Can you homestead and work full time?
This is a question I see a lot in the Facebook homesteading groups.
Or phrased in another way “HOW can I homestead and work full time?” or “You must be able to homestead because you don’t work full time.”
But the sentiment is the same: homesteading and working a 9-5 is HARD.
There aren’t enough hours in the day.
My husband and I both work full time and homestead. Here’s how we do it.
Can You Homestead and Work Full Time?
First off we need to define what “homesteading” actually means. I have an entire post where I define what homesteading means to me but I’ll summarize it below:
Homesteading means independence, self-sufficiency and ultimately freedom.
I look at various categories of our lives when it comes to homesteading:
In each of these categories, the idea is to reduce the amount you need first, replace what you would have to buy in each of these categories by creating it yourself, which frees you up from the binds of modern society.
For a lot of us, though, quitting a 9-5 to homestead isn’t an option. Maybe we haven’t gotten our self-sufficiency there enough that we no longer need an income, or we have a mortgage.
So how do you balance it all?
Start slow, and start small. Look at each of these categories and do the next simple step.
NOTE: do NOT try to do all the things at one time. Homestead burnout is real.
Do ONE project. When that’s good and stable and easy, do the next one.
Looking at your food?
Reduce the amount you need first.
Can you be more cautious about your food waste? Can you eat a higher protein diet? Cut out processed foods?
Create it yourself.
Plant a garden, an herb in a pot, cook more at home, learn how to can.
Can you replace one staple food that you always buy with something you make yourself?
For example, can you grow enough tomatoes to make and can pasta sauce for your family for the year?
Buy a couple of chickens and replace store-bought eggs with home grown?
When it comes to your freedom of time;
Where can you reduce the amount of time you need? Can you work from home and save yourself the commute?
Can you work part time? Or gig work?
You can’t exactly create more time – there are only 24 hours in every day, but can you create more time for yourself?
Are there things you do on a daily basis that you can automate, make shorter, or stop doing altogether?
For utilities I think of electricity, heat and water.
How can you reduce the amount you need? Get used to living without the AC/heat. Take shorter baths. Use dish water to water your plants.
Next, how can you create it for yourself? A solar panel, even if it’s only big enough to charge your phone.
Can you set up a rain catchment system for your animals or your plants?
Burn a fire in the fireplace instead of a gas insert.
This is a big one.
How can you reduce the amount you need? Not the amount of health, but the amount of help for your health from the outside?
Can you learn herbal remedies so you can make yourself a tea the next time you have a headache instead of an aspirin?
Personally, I love herbalism and have taken all of Herbal Academy’s courses, but I realized that when our diet is healthy, we really don’t get sick so we don’t need herbal remedies.
Our focus now is a healthy diet and lifestyle.
When it comes to reducing your need and creating it yourself, can you cut out junk or processed foods? Eat more organically? Exercise?
I still think learning herbalism is worth it because, at least with Herbal Academy, they go deep into how a healthy body functions and what to do when that body is out of alignment.
So How Do WE Balance It All?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of hard work.
I work from home, which lets me throw in a load of laundry every day, to do dishes, cook and keep house during my breaks.
Hubby works out of the house so most of his homesteading chores happen in the afternoons and weekends.
We also don’t try to do it all. We have chickens for eggs, but then barter those eggs with the farmer next door for meat.
We don’t have pigs or goats or cows. We’ve decided that we simply don’t have the time.
When one of us quits our day jobs or retires, we’ll reconsider.
We have a large vegetable garden and orchard that provide a lot of our food. I can and freeze the excess.
We also lean on our community to help with the garden. We have several friends who do not have their own gardens who come help tend to ours in exchange for some of the produce.
We also only take on one big building project a year.
First was the chicken coop, then the outdoor gym, then the greenhouse and next is the barn. Doing only one big project at a time helps prevent us from burning out.
All that to say, “homesteading” is whatever you make it. It’s a gradual path towards more self-sufficiency, but there’s no “arriving”. There’s no “you’re either homesteading or not.”
You’re homesteading if you grow a mint plant in a balcony of your apartment.
Do what you can, with what you have, and stop trying to do it all. Enjoy the journey!