Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Making Money

A real concern for many would be homesteaders is how to make money. In past posts we've looked at ways to live cheap, now what about making cash to cover the stuff we can't live without. As most of know, I pay most of my bills by milking a small herd of jersey cows. This isn't for everyone, you really have to love it. No matter what you do, you need to love your work. Find something you love to do, and you can find a way to make it work. If you grow your own food, make your own power, cut your own wood and then work a 9-5 job punching a time clock....You still won't be happy. Having a seflsuffiecent homestead requires self employment, at least it does for me. I thought I might offer some ideas on homestead money makers. None of these supports a family on there own, but you can use them to help cover bills never the less.

Trapping-you can sell your furs to country buyers or auctions. Nuisance trapping is a great money maker. Suburbanites will pay top dollar to have coons and squirrels removed from the attic.

Mushrooms-the woods is full of them and people, usually those from "the olda country" will always pay cash.

Extra eggs, milk, berries and other things you have a surplus of.

Pastured chickens sold for meat-don't need a lot of acres and health food folks can't get enouph.

Reselling junk-We do real well buying stuff at yard sales and reselling it on ebay. Sell stuff your farmiliar with. We like to buy stuff for 25 cents and resell it for 5 bucks.

Well, I got to scoot. Any other ideas are welcome in the comments, I'll put some more of my own there when I get time.


At 6/01/2005 9:52 AM, Blogger Puritan Mama said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Scott. We also do the resale thing - especially books. People will often be happy to have you take boxes of books off your hands for super cheap, and then you can sell them back individually on half.com or ebay. We also go to library sales - in our area, when a book that was really popular in the beginning wanes in popularity, the library will sell them - they often have "Fill a bag for a buck" sales and we clean house :)
We also use freecycle that way - people get rid of some NICE stuff in our area for FREE and we resell it.
At the bottom of our sales slips we always write: "Thank you for supporting our children's home education!" - So far our resold book "business" has allowed us to homeschool for "free" - meaning we never spent a dime on their books that wasn't already in our paypal account from those we sold.
Recently talked to someone who was selling organic mutton to REALLY upscale restaurants. It was insane how much profit they were turning over based on the actual work.
Great Ideas, Scott, Thanks!!

At 6/01/2005 10:41 AM, Blogger abigail said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6/01/2005 10:43 AM, Blogger abigail said...


You wrote, Reselling junk-We do real well buying stuff at yard sales and reselling it on ebay. Sell stuff your farmiliar with.

I can't imagine that the above was a true typo. :)

Buying clothes for eBay auctions from rummage sales can also be worth one's while. Buy a bag for a few dollars and re-sell items individually. (I bet Leah does this, too.)

Someone gave John and I a bag of pop culture t-shirts (Disney, NASCAR, country singers, etc.), and several of them sold for over $20.00 each, even though buyers knew that they were in gently used condition.

Three cheers for silly eBay buyers!

At 6/01/2005 4:32 PM, Blogger reformed farmer said...


Thats great. I have to sell books that I have no intrest in or else they end up staying on my shelf :)
I was going to sell used homesteading and pre 1960 agriculture books. I started buying them and then could never bring myself to sell them! BTW that is a fine looking young un' your holding there.


Hey, I hope your feeling better. Leah got a big box of brand new baby clothes to resell the other day for a couple of bucks, and we like the fill a bag for a buck deals as well. Selling old books and clothes is one thing, but man..I never took you guys as Pop Culture Tee Shirt Peddlers! I must confess, I once sold a copy of one of the "Left Behind" books I got for a quarter. Some poor dispy paid $5 for it. I justifed spreading myth and false teaching by using the profit to buy a good Reformed Book, after tithing to an RP church.


At 6/01/2005 4:33 PM, Blogger reformed farmer said...

Oh , Abby thats a cool picture! Thanks for the link.

At 6/02/2005 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Scott,

I work with a guy who has a nuisance trapping business on the side and he does very well at it. He's got some great stories too!

I have bought at yard sales and sold on Ebay too. Mostly books, which I'm "into" anyway. But I stopped that because I found I was spending WAY too much time in front of the computer. It doesn't help that I have a dial-up modem, which is terribly slow. If I had the faster service, that would be a different story. One day I hope to have the option.

Like many people, I work a regular job for 40 hrs a week and long to come home full time to a more agrarian business. I am working towards that end and, Lord willing, it will come together.

One of my rural enterprises is growing garlic. My soil and the climate are perfectly suited to growing stiffneck garlic. After reading one of Joel Salatin's books, I came to the conclusion that I needed to add "value" to my garlic in order to get more money for it. I considered pickled garlic but settled on garlic powder instead. I harvest & cure the bulbs, then I peel and slice the cloves, dry the slices until hard, grind in a blender, and sift through a rabbit-eared wire strainer. Stiffneck garlic powder is so incredibly different and better than anything you'll find in the store. This is a small agricultural enterprise that is working very well for me. It is a niche that works. I hope to grow and make and sell my garlic powder direct to real people (as opposed to wholesale to businesses) for many, many years. It's just one example of a small scale, value-added, homegrown product that can be produced on small acreage (which is my current situation). There are many examples, and I think of them all the time, but finding TIME to do them all is my big problem.

You are correct about the pastured poultry. My family raises our own meat birds in the front yard in a "chicken tractor." We currently have 65 chicks. If I had more land, I know for a fact that I could sell a lot of birds. The market is there.

Another ag related niche that my family taps into is homemade bread. My wife makes VERY Good bread and sells it at a farmers market. She has a following. She does it not so much to make money for herself, but as an educational and work experience for our kids (my oldest son in particular). They help make the bread, package it and sell it at the market. If she wanted to, she could have a bread route of regular customers. But it is hard work and the farmer's market one day a week through the summer months is good enough for now.

So there are some ideas.

Best wishes,

herrick Kimball
Moravia, NY

At 6/02/2005 6:49 PM, Blogger reformed farmer said...


Thanks for the ideas, good ones as always. I enjoy having you here!



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