Do you long to live in a farmhouse with a big garden and chickens roaming in your backyard? Then, you might be pleased to know that you can have that life you’ve dreamt of now. You can be a modern day homesteader while living in the city and I want to show you how.
1. Live A More Simpler Life
Make a mindset shift that you want to live a simpler life. Living this way absolutely means doing without some modern conveniences, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Eat at home more than eating out. I know when you live in the city it’s easier to just pull through a drive through and grab a bite to eat. However, these an unhealthy modern conveniences that will not benefit you in the long run. What would be better is having a few quick fix meals at home that you can throw together in 10-20 minutes to save money and live better.
Living a simpler life would also mean living in a clutter free environment. Instead of packing your house with all the popular toys and constantly scrolling on Amazon to buy whatever you want at your fingertips, spend more time outside playing in nature. In the city, nature might be a little backyard, but there is so much more to explore in the city than we give credit for. Find some nearby parks and explore them, go for a walk and look for birds. Take pictures of them and let the kids draw them when they get home. You could even collect twigs and leaves to make crafts with.
The purpose of slowing down a bit and living a simpler life is to also get more connected with your family. Time is fleeting, so enjoy your family and as often as you can and let go of the modern gadgets and just spend time together.
2. Decide To Get Out of Debt
I know you must be wondering why I would include this on the list of 10 tips, but it’s important to not have a mindset of “I’ll just use the credit card.” When you want to live a simpler life, it’s not just in a tangible way, but also an emotional journey that you go through where the weight of debt lies on your shoulders. Getting out of debt will free you from the bondage of owing somebody else money.
The old-fashioned homesteader acquired land for free, but had to make this their main dwelling place, and use the land to farm on. They didn’t have convenient credit cards to get them everything they wanted fast and getting a loan wasn’t easy, so they acquired it slowly and had the mindset of making it work; much like the Amish do today.
Our family is totally out of debt, minus our mortgage. If you would like to learn more about how to set up a budget, check out this article. Budgeting 101: Setting Up A Cash System Budget. I also have our debt free story on YouTube.
3. Grow A Garden
The most visual examples of a homesteader is with their garden. In order to have variety in ones diet, back in the day, a garden was necessary. The garden supplied an abundance of foods from squash, to corn, to carrots, and greens. These were grown in long rows and provided enough to also preserve for the long winter months.
To the modern homesteader, having a garden gives fresh vegetables that the grocery store doesn’t provide. I think everyone would agree that a garden tomato tastes 10x better than a grocery store tomato. However, I believe it goes much deeper than this. To be a modern day city homesteader means you want to provide for your family without always having to rely on the grocery store, and provide the healthiest foods packed with the most nutrients.
To read on how you can start a backyard garden from seed, which is the cheapest way to go, read my article all about that here. How To Grow A Backyard Garden From Seeds.
4. Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without
I know it’s easy in the city to just jump in the car and go pick up a new “you fill in the blank.” However, as a city homesteader mend it and salvage what we can, so that your bank accounts can stay full and you can hit some financial goals quicker. I like what Calvin Coolidge said, “Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Later the word eat was switched with use, but you get the idea.
An interesting experiment would be to actually save the cash that you would have spent on new items, to see how much money you could save if you mended the garment or bought used before new. If this isn’t an experiment you want to try, at least be more aware of your spending and work to mend what is not totally ruined.
5. Raise Chickens or Another Source of Meat
Besides a garden you can’t get more homesteader than having chickens. Just recently in my county chickens are now allowed in city limits. There is a limit on the amount of birds allowed, but what a fun way to show your kids how to care for animals.
I am very familiar with raising chickens. At one point my husband and I have 17 chickens, 5 rabbits, and a dog. After 2 moves we are down to 1 dog, and we are happy with that for now, but my kids would disagree. They loved having many animals in the backyard.
Raising chickens is a lot of fun, provides endless eggs for your family, and they are the most amazing pets. Yes, chickens are so curious and full of personalities! If you want to be a city homesteader, then I would start researching how many chickens you can have, what size chicken coop you’d need, and how you would care for them daily. Chickens can fly, so they need to be kept in a fenced area, preferably with a fenced ceiling as well. They seriously can fly over your fence, I know from experience and have chased chickens in my front yard before.
6. Buy In Bulk and Build A Prepper Pantry
A homesteader, or like I like to say “Keeper of the home,” is always prepared for the unforeseen circumstances. Not only is this necessary, but it’s also a budget friendly way to purchase foods that are eaten on a regular basis.
