We always enjoy hearing from our Rural Living Today readers. It’s even more fun when we learn some new ideas from readers . Today we have rounded up your suggestions for living on less, a list of RLT readers’ blogs, and entrepreneurial readers’ online shops and business websites. Making Ends Meet on the Farm
Readers’ tips for Making Ends Meet on the Farm
We just have one car that we have paid off. We do not carry any credit card debt. Very little eating out, we have a lot of “stay at home” dates. We preserve as much food as possible by freezing, canning, and dehydrating. We have a garden, and are working to grow our own food. What we can’t grow for ourselves we attempt to buy in bulk. We use foods that go a long ways such as beans, oatmeal,etc.
My husband and I recently moved from the city in Texas to a rural area of Missouri. We now have our own little 3 acre place with an old farmhouse. We have pretty much paid off everything. We used my retirement fund to pay for our new place, so no mortgage there!!! It is an exciting journey!
As someone focused on a long-term goal of homesteading, I’m trying to both save money and spend it wisely. There’s no reason not to diversify, and I enjoy blogging, doing some freelance writing, and working part-time out of the house. I’m refining the projects I work on, looking for ways to follow the dreams I do have, and then working hard.
I have been showing my husband how my multiple income streams really do help us make ends meet. Between blogging, selling handmade herbal products, and essential oils I am really helping the family make ends meet! I also have some ideas for the farmers markets next year when the kids are a little older.
Jennifer in PA
Ten years ago my husband and I and our children moved to a small town and became full time landlords. It has included some real moments of struggle making ends meet and continuing to invest in our business. We have had other small businesses along the way, some still making us money and some now shut down. Some days are tough but we have had time for our family and homeschooling our four children. I don’t think we will regret this when they are grown.
Who knew that foot zone clients, foot zone instruction, and foreign exchange groups would have turned into multiple income streams– but they did! When I left my job three years ago, I started zoning to bring in some money until I found another job. Then the opportunity presented itself to work with foreign exchange students so I did that.
Then I had the opportunity to teach foot zoning so I did that. Along the way I started my website and lo and behold money has begun trickling in from that. Now clients are asking to buy my homemade soap. Somewhere along the line I stopped looking for a “job”. And I’ve never been happier. (Although my husband was a little worried that first year.)
We are currently looking at ways we can create for ourselves and teach others to create alternative sources of income. This ties in to my recent “Money Talks” post!
We are in the process of looking for land to start a small organic farm. My wife currently works as an elementary school librarian, pretty much just for the insurance because after her 50% contribution for the insurance there literally isn’t a pay check left. I am a free-lance architectural designer and furniture maker, but also sell greenhouse plans and other handmade and carved items online.
I have built a pretty good client base over the past 11 years and plan to still run my business(es) part-time after we purchase our property. I have read many books and talked to several farmers and there seem to be unlimited possibilities of generating income from your land. Right now we live on only a 1/4 acre, but I have been able to sell seedlings and raspberries to generate additional income.
This year I will be trying my hand at selling cut flowers and heirloom seeds. I am fortunate that I can run my business anywhere, but after we purchase our property I am confident that there will be even more income possibilities and I am looking forward to that day!
My husband and I have recently been discussing building our own homestead within the next five years. I wish we could start now but financially it is not possible yet. My goal for this year is a small family garden where we begin to grow our own food. We rent so it can’t be big but we are going to do a container garden and try a vertical one as well as a small regular one.
For those in my similar position here is my “Things to Accomplish” list while I wait to be able to even buy an acre of land. Gardening in many forms; hunting; fishing; seed saving and using cuttings or scraps to start plants; canning; cooking not from a box; decreasing the use of electric devices; better sewing and crochet skills; knitting; archery for hunting and recreation.
We are also researching what would be our best options for heat, cooking, water and hot water. We want to build our home ourselves and have a basic blueprint drawn for the home we want. Thankfully hubs also has experience with carpentry and HVAC with a little plumbing and plenty of electrician skills thrown in. We know we want to build a stone wood burning rocket stove and find a way to use that to heat our water as well as our home.
We do want solar panels but here in the northern states sun isn’t so reliable so we need to figure out a backup plan and how to best store energy for future use. Our kids all have asthma so ventilation is a huge concern and we can not completely forgo electric because the kids often require a nebulizer (breathing treatment machine) in the winter months when the cold gets to them or if the catch any chest bugs. There is much to consider when you decide to go off grid and there is always going to be something to do and something to learn. Right now we are working on our stockpile and emergency preparedness and looking forward to a life of self sufficiency!
My husband has been laid off for six months and he’s still of the mindset that he’ll find another job just like his old one. I’m trying to get all of our eggs out of one basket by diversifying into medicinal herbs, honeybees, and teaching.
We are living on one income now and it is not so bad! I retired nine months ago. All of my friends and cousins told me I SHOULD NOT/COULD NOT do it, that our “manner of living” would suffer horribly. My husband is nine years younger, and we have NOT changed our lifestyle, but I have learned to live with MUCH less, and realized I don’t need all the “stuff” I had been buying.
