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When talking about living off the land, one of the most commonly asked questions is how. How do you live off the land without outside employment? Can you realistically make enough money without working for someone else? Can you realistically be self-sufficient? Or is it all just a pipe dream?
If you dream of leaving the rat race and live a more simple, natural way of life, you can achieve that dream. You simply have to think outside the box. Living off the land and being self-sufficient requires hard work, dedication, and time. It’s definitely not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, it is an achievable goal, though.
Realize that living off the land, homesteading, and self-reliance are all a way of life. It’s a journey, not a destination. It requires sacrifices and lowered standards in many ways. It is not a lifestyle that is going to afford you the latest gadgets and brand new equipment. It is a lifestyle that will afford you contentment, knowledge, and fulfillment in ways that most modern lifestyles can’t.
18 Ways to Live Off The Land
1. You need to adjust your lifestyle and be comfortable with very little.
Remember, some of the happiest, richest people in the world have nothing. This lifestyle requires sacrifices. You always need to be comfortable with a lifestyle that doesn’t afford you many material items. Yet, realize, that this way of life will provide greater rewards in many other ways.
2. Change your mindset.
While we have all been lead to believe we have to have a job, we simply don’t. Sure, we need to work, and work hard, but that doesn’t have to be defined by a conventional job. Work for yourself and your loved ones, not someone else who is profiting off of your time and effort.
3. Do what you love.
There is something to be said about doing what you love and loving what you do. Keep that idea of not needing a job to the next level. Take your hobbies, skills, and other interests and turn them into profit. Be it selling your wares or services or teaching others to do those things. You should love what you do.
4. With that in mind, be willing to work hard.
Homesteading, living off the land, self-sufficiency; none of these are for the faint of heart. They require much more time, dedication and hard work than your typical 9-5 job. The dividends your blood sweat and tears produce are far more rewarding than any other job in the world, though.
5. Become debt free.
Debt is crippling. Some say it is the modern form of slavery. When we owe someone money, we are a slave to that debt until it is repaid. If you do not have debt, you are more free than anyone who does. Of course homesteading isn’t free, here is a great post on how to prepare financially for homesteading.
6. Learn ways to repurpose items.
There are so many things that most people throw out that can still be used. Learn creative ways to recycle and repurpose items to fulfill a need instead of buying something new or already made.
7. Buy used.
Instead of going in debt and buying a brand new truck or tractor, buy a used one. This can save you a bundle, keeps you out of debt, and can teach you a new skill set. You should know, or learn how, to fix basic problems with your vehicles and equipment instead of always hiring it done.
8. Grow your own.
Food is expensive! Whether you are looking at whole foods or processed junk, it’s all incredibly costly. Learn to grow your own food and save your hard-earned dollars for something else. You can do this no matter where you live, so don’t avoid it because you aren’t on some huge property yet.
9. Eat real food.
Eating out, buying coffee at the coffeehouse, junk foods like candy are more expensive than eating real food, even if you have to purchase the ingredients. They not only quickly drain your monetary resources, they drain your health. Eating out once in a while or having a treat is great, but when you are looking for ways to achieve your goal of self-sufficiency, they should take a backseat.
10. Realize relocation as a possibility.
Our old house was too much for us and did not provide us with the land we needed to be self-sufficient. We were technically in the city limits and had regulations that kept us from doing a lot of things we needed to become more self-sufficient. Like us, you need to be willing to move, whether it be across town into a more rural area or across the country to a more self-sufficient friendly locale, you’ve got to be willing to make sacrifices.
11. Decrease your monthly obligations (bills).
Ditch cable, if you need convincing, here’s a great article on why you should. Decrease your monthly cell phone bills, get rid of your land line, find items that modern society typically considers necessities and dump them or decrease their cost.
Find a smaller house (or build it) on a larger piece of property. Check out this post on tips to become a minimalist. We really don’t need to hold on to all of these materialistic items. They just make life more suffocating than it needs to be and we aren’t any better for having them.
13. Buy Smaller.
If you truly want to live off the land, then getting out of the city is definitely a step in the right direction. Sure, it’s nice to dream of owning 100 acres and working the land. However, for most people, and in most areas, that is not financially practical. It’s better to have a couple of acres to call your own than a postage stamp. Put things in perspective and be willing to buy and live on a smaller plot of land if it means achieving your goals sooner in a more financially positive way.
14. Sell your junk.
Alright, you downsized, you purged a bunch of stuff. Make some money off of it! Seriously, who needs more than one TV (or any TV at all for that matter)? Who needs a million electronic gadgets. Take the money you make and put it toward your debt or save it for your next big purchase. No sense letting money sit around!
15. Learn the art of bartering.
When you go to more rural locales, you’ll often find that bartering is alive and well. You don’t need money for everything you require. Sometimes you just have to have something that someone else wants or needs. Trade your skills or products for their skills or products. Bartering is an amazing tool.
16. Go off grid.
This may require you be more willing to move than previously thought, because not everywhere is off-grid friendly. However, going off grid is the epitome of self-reliance and living off the land. If you aren’t dependent upon someone else to provide you with power, water, or other services, then you are more self-reliant and you aren’t paying someone monthly for those services.
17. Find unconventional sources of income.
You can sell your wares, products, or services to other. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Join a local farmer’s market. Just about everywhere has a farmer’s market. Sell your produce or handmade wares there to make a bit of extra cash.
- Open a roadside stand. While this will require a little more research than joining a farmer’s market, it is still an option. Look into the local regulations to see what you can and can’t sell and what’s required to open a roadside stand.
- Open a booth at a flea market. We have several flea markets near us. People sell anything from antiques to homemade goods to unwanted items.
- Breed livestock. Heritage breeds especially, need our help as stewards of the land. Look into what it takes to become a reputable breeder and sell your stock or services.
- Join Fiverr. I had never heard of it, but my new friend over at Joybilee farm shared a great post on how to supplement your income with this online platform.
- Start a backyard business. Check out this fantastic post from our friends over at Farm Fit Living for 23 backyard business ideas.
- Get creative. Here is a post from my new friend Teri, over at Homestead Honey, on ways to get creative for income opportunities.
- Sell on e-bay. Take some of that junk you need to get rid of or some old treasures you find and sell them on eBay.
- Start a blog. Like the rest of these, starting a blog is not a get-rich quick idea. It takes time and I’m no expert. However, if you enjoy writing and want to inspire others, starting a blog just might be a way to make some outside income, eventually.
- Think outside the box. Check out this post for 103 different ways you can make money from a small property.
18. Take your time and stay positive.
None of these suggestions are going to get you living off the land overnight. Devise a plan to reach your goals. Take the time to not only make that plan, but to enact it. We are currently working on getting our house ready to market so we can buy land. Sometimes, I can’t stand that we are stuck here and I drive myself crazy with all that needs to be done. Unfortunately, it takes time, and sometimes you have to be patient and wait. No matter how difficult that is to do.
No matter what your dream, it’s achievable with the right mindset, tools, and plan in place. Living off the land is not a pipe dream, it can most certainly be a reality. You just have to take your time, think outside the box, and look at things from a different perspective.