Wednesday 23 September 2015

Wednesday's Life Changing Thoughts

Nearly had a day mix up and didn't do this post, never mind.

Money that is whats this weeks thoughts are on, when you throw off the shackles of your old life and plan to live off the land, no matter how much self sufficiency you plan to be you WILL need money, how much money you need all depends on the life you plan to live.
If you grow your own food
Raise your own meat
Go off grid and supply your own services 
Paid off your mortgage 
you will still need money, Council tax still has to be paid, vet bills have to be paid, Animal feed, transport/fuel costs are just some of the things you need money for, unless you win the lottery you will have to come up with a way to earn money to pay for your get away lifestyle.

Kev from English Homestead is a carpenter and his wife a teacher, they swap roles with childcare and Kev works during school holidays and does some work at week ends and evenings, its hard work for the both but they have worked out a good balance.

Sue Quiet Life In Suffolk her husband has been doing work locally for farmers and neighbours they also run a campsite and Sue sells produce from the gate. Another good balance.
Bovey Belle deals in antiques and her husband restores antiques, they spend there week ends going round fairs and events and week days are spent sorting stock. Another good balance.

My husband Martin still has to work away through the week, I earn from crafting, it is tough being here and coping with all sorts of problems on my own, its tough on Martin as well, he works hard drives hundreds of miles a week to and from home,  we are still working on the balance but have plans and we will get there.

So what do you plan to do for money, have lots of chickens and sell eggs, REALLY in a rural area just about every other driveway has a sign up eggs for sale, why will they buy yours, what if your place isn't on a busy route selling from the gate would be very difficult, whatever you decide to do there will be some-one else in your area doing it already, that's not to say you cant but if you go in all gun ho slash prices to get the work you will only get up the backs of local people and in a rural area you need friends not enemies, there are lots of crafters around me, I got to know who was selling what by attending local events, doing some research making friends then doing something a bit different to others, you might have to take on a little cleaning job, be prepared to do some seasonal work, its only by getting to know others and getting involved with local events you will hear of these jobs. Fact of rural life is they are more likely to take on some-one they know locally rather than a stranger and you will be the stranger, it may take years before you are considered local i some places you may never be considered a local.
Selling on line means you can sell to the world, but selling on line in a rural area has its draw backs, Internet speeds and connections may be patchy, there have been occasions we have lost phone and Internet services for days, posting out items can be difficult, we have a mobile post office van come to the village for an hour a day on week days, I have to set the timer on my phone to remind me of the time and down tools and dash when the van is coming, nothing beats visiting the post office van in your wellies and your covered in muck.
There have been times it hasn't turned up, its broken down, the driver is sick and if the weather is bad in winter I may not be able to get to it. 
No matter how much you save or how frugal you are you will always need money, if something major goes wrong you need to lay your hands on money fast. You also have to think what if your partner is not well enough to work, what if you lose your partner.
We know some-one who recently lost his wife they have been living there dream for only a few years, seeing how this friend is now having to make life changes was something that we discussed what if we were in that situation, its something you will have to discuss, how will the one that's left cope, you never know what is round the corner.

There is always a way to earn money you just have to be prepared to turn your hand at just about anything and unskilled labour is low pay, so how do you plan to earn some money when you throw off the shackles and flee to live your dream.



  1. Personally I make most of my cash from Honey sales. I have seen many attempt to give me some competition over the years locally but before it is all said and done I usually end up with their hives or their deaded out woodenware. To get enough honey to really make it worth selling requires a lot more hives than most people have time to take care of.

    I also have a fledgling used tractor and implement resale thign going on but don't talk about it much on the blog for obvious reasons. I recently purchased a 20 year old tractor for peanuts that they said didn't work and got it running in a couple hours. Fixed a few lights and now the thing is worth about 3K more than I paid for it. I have also learned some damned valuable skills at ethnically engineering and repairing the things too that would be handy until all the fuel runs out anyway.

  2. Great post Dawn, far too many people think that a little holding will give them an idyllic lifestyle, raising their own food and no rat race to suffer. Very few consider all the points that you make and even fewer realise just how hard the work is. I grew up to the life and even as a small child had my chores to do, before and after school. I have spent many many hours crawling across a field singling out sugar beet, or walking the hedgerows filling sack after sack with hog weed for the rabbits and picking stones off the land for carrot and parsnip seeding. We never had much cash, lots of things were obtained through bartering. We all picked fruit and beans on farms during the summer and did what ever there was, all monies earned went into the central pot.

