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.
November 2015 Summary
While the beginning of November was a frenzy as we were still running around picking up second-hand building materials and building our off grid cabin for winter, the end of the month was a little slower.
Expense-wise, this was another hefty month. Because winter snuck up on us (well, not really, we just had way too much to do as we arrived on our property in September), we were forced to buy quite a bit of materials new. Because we had to get our RV winterized, and had some cold weather rapidly approaching, we didn’t have time to sit around and wait for good deals or our RV tanks, pipes and pump would have froze!
We spent a good amount of money on consumables this month (things that aren’t really long-lasting), and also spent a large amount on gas and eating out, but that’s’ part of the game. When you’re busy building and developing, that often comes with more money spent in fuel, and less energy for cooking and keeping the fridge stocked with quick and healthy foods.
To see everything we accomplished during this month (and the first couple weeks of December), view our Month Three Homestead Roundup post and video.
It seems that our overall household expenses were higher than normal this month because of a few cold weather clothing purchases, eating out a fair amount as we were extremely busy and working hard on property development.
- Storage unit: $60
This is what we’re securing some of our belongings in as we are short on space.
- Household: $75
This included some random stuff such as magnets for our RV mirror, two Goodwill visits, shipping and postage, etc.
- Clothing: $120
This was for a new Carhartt jacket for Alyssa (watch the unboxing here) and also a Smartwool long underwear top. Alyssa was severely lacking in warm winter clothing but these last two pieces seem to have done the trick!
- Cell phone: $135
- Food: $495
- Coffee: $100
This was a big coffee month as we were on the go.
- Meals out: $100
This was a big month for eating out… mostly because in the beginning of the month we were running around frantically collecting reclaimed materials, finishing up the barn and house demolition, and building our cabin for winter. We also had some help from Jesse’s sister and treated her to dinner a couple of times, not to mention we were all to exhausted to cook.
- Cat food: $35
- TOTAL: $1,120
- Generator fuel: $64.23
This was a higher month compared to last for portable generator usage and that’s because we were busy building, so we were running power tools endlessly!
- Generator payment: $200
We chose to finance our generator over 18 months with a 0% interest rate.
- Propane: $23.68
I think we only got propane once this month… we didn’t run the heater TOO much, and didn’t do a ton of cooking as we were gone a lot and ate out a bunch (or ate leftover, cold pizza…)
- Showers: $40
We did a lot of building this month and apparently we took a few long, hot showers at the truck stop. We also paid for Jesse’s sister to take a shower twice I think (we are so kind to our guests!) so that was an extra $10.
- Water: $1.25
- Laundry: $24
- Firewood: $150
We paid $150 for 5 cords of firewood or so. We found this deal on Craigslist from a guy that had a bunch of leftover rounds from his timber frame home. We had to cut them up, but at least we could back up our trailer to hte wood pile and load the firewood right in. This was a great deal for us as if we were to buy firewood, it would have cost $175+ for a cord, and we were running short on time so it wasn’t the time to trek into the forest to cut down a tree (not to mention it would be green).
- TOTAL: $503.16
- Car payment: $187
- Insurance: $78
- Fuel: $264.23
We spent A LOT on fuel this month because we were running around picking up materials and supplies. This also includes fueling up the truck at least once which was around $100. That truck gets terrible gas mileage but it does the job we bought it for really well… towing!
- Parts: $16
It looks like we bought a few small parts for minor truck repairs at the auto shop.
- TOTAL: $545.23
Land / Development*
- Land: $357.20
We didn’t really spend money on land development this month, just had our monthly land payment. Good thing, we need to let the bank account recover a bit after having our septic installed, paying for a septic permit, and paving our driveway with gravel!
- TOTAL: $357.20
- Gloves: $35 (NEW)
Jesse had to buy two new pairs of gloves this month as he is going through them like crazy. It turns out that finding a quality glove is challenging… but these are the gloves that last the longest so far.
- Welding for rack on four wheeler: $25
We broke the rack off of our four wheeler when skidding a tree, but that’s because it was welded on poorly in the first place. We had a neighbor weld it back together for us.
- Screws: $70 (NEW)
We seem to spend a lot of money on screws, but in the big picture, screws and fastening hardware are cheap.
- Drill bits: $6 (NEW)
We are going through drill bits quickly, especially as Alyssa is still learning proper drilling techniques and she may or may not have stripped out a lot of the bits! Gotta dedicate some money to learning, ya know!
- Reciprocating saw blades: $23 (NEW)
We needed these to build our cabin quickly. These are not really an asset as we go through them quickly.
- Caulking: $7 (NEW)
Our RV needed some additional caulking around the shower and bathroom sink.
- Weather stripping: $9
There are a lot of air gaps in our cabin addition so we bought some of this to tighten up the door at a minimum.
- Help with building: $200
Jesse’s sister came up to help us for four days and really helped us to get the cabin done on time. We decided to give her $200 just for her time, some gas money, and as a way to say thank you.
- TOTAL: $438
We collected A LOT of materials and tools this month… even more than the previous month! While we bought some things new, our barter flyer saved us a substantial amount of money this month. We were able to find a few really great deals with our flyer. Many people have unused building materials laying around that isn’t worth their time to sell necessarily, but if someone is looking they will gladly offer them at a great price. Here are a total of 9 ways we’ve saved thousands on building materials.
- 50′ extension cord: $14 (NEW)
- 100′ extension cord: $39 (NEW)
- Chimney parts: $215 (NEW)
We almost lucked out and got a full chimney setup from the demolition, but the contractor called dibs on it! We didn’t have time to find second-hand chimney parts so we bought this new.
- Corrugated plastic, clear panels: $100 (NEW)
Second to the chimney, this was the biggest expense when it came to building our cabin for winter. We had windows but it was going to be easier to just put in clear panels as we were under the gun and racing the first snow storm. We do love these, by the way. It was worth the expense.
- Snatch block / pulley: $46 (NEW)
We are having some problems skidding our logs with just our ATV winch, so we figured that a snatch block would give us some extra leverage. Can’t wait to try it out.
- Hose: $28 (NEW)
- Milk crate: $9 (NEW)
It seems that we buy these frequently… we’ve said it once and we’ll say it again; if you ever see a milk crate for a quarter or a couple of bucks, buy it immediately! There are endless uses for these around the homestead!
- Roofing and lumber from demolition: $300 (CRAIGSLIST)
We were able to find a bunch of metal roofing for just $300, and best of all, the house was going to be demolished so we were free to salvage whatever we could in a few days! We went crazy with collecting lumber. Check out that project here.
- TOTAL: $451
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