Homesteading and a Simple Life: Important Aspects of Each (2022)

The terms ‘homesteading’ and ‘a simple Life’ in many ways are synonymous. There are a few differences, but primarily, one who homesteads also lives a simple life. Someone who lives a Simple Life may not homestead, but they still have the same basic outlook on life. How you view it is ‘all in your mind’. Let’s look deeper at Homesteading and a Simple Life.

Homesteading and a Simple Life

With homesteading, the mind leads you to land, outbuildings, gardens, and livestock. One would also add canning and preserving the harvest, as well as baking bread and home-cooked meals. The over-all thought would be one of self-sufficiency.

When living a Simple Life, often times the only difference would be the land and outbuildings. Many who live a simple life grow at least some portion of their foods, are proficient in canning and preserving, as well as bake and cook healthy meals for their families.

In some cases, the lines between homesteading and a simple life begin to blur. In my case, I live a simple life every day. But I can also be considered a homesteader, as I live on a 60-acre farm. I do everything a homesteader does, with only a limitation on the types of livestock I raise.

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The List of Similarities between Homesteading and a Simple Life

Homesteading

  • Grows a Garden
  • Usually lives on 1/4 acre or more
  • Lives Frugally
  • Raises Livestock – Cattle/Goat/Sheep/Chickens/Rabbits, etc.
  • Home Food Preservation – Canning/Freezing/Dehydrating, etc.
  • Baking/Cooking
  • Crafting / For Home use & gifts
  • Creates Natural Products – Cleaning/Bath/Laundry, etc.
  • Prefers the ‘Old Skills’ when possible
  • Homemaking – Cleaning/Decorating/Hospitality

Simple Life

  • Grows a Garden
  • Lives Anywhere
  • Lives Frugally
  • May raise small forms of livestock – Chickens/Rabbits, etc.
  • Home Food Preservation – Canning/Freezing/Dehydrating, etc.
  • Baking/Cooking
  • Crafting / For Home use & gift
  • Creates Natural Products – Cleaning/Bath/Laundry, etc.
  • Prefers the ‘Old Skills’ when possible
  • Homemaking – Cleaning/Decorating/Hospitality
Homesteading and a Simple Life: Important Aspects of Each (2)
(Video) 10 things I wish I knew About Homesteading BEFORE I started...

As you can see, with the exception of where you live, you can have both – homesteading and a simple life.

Homesteading and a Simple Life – The Mindset

Regardless of how you classify yourself, there are some things you need to take into consideration for both. Most homesteaders and folks who practice living a simple life take the basics to the next level.

Finances

One of the basic premises of both homesteading and a Simple Life is to live within your means. This means knowing where your money is coming from, and where it is going. Most homesteaders and folks who live a simple life keep tight control of their finances.

When the term ‘live frugally’ is mentioned, it isn’t that either group hoards their money. Instead, they look at each purchase from a priority standpoint. They know they have to have a roof over their heads, supplies, and feed for their animals or food for their family.

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But most homesteaders and folks who live a simple life don’t live on credit. They may have a credit card, but they don’t just use it because funds aren’t in their pockets. Instead, they do their best to pay the credit card off each month, thereby not accruing interest.

The main goal of both groups is to live as debt-free as possible and live a life without financial stress.

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Food

Homesteading and a Simple Life is not just about having any garden. Most people in these groups plan their plots very carefully. Instead of planting what is popular, they take a look at the type of food their family likes to eat.

They then look at the food itself. They determine if it is viable to grow where they live, and take spacing, climate, needs, and growing times into consideration. Where it may be very easy to grow okra here in the south, gardeners in the North have climates that are too cold for that heat-loving plant.

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Once they have determined it can be grown, they take a look at the space they need. People who live a simple life in an apartment won’t have enough space to grow corn. Corn is wind-pollinated and requires several rows planted closely together in order to produce well. Instead, apartment dwellers may opt for companion or theme gardens that are suitable for containers.

Folks who have more space may opt for a garden plot or even a flower bed. With more space, a larger selection of vegetables can be grown. But both groups consider companion planting to extend the amount they can grow, as well as for pest control.

