How To Start A Homestead With No Money ( In 9 Steps )

Starting a homestead is not as easy as some might want you to think, especially if you are broke and you do not have any money. The good news is that you can still start a homestead even if you do not have any money, although it will take a fairly long time until your homestead is established and starts producing for you. The problem with most people who want to start a homestead is that they want it now, and they are not willing to put in the effort to make the homestead self-sustainable.

You can homestead with no money by finding free land which a lot of states offer like Kansas and Nebraska. Once you have free land which is suitable for homesteading then it is time to set up the actual homestead, and this will cost you some money. Ideally, you should start a small homestead as this will be the cheapest option, from there on you can start growing different types of crops and raising livestock, but only once the homestead is able to feed the livestock.

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Starting a homestead is fairly expensive, although you can always trade its monetary cost for hard work and time. One of the major differences between a homestead that is started with no money and one that has some monetary investment in it is the amount of work until the homestead becomes fully self-sustainable. The truth is that there are a lot of people who are homesteading and they do not even consider themselves as homesteaders as it is just a normal living for them.

Most successful homesteaders do not become self-sustainable for a long while, and oftentimes people will work for years until their homestead is considered established. If you are broke and you want to start a homestead then you have to be extremely patient, as it will take some time until you are able to live off your homestead. We live in a world that has taught us that throwing money at problems usually solves them, this is far from the truth if you want to start a homestead.

A person who has a lot of money to invest in a homestead but doesn’t know how homesteading actually works will fail, on the other hand, a person who knows what it means to homestead will eventually have a successful homestead even if they do not spend any money on it. If you want to know what are the best livestock for a small homestead then check out my recent article Best livestock for small homestead ( Top 11 ).

How To Start A Homestead With No Money

Starting a homestead with limited or no financial resources may seem like a challenging prospect, but it is indeed possible with careful planning, resourcefulness, and a willingness to embrace alternative solutions. While monetary limitations can pose obstacles, they can also foster creativity and resilience. With the right mindset and strategic approach, it is feasible to establish a self-sustaining homestead without a significant financial investment. By focusing on skills, knowledge, and utilizing available resources, such as community support, bartering, and repurposing materials, one can gradually build a thriving homestead.

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Find Free Land For Homesteading

The first step for starting a homestead without any money is to find free land, usually, the cost of the land is one of the biggest expenses for beginner homesteaders, and eliminating this cost is a massive advantage. Just do not get your hopes up when it comes to free land for homesteading as these lands are often in areas where the demand for land is nonexistent mostly because of the low population density.

Generally speaking, counties that offer free land for homesteading are so underdeveloped that nobody would actually want to buy a plot of land there. The states which offer free land for homesteading are Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas amongst others. The catch with free land is that you will have to build a house on it, although there are some plots of free land which also have a house already on it and you will have to pay monthly for it. If you want to know more about how to get free land then check out my recent article ( Top 25 ) Places to live off the grid for free.

Start A Small Homestead

Successful homesteaders tend to start small, as it will be extremely difficult from a financial stand of point to start a homestead and become self-sufficient in a short time. Most homesteaders will start by growing their own crops, and only after a couple of years, they will start adding livestock. Far too many beginner homesteaders jump on the bandwagon and start growing crops and raising livestock at the same time, and usually, this will be a massive strain on their financial situation.

Growing crops is a lot easier and cheaper than raising livestock, and most homesteaders only add livestock to their homestead when they know that they can grow enough crops to feed their livestock as well. Although the costs of feeding livestock are not that high, but they tend to get sick from time to time and a trip to the veterinary office could be fairly costly. In short start with a small garden, and once you are sure that you can feed and tend to livestock without spending a lot of money then you can start with some easy-to-maintain livestock like chickens. If you want to know how to build a house off the grid then check out my recent article Building a house off the grid ( In 10 Steps ).

DIY Homestead With No Money

As I have previously said most homesteaders are not afraid of hard work and they do most of the work themselves. A person who has at least some DIY skills will spend a lot less money while starting a homestead than one that has no DIY skills. Homesteading is a lot of work and you will often have to improvise, especially if something gets broken and you have to fix it. With some basic DIY skills, you will be able to set up solar panels, a composting toilet, and a rainwater harvesting system.

Even if you are not a DIY type of person you will definitely learn a lot of new skills in the first year of homesteading. Once you are comfortable with your DIY skills you could think of expanding the homestead to grow more crops and to also raise some livestock as well.

Money Management

Even though you do not have money to spend on the homestead you will still need at least some income in order to survive. Without a source of income, you will not be able to maintain the homestead and this will ruin it eventually. The problem is that a lot of people think that they can just set up a homestead and live off what the homestead produces, the truth is that achieving this will take a fairly long time.

If you are in debt then you have to pay it off before you start the homestead, otherwise, you are risking the entire homestead. In short, you will need to have some income until you are able to live off the homestead, especially for emergency situations.

