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Self Sufficiency on the Homestead

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Self sufficiency is something that is very important to my family. But how do we make this lifestyle work on the homestead?

I’ve updated this post from 2016 to share some of our family’s favorite ways that we’ve worked on over the years. 

Our journey began when I became pregnant with my first child a few years ago. I wanted a more natural lifestyle for my family.

I started to become more aware of how harmful all of the chemicals were in the products that we used. And I didn’t want to inhale harmful cleaning fumes, or put chemicals on my body that could be harmful to my child.

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mother holding toddler son in grassy yard

So, I began to research natural cleaning. I got rid of everything that was harmful and purchased “safe” cleaning solutions online. When they arrived, I could hardly stand the smell of them. Thank you, pregnancy hormones!

So I donated them and I continued my research. This time, I found DIY natural cleaners. I finally found something that worked and was all natural…and they work better than the chemicals ever did!

two loaves of fresh baked bread cooling on a wooden cutting board

I was cautious about what was being used in our home.

It was equally important for me to ensure that all of the food that goes into my family is free from unnatural ingredients and chemicals.

The more I researched, the less confident that I became in what was being offered at our local grocery stores. I purchased a copy of Fed Up

After watching it I began reading labels on the food that I was purchasing. I was appalled by the ingredients offered in many packaged products.

I was shocked to learn that we were being fed so many crazy chemicals, food dyes, preservatives, and carcinogens.

Definitely not what I wanted for my children.

three children playing outside in a sandbox

And that nearly everything had unnatural, processed sugar added to it. I personally became fed up. I wanted to break free from all of these chemicals that had a hold on us for so long.

Over time, our natural journey has slowly evolved. Now we are focused on growing our homestead to return to our roots and become as self sufficient as possible.

This means that we now have chickens for eggs, cattle for meat, goats for dairy and grow our own fruits and vegetables. My ultimate goal is to quit the grocery store completely!

To us, self sufficiency also means living a frugal lifestyle.

This is how we are making this life work:

group of goats in a fenced in pen outside

Budget every month.

This sounds super simple, but it really works. I create a monthly budget for bills, grocery and general spending. Consider if that purchase is a want or a true need. If it doesn’t fit within our budget, we work towards saving for it later on.

We put aside a certain amount of money towards savings each month, we also set aside an amount for emergencies. We utilize cash and change jars as much as possible.

Eliminate debt.

Become debt free, get rid of credit cards and utilize cash only. We buy used vehicles and pay cash for them.

Utilize cloth.

Cloth diapers, napkins, dust rags, mama cloth, reusable breast pads, etc. Huge money savers and there’s no added harsh or nasty chemicals like whats found in store bought products!

two chickens in outside run

Make your own cleaning supplies.

I use mostly vinegar and baking soda for general cleaning.  I also sometimes will include essential oils, Borax, lemon, and Dr. Bronner’s soaps. Not into the DIY thing? I also love using Branch Basics!

Related: Getting Started with Natural Cleaning Products

Line dry our clothes and use wool dryer balls.

Wool dryer balls are great because they are natural, reduce static, save drying time and save the cost of dryer sheets.  I add essential oils to them on occasion for a nice fresh scent. Vinegar also makes a great fabric softener.

Meal plan and cook from scratch.

Home cooked food just tastes better anyway. I think so anyway.

two green tomatoes on a vine

Go meatless a couple of times a week.

We usually go meatless at least 2-3 times a week and truthfully, it’s not as painlful as my rancher husband thought it would be! Ha.

Save gas, limit driving.

We live 20 miles away from the closest town and near 40 miles from a bigger town, with better shopping, hospital, etc. I limit my trips and try to get as much done in one trip as possible.

If I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled, I will make my errands to the bank, shopping, post office and whatever else I need to do that week during that trip.

several brown eggs in a black basket and silver egg skelter sitting on a countertop

Become thriftier, shop second hand stores.

This took a little time for me to get accustomed to, not that I found anything wrong with it.  I just had to look at purchasing items differently. I like the saying “Buy used, save the difference”. It has helped change how I look at purchasing items.

Buy in season foods.

And shop local farmer’s markets as much as possible.

Grow your own food.

A great benefit on the homestead is the ability to grow a nice veggie garden, fruit trees, and berry bushes.

Raise your own food.

Chickens are a great starter animal for a growing homestead. We also have goats for dairy and cattle for meat.

chicken in a hay pile outside

Preserve your food.

Canning, freezing, dehydrating our garden harvest for the winter months. And my favorite method of preservation is through fermentation.

Be prepared for emergencies.

Stock up on essential pantry items, drinking water, batteries, candles, matches, first aid kits, etc.

Related: Preparing for power outages.

Purge.

Downsize – less is more. The more that we have put this question into use, the easier it has been for us to live frugally and it keeps the clutter away. Win, win! Delcutter all the things!

So, these are just a few things that we have on our growing list of ways to become more self-sufficient on the homestead. And how we are working to live a frugal, natural lifestyle.green beans growing on a vine

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Ashley

Wednesday 12th of June 2019

I love this! Thank you for putting this together it’s a great resource for beginners like myself.

Mary Woita

Saturday 22nd of June 2019

Thank you! Good luck in your homestead adventures. :)

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Garry

Friday 16th of February 2018

Great blog post about self-sufficient homesteading. Your blog may inspire people to done self-sufficient homesteading. I most like a thing in this blog is that you care about your family. Self-sufficient is a good thing to stay healthy. It may a little bit difficult for them who want to start self-sufficient homesteading but after that, they will enjoy their life, can grow their own food & raise their own animals etc. People can get new ideas from website to sharpen their self-sufficient skills. Like this website, homestead.org is also a good option to learn self-sufficient homesteading. I really enjoyed your post. Pictures of your children are lovely. Thanks for sharing. Keep posting.

The Beard + The Bohemian

Friday 15th of December 2017

Great post on being self sufficient. Kind of goes hand in hand with frugality.

Mary Woita

Monday 18th of December 2017

Thank you! :)

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