Expense Report – September 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.

September 2015 Summary

We made the move from Oregon to Idaho on September 4, so most of the month was spent on our property! Check out everything we accomplished our first month in our Month One Homestead Development Roundup.

The first day we arrived on our property with our RV, truck and Subaru! We had a lot of work to get done!
The first day we arrived on our property with our RV, truck and Subaru! We had a lot of work to get done!

This was an extremely expensive month from us, but that’s what we expected. We expected to not work for the first three months, and to spend like crazy! Great combination, right?!

Most of our expenses were assets for our property. We moved to our land with our travel trailer, a Subaru Forester and our pickup truck, so we weren’t able to stock up on tools before we left. That meant that we had to buy many tools to even begin working on our property and building stuff.

We were also about to do some minor development on our land.

I think an important thing to note about this month is that almost every penny we spent was on increasing the value of our land, or buying tools… neither which are consumables. We didn’t lose money, we simply put it into physical assets which is where we’d rather it be instead of sitting in a bank account.

This is what our property looked like after we got settled in.
This is what our property looked like after we got settled in.

Household Expenses*

  • Groceries: $400
  • Coffee: $100
    High due to being on the road non-stop and also consuming coffee to get wifi!
  • Meals out: $120
    High due to being busy, not having our feet under us, and being gone around dinner time.
  • Storage unit: $50
    We didn’t get a storage unit ahead of time so we had to take what we could get on short notice. This storage unit was clearly unsafe, dirty, and too far from our property. We paid for a full month even though we only used the thing for four days.
  • Storage unit: $60
    This is the storage unit we moved to as soon as we found a better one available. Much more secure and closer to our property.
  • Entertainment: $24
    We went to see a Celtic band in town and some Irish dancers.
  • Cats: $35
  • Trip to Idaho: $500
    Made a Goodwill run for some work pants and a few extra winter layers.
  • Hotel room: $84.29
    This was for our move to Idaho in the beginning of the month. No matter how hard we tried, we simply couldn’t make the drive in one straight shot.
  • TOTAL: $873.29
* 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.


It was hard to collect these numbers because our finances were a mess this month. WE were spending money out of too many accounts and on too many cards.

  • Generator fuel: Not sure, but it was minimal this month. Maybe $50.
  • Propane: $20
  • Showers: $25
  • Water: $1.25
  • Laundry: $24
  • TOTAL: $120.25
* This includes typical household utilities including power, heat, air, water, internet, etc.


  • Car payment: $187
  • Insurance: $78
  • Fuel: $318.45
    This was high due to making the trip from Oregon to Idaho, and that is of the receipts I could find! We may have spent more than that.
  • TOTAL: $583.45
* 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
  • 10,000lb excavator for two days: $860
    Included pickup, delivery, fuel and insurance. Used to spread rock on driveway, dig footing beds for timber frame barn, clean up weed heavy areas, build road into back side of property for ATV use and harvesting lumber, dig septic test holes and backfill holes
  • 3/4 minus rock delivery: $300
    This is what we used to pave our driveway to reduce mud in the rain.
  • Septic permit: $860
    Read all about our septic permitting process here.
  • TOTAL: $2,377.20
* This includes payments on our land, property taxes, and any improvements we make to the property such as excavator rentals, rock delivery, septic, etc.


  • Deep cycle RV battery: $125
    Our trailer battery was basically dead so we had to buy a new one.
  • TOTAL: $125
* 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.


  • Yamaha Timberwolf 4×4 four wheeler with 2″ hitch and racks, brand new tires: $1000 (CRAIGSLIST)
    We found this off of Craigslist and we estimate that it’s valued at $2,400. A $1,400 savings.
  • 4’x8’ 1200lb tilt bed utility trailer with plywood bed, sides and back: $300 (CRAIGSLIST)
    This was another Craigslist find that we valued at $400. A $100 savings.
  • Uhaul hitch, receiver, ball and installation: $225 (NEW)
    We realized that we didn’t want to drive our pickup truck everywhere so we decided that it would be a better use of money to tow a trailer with the Subaru Forester
  • KFI 2500 lb ATV winch: $225 (NEW)
    We bought this so that we could skid trees where we could easily mill them with our DIY Alaskan chainsaw mill
  • ATV Winch installation plates and hardware: $25 (NEW)
  • ShelterLogic 12’x20’ RV Garage in a Box: $500 (NEW)
    We bought this so that we could keep the rain off of our travel trailer, mainly because it already has a problem with rot in the front which is one of the reasons we got it at such a discount. It really isn’t a big deal, it just needs to stay dry and we arrived in a rainstorm unfortunately. Here is a review of the Garage-in-a-Box.
  • Framing lumber, screws, lag bolts, blocks and decking for RV: $200
  • 8’ metal stock tank for off grid wood fired hot tub: $275 (NEW)
    Approx Value $325 (Savings $50), we got this because it had a dent in it but who cares?
  • Stihl MS660 Chainsaw with 24” and 36” bars and chains: $745 (CRAIGSLIST)
    We found this on Craigslist and estimate the value of the tool to be $1600 (an $855 less tune up cost below)
  • Chainsaw tune up and inspection: $45
  • (3) Stihl ripping chains for Alaskan chainsaw mill: $100 (NEW)
    This included sharpening at 10deg.
  • Fiskars splitting axe: $45
    For wedging trees, splitting firewood
  • (4) long and medium tree felling wedges: $40
  • (3) short Oregon Felling Wedges: $15
  • (4) 1000 lb Haul Master ratchet straps: $15 (NEW)
  • Ear muffs and eye protection: $30
  • (2) 6gal water jugs: $24
  • 2 gallon gas can for mixed gas: $12
  • Tow chain: $40
  • 25′ garden hose: $15
  • 1TB HD External Hard drive: $105
    We needed a place to store all of the awesome footage we’ve been capturing on this journey!
  • TOTAL: $3,981
* 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.


  1. John Howieson says

    Just wanted to say that my wife and I have really enjoyed your channel and blog. The place has come a long way. Look forward to seeing the progress in 2016!

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