Top 9 Methods of Finding Reclaimed Building Materials ($15,000 Savings in Two Months!)

One of the most difficult parts of buying land and starting an off-grid homestead from scratch is coming up with enough money to buy what you need without going broke or using credit. Whether it’s building materials, clothing and essentials, tools or an off-grid hot tub, chances are you will need a lot of stuff! One of the best ways we’ve found to save money is simply by finding reclaimed building materials, and we want to share our tips and tricks!

When we were getting ready for our move to our land, we worked hard to turn some of our assets into cash (such as selling my brand new car and selling Jesse’s business) so we had a decent nest egg at the start of our journey.

Even with a decent nest egg and a lot of hand-me-down tools from Jesse’s dad and grandpa, we were still going to need to acquire a significant amount of materials and tools.

Things get broken, we knew we had most things we’d need, but more would become obvious as we went along.

how to find used building materials for cheap
When we moved to our land, we had nothing! Just a travel trailer, a Subaru Forester, and a pickup truck full of tools!

Here is just an idea of the things we were/are wanting to get done in the first 6 months or so:

As you can see, this comes out to over $27,000 and that is no small amount of money!

While we had a decent nest egg due to selling my new car and Jesse’s business and learning how to earn an income online over the past 2 years, the whole idea of buying land to build our house was to use labor and time rather than loads of money.

We don’t want to run down to the local building supply to buy all of our tools and materials… we’d like to spend as little money as possible and where practical.

Even though we’ve spent a good deal of money to get situated on our land, we have some tips and tricks to share that have saved us over $15,000 to date in not just finding reclaimed construction materials, but tools, assistance and more.

Our efforts outlined below have opened the doors to many opportunities that have saved us real money and have even helped us to build relationships that will open the doors for more opportunities in the future.

How to Find Reclaimed Building Materials, Tools & More

1. Talk to friends and family.

This may be obvious so we’ll start here, but a great place to start is by talking to family and current friends!

Many people have tools and second hand building materials that they’ve collected in the past and are no longer using, or aren’t using at the moment.

If this is the case, it is likely that relatives would love to give you a helping hand by lending or give you some tools, spare materials or just “stuff” from projects they have done in the past.

In our case, Jesse’s grandpa was a contractor and he left behind an entire shed of tools that nobody was currently using.

We were able to get our hands on a table saw, chop saw, skill saw, reciprocal saw, corded drill, hand saws, transit level, many feet of wiring, floor jacks, angle grinder, tool boxes, hand planes, chalk lines, drill bits, hammers, crow bars and loads more tools that add up quick when purchased new. This saved us several thousand dollars in tools.

how to find second hand building materials and tools
Sorry for the crappy photo! These are just a few of the hand-me-down tools from Jesse’s dad and grandpa.

2. Scour Craigslist for good deals on second hand construction materials and tools.

Craigslist is probably the most obvious place to go for tools and materials.

The key to shopping on Craigslist is to know exactly what you want, create saved searches and when a new listing is available, jump on it immediately.

When we were looking for a used pickup truck, it took quite a while and when a quality truck was available, many people were calling on it and it just so happens that we showed up first with cash in fist, hours after the truck was posted. That thing was going to be a goner within 12 hours max!

Was it convenient timing? Of course not! We just found a way because we knew what we were looking for.

Finding a quality, used, low-cost pickup truck is rare! We found this oldie-but-goodie for $1,750 but had to act quick… like within 2 hours!

However, be sure to do your homework and use your head when buying off Craigslist.

If you have to travel too far to pick things up, calculate the cost of fuel and sometimes, it’s just not worth it.

We like to buy things brand-name (not off-brands) that we know have a lot of  life left in them AND we can get serviced such as power tools. Also, take into consideration that you will likely lose any warranties on tools that you buy so the savings needs to be worth it… otherwise, just spend a little more to buy new with a warranty.

There is always risk when buying used, but managed it can be very rewarding. Our rule of thumb is to pay no more than half of what a tool cost new.

