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.
March 2017 Summary
Even going into March, I believe we still had a bit of snow on the ground. I don’t think our snow left until sometime mid to end March. Oh, now I remember, the snow all melted at once and resulted in an epic state of emergency for our region complete with landslides and road closures!
We poked our heads out this month to see what type of trouble we could get into.
We were still both deep in our winter activities of becoming a Master Gardener (Alyssa) and getting through ground school and flight lessons (Jesse), so even though it was warm enough to begin doing outside work, we were busy! Oh, and the ground was way too soupy to do ANYTHING with.
Also, Jesse took a trip to Seattle for an entire week to see a chiropractor in hopes of getting to the root of his back spasm problems. We figured we should allow him to really focus on his back before getting into the bulk of the work for the year, so we’re still hoping that what he learned in this trip made it worth it!
Our first projects of the hear entailed fixing our interim water system (Alyssa tackled this on her own… mostly!) and thinking about what to do immediately with knowledge from the Master Gardener’s course.
We think March was “the calm before the storm”, and our work really didn’t pick up until April! Enjoy the calm while you can – as I write this, it’s May, and we’re already feeling overwhelmed and the push to get things done before the upcoming winter!
Videos Published in March
Not all of our videos make it to the blog in the form of blog posts, so here is what we were up to video-wise in March. Some great videos… check them out to see if you missed any!
- Groceries: $541.83
- Dining Out: $165.32
Busy month on the road with a trip to Seattle, Master Gardeners and flight school.
- Coffee: $44.46
- Household Necessities: $30
Odds and ends, clothing replacements, postage and shipping, cash back for picking up packages at the post office, laundry, etc.
- Storage unit: $60.00
- TOTAL: $841.61
- Generator fuel: $104.48
No big surprises this month, just business as usual! Very little sun meant very little free solar power from our solar setup!
- Propane: $95.39
This is pretty typical for us in cold weather. We try to keep our RV at about 68 degrees or so when we’re in it (aside from when we’re sleeping, then we keep it at around 50). Here is how I dress warm in winter to minimize propane use.
- Water: $1.25
This month we fixed our interim water solution, yay! Check out our water solution progression… it’s in our plans for the early part of 2017 to complete our permanent water system with our underground cisterns. Wish us luck!
- 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: $286.12
- Car payment: $0
We paid off our car last month! YES, we’re spending loads on our property WHILE paying off any outstanding debts!
- Insurance: $578.32
We added our truck to this policy and decided to pay six months in full for a discount. We choose to have pretty decent insurance coverage on both vehicles.
- Fuel: $260.51
Big fuel month with a trip to Seattle, Master Gardeners, flight school, and Alyssa driving around the truck for an entire week (that thing is a gas-guzzler).
- Other: $142.92
We may not have a car payment, but since both vehicles are aging, we have upkeep to keep up with. This month was replacing light bulbs of various sorts, buying oil filters and replacing the rear windshield wiper on the Subaru.
- TOTAL: $981.75
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.
- Water system fixes: $60.78
This month we decided to get our interim water solution back up and running which required the fixing of broken valves and broken PVC pipe (froze over winter). Sixty bucks and we once again get to enjoy NOT carrying out water in 6-gallon jugs! Our backs and bodies are thankful.
- TOTAL: $417.98
- I’m sure we spent a few bucks on consumables this month but I don’t feel like digging through receipts to find out exactly what they are!
- TOTAL: $0
- High quality ear protection: $34.97
- TOTAL: $34.97
* 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.
All I can really say about March is that it truly was the calm before the storm. It was hard mentally knowing that the weather was warmer yet we weren’t slaving away on our property – we were mostly out and about doing other things.
However, we also knew that the ground was too soupy to do serious work with so we tried to focus on the tasks on hand.
Enough of March… let’s move on to April! We’re ready to get this show on the road!
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Latest posts by Alyssa (see all)
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Just paid my two month city water bill yesterday;
Inside water (740 gallons) $1.59
Inside water taxes 19.03
Wastewater taxes 42.48
Subtotal for inside water $66.20
Irrigation water 40.83
Solid waste 39.20
Total city water bill $146.23
Two month city water bill $146.23 unbelivable for 740 gallons!!! Wish that I was off the grid!!!
Hey, thanks for sharing. I’ve been following your journey since the beggining and I appreciate all the time spent putting good content out on your channel and this blog.
We are in the planning stage of moving out to the country and putting our finances in order has been one of our top priorities.
On that topic, how much of your monthly expenses comes from ‘old’ saved up money versus new earned income?
My plan includes building the funds for the first year or so of land development and plan to rely on new future income for the daily living expenses.