  3. This is a difficult on Dawn - I agree with your every word. I can't think of anyone doing it round here to be honest. Quite a lot of the women have given up work to bring up their children and then stayed at home and earned money in various ways - round here I can think of egg sales, making quiches and such like to order, doing sewing jobs like shortening trousers, putting in zips etc., and cleaning of course. But I also agree about eggs - everyone on our lane keeps a few hens. My surplus go to my friend in the village who can sell them easily at her gate. There is also some seasonal work up here with it being a holiday area - but there will always be electric, council tax, water rates, and all those nasty utility bills that need paying. I think living the dream sounds wonderful in theory, but not if you are constantly worried about money.

  4. Great post Dawn and very true. I don't live in a rural place but I live just outside a small coastal town with very high unemployment. There is a half hourly train service to bigger towns but its expensive, the buses are slow and virtually non existent. Both my daughters learnt to drive at 17 and both moved to much larger towns. I would love your lifestyle but I am a realist I/we just couldn't do it. We don't have the knowledge. My compromise is going semi rural with a slightly larger plot of land so we can have a poly tunnel and more vegetable beds. I am learning to be more frugal in order to mimic what its going to be like living on a pension, but still live and eat well and still have holidays etc Its been an eye opener as to how much I was wasting etc

  5. A thought provoking post. I think your series is showing just how hard this lifestyle is, many go in to it with their eyes closed and don't realise how hard it's going to be.

  6. Col worked full time for all but 3 of the years we have been here. We could never have made a living here without him working when we had a mortgage and 3 children at home. It was only after the children moving, the mortgage paid off and several thousand in the bank that we felt able to risk earning a living from the holding. Then Col had the heart problems and all plans went pear shaped.

  7. You do put on some really good posts, Dawn. We definitely had rose-coloured glasses on when we moved down here to beautiful rural Somerset 5 years ago, it's been a steep learning curve but we've got into it now and love it. Wasn't easy though in the first couple of years, far from it.

  8. I took early retirement from work when I couldn't stand the stress or the commute any longer thinking that I'd got more than the required 35 years of NI payments made and that in a few years time I'd receive the new full state pension to top up the smallish private pension that I have and paid into without fail each month, even when I was really struggling for money .......had another forecast last week and I will be £30 short of the new full pension because I paid in to my works (goverment) pension - sometimes you just can't win! You are so right, you just don't know what's round the corner and no matter what you always need money. Thought provoking post Dawn xxx

  9. Hi Dawn! I've pretty much resigned myself to working the 'day job' until I retire before De and I can just make our way on the homestead. Unless things completely fall apart I should be able to retire in 4 or 5 years, although I'm technically eligible now. After that we hope to have bees, and a bit of produce to sell at the farmer's market. It wouldn't be enough to pay the bills, but my pension should cover all of those with a bit left over.

  10. Hi Dawn! I've pretty much resigned myself to working the 'day job' until I retire, and work the homestead in my evenings and weekends. Unless things completely fall apart I should be able to comfortably retire in 4 or 5 years, although I'm technically eligible now. After that we hope to have bees, keep selling enough eggs for the chickens to pay their own way, and maybe have some produce for the farmers market. The homestead will likely never pay the bills, but we will be able to live the life we love... We hope...

  11. Great post Dawn. I would say that it is virtually impossible to make a smallholding pay for itself let alone pay the bills. You get "free" food from livestock, but they still had to be bought/bred/fed etc and the vet's bills don't come free. Even with the mortgage paid off, council tax is like another mortgage times 10!! Transport always makes for a hefty bill too as - especially here in Wales - everything is so far away and bus routes almost non-existent. It's a great life though, and worth the inconveniences.

  12. Very good post Dawn. Yes it is a great life, but it must the your life! You will very rarely find people who can make a living from a smallholding, one or both must work elsewhere, and there is no swanning off for a couple of weeks hols whenever you feel like it, even if you can afford to. You have responsibilities. It is hard work and can be lonely if your partner must work away, leaving you with the full responsibility for everything you have. If you have a mortgage, pay it off as soon as possible. Save, save and save you will not be able to manage a smallholding particularly with animals on a state pension, the feed alone will use up a great deal without the vets bills and the other 101 things. Having said that, it's still a wonderful way to live. If you are physically and mentally strong, like being scruffy and dirty, getting soaked, cold, injured on a regular basis, enjoy your own company, hate spending money and have a very very good sense of humour, then go for it and good luck!

  13. We live on my husbands work government pension. Not a huge amount but it does us and by living frugally we manage to save each month. We have worked out already what would happen should he go first as he is the only bread winnter. If he dies before I get my government pension, money would be tight until then but I would still get half his work pension. We continually save for any eventually.

  14. Really interesting post Dawn, I'm really looking forward to moving out to the countryside again but know we will never make a living out of it. We will be retiring in 4 years so supplementing our pensions is something I will be looking into.


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