Food Preservation

Homesteaders with larger areas to grow can produce a wider variety of foods. If their garden has grown prolifically, it is a natural progression to preserve as much of the excess as possible. They focus on foods that will feed their families throughout the year, and determine the best way to preserve them – whether it be canning, freezing, or dehydrating.

People who live a Simple Life may not have a garden that produces an abundance, but they still look for ways to access the freshest food possible. Often they visit farmers’ markets. Some may have a friend who gardens. They also may scout out a local farmer and offer gleaning services once the crop is almost finished.

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(Gleaning is a term used for harvesting what is left in the fields after the farmer has picked all he/she needs or wants.)

Many times, a person may have a fruit tree in their yard (such as pears, plums, apples, peaches, etc.) that produces more than they can use. Often, they will put the word out that the remaining fruit is free for the picking. I have gotten many 5-gallon buckets of pears and plums this way.

Entertainment

When it comes to entertainment, those who are involved in a homesteading and simple life lifestyle usually find ways to have fun at home. In keeping with their frugal nature, eating out and going to a movie can be cost-prohibitive. So instead, they cultivate their own fun. Here are some ways you can have fun at home:

  • Dinner and a Movie at Home – grill burgers or make a pot of Gumbo, and enjoy it while watching a DVD or a televised movie
  • Play Lawn Games
  • Have a Scavenger or Treasure Hunt
  • Host a Neighborhood Picnic
  • Have a Game Night (our favorite is Mexican Train Dominoes)
  • Plays & Puppet Shows – this is a great way to get kids involved. Have them choose a book they want to act out, and allow them to ‘write’ the screenplay, create set designs, and be the stars!
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Self-Care

No matter what lifestyle you choose, self-care is required to keep us functioning at our best. Check outBoxrater.comto learn a complete guide on self-care. When living a life focused on homesteading and a simple life, the only difference is we don’t always utilize outside ‘help’. Instead, we do the same things, only we do them at home. For instance:

  • Instead of joining a gym, exercise at home or take a walk
  • Instead of a salon for a mani-pedi, we do our own nails
  • Instead of visiting a spa, we make our own bath and spa products, then close and lock the door for an hour
  • Instead of coffee out with a friend, we have a Kaffee-Klatch
  • Instead of going to a Relaxation center, we craft, read, or have ‘Me Time
  • Instead of shopping for a gift that is manufactured by the thousands, we make handmade items that are one-of-a-kind (crafting is great stress relief!)
  • We find creative ways to spend time with friends

Homesteading and a Simple Life doesn’t mean Doing Without

I have to confess. I have my passions. There are things I love to do, and for the most part, I can do them right here on the farm. I am an avid weaver, crafter, and baker. I can’t wait to get my hands in my garden dirt and find solace when walking among the cows or visiting my chickens.

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But there is one tiny portion of ‘city girl’ that I just cannot eradicate. And that is my love for plays, the Symphony and the Opera. Well, I have actually never been to an Opera, but it is on my bucket list!

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As for plays and the Symphony, I save my money and as soon as I see one that I want to attend, I buy a ticket. In most cases, I have a friend who will go. My mom has also purchased tickets for both of us and we have a Mother/Daughter date. On a rare occasion, the Country Boy will take me, but only if it is something he feels he can sit through.

Just because frugality is second nature, does not mean we live like hermits. Instead, we pick and choose the things that are most important to us, and are willing to save up to do them. In most cases, the very idea of saving up means anticipation. Anticipation will soon turn into excitement, and excitement usually means the activity is enjoyed and appreciated even more.

Is Homesteading and a Simple Life For You?

More than likely, if you are a regular visitor to Annie’s site, you are already either contemplating a homesteading lifestyle or are already fully engaged. But if you are sitting on the fence and not sure if you want to take the plunge, consider these few things:

  • Homesteading and a Simple Life may not be easy, but it is fulfilling
  • It’s okay to refuse to give into peer pressure, or keeping up with the Jones’
  • Giving yourself permission to live a Simple Life can be freeing
  • Fresh food prepared at home always tastes better
  • You can let your creative spirit live, love and blossom
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Go Ahead – Take the Plunge

Once you do, you will find the ‘water’ is warm and soothing. You may have to physically work a little harder, but your creative nature will flow smoother, challenges will start to be met with a smile, and you may just find yourself more content and happy than you have been in a long time. Remember, homesteading and a simple life are ‘all in your mind’. And from my perspective, that just means you are in your ‘right’ mind!

