Have you ever thought of homesteading, getting back to a simpler life?
Homesteading has seen a major boost in recent years. The recession, concern about the foods we consume, and an interest in apocalyptic entertainment have all generated interest in homesteading.
Whatever your reason for living off-the-grid, you are not alone.
The following are some common misconceptions and information that a prospective homesteader should know before they begin.
Land Isn’t Free
There is a common misunderstanding that if you are willing to homestead, you are entitled to free land. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
In 1862 the federal government introduced The Homesteading Act to encourage western expansion. Under this act a family was given 160 acres of land as long as they worked the land.
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The act was revised several times and in 1976 it came to an end. It ended when the Federal Land Policy and Management Act was introduced.
The Truth is today the land you homestead must be purchased or leased by you. However, you may be able to use tax credits if your homesteading is part of a business venture.
If you are under the impression that homesteading will be easy or stress free, you are wrong.
Homesteading is a 24/7 job that can be mentally and physically demanding. With that being said, it is a different kind of work, which some people prefer over a traditional job.
When you are living the homesteading life, you will be able to fully enjoy the fruits of your labor, literally and figuratively. It is a hands-on and rewarding lifestyle.
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You Won’t Have Employer-Paid Benefits
Homesteading life does not offer traditional employer-based benefits. You will not have a 401k or pension plan. You may have to pay your own taxes and do your own bookkeeping, and they won’t be any paid time off or days off for sickness.
Homesteading has its own benefits and disadvantages, which you must weigh to determine if it will work for you.
While you may not be able to take long or extended vacations, you can enjoy the lifestyle so much that it doesn’t bother you.
The costs of starting a homestead can vary greatly depending on what you want to do.
If homesteading is something you really want to do, then you will need to purchase land and the equipment to maintain it.
You can rent or purchase most farm equipment. The first thing you must determine is if you will be homesteading for your family only or commercially.
Then you will need to decide on the type of animals and plants you will raise.
Research each animal or plant you intend to raise and decide on the equipment that is right for you. The costs can vary from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands depending on the size and scale you have choosen.
Technology Is Great for Homesteading
Whether you are raising produce for your family or making a living from your homestead, you will still use technology in your everyday life.
If you are under the impression that cellphones and computers will not longer be needed, you will be surprised to learn that living the homestead life (sic) often requires the use of technology.
Technology has made homesteading easier and more productive.
Before technology, homesteaders had to rely on the farmer’s almanac or old wive’s tales for weather forecasts.
Farmers also had to have employees or a large family to harvest crops. Today, you can purchase tractors and farm equipment that can do the job of ten men in half the time.
Solar technology can also save you a significant amount of money by producing your own energy.
This energy helps make homesteading more sustainable and can even generate credits from your electric company.
If you want to get the most out of homesteading, embrace technology.
It will help you troubleshoot any problems and you can supplement your income online, if needed. No one can control mother nature, but technology can help you work with and survive it.
Earning an Income
There are many ways to earn an income from homesteading. If you plan to become self-employed or earn a living from farming for the first time, meet with an accountant who can inform you of your responsibilities as a tax payer.
An accountant who is familiar with farming will also be able to explain tax credits that may help you get started or continue running your farm.
There are many ways that living the homesteading life can result in your family making a good income.
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Selling Items Your Homestead Produces
From year-to-year you will notice that the exact same crop will vary in yield and quality. It is a good idea to diversify your income in the event that one income stream fails.
Selling your produce and products you make is a great way to earn a living for homesteaders.
You can sell items at your local farmer’s market, directly to grocery stores in your area, and online.
If you are comfortable with selling livestock and have the land for it, it can be quite lucrative. Cattle, goats, chickens, and pigs are common livestock.
Livestock is much more expensive to raise, but you stand to make a much greater profit from it.
You can sell young animals at auction to other farmers or sell mature livestock directly to processors. Milk, cheese, and other products that can be made from cow’s or goat’s milk can also be sold.
Some livestock, such as alpaca or sheep can be sheared for their roving and sold to textile mills.
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Blogging and Online Income
Many homesteaders today blog for profit. If blogging is successful for your family, a large scale farming operation and its costs may not be necessary to earn a living.
Instead, your blog and website can become your full-time income source.
Blogging on homesteading is on the rise. A blogger can write posts on a number of topics, including; how-to grow a specific plant, D.I.Y. projects to save money and make your life easier, and even recipes.
Income from blogging often comes from ads, selling products online, and teaching others how to do the same thing you are doing successfully.