Homestead Frugally

Homesteading is about frugal living, especially if you are broke or you do not have any income. The main problem with a lot of beginner homesteaders is that they do not want to give up the luxuries of everyday life like the internet, cable TV, and in some cases even electricity. Your main goal with the homestead should be to spend as little money as you possibly can, and this means that you will have to give up some comforts.

Ideally, you should start living frugally before you start the homestead, this way you will save up some money that you can invest in the homestead. Starting a homestead will cost you some money, some things you can simply not do yourself so you will need to be able to rely on your savings.

Become Friends With Other Homesteaders

One of the easiest ways to start a homestead is with the help of others, people who are living on a homestead for a long time already have the necessary knowledge which you definitely need. Homesteading is a lot of work, and homesteaders tend to help out each other fairly frequently. Oftentimes they will band together and build a house, fence, barn, and so on, so having a couple of friends who are already homesteading is very important.

A lot of beginner homesteaders will read and learn as much about homesteading as they possibly can, although this is a good idea but every homestead is different and what works for some might not work for you. So make sure to ask for advice from people who are homesteading in your area.

Consider An Off Grid Homestead

There are two types of homesteads on-grid homesteads and off-grid homesteads. On grid homesteads are usually connected to the local power grid, and the local sewage system as well, Off grid homesteads are not connected to the power grid, they are not connected to the local sewage system and they tend to harvest rainwater for everyday use. If you are already living in a homestead and you are connected to the grid then you could reduce the costs of the homestead by generating your own power with solar panels.

Living off the grid in a homestead is a lot harder than living in a homestead that is connected to the grid, although it is doable and a lot of people who live in remote areas live completely off the grid. The bad news is that if you want to generate your own power then you will need to make some investments although there are plenty of people who live off the grid in a homestead without generating any power.

Recycle As Much As You Can

If you want to live in a homestead without any money then you have to reuse as much as you can. From tin cans to empty milk jugs, virtually anything can be reused, tin cans are excellent for starter plants, and empty milk jugs can be also used for a lot of things. You have to rely on your imagination on how to reuse things, although don’t just hoard up everything thinking that you might use them one day, as this will cause you more problems in the long run.

Start Selling Produce At The Farmers Market

It will take some time until your homestead is able to produce excess crops, which you should definitely think of selling at the farmer’s market. A lot of homesteaders will use the farmer’s market to make money, and some of them have a very comfortable life by doing it. The best part about selling at the farmer’s market is that people will often have no problem paying a premium if the produce comes from a local farmer.

Some homesteaders sell vegetables and fruits at the farmer’s market, while others focus on baked goods and even homemade items like soap. You won’t get rich by selling at the farmers market but you will make a nice extra income and a lot of homesteaders have the farmers market as their main source of income.

Key Takeaways

  • When starting a homestead with limited funds, make the most of what you already have. Assess your current property or living situation and identify any available resources that can be repurposed or leveraged for your homesteading journey. This may include utilizing backyard space, growing food in containers or raised beds, or finding ways to reuse materials and items you already own.
  • Adopting a frugal and resourceful mindset is crucial when starting a homestead with little to no money. Focus on prioritizing essential needs, cutting unnecessary expenses, and finding creative ways to save money. Seek out free or low-cost resources such as community gardening programs, seed swaps, or local classified ads for inexpensive tools or equipment. Learning skills like gardening, food preservation, and DIY projects can also help reduce reliance on external services and save money in the long run.
  • Building a supportive network and engaging in collaborative efforts can help overcome financial constraints. Seek out like-minded individuals or groups within your community who share similar interests in homesteading or sustainable living. Explore opportunities for skill sharing, bartering, or collective purchasing to reduce costs and benefit from shared resources and expertise. Participating in local farm markets or community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs can also provide opportunities for income generation and networking within the homesteading community.


Is it legal to homestead in the US?

Yes, it is legal to homestead in the US. Homesteading refers to living self-sufficiently and sustainably on a piece of land, and while laws and regulations may vary by state, individuals can legally pursue homesteading practices.

How do I start a homestead in Texas?

To start a homestead in Texas, you can begin by researching and acquiring land suitable for your needs, ensuring compliance with zoning and land-use regulations, and developing a plan for self-sufficiency in areas such as food production, energy, and water management.

Can you homestead land in Canada?

Homesteading in Canada is not the same as the historical concept of homesteading in the US. However, individuals can still pursue a self-sufficient lifestyle and live off the land by acquiring rural property, following local regulations, and implementing sustainable practices.

What is the meaning of homesteader?

A homesteader refers to an individual or family who embraces self-sufficiency and sustainable living, typically by cultivating land, growing food, raising livestock, and practicing other skills necessary for a self-reliant lifestyle. Homesteaders often prioritize simplicity, environmental stewardship, and resilience in their way of life.