How much should I save to start a 1-acre homestead? That’s a question that many new or aspiring homesteaders may ask themselves.
Generally, we recommend starting by saving $10,000 for your homestead; however, there are a lot of factors and variables that come into play when starting a farm or homestead. Because of this, the costs vary, too. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
- Checklist for Starting a Homestead
- How Much Land is Needed to Homestead?
- How Much Does it Cost to Start Homesteading?
- How Much Should I Save for a Homestead?
Checklist for Starting a Homestead
Before you can figure out how much money you need to start your homestead, you need to first figure out exactly what you need in general to make your homestead successful.
To start, you will need:
- Land – how much land is necessary? We’ll discuss this in more detail below, but chances are, it’s not nearly as much as you might assume.
- A home – again, if it’s already built, great, but if not, that’s another cost.
- Barns and outbuildings – optional, but necessary if you plan on keeping any animals (a chicken coop will fall into this category).
- Garden space – this could be part of the homestead or something you build on it later on.
- Fences – if these are already in place, great – if not, you’ll need to figure them into your budget.
- Kitchen equipment – because a big part of homesteading takes place in the kitchen with your cooking and preserving, you’ll need all kinds of supplies (from pots and pans to canning jars) to make that happen.
- A pickup truck – you might be able to get by temporarily on your homestead without one, but a truck is going to be essential when it comes to moving firewood, getting feed from the feed store, and more.
- A utility vehicle or tractor
- Some sort of compost bin or composter
- Tools (hand or power)
- Medical supplies
- Animal feed
This checklist is far from exhaustive and you may want to add to it as you sit down and plan out your homestead.
Questions to ask yourself as you plan include:
- How much land do I want? How much is necessary for the homestead plans I have?
- Can I build my own structures or will I need to hire help?
- What sorts of animals will I raise (keeping in mind that to raise some species, like cattle, properly requires more space)?
- Will I grow all of my own food or supplement with store-bought items?
How Much Land is Needed to Homestead?
This is a tricky question – one to which there is no clear cut answer. However, it’s important that you at least attempt to answer it before starting your homestead so that you can figure out how much money you might need to purchase and maintain that homestead.
Believe it or not, a few acres is perfect for the average homestead, particularly one that’s not looking to turn a profit (but instead just be self-sufficient). Two to four acres, when properly managed, will give you room for chickens, a garden, a compost, and perhaps even a pig or two.
Of course, you’ll also have room for your home.
If you can swing it, a larger plot of 20 to 40 acres will allow you to be even more self-sufficient, since it will allow space for things like woodlots, orchards, ponds, livestock paddocks, barns, and more.
Can You Be Self-Sufficient on 1 Acre?
Though we mentioned that two to four acres is ideal, you can start a self-sufficient homestead on an acre or less. There are even people who start homesteading in tiny urban apartments!
You might be wondering how, exactly, this is possible.
The key here is creativity. Although an acre likely won’t let you accomplish all the homesteading things that might be on your dream list, you can raise chickens, grow a garden, and compost in an acre or less.
Even in an apartment, it’s possible to begin homesteading by learning how to cook from scratch, sewing your own clothes, making candles, preserving food, and working on other self-sufficiency skills.
If you’re new to the idea of homesteading, I recommend checking out this video. It has tons of information on how you can start homesteading immediately, even if you don’t own acres upon acres of land.
How Much Does it Cost to Start Homesteading?
We will break down the average costs for various homestead supplies, equipment, and materials you need below. Again, many of these will vary depending on what you need to make, buy, or rent as well as what the local prices are in your area. However, it should give you a rough idea.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Garden?
For a 1300 square foot garden (enough to feed a family for a year) that is started completely from seed, the average cost to start a garden is around $2000. If you plan on building a greenhouse to facilitate easier seed starting, costs will be higher.
Some things you’ll need to factor into your budget include:
- Watering supplies and water (if not on a well)
- Potting soil
- Compost bin
- Sod cutter
- Garden tools
This article has some great tips on how to save money when starting a garden.
How Much Does it Cost to Raise Chickens?
Chickens tend to be the most economical first homestead animal for most people. You’ll need to buy the following items:
- Brooder box
- Heat lamp
- Feeders and waterers
- Coop and run
- Wintertime water heater
- Chicken coop
On average, expect to spend around $1000 just to get a flock of six chickens established.
How Much Does Land for a Homestead Cost?
This is where things get really tricky to calculate, since land prices vary widely around the country.
However, according to the USDA, the average acre of farm real estate costs $3,160. That’s not calculating for land that has already been worked with or built on, though – so if there’s already a house sitting on the property, you’re going to pay more.
While you can throw up a rudimentary tiny house for $20,000 or less, you’ll want to take your lifestyle into consideration.
Plan to spend at least $50,000 for your home and acreage – this is a very conservative estimate and will need to be adjusted according to your goals. Of course, if you’re willing to rough it for a while, you could always start a homestead from a tent or camper to help you save money until you’re ready to build a house. In that case, plan on spending at least $5,000 or so for your land.
How Much Should I Save for a Homestead?
If you’re getting ready to start a homestead, there are all kinds of costs you’ll need to factor into your budget, including expenses for land, animals, and other equipment and supplies.
We recommend starting by saving $10,000 for your homestead. Because you can begin homesteading no matter where you live, $10,000 will give you enough money for a down payment on land. You can save for the rest as you go along. Of course, if you already have the land or most of the equipment, you may be able to put that money toward something else.
What’s more important than having a concrete number is to have a plan in place for how you will run your homestead. Once you know which expenses need to be covered, you will have a clearer idea of how you are going to pay for them!