed out and you will be paying thousands of dollars in interest fees.
Weigh out your needs versus your wants
Do I need a new car or do I want a new car? These are questions that we all need to sit down and decide. The car I am driving has 228,346 miles and it runs great plus I get fifty miles to a gallon. But would I love to have a new car or truck, of course. But what comes with a new car or truck, a payment. I love so much not having any car payments, this money I save in car payments goes directly into the bank. I have friends that have three or four car payments, according to bankrate.com the average car payment in the U.S. is $479.00. Three to four car payments in a household like this would wipe out some families finances if one of the family members lost their job.
Take television, here in Central Florida we have one maybe two cable companies that supply cable television to the homes. The average cable bill according to USA News is $124.00 a month. In our home I purchased a high definition cable antenna and I pay nothing for television. I pull in over thirty television stations even though I live over sixty miles from a big city. That $124.00 a month can purchase a lot of other items that are needs not luxury items.
Eating out is another area that you can save a lot of money. Food is one of my downfalls, I love food and I love to eat out. I have friends and family that eat out for every meal, can you imagine what their food expense is every month. When I go to places like Outback, Olive Garden or etc my dinner bill for my wife and I comes to around $50 – $60 each time. This is such a waste of hard earned money. When I go to the grocery store and figure the cost of the same meal I could save more than half the cost of eating out.
These are just a few things that you need to sit down and decide for you and your family. If you truly want to be homesteaders and put cash away you may need to adjust your family expenses and get rid of some luxury items in order to live on much less and have additional funds for your homesteading projects.
Get the family involved
Homesteading is a family lifestyle. It takes hard work by everyone in the family. When it comes to finances the entire household needs to be on the same page. There needs to be family conversations and open communication with everyone in order to have everyone working towards the same goals.
Like I said in the beginning living on half of a family’s income is hard. It takes serious discipline and special planning. If you put your mind to it you can make anything happen as long as you have a plan and stick to it. The key elements that led us to be able to live on half was making wise choices, work to cut out all debt, and being creative. In some future articles we will take a much closer look at budgeting and setting some financial goals.