How to Start Your Own Farm or Homestead: Setting Priorities

The dream of a low-budget homestead is obtainable — after you consider your priorities and ability to keep your life simple.

| January 2013

  • Collecting water
    Water is our biggest inconvenience. In the summer we use collected rainwater for washing and watering the garden. In the winter we melt snow. In the late fall and early spring we collect water in buckets as the snow melts from the roof. Often it freezes during the night, so we melt super-sized ice cubes like this one.
    Photo Courtesy Paladin Press
  • Creating the Low-Budget Homestead
    There are hundreds of things to think about before planning and starting your new life, and “Creating the Low-Budget Homestead” will save you valuable time and money by steering you down productive paths and making you carefully consider others.
    Cover Courtesy Paladin Press
  • Washing without electricity
    In keeping with our goal of never becoming dependent upon electricity, we wash clothes using washtubs, a “Rapid Washer,” and a hand-powered wringer. It’s easier than most people imagine.
    Photo Courtesy Paladin Press
  • Splitting wood
    Firewood splitting is just one area we do the “old” way. Splitting by hand is cheaper, and the exercise keeps you in better health.
    Photo Courtesy Paladin Press

  • Collecting water
  • Creating the Low-Budget Homestead
  • Washing without electricity
  • Splitting wood

If you've ever thought about pursuing a self-sufficient lifestyle on your own rural homestead or survival retreat but feared you didn't have the money or skills to do it, Steven D. Gregersen offers advice for it all in Creating the Low-Budget Homestead. In this excerpt, Gregersen discusses how to start your own farm or homestead, and one of the first things to consider before getting started — the wants-versus-needs aspect of a rural, off-the-grid lifestyle. 

You can buy this book in the GRIT store: Creating the Low-Budget Homestead.

More from Creating the Low-Budget Homestead:

9 Tips for How to be a Good Neighbor in the Country 

Setting Priorities

I read an article this morning that debated whether or not the “modern woman” can “have it all,” possessing a highly paid, professional career, enjoying a fulfilling marriage, and being the perfect mother to her children. One of those commenting below the story pointed out that everyone featured on the program had at least one failed marriage, and many didn’t have children. Those who did have children had nannies to care for them. The only thing they had in common was that they had all risen to the top in their chosen careers.



Trying to have it all is one of the main reasons I’ve seen people fail at their attempts to live the low-budget homestead lifestyle. Everything has a price, and the wise person knows this. Satisfaction and success cannot be measured by the accumulation of possessions, wealth, or fame but must instead be sought through things like family, security, contentment, and a sense of fulfillment. Living like we do requires a completely different philosophy of life.

Comfort versus Convenience

I had a friend tell me once that he couldn’t live like we do. I was really puzzled by that, so I asked him what was so hard about the way we lived? He looked me right in the eye and said, “That’s exactly what I’m talking about.” I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about! On another occasion, I talked to someone else who said something about how many things we gave up to live the way we do. I was puzzled by that one too! Then I put those two comments together. What I believe both people were referring to was the issue of comfort vs. convenience.






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