If you are not familiar with this company head on over to their website (click here) and check out all of their products. You can even have catalogs sent to you to see all that they have. Most items have several different price points based on the size, and we typically purchase the larger sizes to save more money.
A prepper pantry, or an emergency pantry, is food that you have set aside in case of an emergency. This could be a natural disaster, loss of job, health crisis, inflation or food shortages. We never know what is around the corner, and having a food supply to get you by is something we should all consider having, especially if we are striving to be a homesteader.
7. Make Food From Scratch
You no longer need the grocery stores help to make a cake or bake a pizza. If cooking from scratch scares you, head to your local library and check out some cookbooks that look appealing to you. Meal plan some of these recipes and start cooking from scratch.
The best place to start is always with breakfast. Instead of purchasing frozen waffles or muffin mixes, make your own and freeze them. I have several recipes for breakfast using oats that I think you’ll enjoy.
Once you’ve mastered cooking breakfast from scratch, move onto lunch, then dinner, and finally snacks and desserts. If you are striving for that homesteader life, then cooking from scratch is necessary, and did I mention cheaper?
Cooking from scratch will always be cheaper in the long run and 10x healthier that any grocery store box says.
8. Dry Clothes Outside On A Clothes Line
I want to be honest and say this is one I have not started yet, but I desire to in the worst way. In my Amazon wish list I have a few clothes line racks that I want to purchase, but I just haven’t purchased them yet. I will link the one I’m hoping to buy and I cheap watching the price for it to go on sale, yes Amazon has sales!
You could just put strong rope up in the backyard from fence to fence or connect to a tree, but my husband would probably not appreciate that too much. Just so you know, Amazon also sells retractable clothes lines that I have an eye on too.
You might say, but Aimee, purchasing from Amazon is not very homesteader now is it? Well, I would beg to differ only because we don’t have general stores anymore in big cities, and Amazon is pretty much like our general store, but instead of looking through catalogs we have the internet to web shop.
Getting back to clothes lines, this is a much cheaper and economical way to dry clothes, especially during the summer months when running electricity and gas is much more expensive.
9. Start A Compost Bin
A beautiful way to provide nutrient dense soil to your garden beds is homemade compost. Compost can be easily created with leaves, food scraps that would generally be thrown away, more. To learn more about composting I would check out a book from the library or read some articles online.
You can easily start a compost bin from an old trash can, or you can purchase a modern day compost bin here. The best way to get started is to just start. The best part is your throwing away less trash and you’re helping your environment. You are truly living a homesteader life right in your own city.
10. Preserve Food For Out of Season Eating
I touched on this topic in “grow a garden,” but I’d like to expand of this to give you some other ideas. We all know that in season produce is the healthiest and yields the best tasting fruits. Often times we buy frozen vegetables and it’s labeled “packed at the peak of freshness.” They great thing is, we can do that too at home!
If you’re not able to grow several peach trees or citrus fruits for your family, then look into local farms that do. We have 2 peach trees in our backyard, and though they are wonderful at producing fruit for us each summer, it’s simply not enough to preserve for months to come. However, 2 hours north of us there are several peach farmers that sell their produce to the locals.
Just last year we went and purchased 6 bushes of peaches and a few bushes of plums. Once we got the fruit home it was time to quickly preserve! We frozen 13 gallons of sliced peaches, preserved several jars of peach jelly, make peach salsa, and the rest we turned into peach sauce for pancakes. This was a labor of love for sure, however we purchased the peaches for about $.30/lb, and had so much fun with the whole process. The kids helped and we got the job done. Now we have peaches to last all winter and into the spring. This is our favorite way to eat food!
I highly suggest finding ways to purchase fresh foods in bulk. Learn how to preserve it yourself to last through the winter, just like our ancestors did. I always think of Laura Ingall’s first book “Little House In The Big Woods.” I love how they worked so hard to preserve food to get ready for winter.
I hope these 10 tips helps you start your journey to becoming a homesteader no matter where you live. In today’s modern society people have gotten lazy, thanks to the big boxed stores and grocery stores on every corner (just about).
If you live in the city, you can definitely become a homesteader. Homesteading is so much greater and more beautiful than we could ever imagine. My favorite tip is living a simpler life. This is something our family has worked on for a few years now and we love being home most evenings together, playing in the backyard, and enjoying each others company. I also love making food from scratch and growing a garden. I’m not done yet, and I have several things I want to still work on, but it’s something that I always am striving for, to be a modern day city homesteader.
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