Tax Returns: Top 10 Homesteading Things to Buy With Your Refund
Winter is a very slow time for our business (we are contractors) and although I loathe preparing our taxes for our accountant, I love getting our refund (if we get a refund). It is the one time of the year we can knock out big chunks from our never-ending to-do list. It is also the only time of the year that we have time and money simultaneously. Throughout the year,keep a running list of things we need for the homestead or things we want and before we receive our tax refund we prioritize the list and decide where we are going to spend that money. After we prioritize, we always set aside a little blow money and generally take the family out for dinner or give each member a certain amount to buy something small just for them.
Homesteading is about reviving old skills, a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, joining others on the journey, sharing your knowledge to pass down for generations, turning away from a consumer culture and finding happiness with less.
Many Homesteaders, rural and urban, practice: Agriculture, Food Preservation, Textile Production, Use Renewable Energy, Preserve Heirloom Vegetables, Raise Livestock and Bees, Composting, Self-sufficient living: reusing, repairing, and recycling items. Homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.
If you long for a simplistic lifestyle and want to turn from the commercialism society offers, there is no better time to start than with your Tax Refund.
Even if you only start with a small amount, the key is to start somewhere.
Tax Return: #1 Item to Buy- Grow Food/Herbs
Whether you own acres or a windowsill, you can still embrace Homesteading by growing your own food and medicine. Our property is small (1/4 acre) and surrounded by trees so we have to be creative with our growing space, we grow out and up, in and out and utilize many different methods for growing food.
While seeds themselves may be inexpensive, other gardening needs will require a larger investment so tax return time is the perfect opportunity to make that purchase.
Some Gardening ideas for your tax returns are:
- Garden Boxes (raised beds)
- Aeroponic Gardening System
- Hydroponic Gardening System
- Green House
- Grow Lights
- Tools: Shovel, Hoe, Rake, Wheelbarrow, Garden Hose, Sickle, and Post-hole Digger: read 4 Essential Tools Every Homesteader Should Have by North Country Farmer
- Aquaponics System
- Grow Bags
- Compost Tumbler
Tax Return: #2 Item to Buy- Food Preservation
A huge part of self-sufficiency is food storage. Having food supplies when crops are out of season, preserving the harvest, having emergency food storage, and even preserved food for selling as supplemental income.
- Waterbath Canner: read Home Canning for Beginners by Mother Earth News
- Pressure Canner: read How to Can with a Pressure Canner by Simply Canning
- Food Dehydrator: read 3 Ways to Dehydrate Food by Hobby Farm
- Food Processor
- Food Grinder and Sausage Maker
- Canning Jars
- Food Sealer
- Root Cellar: read How to Build a Root Cellar by Homestead Notes
Tax Return: # 3 Item to Buy- Greener Life
We are called to be stewards of the land, that means reducing our carbon footprint and making a better tomorrow for our children and future generations. Homesteaders respect the earth and the land, from the dirt to the animals that roam on it. They realize we can get all we need from the land and do their best to take care of it and respect it.
- Shop Local By shopping local you help reduce environmental impact, invest in the community, create more jobs, and bigger economic returns.
- Clothesline using a clothesline can save you hundreds per year off of your electric bill and help the environment by conserving energy use.
- Compost Tumbler
- Worm Compost Bin
- Make Your Own Cleaning Products
- Solar Oven
- Compost Toilet
- Collect Rainwater
- Solar Energy
- Wind Energy
Tax Return: #4 Education
You really can’t put a price on education. If you only have enough money in your budget for one thing, I would invest in your education. The small amount of money spent on furthering your Homesteading education will surely pay off ten-fold.
- Master Gardeners Course– contact your local Extension office for Masters Gardeners Courses in your area.
- Take a Vacation: Take some time off and learn from others- go WWOOF’ing. WWOOF’ing is a non-profit organization of Organic Farmers all over the world. Once you join, you can travel to farms throughout the globe and learn their skilled trade.
- Herbal Course: I highly recommend Herb Mentor
- Canning Class
- Take a Hunters Safety Course (check with you local DNR- Department of natural Resources)
- Learn how to Fish/Shrimp/Crab
- Learn How to Make Soap
- Go to the Fair: Attend the Mother Earth News Fair with over 150 Workshops and guest speakers.