Often times older tools are better than newer tools especially anything gas powered as emissions laws are always making these tools harder to operate. So for us an older chainsaw for example is actually better.

Sometimes, you can get lucky with finding reclaimed building materials if you pick them up.

The other night we were doing laundry and I decided to check Craigslist on a whim. Just hours earlier, someone posted a bunch of metal roofing for $300 (buyer to disassemble). Even though we were extremely busy, we took a trip to go check it out and it looked awesome!

Not only was the roofing available, but the entire house was up for grabs as it was just days away from demolition!

We rearranged our schedule to spend the next 4 days gathering the roofing and other materials. We worked our butts off and collected 70+ sheets of metal roofing (~$2,000+ new), 2×4, 4×4 and 4×6 lumber, a couple car batteries, a 100’ extension cord, step stool, wheel barrow, 12′, 16′ and even 20′ cedar poles, 30 cedar rafter poles and more.

All for $300 and a few days of our time. We now have all the roofing we would possibly need for our barn / apartment.

finding reclaimed building materials - metal roofing
We got $2,100 in roofing for $300 + some labor.
how to find reclaimed building materials and wood
We collected 40 long, cedar posts. I don’t even know what this would cost retail but we got it for free basically.
finding reused building materials
We salvaged 40 boards or so of 1×12 cedar sheathing also at no cost.
finding recyeld building materials
Due to that one demolition found on Craigslist, we were able to salvage enough material to build this little add-on for our RV for under $200 instead of the roughly $3000 retail value.

We see deals like fairly regularly Craigslist. We also see a lot of discounted lumber, pier blocks, doors, windows, bricks and many other materials.

Know what you need (or will need) and go get it when it’s available!

Remember this strategy takes a lot of time.

We don’t have television, we don’t use our personal Facebook accounts nor do we use our cell phones to play video games. We use all that time saved to search for things we need at a huge savings.

Another lot of materials we picked up from Craigslist for $125. Not bad for all of the great, usable lumber!
Another lot of materials we picked up from Craigslist for $125. Not bad for all of the great, usable lumber!

If there’s something particular you are in search of, set up a Craigslist alert so that when something is posted that fits your criteria, you will be notified immediately.

We have multiple Craigslist alerts set up at the moment.

One last tip for being a Craigslist master… Give them something to hold the deal.

Nearly every single large purchase we’ve made on Craigslist we didn’t pay for on the spot.

For example our RV we purchased with just $100 and a hand shake as a security deposit. The agreement was we’d bring the balance as soon as our land closed escrow. This ended up taking nearly a month and while the seller had to wait for his money, we didn’t haggle on the price and we agreed if we didn’t follow through they could keep our $100 for the inconvenience.

As it was we didn’t even have the full amount for the RV at that moment, but you can’t simply go get the RV you want whenever you want at the price point.

So the tip is to have a small amount of cash with you at all times. This technique has helped us secure many sales before we had the full funds available.

3. Find reusable construction materials in Facebook groups.

Surprisingly, Facebook can be used for more than stalking your friends and comparing yourself against everyone else.

If you haven’t utilized Facebook groups, now is the time to start!

Depending on the area you are in, there may be Facebook groups in your area created for the purpose of posting stuff for sale. There are a few groups we keep an eye on as well as get involved in.

In our local groups, most of the stuff doesn’t even make it to Craigslist! We’re so happy we found these groups otherwise we’d be missing out on lots of great deals!

Recently, we’ve been keeping our eyes out for a used planer. It seems that used planers aren’t in abundance locally, yet we don’t want to pay $400 for a new one as we only need to plane a few boards.

We posted an “ISO” (In Search Of) ad in one of these local Facebook groups and found a guy that is willing to let us borrow us planer for a day to get the job done. I’m sure we’ll find a way to return the favor at some point and we’d be more than happy to lend out our tools if someone was in need as well.

