Posts tagged starting a homestead with no money
The Route We're Taking To Begin Homesteading With No Debt (& Our Progress So Far)
 
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It’s the first of October, and I figured probably time for an update since our last one!

The purpose of sharing these updates is to show glimpses into our homesteading journey, so that when someone visits this site years from now and sees us living on our land, working from home, with beautiful plants and animals and hand-built structures dotting the landscape, living the dream essentially, and all with no debt… they can go back and see the beginning, they can see the steps we made and the time that it all took.

Not only does this make things more realistic, but I think it could also help people brainstorm ways of accomplishing similar dreams for themselves.

SO WHAT HAVE WE ACCOMPLISHED SO FAR?

It was this time last year that we really started to get serious about things. At that point in time, all we knew was that we wanted to live in this very wild and remote place where we could enjoy the slow pace of life and the inspiring landscape. Since then, our plan has ripened and become more and more clear.

The lifestyle we’re working to create is so far from finished, it’s just in the beginning stages really, but we have made progress toward it and every single day we continue to inch a little closer.

Let’s take a look back at what we’ve accomplished in the last year toward our off-grid homesteading goals!



BEGAN NEW CAREER PATHS [SUCCESSFULLY] THAT ALLOW US TO LIVE WHERE WE WANT

It was around this time last year, having just returned from the wilderness of northeast Washington (where we now live), that I sat in a coffee shop in a little town in Kentucky wondering how in the world I would ever be able to live in that remote wilderness that I loved so dearly full-time. How could I really make a life there, and a good life at that? With three people per square mile, jobs are few and far between.

I had no idea that just a couple of months later, I’d be making a full-time income online. It’s amazing what could be around the next corner if we’re willing to give it our all. You really just never know…

Read more about how I self-educated to be able to work online from anywhere here. I’m slowly working on an Ebook that will outline the details of exactly how I made this happen, so sign up for the newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out when I publish it.

Here’s a little coffee shop I found just north of here in Canada a few weeks ago where I can go get some work done when I need a change of scenery.

Here’s a little coffee shop I found just north of here in Canada a few weeks ago where I can go get some work done when I need a change of scenery.

The September view from my desk. What a difference a year can make!

The September view from my desk. What a difference a year can make!

 

A few months later, in January of this year, Eric decided that getting his CDL would be the best (and quickest) way to be able to live and homestead in a remote area. The few jobs that do come available out here often require a CDL, and at worst he could always go over the road then return here on days off.

He signed up for a really reputable CDL school which ended up being only a few miles from my father’s home in Wisconsin, ironically, and in February of 2018 we transitioned there for a few months while he completed the schooling and training.

Now he works for a wonderful local company and has probably one of the most beautiful routes that a truck driver could have - driving through the beautiful Washington and British Columbia mountains all day, then returning home to me each evening. We expected he would have to go over the road and we wouldn’t see each other for weeks at a time, but things worked out in the very best way they could have.

Does he want to be a truck driver forever? Of course not. Eventually, Eric plans to write music again and to hone a craft— he’s especially drawn to woodworking and blacksmithing— and turn those things into his full-time work. But, for now, our lines of work allow us great freedom to live where we want while making lucrative enough incomes to save for buying land and building a homestead in the near future.

Check out my blog post How To Make A Full-Time Income From Your Off-Grid Homestead for some more ideas to help your brainstorming.



RELOCATED OURSELVES & ALL OF OUR BELONGINGS TO THE AREA WE PLAN TO HOMESTEAD

For us, this meant going across the country, from the South to the Northwest. We moved 2,300 miles away!

This was a big move and took a lot of planning and preparing on our part, all while beginning entirely new career paths.

Living for a full year in an area before buying land in it is very important - I realize this now more than ever.

The specific places we now know we want to buy land near have evolved since we’ve been here and we’ve met local people who tell us about certain areas and point us in the direction of land for sale that is not listed on the Internet.

So moving here was essential, even though we aren’t yet ready to buy land or start building.

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ARRANGED A LIVING SITUATION

At the beginning of summer, I wrote an update to let you all know about our current setup. We’re still in that same setup and plan to stay in it until we’re ready to start building.

It is essentially an RV on our friends property that they’re letting us stay in as a kind of work-trade, and out of the simple goodness of their hearts.

We’ve been tempted many times this summer just to rent our own place, but were able to talk ourselves out of it each time remembering that all of the money we would put toward rent could be put into our little savings box instead! Besides, actually finding a rental home out here is… not realistic.

I have to say that one of the biggest sacrifices we’ve made throughout this whole journey so far is not having our own place - we both miss it terribly and long to have our things and our aloneness and more space. But this is a crucial part of the journey to having our own homestead — saving money! So, if it doesn’t contribute to that goal, we try to steer away from it.


WINTERIZED OUR LIVING QUARTERS

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We just finished winterizing the RV, using strawbales, and we still have to purchase a few hundred dollars worth of supplies to insulate the water hoses. This winter might be a little difficult - living in an RV with paper thin walls in a climate that sits under feet of snow for six solid months. Our biggest concern is the above-groud external water source…but we’ll see how it goes!