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If you do take the plunge, let Annie and I know. We will both love hearing what you are up to, how you are doing, and why you decided to go swimming in the homesteading and simple life pool.

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If you still are not sure and have questions about homesteading and a simple life, just drop either or both of us an email. We are always on standby for our readers, and love to be available to help or answer any questions you may have!

FAQs

What does it mean living in a homestead? ›

A homestead is a house and surrounding land owned by a family — often, it includes a farmhouse. Most people have homes, but not everyone has a homestead: that means your family owns more than a house. The homestead often consists of a farmhouse and land devoted to crops or animals.

What were some of the challenges of homesteading? ›

As settlers and homesteaders moved westward to improve the land given to them through the Homestead Act, they faced a difficult and often insurmountable challenge. The land was difficult to farm, there were few building materials, and harsh weather, insects, and inexperience led to frequent setbacks.

How do you do the urban homestead? ›

Five Ways to Start your Urban Homestead
  1. Remove Yourself from Consumerism. “Wanting less is a better blessing than having more.” — ...
  2. Learning the ways of old. Learn skills of old and incorporate them into your life. ...
  3. Be a good steward of the land. ...
  4. Live a Sustainable lifestyle and Support the Local Economy. ...
  5. Share your knowledge.
27 Jul 2020

Is it legal to homestead in the US? ›

Homesteading is allowed in all states; however, not every area is applicable. For example, in New York, there are specific boroughs where homesteading is permitted. Where the differences come into play are the exemptions per state and whether they have federal exemptions available or not.

What is another word for homesteading? ›

What is another word for homestead?
farmsteadestate
grangeplantation
acreagehacienda
farmhousevineyard
landmanor
27 more rows

Why is it called a homestead? ›

homestead (n.) Old English hamstede "home, town, village," from home (n.) + stead (q.v.). In U.S. usage, "a lot of land adequate for the maintenance of a family" (1690s), defined by the Homestead Act of 1862 as 160 acres.

Who benefited from the Homestead Act? ›

The Homestead Act, enacted during the Civil War in 1862, provided that any adult citizen, or intended citizen, who had never borne arms against the U.S. government could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land. Claimants were required to live on and “improve” their plot by cultivating the land.

How did the homesteaders overcome their problems? ›

Essential knowledge: The main problems Homesteaders faced included: lack of water (rainfall), tough sod to plough and damage to crops. They solved these using windmills, sod- busters and barbed wire.

How many people moved because of the Homestead Act? ›

Nearly four million homesteaders settled land across 30 states over 123 years. The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed anyone over 21 years of age or the head of a household to apply for free federal land with two simple stipulations: Be a citizen of the United States or legally declare their intent to become one.

What is backyard homesteading? ›

Backyard Homesteading shows homeowners how to turn a yard into a productive and wholesome "homestead" that allows you to grow your own fruits and vegetables and raise farm animals, including chickens and goats.

How do you homestead in suburbia? ›

Here are a few ways to begin homesteading in suburbia:
  1. GROW SOME OF YOUR OWN FOOD. ...
  2. SET UP A RAIN BARREL AND COLLECT WATER. ...
  3. PREPARE FOR THE UNFORESEEN.
  4. CAN OR FREEZE FOR LONG TERM STORAGE. ...
  5. RAISE YOUR OWN CHICKENS. ...
  6. START A COMPOST PILE. ...
  7. BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY. ...
  8. SET UP A CLOTHES LINE.
23 Aug 2016

How do I start homesteading with no money? ›

However, if you have no or very limited money, you can start homesteading long before you buy your own land.
...
How Do People Afford Homesteading?
  1. Get Out of Debt (and Stay Out!) ...
  2. Make Your Own Skin and Hair Products. ...
  3. Grow Your Own Microgreens. ...
  4. Make Your Own Soap. ...
  5. Create a Meal Plan.