We’ve also seen people advertising that they are in need of a demolition, and they would like someone to do it in exchange for the materials.

Or, you can find really cheap construction materials if you’re willing to disassemble them yourself. Lots of great deals for those that are willing to keep an eye out!

There may also be groups for bartering. In these groups people post things that they either have or are in search of.

Lots of people have tools and materials that are just sitting around, or they no longer need, and may be open to a trade of some sort.

Here is a link on how to search for Facebook groups to join.

4. Try your hand at bartering.

I’ve touched on bartering already a couple times within the blog post, but it deserves its own mention.

First of all, the government doesn’t want anyone bartering because it can’t be traced or taxed. It would also lend to strong communities and reduce the need for money all together.

Oh, how terrible it would be if everyone were to trade!

Think about it: Let’s say you LOVE gardening.

You love nothing more than to have a large, thriving garden and you produce so much food that you have plenty to give to others.

Now, let’s say you HATE hunting! You love meat but hate the idea of doing the hunting yourself (guilty!).

What if you would trade vegetables for meat? This could save you a couple hundred dollars a month doing what you are already doing.

Depending on where you are in your life, bartering can be a great way to find reclaimed construction materials.

In preparation for our journey we were looking to save as much cash as possible so that we could buy land. We ended up rehabbing an entire house for 9 months in exchange for a place to live.

While this would have been a bad trade for us past the 9-month mark, it helped us use our labor to achieve our goals rather than creating more cash. It always gave us full freedom as we controlled WHEN we did our work so we were free to move about.

In preparation for our journey and buying land, we ended up trading 40 hours a month of labor on a rehab project in exchange for free rent. This helped fund our down payment on land + other expenses in preparation for our journey. A win-win for everyone involved.
In preparation for our journey and buying land, we ended up trading 40 hours a month of labor on a rehab project in exchange for low rent. This helped fund our down payment on land + other expenses in preparation for our journey. A win-win for everyone involved.

Here’s another example: One of our neighbor’s approached us as he knows we have a marketing consulting business and a internet savvy. He was hoping we could help him market some of the more difficult to sell trees in his nursery.

We are helping them with marketing in exchange for using some of their tools (like this flatbed trailer which was a lifesaver on the recent demolition project) and even receiving some lumber for building projects.

This will be an on-going relationship, but we each have skills or resources that the other finds useful.

Relationships like these are a win-win when both parties respect the agreement.

We were able to use this flatbed trailer in exchange for providing some marketing services, and maybe simply because we are building a relationship with our neighbors.
We were able to use this flatbed trailer in exchange for providing some marketing services, and maybe simply because we are building a relationship with our neighbors. This trailer allowed us to pick up all the materials salvaged from the demolition found on Craigslist.

If you need tools, lumber, a place to live, and it doesn’t seem like you can create enough cash or you simply don’t want to be a corporate cubicle slave, then think about what you can offer in exchange for what you need.

Many people will say no to trades, but some will say yes. However, you don’t ask, the answer is ALWAYS no!

We’ve been “turned down” multiple times so far but nobody has ever been offended! They simply aren’t interested in what we have to offer for the time being.

5. Post a flyer up around town.

Our biggest money-saver to date has been our flyer. Many stores have bulletin boards for flyers and what not, so put one up!

In our flyer, we created a short bio with a photo of our smiling faces. We feel that this shows a little bit of our story an also puts a face to the names which may encourage folks to call.

We then included a list of the building materials or tools we were looking for and mentioned that we were interested in trades.

how to find second hand building materials with a flyer
This one flyer has saved us SO MUCH MONEY! Many people have extra materials laying around (one person had a pile of lumber laying there for 7 years that we reclaimed) that they won’t bother to put on Craigslist, but if they know someone is looking, they just may give you a call.

Lastly, make it easy for people to call you.

The town we live in seems to be about 50 years behind in technology so the “take a phone number” approach works really well. In towns that have a larger adoption for technology, a QR code might work. You can create many types of QR codes including a link to your website or simply a code containing your contact information. Again, make it easy for them!