Again, sacrifices like this might have to be made while you work to save enough money to buy land outright and build your own house, which is what we plan to do within the year!



ACQUIRED HUNTING & FISHING LICENSES

This will help cut down on food costs while familiarizing us more and more intimately with the landscape.

In fact, as I type this, my husband is out with a friend hunting deer and grouse! After working sixty hours this past week, and not getting in bed until after 11 last night, he was up at 4AM to go hunt. Let’s hope it’s fruitful!

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Here’s our to-do list between now and next Spring:

  • Sell the 2wd Honda Element

  • Purchase two 4wd vehicles (one rugged truck and one that is better-suited for travel)

  • Save money! This means working a lot and minimizing expenses as much as possible

  • Start milling lumber to build the house with (this will require buying an Alaskan sawmill & appropriate chainsaw)

  • Find land

  • Build a small livable cabin so we can transition full-time to the homestead!


    It might not sound like a lot, but these are pretty great feats. The route we’re taking —to build a homestead slowly with cash— requires a lot of time and patience before the rewarding payoffs start trickling in. Once this list is completed, we will have a home (with no debt or monthly payment!) and land to build sustainable systems on that will feed and nourish us in all kinds of ways. From there, we can install off-grid power systems, huge gardens, build more structures for personal shops and studios, and just have fun with it!


SO YOU WANT TO BEGIN HOMESTEADING BUT AREN’T SURE WHERE TO START?

I would suggest doing the following:

  1. Figure out the area you want to live long-term on your off-grid homestead

  2. If work options aren’t available in that area, or you want to be able to work from home, start researching how to make a full-time income from your homestead. I’m not talking about filling out surveys and making a little here and there, I’m talking about self-educating and really skilling up, then beginning to do work for people, thereby building a portfolio slowly, and taking it from there. I managed to do this in under a year, and so can you. Check out:
    Self-Educating To Be Able To Work From Anywhere and How To Make A Full-Time Income From Your Off-Grid Homestead

  3. Minimize expenses and save money - if you don’t have a budget and you live paycheck to paycheck, you’ve got to do better. Sorry. Even if it’s $20/week, you can do without something and put that money back. Saving $1,000/year is better than zero. Going through life with no budget, making impulsive buys for short-term dopamine release, will not get you anywhere. Sit down and list out your monthly expenses (including bills of course but also food, gas, miscellaneous things that tend to come up, etc.), then subtract that from your monthly income. Whatever is left is what should be going into a Savings envelope. Seven months from now, you might come across acreage for sale with owner financing available but they want $1,500 down. Budgeting and saving now could be the difference in whether or not you can buy that land then.


A goal this big doesn’t happen overnight (which is why most people have 30-year mortgages). But it can happen in a year or two, and debt-free, if you start educating yourself now and outlining a solid plan of action.

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below. I’m more than happy to help in any way I can. We’re all on this path together, after all.

Until next time ~

x
Tiffany


 

Welcome!


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My husband and I are working to build a Nordic-inspired homestead in the Washington wilderness slowly with cash and no debt. You can follow the journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany


INSTAGRAM:

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to host this website.
So thank you :)


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OUR FEATURE IN EXPLORE WASHINGTON:



Self-Educating To Be Able To Work Online From Anywhere (The First Step I Took To Homestead, Live in the Wilderness, & Have More Freedom)
 

Less than one year ago today, having just returned from the wilderness of northeast Washington, I sat in a local coffee shop in a small town in Kentucky, perusing the Internet.

I had just returned from spending the summer in the Washington wilderness and I was hell-bent on figuring out how to live there full-time.

Not just live there, but live there in a certain way - I wanted land, a homestead, not to be crippled by the intense winters from lack of proper equipment, I wanted to be able to make a lucrative income so that I could establish an off-grid homestead in the wilderness and enjoy daily life on this landscape I loved so dearly, without it always feeling transient.

In a place with only three people per square mile, jobs are few and far between. Especially good ones.

But even if there were jobs available, I wanted to escape the morning alarm ritual, living life by a clock, wearing busy-ness as a badge of honor, commuting to work each day feeling like a cog in a machine.

To build out the dream that existed only in my imagination, though, was going to require money.

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I wanted a small but cozy home that felt inspiring, I would need water systems, power, high-speed Internet, 4wd vehicles, snow plows, a sawmill, I would want to design long-term food growing systems and have animals…

The cold hard truth is that homesteading requires capital.

You can, of course, live in the wilderness in a tent and carry on in the hunter-gatherer fashion (something I’ve considered many times, and did a bit a couple of years ago while recovering from toxic mold exposure), but even then you’ll need some money. It’s just the way society is setup nowadays. We rely on it for a lot, but that is the topic of a whole other conversation ;)

The upfront work that has to be done and the money this requires both allow for long-term relaxation and enjoyment. Eventually, you won’t need nearly as much money because you have all of these systems in place that allow you to be more self-sufficient.