What states give free land? ›

Want Free Land? These Small Towns Are Giving it Away
  • Mankato, Kansas. We all know Kansas is a flat, sparsely populated state. ...
  • Marquette, Kansas. ...
  • Lincoln, Kansas. ...
  • Curtis, Nebraska. ...
  • Claremont, Minnesota. ...
  • Flagler, Colorado. ...
  • New Richland, Minnesota. ...
  • Marne, Iowa.
9 Aug 2022

What is a sentence for Homestead? ›

Examples of homestead in a Sentence

Noun They decided to farm the old homestead. Verb They homesteaded the territory in the 1860s.

What is a antonym for Homestead? ›

ˈhoʊmˌstɛd) Dwelling that is usually a farmhouse and adjoining land. Antonyms. foreign embark leave war disagree rise float.

How do you say Homestead in different languages? ›

In other languages homestead
  1. American English: homestead /ˈhoʊmstɛd/
  2. Brazilian Portuguese: propriedade.
  3. Chinese: 农庄住宅包括周围土地的
  4. European Spanish: hacienda.
  5. French: ferme.
  6. German: Gehöft.
  7. Italian: fattoria e terreni.
  8. Japanese: 農場付属の建物も含む
6 days ago

Why do people homestead? ›

Financial Freedom. Living a simple, self-sufficient life means you need less money to support your lifestyle than you neighbor does. The homestead financial plan means getting rid of debt, spending less than you earn, and investing more inside your home than outside of it. It's about repairing instead of replacing.

What is modern day homesteading? ›

The whole idea of modern homesteading comes from people's desire to re-connect with their food source and live a more self-sufficient lifestyle. You don't have to own a big piece of land, or raise your own animals to be a homesteader. You must simply have a desire to live more simply!

What do homesteaders do? ›

Homesteading activities typically include growing and preserving food crops, cooking meals from scratch, raising animals, making homemade medicines, personal care products, perhaps even clothing, and an overall goal to “live off the land”.

How did the Homestead Act affect natives? ›

The Homestead Act increased the number of people in the western United States. Most Native Americans watched the arrival of homesteaders with unease. As more settlers arrived, they found themselves pushed farther from their homelands or crowded onto reservations.

Who created the Homestead Act? ›

President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862. On January 1, 1863, Daniel Freeman made the first claim under the Act, which gave citizens or future citizens up to 160 acres of public land provided they live on it, improve it, and pay a small registration fee.

What did the Homestead Act help many former slaves do? ›

The 1862 Homestead Act accelerated settlement of U.S. western territory by allowing any American, including freed slaves, to put in a claim for up to 160 free acres of federal land.

How did homesteaders choose their land? ›

To get good land in the West, one had to buy from speculators and land jobbers, and the prices ranged often from 1 to 15 dollars an acre. In Kansas, some 10 million acres were available to homesteaders in the early 1880s, but most of this lay in the arid western part of the state.

How did homesteaders get water? ›

Obtaining water was, of course, a primary need for both sustaining homestead crops and the lives of the homesteaders themselves. The fastest-moving settlers staked their claims near rivers, streams, or springs, but these desirable "waterfront" homesteads quickly became unavailable. Most families had to dig wells.

What was likely to receive land provided by the Homestead Act? ›

The Homestead Act of 1862 parceled out millions of acres of land to settlers. All US citizens, including women, African Americans, freed slaves, and immigrants, were eligible to apply to the federal government for a “homestead,” or 160-acre plot of land.

Why did the Homestead Act happen? ›

To help develop the American West and spur economic growth, Congress passed the Homestead Act of 1862, which provided 160 acres of federal land to anyone who agreed to farm the land. The act distributed millions of acres of western land to individual settlers.

Why was the Homestead Act good for farmers? ›

Congress and Abraham Lincoln helped give Freeman this opportunity through the May 1862 Homestead Act. The Act gave American citizens and immigrants the right to claim up to 160 acres of land. If they improved the land and stayed on it for five years, they could “prove-up” their claim and take full ownership.