Here is how our flyer alone has saved us $5,000+ in construction materials, from one man!

Shortly after posting our flyer, a kind gentleman gave us a call. He is long time contractor and remodeler so naturally, he had lots of leftover building materials laying around from past jobs.

We ended up getting tons of fiberglass batt insulation for $50 ($500+ new), 5 double-pane vinyl windows for $200 ($1,000+ new), 2,000 bricks for $75 ($4,700 in value because they are “petina” bricks), 200 sq ft of new-in-box travertine ($450 new), high-density foam insulation ($550 new), work lights, buckets of electrical and plumbing materials, two wood stoves ($520 new), thirty 1x6x10′ cedar boards ($450 new), one sheet of plywood and more.

Talk about hitting a gold mine!

We didn’t budget for these materials, even at a severe discount, but we made it happen because we didn’t know if this sort of opportunity would come up again.

We spent around $800 for the entire lot which we’ve valued at over $10,000. We also figured that if we didn’t need the materials, we could resell them at a profit or use them for barter.

We were able to get 2,000 bricks ($4,700 value) for just $75. We can't even explain all of the uses for brick but let your mind wander!
We were able to get 2,000 bricks ($4,700 value) for just $75. We can’t even explain all of the uses for brick but let your mind wander!

6. Visit pawn shops.

This isn’t something we even thought about until someone suggested we stop by one about a week ago when looking for power tools!

We were in need of a planer and chop saw and someone suggested a local pawn shop as they often have good used power tools.

While we didn’t find a planer, we stopped by a few and they all had quality, name-brand tools!

We probably won’t make any special visits to the city to visit pawn shops, but if you drive by one and are in need of something it doesn’t hurt to pop your head in. You may even be able to call ahead or use another great technique, get on their waiting list.

Pawn shops love nothing more than to have a tool pre-sold. Tell them what you’re looking for and have them CALL YOU when they have one available.

Treat pawn shops like you would Craigslist or any other deal… if they have what you need, buy it up immediately!

However, also do your homework to make sure the savings is substantial enough to not buy it new and have a warranty.

7. Get to know your neighbors… bring cookies and/or beer!

This may sound like another crazy idea, but go out of your way to meet your neighbors.

We’re not talking about just the people that live over the fence, but get to know the locals.

Just to be clear, we are not building relationships to “use” people for their stuff, but simply because it’s a great and gratifying thing to do. It’s called a community. A lost art in many places.

When we’re out and about, we frequently engage in long conversation even when we have a to-do list a mile deep. To us, building relationships is important and critical to not only survival but for a strong community.

In getting to know the neighbors and locals, we’ve learned a lot of history of the town, start to hear the same names again and again, and have been building an alliance that we can go to for help, and also help out when they are in need.

One thing we like to do is always have some drinks on hand, or cookies! I find a way to make cookies even though we are living in a travel trailer!

If someone stops by, we love to offer them a beverage (coffee, beer, cider, root beer, etc.) and simply chat with them for a while. We’ve had many neighbors stop by simply because they noticed that someone new was in the area.

If people don’t just show up at your new property (some properties are more hidden than others), then you could try knocking on your neighbors’ doors with some cookies or something, just to say a friendly hello.

We don't have much to give at the moment, but one thing we can easily do is make no-bake cookies! It's just a small gesture we can do to say hello and that we would like to get to know one another.
We don’t have much to give at the moment, but one thing we can easily do is make no-bake cookies! It’s just a small gesture we can do to say hello and that we would like to get to know one another.

We love our new neighbors! Not only is most everyone similar-minded to ourselves, but we really feel that the community is extremely strong, everyone is passionate about keeping a safe neighborhood, and we’ve had just downright great conversation that is extremely refreshing and connecting after a long day of work.