For anyone looking to actually enjoy living a peaceful life in the wilderness, on land that is theirs, in a home that they own, with systems in place that are sustainable and off-grid and reliable, there is a lot of initial work that has to be done. And most of that work is far from dreamy.

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I have spoken with so many people, and I used to be one myself, who state how they want to live in a cabin away from it all, reading, writing, photographing, spending plenty of time outdoors, growing their own food, and so on. The off-grid, wilderness living dream.

But I don’t often hear about the details of how they’re actually going to pull off this dream, and most importantly - sustain it.

And so, dreams remain dreams and they carry on conventionally, not getting much satisfaction out of their days, or always dreaming of a different way of life…

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Not this gal.

I had a clear vision of what I wanted, and after courting this dream for many years, I finally started getting serious about it that September day in the coffee shop.

I wasn’t willing to let a lifestyle that felt so deeply right in my heart just remain a dream.

If other people had achieved this way of living, so could I.

 

Digital Nomad Stories

In the coffee shop that day, as I sat sipping my breve latte, watching the urgent traffic pass by outside, and despairing at my situation, I came across a new (to me) phrase: digital nomad.

Simply put: these folks were working online from anywhere in the world, and many of them were doing so using skills they had taught themselves. I read story after story of success and my brain began to churn…

I had been redesigning my website that day (I was a freelance health content developer at the time with a far-from-lucrative income, so I was also working at a local craft shop), and I had just finished a digital nomad story about a lady who was a web designer and who was living and working in Bali that summer (saving money because the USD stretches a lot further there!) and would be heading to Austria (or somewhere) later that year to live for a while.

Wait… a web designer? With no college degree in computer science or…. something?

I switched tabs at lightning speed, logging into one of the main freelancer sites I used to connect with clients. In the search bar, rather than typing in “health writer” or “nutrition blog posts,” I entered a new query: web design.

Oh!

But I didn’t know any programming languages at that time…

So I did a more specific search for web design on the platform I had used to build a couple of my own websites on in the past.

This returned projects in the $1,000’s instead of projects in the $50-$300 range I had been draining myself dry with.

Light bulb moment? Yes.

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All Aboard The Self-Education Train!

I spent the rest of that week and the subsequent weeks learning so…many…things about how I could develop better web design skills, really learn the platform I had chosen, seeking tips and advice from other self-taught web designers, researching my target audience and client base, and redesigning my own website in a big way!

I put blinders on to the rest of the world during that time and learned as much as I possibly could.

Looking back to that week brings a huge smile to my face, mainly because right now I sit typing this in a whole other coffee shop - the only coffee shop in the nearest little town to where I now live, in the wilderness of northeast Washington!

It’s safe to say: The work has paid off!

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I’m still within the first year of being a self-taught web designer and I definitely didn’t expect things to go as well as they have.

Am I rich? Nope. Not even close.

Do I generate a decent full-time income? Yes.
Do I do so with significantly less hours of my time than the standard full-time employee? Yes.

The best part? I started generating a worthwhile income right away.

It turns out web design is in big demand (and a lot of other online skills are, too). And nowadays I have a larger toolbelt of skills I can offer my clients, more skills that I’ve taught myself which continue to prove valuable in the marketplace.


How To Make Money Online

I still have a long way to go, and hopefully my business just continues to grow.

I’m still learning rapidly in order to boost my chances of success and produce high-quality work, but I feel that I already have a lot of valuable insight to offer others who want to follow along this same sort of path.

For this reason, I’ve decided to write a small E-book which will delve far deeper into my story. In this E-book, I’ll be explaining the exact steps I took to get to where I am now.

I’ll share personal information and tactics used, how I self-educated, how to get clients as a beginner, how to build a portfolio, how I got paid to learn instead of paying to learn, and yes - even details on first year earnings.

I’ll also help you brainstorm ideas for other self-taught professions, not just web design.

If you’d like to be notified when this E-book becomes available, sign up for the newsletter here to be notified:


Something else that would be really helpful, since I’m writing this Ebook right now, is if you have any specific questions for me, let me know! Please!

Just leave a comment below here and feel free to ask me anything. I’ll try to make sure the E-book answers your questions.

Thanks so much for your input.

Until next time ~

x Tiffany

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Welcome!


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My husband and I are working to build a Nordic-inspired homestead in the Washington wilderness slowly with cash and no debt. You can follow the journey here!

I write about:

  • wilderness living

  • our homestead journey

  • health & wellness

  • adventure travel

  • cozy homemaking

  • wild food foraging

  • DIY & craft projects

  • making a living online from home (or anywhere)

  • natural living

  • my own recipes from scratch

  • and much more


My hope is that you will find some nugget of inspiration here.
Thank you so much for stopping in & please come back often. The kettle's always on...

x Tiffany

INSTAGRAM:

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning: at no additional cost to you, we earn a small commission if you click-through and make a purchase. We only feature products that we believe in and use ourselves. Your support means the world to us and allows us to host this website.
So thank you :)


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