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5 Ways You’re Throwing Away Money On The Homestead (No. 2 Trips Up Lots Of People)

5 Ways You're Throwing Away Money On The Homestead (No. 2 Trips Up Lots Of People)

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Even small expenses can soon add up on a monthly or annual basis on the homestead. Here are five ways that homesteaders waste money that could be put to better use elsewhere.

1. Not repairing clothing

Working on the homestead is hard labor, and it takes a toll not only on the body but also on clothing. However, when good quality clothing becomes worn with a hole, or torn, or loses a button, resist the temptation to automatically discard it and buy new replacements. Instead, learn to mend clothing. A simple sewing kit, manual sewing machine, and basic supply of cloth can greatly extend the service life of clothing.

Also, consider hanging your laundry out to dry. Air drying is much easier on clothing than using a drying machine. After all, that lint in the drying machine filter is just small pieces of clothing material that belong with the clothing, not in the trash.

2. Paying too much in property taxes

Property taxes are an annual evil that siphon away serious dollars that would be better managed by the property owner instead of the government. While there’s no magic wand that can reduce the property taxes on a given piece of property, off-the-gridders should give serious consideration to how much acreage they really need.

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A lot of people yearning to escape modern life in the cities or suburbs dream of 40 acres or a hundred or a thousand. And if your heart’s set on it and you can afford that, go for it.

Otherwise, think about how much property you really want. I lived for years on 40 acres and loved it. But maintaining the perimeter fencing and keeping an eye out for trespassers was a lot of work. When I decided to move, I bypassed the 40-acre and 80-acre properties and settled on five acres. I have enough room for gardening and small animals, but the area is small enough for me to keep an eye on.

3. Throwing away material that can be reused or recycled

5 Ways You're Throwing Away Money On The Homestead (No. 2 Trips Up Lots Of People)

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While many homesteads don’t have trash pickup and they routinely haul it to the dump, many do subscribe to private trash pickup services. If you do, scrutinize the size of the container you’re paying for. You may be able to downsize. Frankly, for homesteads that should be reusing or recycling a lot of material, the smallest trash container available should be sufficient.

4. Not bartering

If you have a thriving homestead, you probably have excess goods or services that others may be willing to barter for. Why buy something from a store when you can barter for it?

For example, my neighbors own a ranch and raise cattle and pigs. Instead of buying beef or pork from a store, I trade chicken eggs, rabbits or produce from my garden for meat from my neighbors.

It works with services, too. I can help the neighbors on their ranch and get some meat in return.

5. Not buying used

There are many opportunities for thrifty homesteaders to buy used items that are acceptable. For instance, new books these days cost close to 10 dollars. So browse in a used bookstore and pick up a great read for 50 cents.

Clothing is another opportunity. While I buy much of my clothing new, I buy used clothing for when I’m working outside. When I’m digging soil or cleaning animal pens, used clothes work just fine for me. Goodwill stores and garage sales often yield gently used clothing for a dollar or less.

Conclusion

Simple changes can yield small savings. However, over time, these small savings become big savings.

What other ways do homesteaders throw away money? Share your ideas in the section below:

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2 comments

  1. Mending work clothing used to be the norm a couple of generations ago, and having it placed in this article as the first example of money waste these days is no surprise to me. Few people mend clothing much today. I mend denim jeans and other work clothing for the public using treadle sewing machines, and while some have the knowledge and equipment but simply prefer the convenience of having it done for them, unfortunately, many have neither the knowledge nor the equipment to do it for themselves. New clothing is bought, and damaged clothing is discarded.

    I would encourage anyone, men or women, to dust off an old treadle sewing machine and put it back to work. Or go a step further, and convert a 1950s zigzag machine to operate by treadle like I did to have more sewing versatility. I like mending jeans, and my wife is perfectly happy to let me handle that task.

    CD in Oklahoma

  2. Sadly, much/most of the clothes donated to Goodwill, (don’t know about the others) are not sold in their stores. They are shredded and the remains sold.

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