We’ve also had people offer to help us with finding building materials, labor, crossing their land to get to ours for lumber, and more. Just recently one neighbor offered to give us 1/2 of the reclaimed building materials from an old barn if we were to take it down ourselves.

8. The goldmine of finding reclaimed construction materials is a demolition.

We stated this already above in this article, but one of the largest ways we’ve been able to collect salvage building materials was through a demolition that we found on Craigslist.

Demolitions happen every single day, but people don’t know about them! People even PAY MONEY to have their buildings demolished that have perfectly good materials that would be great for reusing in construction!

One way you can find demolitions in your area is on Craigslist. They may not be advertised as a demolition, but you may be able to find hints of a demolition in the Craigslist ad.

When we took advantage of a demolition, the add on Craigslist was simply for reclaimed metal roofing. The contractor didn’t think it’d be worth his time to advertise the wood but when we inquired, he was more than happy to let us have whatever we could salvage!

Here is how we earned $7,000 in reclaimed construction materials on that demolition alone. Because we invest in quality tools such as a portable generator, we are able to take advantage of lots of these types of opportunities that others would have to pass on.

Another thing you may be able to do is reach out to independent contractors, construction companies and demolition companies.

You may face a lot of rejection, but someone just may say “yes” when you ask if they can let you know about their next  demolition. Not all contractors will be willing to let you get involved for obvious safety and liability reasons, but some may just be okay with it… especially in smaller towns where things are less “official”.

Oh yea… we also did this at the beginning if winter when it was cold!

The reason we were able to happily do this is because we’ve learned how to dress warm in winter… which means we can happily take opportunities that are thrown our way even in the coldest of weather.

building with reused construction materials
Here is the inside of the little cabin we built with reclaimed building materials. The only thing NOT reclaimed is the stove pipe! Not bad, eh?

9. Practice giving… follow the golden rule.

This is something that is not always easy to do in a time where many people feel scarcity, but try following the golden rule and treat others how you wish to be treated.

One thing we always try to do is to be giving. Don’t confuse this with being a push over or getting taken advantage of, but practice being nice to people.

Call it karma, the law of reciprocity, or whatever you want, but people who are giving find themselves with a lot more opportunities than those that choose to hoard.

Here are some ways we’ve practiced giving since we’ve been up here:

  • Brought our septic installers beverages: When our contractors first arrived, it was fairy warm. We brought them out some microbrew, natural root beer. The next time they were out it was a cold, dreary morning. We were on a coffee run for ourselves and decided to pick up a couple extra mochas. This was such a minimal expense on our end but I’m sure it made their work a little more enjoyable. It’s a proven technique to motivate your helpers and get their very best work.
  • Offer help to those that are older: We’ve come across many folks that are older than ourselves (60+) and frequently offer our labor if they are ever in need. One couple needed a bunch of their property thinned and although they haven’t taken us up on our offer, we’d be more than happy to help them thin out their property as we’re both young and energetic. Oh, and we have a monster chainsaw and aren’t afraid to use it. Haha!
  • Helped some kids with their lemonade stand: This was on our last trip up here to look at property, but we noticed a couple young lads on the side of the road that were selling lemonade. They had no sign. We ran to town and bought supplies to make signs with them to help them gain some much-needed exposure! We ended up meeting their father and made another great connection. Here is a fun video of of helping with the lemonade stand!
  • Throw a BBQ: One great way to meet more people is to throw a BBQ. Throwing a BBQ for 10 people or so is quite affordable, especially compared to taking everyone out to a sit-down dinner! This can be a great time to share delicious food, drinks and have some great laughs around the fire. We did this with Jesse’s aunt, uncle, the new neighbors, and by the end of the night all of our faces hurt from laughing so much!
  • Engage in small talk & ask how people are doing: Coming from the city, people rarely ask how one another is doing and everything is simply a transaction. We really notice this now that we’re not in a big city. When we go out to eat or run an errand, we often engage in conversation with the folks helping us. This has also helped us to develop relationships and make friends. Many people aren’t accustomed to people caring about them so when you do, it’s extremely refreshing and makes someone’s day just a little brighter.
  • Look for opportunities to help others out: When we’re engaged in conversation, we keep an ear out for things people need. If someone has a project coming up, we’re quick to offer our tools, trailer, or whatever else we have that we’re comfortable lending out.

