Expense Report – October 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.

October 2015 Summary

October was an extremely busy month for us! Check out what we accomplished this month in our Month Two Homestead Roundup post and video. Not only did we continue to run around, picking up supplies and materials like crazy, but we also got a lot of work done on our property!

We spent a lot of money in October but we also had some great finds, such as 2,000 petina bricks for $50!
We spent a lot of money in October but we also had some great finds, such as 2,000 petina bricks for $50!

We continued to spend A LOT of money on month two of being on our property. This is okay because most expenses were one-time expenses, and we have many new assets to show for it. We didn’t simply flush our money down the toilet, and we could resell some of the assets if we were ever in a pinch.

One thing we noticed is that when we’re gone a lot and really busy, our food budget actually seems to drop as we don’t sit around and eat all day… we probably don’t eat enough in all honesty. Our fuel does increase when we are gone, however, as does our coffee and meals-out budget. In the end, it all seems to balance itself out.

Household Expenses*

  • Storage unit: $60
    This is what we’re securing some of our belongings in as we are short on space.
  • Goodwill: $85
    Warm clothing for Alyssa, shoes for Jesse. Approx value $250 (Savings $165)
  • Clothing: $150
    This was sturdy clothing for Jesse. We definitely didn’t have much in the means of quality work gear. This was actually a gift from Elna and Udie… thanks guys!
  • Cell phone: $135
  • Food: $244.30
    This seems pretty low… I almost wonder if we misplaced some of the receipts. Our grocery budget is usually twice this amount.
  • Coffee: $89.96
    Yep, sounds about right. Especially when we are gone all day, every day. We also didn’t have internet at our property this month so we had to go to coffee shops to get it where we would consume coffee!
  • Meals out: $55.76
    This is because we were gone many nights picking up tools in far away places.
  • Cat food: $35
  • TOTAL: $855.02
* 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.


  • Generator fuel: $37.90
    Portable generator use was minimal in October as we were gone almost daily, or working on the property. We didn’t spend much time in the RV. We did use it for some of our power tools though and a house demolition that resulted in collecting $5-$7k in building materials.
  • Propane: $23.68
    We cooked breakfast daily and dinner most nights but that’s about it. Heat use was minimal.
  • Showers: $25
    We took just over a shower a week this month. Most of the month we didn’t have our septic system installed, so if we took frequent showers we would have had had to dump the trailer more frequently. It was easier to just meet our shower needs elsewhere.
  • Water: $1.25
  • Laundry: $24
  • TOTAL: $111.84
* This includes typical household utilities including power, heat, air, water, internet, etc.


  • Car payment: $187
  • Insurance: $78
  • Fuel: $85.88
  • Head gaskets and timing belts for Subaru: $2,100
    The Subaru was LONG overdue for some TLC, but we weren’t stoked about the timing of this much-needed repair. This is not something we budgeted for at all.
  • All weather floor mats: $70
    If you didn’t already know this… homestead life is dirty, especially in the winter where there is mud everywhere! We had to invest in all-weather floor mats.
  • TOTAL: $2,520.88
* 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: $357.20
    This is our land payment. We have 15 years to pay it off (no early payment penalties) but we are optimistic and hope to pay it off by the end of 2016.
  • 1000 gallon septic tank, 60’ of drainfield and professional installation + RV sewer hookup: $3,400
    This couldn’t have happened a day too soon… learn all about our septic installation and system.
  • TOTAL: $3,757.20
* This includes payments on our land, property taxes, and any improvements we make to the property such as excavator rentals, rock delivery, septic, etc.


  • Leather working gloves: $30 (NEW)
  • Oil for generator: $10.89
  • Chainsaw chain sharpening for three chains: $30.00
  • New wheel for 4×8 trailer: $24.56
    When we were picking up used building materials (2,000 bricks to be exact), we ended up running over a nail that popped our tire! The homestead life is rough but it was totally worth it!
  • (2) tires for 4×8 trailer: $65.98
  • Oil: $5.50
  • TOTAL: $196.93
* 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.


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.

  • $200 – Ladders (12’ and 10’ step ladders): $200 (CRAIGSLIST)
    We couldn’t have bought these a day too soon! We needed them just two days later! Valued at $500, this was a $300 savings or so over getting them new.
  • Georgia Boot Romeo boots: $89 (NEW)
    Jesse was wearing Sketchers that were thrashed within the first few weeks… he is loving his new Georgia Boot Romeos. Check out the unboxing video here.
  • Makita 5402 16” Circular saw with extra blade for timber framing: $450 (CRAIGSLIST)
    We aren’t totally sure that we’re going to need this, but these saws go quick and it was a great deal, so if we don’t use it we can easily sell it what we bought it for, if not more. (Savings $350 savings).
  • 2TB External hard drive to store all the video we generate: $90 (NEW)
  • Battery grip + 4 more batteries for our Nikon D5200: $90 (NEW)
  • Metal watering can: $15  (NEW)
    For spreading used oil on driveway to reduce dust and seal driveway.
  • 2 New propane tanks: $60 (NEW)
    These were to have as backups for our RV for heating, cooking and hot water
  • 12 volt water pump for circulating water in wood fired hot tub: $25 (NEW)
  • Old Chevy radiator: $30 (JUNKYARD)
    This is for heating water in wood fired hot tub. Approx value $200 ($170 savings).
  • Plumbing parts: $50 (NEW)
    Including floor drain, abs pipe and fittings to plumb wood fired hot tub
  • Materials for hot tub deck: $300 (NEW)
    ($180 blocks and posts + $70 bolts + $50 lag and deck screws)
  • 3 camping chairs: $75
    Building relationships is important so we want to be hospitable. Having chairs allows us to offer our neighbors to sit and chat for a while!
  • 5 Low E Vinyl Windows: $200 (BARTER FLYER)
    Approx Value $1100 (Savings $900)
  • Barrel-style wood stove with fire brick: $200 (CRAIGSLIST)
    Approx value $600 (Savings $400)
  • 48 Batts of R30 fiberglass insulation: $50 (BARTER FLYER)
    Approx Value $512 (Savings $462)
  • 25 sheets of corrugated roofing: $100 (BARTER FLYER)
    Approx value $750 (Savings $650)
  • 180 sq ft Travertine, 2 Wood Stoves, 2000 antique bricks, box of electrical supplies, box of plumbing supplies, cedar boards, sheet of plywood: $300 (BARTER FLYER)
  • 2×6 and 2×4, 4×6 and 4×4 posts, 90’ abs pipe, 1 metal storm door, 3 aluminum windows, 1 vinyl window, 1 wood window: $125 (BARTER FLYER)
    Approx value $600 (Savings $475)
  • Two dryer drums: $8 (CRAIGSLIST)
    to be used as a fire pit and for wood fired hot tub
  • (4) 6-gallon water jugs: $48 (NEW)
    We’ve been using these to fill up our 25-gal tank in our RV. Works wonderfully. We really want like 20 of them!
  • (4) milk crates for tools and for four wheeler: $40 (NEW)
    You should be able to get these for just dollars, not new like we did. If you see some for cheap… pick them up! You can never have too many!
  • Supplies to build our DIY Alaskan chainsaw mill: $40 (NEW)
  • Electrical tester to replace blown up tester: $20 (NEW)
  • TOTAL: $3,397
* 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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