Where can you still homestead in the US? ›

13 Places in the US Where You Can Find Free Land for Your...
  • Lincoln, Kansas. To navigate, press the arrow keys. ...
  • Free Land in Marquette, Kansas. ...
  • New Richland, Minnesota. ...
  • Free Land in Mankato, Kansas. ...
  • Osborne, Kansas. ...
  • Free Land in Plainville, Kansas. ...
  • Curtis, Nebraska. ...
  • Free Land in Elwood, Nebraska.

What's the difference between a homestead and a farm? ›

Homesteads are smaller plots of land, usually less than 100 acres, which grow food to support a single family unit directly. Farms are generally larger, averaging over 400 acres in the United States, which are designed grow crops for profit. Homesteaders generally live and work on their land, where farmers often don't.

What does homestead mean in Florida? ›

The Florida Constitution defines homestead as real property to the extent of no more than one half of an acre of contiguous land in a municipality, owned by a natural person, and the improvements on it.

Can you still homestead in Oregon? ›

Oregon limits the homestead exemption in an urban area to 1 block. An urban area is defined as any town or city with property portioned off into blocks and lots. The maximum amount of land that can be claimed outside a town or city with blocks or lots is 160 acres.

Can you still homestead in Tennessee? ›

Does Tennessee have a homesteading exemption? Yes, it does! The homestead exemption can be found in the Tennessee Code Annotated § 26-2-301.

Is a hobby farm tax deductible? ›

If you earn some income from a hobby farm, you're allowed to deduct farm expenses. You can only deduct hobby farm expenses to the extent you have hobby income. If your farm starts to become profitable, you may need to report it has a business instead of a hobby.

How do I write off my small farm expenses? ›

Use Schedule F (Form 1040) to report farm income and expenses. File it with Form 1040, 1040-SR, 1040-NR, 1041, or 1065. Your farming activity may subject you to state and local taxes and other requirements such as business licenses and fees. Check with your state and local governments for more information.

Which of the following tools are used in agriculture? ›

Hoe works like a blade. Axe is used to cut the trees. Plough isused for tilling of soil. Cultivator is used for ploughing.

Do seniors in Florida pay property taxes over 65? ›

Certain property tax benefits are available to persons 65 or older in Florida. Eligibility for property tax exemptions depends on certain requirements. Information is available from the property appraiser's office in the county where the applicant owns a homestead or other property.

What are the benefits of homesteading in Florida? ›

The Florida homestead exemption is a property tax break for eligible homeowners. It can reduce the taxable value on your primary home as much as $50,000, saving you approximately $750 per year. Additionally, your assessed value cannot increase more than 3 percent annually once you've been granted a homestead exemption.

Who qualifies for homestead in Florida? ›

Homestead Exemption: Every person who has legal or equitable title to real property in the State of Florida and who resides thereon and in good faith makes it his or her permanent home is eligible to receive a homestead exemption of up to $50,000. The first $25,000 applies to all property taxes.

What states give free land? ›

Want Free Land? These Small Towns Are Giving it Away
  • Mankato, Kansas. We all know Kansas is a flat, sparsely populated state. ...
  • Marquette, Kansas. ...
  • Lincoln, Kansas. ...
  • Curtis, Nebraska. ...
  • Claremont, Minnesota. ...
  • Flagler, Colorado. ...
  • New Richland, Minnesota. ...
  • Marne, Iowa.
9 Aug 2022

What states can you homestead in? ›

Homestead rights don't exist under common law, but they have been enacted in at least 27 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, ...

What age do you stop paying property taxes in Tennessee? ›

In November 2006, Tennessee voters approved an amendment to Article II, Section 28 of the Tennessee Constitution giving the General Assembly the authority by general law to authorize counties and/or municipalities to implement a local option property tax freeze for taxpayers 65 years of age or older.

Can you put a tiny house on land in Tennessee? ›

Are tiny houses legal in Tennessee? Tennessee does not have any state-wide laws pertaining to tiny homes, so whether or not you can build really depends on where you're looking to live. Like many other states, the regulations surrounding tiny homes vary across different cities.

Can I live in a shed in TN? ›

It is against state law to modify ready-removable structures for use as residential, recreational, or emergency housing in Tennessee. “Building codes are necessary life-safety measures, and ready–removable structures do not pass the code for sleeping spaces,” said Commerce & Insurance Deputy Commissioner Gary West.

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