February 2017 Expense Report

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.

February 2017 Summary

February can be summed up in one word for us – SNOW. So much snow! Last winter, winter ended by early to mid February and towards the end of the month we were already making lumber for the hot tub deck.

We were concerned that this winter would end early as well but just when things were warming up, we got slammed with the most snow the area has seen since 1996! That’s over 20 years!

We got about four feet of snow in a weekend which means we were on snow removal patrol ’round the clock.

plowing snow on driveway

We spent a portion of this month helping our friend get a snow plow mounted on his truck and getting properties plowed. I believe this area of the state was officially in a state of emergency… there was THAT much snow! It was great to see how strong of a community we have here, however.

It was so fun to see our property deeply covered in white stuff! Here are some ridiculous photos.

shoveling snow tips tips on removing snow removing snow from car snow removal tips

Poor Bugaboo couldn’t even go out to pee unless we packed the snow down a bit for him and even then, he’d pee right outside the door in the open and run back in!

Expense-wise we had a pretty average month. No large expenses, just living life off grid in winter. Here we go!

Household Expenses*

  • Groceries: $585.81
  • Dining Out: $100.48
    We actually ate out a bit this month because of our busy Master Gardeners / ground school / flight lesson schedule!
  • Coffee: $47.37
  • Household Necessities: $162.19
    Odds and ends, clothing replacements, postage and shipping, cash back for picking up packages at the post office, laundry, etc.
  • Storage unit: $60.00
  • PO box renewal for 1 yr: $54.00
  • Chiropractor: $40
  • TOTAL: $1,049.85
* 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, gym memberships and other household needs.

Utilities*

  • Generator fuel: $92.32
    For the most part, we didn’t have much sun in February to allow us to take advantage of our solar power setup. That said, our troubleshooting of the solar batteries paid off and we’re getting a better charge than ever! So fuel was down compared to last month by over $40.00.
  • Propane: $90.88
    Propane use was almost identical to January’s propane use although it was a hair warmer. Gotta love blowing through money on propane in winter… but considering many people’s electric bill in winter is $250, I’d say we’re doing pretty dang good. Here is how I dress warm in winter to minimize propane use.
  • Water: $1.25
    We were back to carrying our water in 6-gallon jugs this month since we didn’t get our water system completed in time. Were we disappointed? Sure. But carrying water really isn’t a big deal. Check out our water solution progression
  • Laundry: $20
    Not sure exactly what laundry was but $20 sounds like a good number. We didn’t do too much outside work so our clothes weren’t that filthy overall!
  • Internet: $65
  • TOTAL: $269.45
* This includes typical household utilities including power, heat, air, water, internet, etc.

Vehicles*

  • Car payment: $187
    Believe it or not… THIS WAS OUR LAST CAR PAYMENT! While we only had a year left on paying off the loan, we decided to pay this off early! Score! This lifestyle is allowing us to put aside funds to build the house AND pay off debt simultaneously.
  • Insurance: $78
  • Fuel: $132.46
  • Other: $141.10
    Chains for truck.
  • TOTAL: $538.56
* This includes anything related to vehicles that we drive.

Land / Development*

  • Land: $357.20
    Our land cost $45,000 and we put $5,000 down. The loan is amortized over 15 years with a 5% interest rate. No early pay off penalty. We don’t plan to take the full 15 years to pay off the land, but optimistically hope to pay it off in 1-2 years. Learn about our property here and to find out how we found and purchased this land, read this post.
  • TOTAL: $357.20
* 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*

  • Tarp repair: $30.35
    We slept in one morning but Bugaboo (our Bengal cat) wanted inside. Instead of being patient, he took it upon himself to jump from the truck to the RV garage to see if he could find an alternative way in. Needless to say, his sharp little claws made multiple puncture marks in the RV garage. This is really frustrating but hey… it happens.
  • TOTAL: $30.35
* 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*

  • Ball valves for hot tub: $20.97
    Our  valve busted open (it was low quality to begin with) so we upgraded to something more sturdy. This also involved us losing half of the water and having to fill it back up again. It’s too soon to talk about how Alyssa didn’t get up the icy driveway with the IBC container loaded with water… we had to siphon it over the hillside and then go back for more to try again.
  • Propane hose repair: $48.16
    We had a propane leak and decided to just replace the entire hose setup. It was cheap enough.
  • TOTAL: $79.48

* 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.

Final Thoughts

February was a month to remember! It makes us a little sad that this has been a larger-than-normal winter for this area of recent times. Winters such as this used to be the norm, but with things being warmer lately, we might not see this again for a while.

Towards the end of the month we felt caught up enough on things to press forward with house plans and we have a lot of information to share soon, but we have some preliminary house plans done! Okay, okay, here’s a teaser!

plfl-house-plans-1080

If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out the video series below. These aren’t as much of a production as our normal videos, but Jesse has done a great job sharing a lot of the brainstorming behind the debt free home build project as well as our choice of lifestyle.

Onto March – can’t see what we can get done, and can’t wait to continue to see our home plans evolving!

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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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Comments

  1. Jason Levy says

    Congrats on paying off the car!!!

    I’ve been fallowing along on your journey for the past several months, and I really enjoy sitting with my wife and watching your videos.

    keep up the great work.

    P.S. Jesse we’ll be praying for your back.

    -Jason&Mary From Ohio

  2. Brendan says

    I stumbled across your youtube channel when I watched the one about the Stihl chainsaw sharpener. The videos are great, and very ‘watchable.’ We live in Bend, OR and can sympathize with your snow woes. Keep up the good work!

  3. Rob Houghton says

    Awesome stuff – you have my high respect. Been there, done that. I only see car insurance in your expense budget. How do you protect yourself against health issues and/or accidents? From my experience, this is the one thing that could sink you. Keep up the Faith!

  4. sue ward says

    Can you give more information about your outside employment and how to find internet based jobs? Maybe do a video. I’ve been following your adventure on YouTube pretty much since the beginning. I look forward to the house build. I know that I will learn a lot. :)

    • says

      We may do a video on some ideas to get people started. Writing is a huge one… or doing other work as a freelancer. Check UpWork, that’s a good place to see what kinds of things are available for freelancers!

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