8 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Your Hobby Farm


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Alli Kelley(1) Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Most things on your property can find a new life as something else, even if it's just an old rusty rake that gets a new life as fall door decor. If you have a building that looks like it won't be good for anything, reanalyze the situation. We ended up using part of an older barn for our chicken coop, which saved us a bundle in time and money. We did take down part of the building (after the wind started that job for us) but we saved almost all the wood. We are still using the wood from that building on other building projects!

(2) If it ain't (completely) broke, don't fix it. But really! If something could use a repair but is working the way it is, just wait. Make a list of everything that needs attention on your property (ours is HUGE!) and then prioritize the list. This will help you save money by fixing things that could wait and avoiding emergency repair situations. Some of the things may have to wait a few years, and that is just fine.

(3) Look before you buy. If you have an older property, chances are pretty good you are going to find some of the tools or equipment you need laying around. We found two harrowers buried behind a barn with bushes growing up through them. It was hard work to get them loose but it saved us around $1200! You may not find everything you need or exactly what you were looking for, but you will save money by using what's already there. We have found everything from tools to animal feeders.

(4) Just make it. I am a very firm believer that there is always an alternative method to accomplishing any task. Before we found the above-mentioned harrowers, I used a section of chain-link with a tire on top to drag my pasture. We have made everything from a bench in the entryway of our house to compost boxes out of old dog houses to garden boxes out of rocks. The more you practice thinking outside the box, the less money you will spend on things you think you need to buy but could actually make. (I've tried to use old nails but Andy draws the line there … ha!)

(5) Prioritize goals for your property (and be patient). This sounds good to your ears and logical to your brain but I totally failed at this when we purchased our property. I was just so excited to FARM IT ALL! I underestimated the amount of time, money, and work all my projects would take and jumped into 40 things at once. This caused me to (1) not accomplish as much (2) become discouraged and (3) actually waste time and money recovering from my mistakes. For example: before we did anything with animals, I should have spent the time and money necessary to figure out how I was going to water my pasture. That sounds like a simple task but I quickly realized how little I knew and had overlooked about irrigation. Having my watering system figured out would have saved me time, money, and frustration. Now, two years in, I have to take a break from animals because I need get my watering figured out. Not to mention I am a lot farther behind on my pasture rehab because I haven't been able to water.

3/9/2016 10:33:32 AM

Great little article. The name 'hobby farm' got my attention. I was lucky to purchase 5 acres in nw Fla from a man who was a packrat and left most of it behind. It has been a massive cleanup, but selling the metal got me some bucks, and like you I am always finding treasures half buried. I have 8 goats, pygmy angoras and they not only eat a lot of weeds, they furnish me with some really nice wool. One is a cross with a cashmere and wow its so soft. I saved up my pennies and finally got a spinning wheel and taught myself how to spin. Trouble is, with 8 goats, I don't have much time to spin. lol I even have a semi trained bull/retriever combination and she helps me 'round' em up by sitting at one exit while I chase them in the other. I live alone and am 76, and all these critters keep me young! Thanks for a really nice article. Katie

3/6/2016 3:12:53 PM

Great post!

2/25/2016 5:14:50 PM

Alli, I can certainly identify with you on the eagerness to get everything done quick. I don't have a homestead but am in the process of turning a vacant lot I purchased from the city into a garden. It's not real huge but because of the surrounding wildly overgrown properies, wild life abounds and think my garden is their buffet. I've had to put up a six foot wooden fence with free tear out panels from a fencing company to keep the deer at bay. Most of my projects are all from free stuff from Craig's list. A never ending free source of oak pallets have been a big help with projects around the garden. ***** Have a great day on the homestead.

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