Expense Report – August 2015

We are frequently asked the question “How much does it cost to start a homestead?” so we thought we’d start a homestead expense report series. Every month we will document how much money we’ve spent on our homestead-related activities and also on running our household. This is to track both our own progress and also to give you some insight as what it costs to start a homestead from scratch.

August 2015 Summary

August 2015 was one of the craziest months for us. We received our 30 day notification that we had to be out of the property we were rehabbing, and we had not yet heard if the land was ours, so we knew that we had to go somewhere at the end of the month!

This is just one image from August... the day we picked up our pickup truck!
This is just one image from August… the day we picked up our pickup truck!

We were pretty confident that our property was going to work out, so we kept an eye out for the assets that we needed and bought them as they became available. We tried to buy wisely so that if we needed to, we could resell these for what we bought them for if not more, just in case our land didn’t work out.

It turns out that our land did go through at the end of the month, so we also had to pay up for the down payment.

This was a pretty expensive month for us, but we’re really happy that we got great deals on everything, and that everything worked out the way it did.

For more reading on this period of time, be sure to check out:

Household Expenses*

We were still living in Oregon during this month so I won’t bother to calculate our household expenses as they don’t really reflect the homesteading lifestyle. They are also scattered among 3-4 bank accounts! I can tell you a few highlights though:

  • High “meals out” expenses: We were running around like crazy in preparation for our move to Idaho, so we ate out A LOT. That said, we didn’t eat at fancy restaurants, so a dinner was often around.
  • High coffee expenses: When we are gone, we tend to also consume a lot of coffee out, so we spent a lot on coffee this month too.
* These are the expenses that it really just takes to run our household. Your household will likely be different based on the number of family members, how often you eat out, the type of food that you eat (organic vs. not, meat vs. carbs, etc.), pets, coffee, cigarettes, gym memberships and other household needs.

Utilities*

In Oregon, we had unlimited access to hot water, air conditioning and laundry. We were also living rent-free in exchange for rehabbing a house. Utilities were maybe $150/month.

* This includes typical household utilities including power, heat, air, water, internet, etc.

Vehicles*

  • Car payment (Subaru Forester): $187
  • Carp payment (Subaru Legacy): $285.10
    This was the last month of this car payment because we sold the car and were able to get $14,000 cash to jump-start our homestead.
  • Insurance (Subaru Forester): $78
  • Insurance (Subaru Legacy): $53
    Last month of insurance payment for this car as well. Two cars to take care of adds up, folks!
  • Fuel: Not sure on the exact cost, but we drove A LOT. I’m sure we spent $250+ on fuel.
  • Ford F150 truck expenses: We had to do a bit of maintenance on the truck once we got it, so I’m sure there were some expenses in there as well for that.
  • TOTAL: ?
* This includes anything related to vehicles that we drive. We have a 2006 Subaru Forester and a 1990 Ford F150 that stays fairly stationary.

Land / Development*

  • Land: $4,500
    This was the down payment for our land.
  • Mail the closing documents: $40
    Because we were desperate to close in a timely manner and get the land wrapped up, we over-nighted the documents to Idaho as soon as we received and signed them. This is a small cost to pay.
  • TOTAL: $4,540
* This includes payments on our land, property taxes, and any improvements we make to the property such as excavator rentals, rock delivery, septic, etc.

Consumables*

Also not going to calculate this expense as we were spending money out of four different accounts. I don’t think we spent any money on consumables, to be honest. We may have put oil in the new truck, but almost every dime spent was on a long-term investment or asset.

* These are expenses for things that aren’t permanent… they are consumed, or used up, so we can’t really consider them investments or assets.

Assets*

  • 19’ Fun Finder RV: $2,500 (CRAIGSLIST)
    Even though we had no yet closed on our land, we found this trailer and put down a deposit as we knew it was a great deal and if we were out $100, no biggie. I don’t think the sellers knew the value of this trailer as all others that were similar appears to be selling for $7,000. This was a $4,500 savings to us, and we can resell it at a much higher price than we bought it for.
  • Load leveling hitch for towing RV: $50 (CRAIGSLIST)
    We got this to make towing a little easier and safer. This was also a great deal and we valued this at $200… a $150 savings.
  • 1990 Ford F150 Truck with Canopy: $1,750 (CRAIGSLIST)
    When we saw this truck posted on Craigslist, we went to see it immediately and put down a deposit. This truck is as good as it gets for that age. Similar trucks were listed at $2,500… a $750 savings.
  • Storage bins, crates and baskets for packing RV: $100 (NEW)
    We needed some bins to get organized in the RV. We bought these new but they should basically last forever and will be used long past us living in an RV.
  • Honda EU3000 Watt Inverter Generator:  (NEW)
    We bought the generator this month but decided to take the 18 month financing option with 0% interest as we needed the cash for other critical parts of our journey where payments weren’t an option such as our truck, down payment or our travel trailer. The first payment wasn’t due until October. We looked into buying a used generator, but any that were worth anything weren’t THAT much cheaper than buying new, only if we bought new we would know the history of the generator and also have a warranty. This was also not the cheapest portable generator, but read our generator review to see why we bought this one in particular, and paid the premium price.
  • 2 used Sony Handycams to document our journey: $200 (CRAIGSLIST)
    At the time we knew we wanted to document our journey so we bought these Sony Handycams. We have since decided that the quality is too poor to use for our videos (hey, we have high standards!) so we will probably resell these when we have time. Shouldn’t take much of a loss, if any.
  • TOTAL: $4,600
* These are expenses that should only happen one time, or at least very infrequently. These generally are quality tools and building materials that are reusable.

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I am an aspiring homesteader on a journey to become self-sustainable and free. In my past, I've worked corporate jobs to make ends meet and get ahead a little; it didn't make me happy or confident in my future. Since taking the leap to self-employment and living a more simple life, my happiness levels have increased greatly and I've never felt more alive. I finally understand what I want in life and how to get there, and that is what this blog is all about.

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