What is a Homestead?

According to the all-knowing source, Wikipedia, homesteading is described as:

Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.

I’d say this is pretty accurate as a general idea but a homestead can mean something different to anyone. I can only speak for myself, but homesteading is about turning the clock back 50-100 years with all the benefits of the modern day. My grandparents and their grandparents definitely put in more leg work at home to stretch a dollar further, and there is a huge amount of value in doing so!

By building a homestead, and doing things like gardening, canning, cooking, smoking, hunting, foraging, farming, fishing, fermenting, cheese making, baking, bee keeping, and charcuterie you can help offset so many of your living costs and enjoy in things that are truly human, and feed the human soul. For me, the savings are a benefit, but not the reason I want to build a homestead.

Building a lifestyle that is enjoyable is paramount; it is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. Happiness is the goal. If this lifestyle happens to be sustainable, and profitable, you can’t go wrong!

If the above things I mentioned don’t do it for you, what does? Do you have a way to offset your living costs in the future? Do you have a hobby that you love to do that you could build a life around? Whatever you do, build a happy future that feeds you mind and body. You can always change your strategy, but it’s good to start thinking about it early.

Keep calm and homestead on!

-Mike

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The Art of Grocery Shopping: Get back to basics

I love food. It holds a place near and dear to my heart. However, as it happens, food costs money. In the city it seems to cost even more money. As an active person I need more of it. Before you know it, you’re spending hundreds of dollars a month on it. However, I didn’t get started down this path to save money. I started looking at ways to make the dishes I love, from scratch. To my surprise, they were better (and cheaper)! If you change the way you cook, it will change the way you buy food (and what you pay!)

Although buying food is unavoidable, you can definitely tighten the belt on your bill and still enjoy what you want. As far as what you’re buying, here are some strategies:

  • Buy base level items (flour, stocks, tomato paste, oil, rice, lemon juice, spices, soy sauce, hot sauce, etc). These items last forever, and whipping up simple sauces, breads, and side dishes produces way better food than $5 pre-made junk). Protip: Marinate chicken or pork in Sriracha and Soy Sauce; it’s delicious.
  • Frozen vegetables are less expensive and last longer than their fresh counterparts.
  • Don’t buy bottled water. Personally, I keep a number of flip-top bottles in my fridge so I can have cold tap water as soon as I walk through the door. This alone has saved me hundreds of dollars.
  • Don’t give up the foods you love, find ways to make them better. If you like steak, skip the porterhouse. Choose a cheaper cut and spend more time preparing it. Flank steak with chimichurri is a great choice.
  • Using dry goods and soaking them is better than buying canned. Save leftover pasta sauce jars to soak beans and chick peas in. If you buy a bunch of the same sauce, poke holes in one lid to strain. This is better for the environment and your wallet.

Those were just some examples of things you can do to change your habits for the better. I can’t list ‘everything’ you can do, but I can give you the strategy. Take the foods you like, and learn to make them better. Find out how to make amazing dressings, sauces, doughs, pastas, salads, and more. From scratch really is better. It will change the way you eat and look at food in the store.

– Mike