What freedom! I think twice before spending now, and yes, I am blessed with Social Security and a pension… and I saved money in my last 6- 1/2 years of working to do some projects here at our place… but you CAN do it.
I made the move 10 years ago and am living on 1/4 of what I made when I was working. I spent my savings to buy the property which is only one acre but my auto insurance was lower, and my homeowners insurance was lower until Katrina and such raised insurance premiums all over. My property tax bill is 1/4 of what I was paying, I have a septic system and a garden and hope to have some chickens soon.
I have a larger house, more land space, less restrictions, lots of trees – – wish I had been able to do this when I was much younger and more able to work a larger spread and perhaps have cattle and horses. The first most amazing thing I noticed when I moved here was how many stars are really in the sky when there are no street lights to glare away the darkness.
Birds and wildlife to watch and enjoy. I used to have deer walk through the garden to get to the birdbath during the drought period. I think development and hunting have managed to drive them away.
May I never have to go back to living in a congested city ever again.
My husband and I moved to our homestead nearly 2 years ago and have a deep desire to be able to make a living off of our land. We both have steady jobs with incomes so that helps, but we desperately want to be at home with our garden and animals. We are working on figuring out how to make money off our homestead to reach our goal.
We’re sold! We’ve been living in the country for awhile now and realize we are much better off in so many ways, ways innumerable.
Some families still live on one income. Many of the expenditures being made by the average American family are not for necessities. There are so many things we can do to improve our situations. Growing food, reducing spending, getting out of debt and not incurring any more debt just to name a few.
We’re still in an apartment dreaming of living a rural life. Our little balcony is overflowing with pots (most homemade) for growing food and I cook everything we eat from scratch. We’re stuck here due to a large student loan (a valuable degree, but unable to get employment that truly values it at the moment) and some consumer debt racked up during a few years of severe underemployment.
The best tool I’ve found to help us stay on track is the software “You Need A Budget.” Unlike most budgeting I’ve seen it’s more of a spending plan and its different way of looking at money decisions has helped me get past the feelings of hopelessness. I’m still working on cementing the habit but the mental shift has occurred and I feel much more in control than I used to.
RLT readers’ blogs: sharing the good life
A Rural Journal
Backyard Farming Connection (host of Backyard Farming Connection Hop)
Let This Mind Be in You (host of the Farm Girls Blog Fest)
Lil Suburban Homestead (host of The Ole’ Saturday Trading Post blog hop)
Mind Body and Sole Online (host of Wildcrafting Wednesday blog hop)
My Maple Hill Farm
Natural Living Mamma (host of Natural Living Mondays blog hop)
Our Neck of the Woods
Prep Utility Vehicle (host of Preparedness Fair blog hop)
Preparing Your Family
Rural Living Today
Serenity Gulch Farm
Stone Cottage Adventures (host of The Great Blog Train blog hop)
RLT readers’ products and services: multiple income streams at work
AbbyKate Designs: custom items for family and home
Apex Apiaries: beekeeper education
At the Crossroads Etsy shop: pottery, jewelry
Bepa’s Garden handmade and carved items, greenhouse designs
Black Fox Homestead: market produce for local grocery, farmers markets
Black Fox Homestead Etsy shop: vintage books, curtain patterns, handmade items for homestead
Center Mass Designs Etsy shop: decals, iron-ons, T-shirts, onesies and more for firearms enthusiasts and zombie chasers
Hasher Stew Designs Etsy shop: custom baby onesies, vinyl decals, designs especially for hashers
Humeruswares Etsy shop: funny and geeky gifts with quotes from movies, books, and life
Just Enough Seeds: heirloom seeds in small packets
Maximum Ordinate Precision: veteran-owned and -operated firearms accessory company specializing in precision rifles
Rural Living Media: ebooks, print books, video, audio on homesteading/farming topics
And a few more resources
Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
Agripreneurs: A Free Range of Opportunity
The Economics of Small Farm Products
Simple Living: How to Save Money and Smile More by Vicki Mattern at Mother Earth News
Live on Less and Love It by Craig Idlebrook at Mother Earth News
Growing Farms podcasts with John Suscovich at Farm Marketing Solutions
Marketing Your Farm blog with Iain Robson
How to Build an Online Audience for Your Off-Line Business by Adam Gottlieb at Firepole Marketing
Start and Build a New Farm Business with Beginning Farmers
Making Ends Meet on the Farm: The New Normal
Making Ends Meet on the Farm: Normal Redefined
Making Ends Meet on the Farm: Multiple Income Streams
Making Ends Meet on the Farm: Financial Assistance
Making Ends Meet on the Farm: Reduce Your Burn Rate
Making Ends Meet on the Farm: RLT Readers’ Roundup
Working Remotely Doesn’t Have to Mean Working from Home