- Take a Cheese Making Class
Many of these courses (master gardeners, canning, livestock and more) can be found through your local Extension Office or Extended Learning Courses through your local college.
To locate an Extension office near you, click here
Tax return: #5 Livestock
Raising livestock is not as glamorous as Facebook and Pinterest would have you believe. It takes hours of dedication, you never get a day off, there is always loss of life, the feed and housing can be expensive, and many times you will need the service of a pricey veterinarian. BUT- the rewards can be even greater. The pure joy and satisfaction of being able to feed your family from your own property is something you can’t put a price on. It is truly freeing knowing you do not need to rely on others to sustain your life.
Chickens: read Getting Started with Chickens from The Coastal Homestead
Alpacas: read Planning for Alpacas by Our Simple Homestead
Tax Return: #6 Independence and Freedom
Freedom: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
Independence: The word independence means “not dependent”, or not having to depend on anyone or anything else. It also means being strong and able to survive alone.
What in your life is keeping you from being free or independent? Are you tied to the grid and the energy cost are weighing you down? Do you have a monthly cable bill that keeps escalating? Are you on a government program to help you get by? Use your tax return to reduce your dependence and gain your freedom.
Start cutting spending cost to reduce your dependence on the system and invest in your independence with your tax return. Cutting the dependence before financial crisis happens will help ensure your chance for survival.
- Homeschool: read Why we Homeschool by Growing in His Grace
- Cut the Cord: Get rid of cable and buy an antenna read: How to Cut the Cord by The Coastal Homestead
- Install a well
- Go Green: Invest renewable energy for your home with Solar, Wind or Water Energy
- Food: Provide your own food by planting a garden, joining a CSA- Consumer Supported Agriculture or join a Food Co-op
- Wood-burning stove
- Clothes Line
Tax Return: #7 Learn to Hunt/Fish/Forage
Hunting and fishing is not a sport for the poor man; guns are expensive, ammo is expensive, memberships are expensive, boats are expensive, well you get the point. Tax return time is a perfect opportunity to make purchases that can help provide for your food security.
Reasons to hunt- Hunting is: Safe, Healthy, Helps the Planet, Good for the Species, Saves Money and is Good for the Family. Read: Six Reasons Everyone Should Hunt by American Hunter
Reasons to fish: Contribute to Conservation, Stress Relief, Social Bonding, Supports Wildlife and Fisheries Management, Health Benefits, Recreation, Self Fulfillment, Boost to the Economy, Fishing for Food, and The Thrill. Read: Top Ten Reasons to Go Fishing by Virginia Department of Game and Fisheries
Learn to Forage for Wild Food- Food is FREE! read: You Can Learn to Forage Wild Edibles by Eat the Weeds
To find a hunting or fishing class near you, contact your local DNR, Hunting Club, Sportsman’s Club
Tax Return: #8 Start a Home-based Business
I didn’t truly start loving our home until we started homesteading, now there is no place I would rather be. Our goals and focus in life has changed, now we are motivated by making a living from what we can do right where we are. It may take years to generate enough income to work from home full-time but you can start by making enough to supplement your income just in a short amount of time.
- Sell produce or Artisan Goods at Farmers Markets
- Sell your homemade products on Etsy, Amazon, Shopify or other online store sites.
- Teach Workshops. People are willing to pay for the knowledge you have, share it with them.
- Farm Tours- offer tours of your homestead to those wanting a similar lifestyle, schools, garden groups, etc.
- Set up a roadside stand (check your local laws)
- Buy Insurance, LLC, 501c3 or other business expense
Make sure you check your states Cottage Laws before you sell your homemade products.
Tax Return: #9 Buy a Homestead/Farm
A lot of places are funding or offering grants/scholarships for you to farm. Although I love our little Coastal Homestead, I have been looking at larger parcels of land to farm and have found a handful of options for $2,000 per acre, which is more affordable than I envisioned.
Tax Return #10- Build an Herbal Apothecary
A complete Herbal Apothecary can cost hundreds on up towards a thousand or more. Despite the cost of a well-stocked herbal apothecary, the cost fails in comparison to piling medical bills so it is well worth the investment.