How to Become a Homesteader-Part 4-Thrift, Bartering, Splurge

baby face

Finding balance is one of the things we all strive for in every aspect of our lives.  Becoming a homesteader is about living the life you want, that you dream of.  It’s about taking chances and knowing you can live on less.  It is about spending time in the gardens and with animals and friends and not giving our life to a corporation, who will have you replaced by the time you hit the parking lot, or grave.  This is about relationships; with community, with friends and family, with nature, with God.  This is about freedom.  When we are living on less, we need to know when to be thrifty, when to barter, and when to splurge.

You can find tops for empty wine bottles to turn them into lanterns at Lehman's or kitchen stores.  Just fill with lamp oil and whallah!
You can find tops for empty wine bottles to turn them into lanterns at Lehman’s or kitchen stores. Just fill with lamp oil and whallah!

Being thrifty means that we reuse a lot of things and we don’t produce a lot of waste.  This is helpful on our pocketbooks and the earth.  We find we need less.  We don’t go to an office job so we don’t need really nice clothes, nor do we worry too much about our appearance.  We use our clothes until they are torn.  Our cars have to be practically falling apart while driving before we get a “new” one.  We read books from the library and rarely purchase new.  We reuse rubber bands to fasten stems of greens together to sell.  We save all of our twist ties and use them to stake plants to trellises and tomato cages.  Wine corks can be put in the bottom of pots before filling with soil for drainage.  Boxes that are too small to put in the garden or use to store canning jars get torn up and are used as fire starters.  Wine bottles get turned into oil lamps.


Bartering is imperative in the homesteading world.  Being able to trade for services that we cannot do ourselves helps us live on a small income and helps connect us to others.  Rod put up a screen door for us and Doug cleaned up his computer.  We are trading one of Elsa’s kids for one of Jenet’s Nubian kids.  Last year Joan and I traded canned goods so we would have a bit of variety.  We barter herbal medicines for a lot of things!


When to splurge?  Buy good quality feed for your animals.  Buy organics for yourself if you didn’t produce them.  When buying tools, buy the best you can so you don’t have to repurchase.  Buy quality seeds.  Not everything need be cheap.  Sometimes a bargain costs much more in the end.


Then there are other types of splurges.  We live this way to enjoy life.  My post about boxed wine gave folks a good laugh around town, I’ll tell you.  I received large boxes of wine and funny comments.  I bet knowing my affinity for good wine that you can guess that it wasn’t long before I was darn sick of boxed wine!  If it’s under $15, a bottle is worth it.  One can find a great deal of fabulous wines in that price range.  And if Doug and I aren’t running around wine bars all week like we used to, you can bet your overalls that I am going to enjoy my glass of single vineyard, estate grown wine with dinner!

baby and daddy

This weekend we are taking Emily, Bret, and our sweet Maryjane Rose up to Boulder to celebrate Emily’s birthday a bit early.  I bartered for the rooms at a gorgeous Bed and Breakfast.  We will splurge on great meals and make fond memories with our children.

mom and baby

Enjoy the good life today folks.  Life is sweet.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. juliepullum says:

    Really enjoyed these posts. Enjoy your weekend making memories!

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Thank you, we had a marvelous time!

  2. Danean Causby says:

    Thanks again, very entertaining and great advice. I just want to say that after reaching out and touching base with the family of my dear friend that passed in November of this yr. I am full of regret for not going back home for the funeral. You are right, life is sweet, and so short. He died at the age of 39.
    I really should have just used my frequent flier miles that my husband accrued from biz trips and just went. Next time, I am just going no matter what, wedding, funeral or reunion. Like my friend said “play golf, and enjoy life” and “live each day to the fullest, because you do not know if it will be your last”…so true.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      No time for regrets, Danean! Your friend is in a great place and so are you! Excited to see where your homestead will be.

  3. Bill says:

    Beautifully written, as always. What I’ve come to appreciate about homesteading thrift is that when you do it you aren’t missing out on anything. Reusing perfectly good items or holding onto things as long as they’re functional doesn’t deprive you of anything. It’s just good common sense. We spend very little money these days, and I’m convinced we’re living better than ever.

    I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for flying the flag of sustainability so faithfully. 🙂

    1. Farmgirl says:

      That is right, Bill! This place that we have moved to has decades of discarded items lying about that we have permission to use. It may look like junk to a lot of people but my imagination is swimming with ideas to repurpose some of these things for the new garden beds, and animals pens!

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