In Summary

How we've found over $15,000 in reclaimed materials for our homestead in just two months! #homestead #homesteading #offgrid #upcycle #upcycling #reuse

Not to be all new age and stuff, but try to be a likeable, trustworthy person and you may be surprised at the opportunities that come your way.

If and when the day comes that the dollar no longer has any value, relationships may be all that we’ll have, so form them wisely!

To wrap this up, we want to leave you with the idea that you just need to be creative. Instead of whipping out your credit card every time you need something, ask yourself the question “How can I do this without money?”

Many times, especially early in your journey, you may find that you have no choice but to use money. However, finding reclaimed construction materials and tools is a skill as with anything and you simply need to practice.

The reason we’re able to practice and find so many great deals is because our income strategy involves having little need for money in the first place which frees up our time to put towards education and learning.

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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. JC says

    Again, What a very nice and informative post. Christmas is coming and then right around the corner will be spring. Looking forward to seeing that barn go up. I hope you do a video on the recent
    internet setup. For rural homesteaders it would be of great benefit. GOD bless, JC

    • says

      Glad you enjoyed this post! We will try to do a video on our internet setup! Not sure how much of a viable solution it is for other rural folks… I suppose it depends on the internet companies in their area.

    • lha says

      As a former Commercial Carpenter,I found that Pawn Shops are not the best places to find tools,and often ask more than a big box store,such as Lowes or Home Depot. On top of that,many are stolen or just about worn out. I’ve had the same Skil saw for 15 years that I bought at Walmart for about $30.00. I do,however think the idea of free or cheap materials is a good one. I built my chicken coop almost entirely out of a large cedar fence that our Church was tearing down,and I just went and got it,cut in pieces about 8′ in length.

  2. says

    I’ve been secretly stalking your blog for a while now and finally decided to say “Hi!”. I love reading about real life endeavors…real people doing real things. Your blog has inspired our own sustainability/disaster prep journey. So much so, that I’ve listed your blog on my blog as one of my favorites!

    Good luck with all that you are aiming to accomplish!

  3. says

    Great advice! I just have a couple things to add that might help.

    For Craigslist, we’ve been using IFTTT to send automated notifications instead of Google alerts. I’m not sure how quickly the Google alerts come through now that Google has stopped indexing Craigslist sites, but I usually get an e-mail from IFTTT 1-2 hours after the post goes live. We’ve actually got a post going up on our blog this Saturday talking about how to set up an IFTTT search.

    Also, I totally agree with your ‘<50% of the cost to buy it new' rule. But for wood, at least around here, there's an abundance in the Free section. We haven't paid for lumber in years! Another source of free stuff is FreeCycle, but we don't use that very often anymore.

  4. Amy says

    Hi Alyssa!
    My husband and I are just getting our 40 acre homestead going in the the west central mountains of Idaho ourselves. We moved here the middle of March and are loving it!
    This may sound strange, but we’ve found some incredible finds at our county dump. They have wood, metal and railroad ties in giant separated piles and don’t mind if we “recycle” from them. We have picked up a really nice snow blower on tracks, constructions supplies, a barnwood bench, and railroad ties for building corals for our soon-to-be cows, etc. by just taking a quick look if we make a run up there.
    I love your ideas and will try some of those techniques too.
    I can’t wait to see how your homestead is progressing. Best wishes and I hope you’re staying warm!
    Amy

  5. Lloyd Nauss says

    Great score on the brick. You can build a beehive outdoor brick oven – it will use about 350 bricks. The result will be a 48″ diameter base x 30+ inches high. I can walk you through the process. I built mine for about $300. Brick was free, cement for base/slab and oven base + concrete block for supporting walls were not. I also built a small post and beam structure over the oven to protect it from the elements. I am located in Nova Scotia – eastern Canada – east of Maine. Issue it all year round and do mostly pizzas but have cooked many roasted meals and baked bread in it as well. Great fun! Good luck…

