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Being self-reliant and living the homesteading life does require some tools of the trade. If you’re just starting out or needing to invest in equipment, you might be wondering how on earth you can afford it. Make sure you check out our 10 Ways to Afford Homesteading When Your Broke Part 1 in the series.
While saving money should be our first priority, sometimes we just plain need more money coming than what we currently make.
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These are ways we’ve made money or personal friends of ours has.
1. Sell some of your belongings. I know, seems so obvious. But most of us have way more than we really need or use. Take a look through your closet. If you’ve got some nice pieces you haven’t worn in the last 6 months (for those of us with seasons, then last year) sell them.
The easiest way is to snap a picture and put them up for sale on your Facebook profile or in a local group. Most towns or counties have buy/sell groups. You can bundle a few items together, by pairing similar items, like two flannel shirts.
If you have children, this is an excellent strategy as they usually out grow clothes before they’re worn out. Especially true for costumes or holiday clothes. You can often find a children specific group in your area on Facebook for selling things.
You can also use a consignment shop, but I try to sell the items out right myself first. One, I have to drive over an hour to get to the nearest kids consignment shop and two, I tend to do better by selling it outright. If the items don’t sell on my own, then I decide on whether or not to take them in for consignment or donate them.
A garage sale is another option, but for all the work involved, I’ve found I make more money selling items on line.
One caveat to selling things on line, I never, ever have someone I don’t know come to my home to buy an item. EVER! I’ll meet them at a local place of business during business hours, but not alone.
The good thing about using your Facebook profile is usually you’re only friends with people you know. We’ve sold boats, cars, rugs, and other household items this way as well. So don’t think just clothes.
2. Teach a Class. We all have something we’re good at. Many things we do naturally or enjoy, someone else would love to know how to do.
Do you sew, quilt, crochet, mechanic, play a musical instrument? Consider teaching a class or giving lessons. Many people would happily pay you to teach them.
Classes can both be on-line or in person. You can do one on one or group classes. Many towns and schools have community education classes and are looking for teachers.
If you’ve sewn for a long time, you might think no one would want to learn or need someone to show them, because it seems so easy to you. But many people don’t have anyone to show or teach them.
For example, my mother taught me how to can, and her mother before her. But many people want to learn how to can today and don’t have anyone to teach them. I’ve taught home canning and jelly making classes in our local community and had mother’s and daughter’s come together. It was really fun to get to teach two generations at the same time.
You have knowledge and skills others want to learn. Don’t be afraid to charge for your time to teach them. The beauty of the community education classes is the participants don’t pay to come (unless you need to charge for supplies).
While I do teach a lot of things for free, don’t feel bad if you charge for some classes or teaching. You’ll have to weigh each opportunity, but I’ve come to learn people value what they pay for and are much more likely to take it seriously and devote themselves to learning and practicing those skills.
3. Sell things you make. Often times people think you have to make a certain item and sell it like a regular store. But many times you can sell the things you’re teaching a class on. There are some things people would rather purchase than do themselves, and that’s fine! It’s actually great if you can provide the item for them.
It might be a loaf of homemade bread, jars of home canned goodness, or custom curtains.
You can sell home canned things like jams and jellies at farmer’s markets along with baked goodies. You must list every single ingredient and you’ll need to make the items in an approved kitchen. You can get your own kitchen approved or use one that already is.
Because I’m not a legal expert and don’t know each person’s rules and regulations where they live, you’ll need to look into licensing for selling things in your county, state, etc. The general rule for Federal taxes is if you make more than $400 it needs to be reported on your taxes, but check with your local tax agency or accountant.
Leslie from Heart4Home lives in Texas and sells items at her local farmers market and says this: “The Texas Cottage Food Law is what we must follow in Texas to sell prepared foods from home or at a Farmer’s Market. All cottage food operators are required to complete an accredited class in Food Handler’s Training (can be completed completely online). The certification is good for two years. There are limited items that can be sold, mainly nothing perishable and you need to include a label with your contact info and whether a food is made with a major food allergen, such as eggs, nuts, soy, peanuts, milk or wheat that ingredient must be listed on the label.
There are other rules to follow to sell eggs. Chicken Eggs can be sold from your own flock without claiming any egg grade or size and they must have a label to identify your eggs as “Produced by (producer’s name)” and give your address
When I sell my eggs, I take them in a cooler to keep them cold.”
Ann From Live the Old Way shares this: “I sell at our local farmer’s markets in NC. For us, the rule is that it has to be things we grow or make ourselves. If it’s food items, jellies, bread, etc. you are required to have your kitchen certified by the state and involves having a designated set of pans and utensils that are used just for products you are going to sell. You also must not have any inside pets, or outside pets that come in, even occassionally. We have someone in our area that has proposed opening a public “certified kitchen” that you pay to use to prep items that you would like to sell.”
“I make Goat’s milk products from the girls on our farm (bar soap, liquid soap, lotion, etc) and native plant salves, oils and other remedies from wild medicinal plants. And sell eggs.”
4. Sell things you grow. Have an over abundance of produce? Consider selling it. Note: This is only after you’ve preserved enough for use throughout the year for your own family. Because home preserved food is money in the bank. Make sure you get my FREE Ultimate Home Food Preservation Guide to get you started. sign up here!
Amber from The Coastal Homestead says: I have worked the markets all summer in SC. We have similar rules as Ann, as a matter of fact, the guides were 10 pages long. Our markets allow you to outsource 50% but it has to be SC grown. Here’s a gorgeous picture of her stand at the farmers market.
Just like home made goodies, you can also sell your produce at farmer’s markets. Set up a small road side stand if you live near a well traveled roadway. You can man it or go by the honor system.
If you have large fields or areas, you may consider doing a u-pick.
If you have chickens, many people sell extra eggs. Before we started our own flock, we purchased eggs from our neighbors for years.
Many folks will raise a couple of pigs or beef and sell the meat. If you have the land, raising two of something is just as easy as raising one and you can sell the second for profit or to cover the costs of your own meat.
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When I look around this world and read headlines, there is so much evil and horrible out there, and sometimes it seems to overwhelm. But God’s word is full of His promises and what He wants for our lives.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
Don’t let the enemy steal your joy or your focus off of Jesus.
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.