Jeff Collins says
Congrats on living your dream thus far, and after going back and reading your blog posts and watching your videos from the beginning, you both have come a tremendous way.
Any new feedback or updates on your internet and the tool reviews now that you have had them in use for a while?
One of these days we’ll do an internet video… PROMISE!!! We hope to do numerous tool reviews as well as we’ve certainly kicked a lot of them to the curb and had some that have been incredibly awesome 🙂
It occurred to me today that I haven’t seem mentioned any kind of medical insurance. Knowing the cost of that, how do you work that into your monthly budget?
Cool blog, any updates on the monthly expense reports? I’m really interested in how the sawmill and other big items work out in the budget. I’m hoping to buy land this year and then I’ll start on the process of getting it set up! I’ll be building my own sawmill (homebuilt bandsaw one like Matthias Wandel’s on youtube)
I enjoy living your experiences. I wanted to do something like this 20+ years ago but was dissuaded by my wife. Now at 79+, I am an armchair enthusiast. I appreciate the way the two of you get along. Keep up the vision and have a Wonderful time.
Clifford A Roberts says
I stumbled across your videos, I honestly do not recall what title caught my eye, (wasn’t clickbait, I watched that video) but I find all of your videos on YouTube very informative, heart warming, educational and funny as when Jesse chasses you with the leaf blower. You two have great chemistry and I know you will achieve your goals.
My Question. I’ve watched almost every YouTube video and you’ve addressed many subjects but I’ve always been curious about laundry. It wasn’t clear whether the RV had facilities or if you do your laundry in town while you enjoy some coffee and the internet.
Thank you Alyssa and Jesse, keep up the great work, I look forward to seeing videos of you building your home.
Clifford Roberts, Phoenix Arizona
John Gritman says
My computer had a hiccup, so here goes. I would recommend getting and using Quicken Premier. I have been using it for 16 years. Be sure you save every receipt and enter it, FILLING OUT THE MEMO SECTION IN DETAIL! Now why is the memo section so important: You can aggregate detail there for equipment you buy that has a warranty. I have used it for this and when I lose the receipt, I have the serial number and the date of installation (not the date that shows on my credit card statement). The warranty was honored. And of course you keep good track of your personal expenses. If I cash a check (very infrequently) the charge is to miscellaneous expense and if I pay cash, with Quicken I can make an entry of zero, split it so Misc. Exp. is reduced and the appropriate account is charged. For charitable deductions of clothes etc. I make an entry like the one above, but I have a second misc. account since it is not cash and in the memo section I can put the used price from the local thrift store or Ebay along with the date I saw it. I was stunned at the total value of dress clothes (I left the regular work and gave away 18 premium dress suits etc.) and the tools that went to Habitat (left over after I built my wooden sail boat 30+ years ago). Just make two digital back-ups on flash drives.
Re Jesse’s back. I have degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, DISH disease and post polio syndrome. My back is a mess! The chiropractor is good but what he does, for the most part, is realign the vertebrae. Works good but then I followed up with a deep tissue massage to break up scar tissue and teach the muscles what they should do. If I were his age, I would also use a back brace for the heavy lifting.
I am totally amazed at what you two are doing! Keep sharing! I have built one house and redone three others, but the materials have so changed that this is fascinating. I am looking forward to seeing you frame the house and barn.
May God bless you both.
Gary Berger says
I am curious … were you planning to continue publishing your monthly expenses after March 2017?
PHILLIP LANDINGHAM says
I like it when you make a mistake you talk about it . Keep up the good work.you need to rest a little so you do not burn out.
Frank G. Ostrader III says
I thoroughly enjoy watching your progress. You guys work very well together and it obvious
that both of you are focused on the end game of raising and completing your off grid home.
We live in up state New York and although we did not attempt anything as ambitious as what you
are doing, about 10 years ago when we build our retirement home on 3.5 acres we did cut down
all of the trees and install the trenches and conduit for our electrical/phone/cable services.
Keep safe and enjoy the journey!
Rev. John Rosenbaum says
You two are great. I watch and have been for a while now, and enjoy each one. I miss you both when you don’t put out a video on You tuebe. Thank You so much and may God keep blessing you both. Can’t wait for the am to see your next video. I am 77 yrs old and can’t do much of anything anymore, I am jealous of Jessie, Ha Ha. Watch your back Jesse cause when you get older it will bother you must be careful. I wrecked my back in the misson field in Kenya and have regretted it since but being a man we do manly things don’twe and I still do when I can. To close now, your two are a joy to watch and it brings me great joy to see you both every am. Keep it up, and get it done. Your hoe will be beautiful when it is finished. Take care and again, God Bless you both. Br. John