    • says

      That’s a great idea! I am intrigued by outdoor ovens and would love to build one in the future… it’s probably not a priority project at the moment, and we are open to bartering with the bricks for something that will help us out to build our barn/apartment, but the possibilities are endless! We also hope to practice playing with concrete this year as we don’t have much experience with that. Feel free to post a pic of your oven on our Facebook group page… would love to see it! We are loving our solar oven but it doesn’t work for large quantities of food or large pizzas (and duh, homemade pizza is a MUST at LEAST 3x a year!)

  6. Mark Linder says

    I really like and admire what you have and are accomplishing there. I am 60 and partially disabled, however its been my dream to go off grid for some time and am in the process of looking for land now. Trying to apply VA benefits to this project. I am thinking of building a tiny house to get started. Looking toward to more of your ideas and videos

  7. Piro says

    Hi there!

    I immensely enjoy reading about the journeys towards a simpler, off-grid life. I’ve read about several projects, and watched a couple of documentaries, so when I read that you guys are still looking for ideas to make your new home as self-sustainable and cheap as possible, I immediately thought about the Earthship project.
    Have you guys heard about it? Or watched the “Garbage Warriors”?
    I highly recommend checking them out for ideas.

    Good luck and enjoy freedom!

  8. Alexa says

    This blog was really informative. We are preparing to start building for our off the grid life and this has really shed some light on the process. I really enjoyed your tidbit about building relationships too. It’s so important!

  9. Edward Little says

    Jesse and Alyssa,
    What a nice bunch of articles you have created for our benefit here!!! I have been subscribed to your Youtube channel for a couple weeks now and I truly enjoy watching your videos and following along in your journey to homesteading. I am a disabled veteran who is also 100 percent disabled otherwise but I find enlightenment and encouragement in your articles as well as many others. I recently did the exact same thing to get my pickup truck as you did and the benefits have been tremendous! I now have a good running 4 wheel drive that can literally pull a house off its foundation thanks to the bartering and down payment technique you mentioned. My household intends to apply many of the off grid homesteading techniques here on our little acre of land and things are beginning to fundamentally take shape. I love your stuff here! it’s pure value and refreshment at the same time. I look forward to reading more about this fantastic journey you young-uns (LOL) are on. Many others NEED this information regardless if they are new homesteaders, off grid or on, or even within city limits because there’s so much everyone can learn from our experiences. Best wishes and congrats on getting focused and getting your new life started! I’m loving it.

    • says

      Hey Edward, welcome to the blog and glad you’ve enjoyed following along! Nice work on the finding and bartering for your truck! Yes, I think the big takeaway is that everyone can do something to make themselves more self-sufficient and more self-sustainable whether they’re in the city, country, on grid, off grid, etc. and we hope that we can all come here to share ideas on how we’re making progress! Best of luck on your acre – plenty of space to do what you need if you’re smart about it! Keep in touch and thanks for the message!

  10. Clyde says

    Jesse and Alyssa,
    Just wanted to say Hello and wish the both of you the best on your endeavor ! I spent three years in Alaska where it was 110 miles one way to the store in Fairbanks. For a city boy coming out of Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a Big Change in life style ! Beans, Rice, Potatoes, eggs,Salmon And Ruffed Grouse seemed to be my staples while living there. I had a hard time with eight to ten cords of wood a year just to keep from freezing to death and in the winter you only got to see the sun for two hours a day and if for some reason you missed seeing the sun it was really depressing ! Fighting mosquitos was pretty bad in the summer months as well ! It seemed like there was always something that had to be done ! Forty steps to the outhouse where I learned real quick that sitting on a Styrofoam toilet seat at 30 below was much better than one made of plastic ! Reading your blogs makes me reflect back on those days and I look forward to seeing more of your endeavor’s ! Best Wishes to the both of you !

    • says

      That’s so awesome Clyde! We are both interested in the idea of living a similar lifestyle in Alaska although I’m sure it’s a lot of work, especially in the winter or preparing for winter. Because we work online, we somehow spent all winter working nights and sleeping days, so we can relate with not seeing the sun for days on end and being depressed when we miss sunlight! That is all quite a jump for a Vegas city boy! We’re not THAT extreme and have access to food and town just a few miles away, so major props to you! I’m sure you could teach us a thing or two about roughing it in the wilderness! I bet real Alaskan salmon is delicious. Thanks for the kind thoughts and stay in touch!

  11. Ms. Fredy K. says

    Just read your site for the first time on Saturday 6/18/16 and I enjoyed. I want to thank you for all the helpful tips. I have a small home and a nice size yard; I am trying to be more self reliant so that I can have more coming in than going out. Your ideas are good since I have more time than money!
    P.S. Could you help me find free or cheap trees and or plants that can thrive in hot weather? – I live in central CA.
    Thanks in advance.
    Ms. fredy

    • says

      Welcome to the site Ms. Fredy! That’s a great goal and something we can all strive for wherever we are at in life. There is LOTS you can do when you have more time than money with a little creativity. I’m not sure how to go about finding cheap trees or finding heat-resistant plans… maybe talk to your local garden store, a landscaping business, or hit up the good ole internet? Best of luck in your search!

    • Ty Tower says

      Over here in Australia local councils grow young trees and supply revegetation groups for free so maybe you have something similar . If you know what trees you want you can also go under some older examples and look for natural growing regrowth from seeds dropped or from suckers . Try your luck at cutting a slice of bark under a small limb wrap some soil up against it tightly to get some root growth going and when it has a good few roots cut the branch off with roots and branch tip intact and plant them . learn to graft and graft fruit trees to hardy weed plants as a good resilient root and a fruit tree above that will survive in your district because the root stock does..

      • says

        Good info Ty. We know basically nothing about planting trees or grafting… I’m sure both would be good skills to know over time. Thanks for giving us something to chew on :-)

  12. says

    Aloha Alyssa and Jesse,

    I have been following your blog for about 2 weeks now – which is right about the same time I took a leap of faith and put a down payment on a tiny house. By the end of the year, I hope to be out of my big house, living mortgage free in the tiny house on a 10,000 square ft piece of ag land, living off the grid, and by the end of next year, living sustainably with a garden and chickens.

    You both are such an inspiration to me! I wish I had done what you are doing when I was your age! I love your advice about cultivating relationships, because “If and when the day comes that the dollar no longer has any value, relationships may be all that we’ll have, so form them wisely!” That day may come sooner than we think.

    Best of luck to both of you and know that “Aunty Janet” is rooting for you!!!

    Aloha,
    Janet

    • says

      Haha hey Aunty Janet! Congrats on the down payment on a tiny house! Sounds like you have a great plan and adventure lined up. I think you will find the journey to be rewarding if you stick with it and yes, building relationships is invaluable whether or not the dollar is of any value! If it weren’t for the quality relationships we’ve already built, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Glad you find some inspiration in our journey, and hopefully we can learn new things together! Best of luck in the year ahead!

  13. Sarah says

    I love love love this lots:) we live on a small farm in a tiny community but Facebook, flyers, freecycle, and Craigslist have been our life savers! We also put wanted adds on our personal and farm Fb pages as well as Craigslist that have resulted in great finds. Since we have animals and are sometimes looking for more we’ve hooked up with local shelters that recive things like chickens and goats which we happily rehome for the shelter who doesn’t have the facilities for farm animals.

  14. GREG SHIPLEY says

    Nice article, what was the model of chain saw mill you purchased in one of your updates? How did it work? I have access to allot of free timers and want to cut them down to size.

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