When my husband and I started this simple living journey, we did it as a way to reduce our dependency on a conventional system. It’s been an interesting journey, to say the least. In this post, I’m going to share with you things I no longer buy as a homesteader to show you what is possible, even if you’re taking things slowly.
We are constantly learning new skills and trying different approaches to this homesteading lifestyle. This post includes only the things I no longer buy as a homesteader 100% of the time. Some things saved us money, while other things swapped out an unhealthy option for a healthier option.
For us, it isn’t always about saving money, but rather how we can live a healthier and more fulfilling life by getting back to the basics. We do barter and trade for some things, and for the most part, we do save money. However, there are some things we choose to spend more on and I’ll go into all of that throughout this post.
If you’re interested, I do have a blog post about things I no longer buy as a minimalist that lists all the things I stopped buying as a result of reducing my consumption. I’m also working on another blog post that will list everything I no longer buy since starting my zero waste journey.
Both of these posts are centered around the fact that we save money since making the changes, so if you’re looking for money-saving tips, you definitely want to check them out.
So let’s dive into the things I no longer buy as a homesteader!
1 // Beef from the grocery store
We haven’t purchased beef from the grocery store in years. Raising our own beef was the reason we purchased a larger piece of land, and I’m so thankful we did.
I was worried the quality of the steaks wouldn’t be as good since our cows eat mostly grass, but that worry couldn’t have been further from the truth! I’ve never eaten steaks as good as the ones we’ve raised. They are far more tender and full of flavor compared to what you’ll get from the grocery store or out to eat.
When you look at price comparison, you’re getting superior meat for less than low-quality meat from the grocery store, so for us, this is a HUGE saving! We also get to enjoy cuts of meat that we wouldn’t normally purchase on their own, so I honestly feel a bit spoiled when I cook several cuts from our homegrown meat.
We started out with thinking we just want to know what food we are actually getting because I’m not a fan of eating horse meat! [Google it.] Now, we see many other benefits, including giving our animals an amazing life while with us. That is very important to us, too.
2 // Tomato-based products
So I wasn’t really sure what to call this one, because I am basically growing our own tomatoes, freezing them, then using them however necessary.
My uses for them so far include making tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, marinara, and salsa. It replaces canned diced tomatoes, canned tomato sauce, marinara, salsa, and more.
Growing my own tomatoes does save money. How much? I don’t really know, because every growing season is different.
More importantly, it allows me to use fresh produce over processed foods that include who knows what.
3 // Eggs
The very first homestead animals we got were chickens and I’ve enjoyed having them ever since. I love gathering fresh eggs and talking with my chickens every day. They are such fun birds and I honestly don’t know how I lived without them.
However, I will say that they aren’t money savers for us. Having fresh eggs is a luxury we choose to pay for because of other benefits, such as their poop being fertilizer for the garden and feeding them certain things that would go to waste, which I’ll get into next.
4 // Chicken treats
When we first got chickens, I didn’t know how to feed my chickens in an economical or homesteading way. I was purchasing expensive treats for them, because that’s what I did for my dogs.
Since learning better, these ladies eat up grub worms, garden goodies that I won’t eat [such as a tomato with a worm in it], tomato worms, and pretty much anything else they can snag from me or the garden.
This year, I grew sunflowers and harvested the seeds for them to save as a winter treat. I love sunflowers, so watching them grow brings me joy and free food for the chickens.
I will also feed my chickens the cuttings of produce from prepping our meals, which helps me reduce waste and provide them with a yummy treat!
Lastly, I do scramble up eggs for them during the winter months to give them a protein boost. They love it and have an easier time staying warm and cozy, which I love!
5 // Tea wrapped in plastic tea bags
This was something that surprised me to learn a couple of years ago. The idea that tea bags are lined in plastic baffles me!
Nowadays, I only use loose leaf tea from Farmhouse Teas with a tea strainer or compostable tea bags.
I’d rather pay for quality tea that is delicious and doesn’t contain plastic-lined tag bags, and Farmhouse Teas is the best!
6 // Soda
One of the very first changes my husband and I made when we knew that one day we wanted to have a homestead was stopping the purchase of six-packs and twelve-packs of soda in our home.
We now limit what kinds of beverages are in our home and soda is definitely not on the list. This isn’t to say that we don’t enjoy a soda every now and then, but we don’t bring it into our home to enjoy in a leisurely way.
We save some money by doing this and that allows us to invest in better quality groceries, like quality tea as mentioned in the previous item.
7 // Artificial sugar AKA Splenda
I’m at fault for trying Splenda in the first place! Thankfully, I didn’t get my husband on board with it, too. I used it as an additive in my coffee each morning.
However, at the beginning of 2020, I was able to break the habit and now I enjoy honey in my coffee. It was the best switch I could have made and I really enjoy honey in my coffee!
I also love that I’m supporting a local bee farmer. Bees are important to our planet and I want to support those who care for them.
8 // Cheese by-product
I’m disgusted with those who make cheese by-products because it isn’t real cheese! Like, why would you make that and still call it cheese?
Once I learned about it, I instantly switched to only purchasing real cheese.
Yes, it is definitely more expensive, but I don’t care.
Cheese is a staple in many recipes I cook and I couldn’t bear the thought of feeding my husband and I fake cheese.
9 // New materials when I already have something that can work
My husband is a master of many trades, and that includes making things from nothing. Any time I want to create a new structure, we both look through what we already have that can work and use it.
I’ve used old cattle panels as trellises for my garden, spray-painted old pots to give them a new life, and many other things to prevent buying new materials.
Our families also know we prefer to do things this way and always offer us anything they are about to throw away. I was able to create a 50′ wide x 4′ tall trellis from lattice my in-laws weren’t using anymore, which was amazing and is currently growing loofas and birdhouse gourds on them!
10 // Conventional cleaning products
I’ve mentioned how harmful conventional cleaning products are many times on my blog, because I believe it is important for everyone to quit using them.
All you need is vinegar, baking soda, and water to clean your home.
I’ve tried many other natural cleaners, but honestly, not all natural cleaners are created equally and sometimes it is easy to be fooled by them.
The only cleaner I trust outside of vinegar and baking soda is Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner [I’m not affiliated with them by the way], but I recently ran out of mine and decided that I wanted to go as basic with my household cleaning as possible.
11 // Harmful chemical-based laundry detergent
I used to make my own laundry detergent for frugal purposes, but since we moved, I had to switch back to pre-made laundry detergent. [The DIY laundry detergents didn’t work with my water. I tried many recipes with no luck.]
The next best option for using safe laundry products are plant-based laundry detergents. I’ve tried all kinds of plant-based laundry detergents, and Tide’s Purclean works the best for me. It is made with 75% plant-based ingredients, so I feel better about using it versus the regular Tide detergent.
I do hope that one day I’ll get to switch back to making my own, but for now, I love that I have a safer option that works great.
12 // Conventional stain remover
Call me crazy, but I recently learned how to naturally get grease out of clothes with just vinegar and now I want to clean all the grease stains my husband presents to me! haha!
Seriously though, I used to purchase expensive stain removers when all I really needed was some vinegar or hydrogen peroxide [both of which I always have on hand].
13 // Fabric softener
I quit buying this once I learned that vinegar is a great fabric softener. Not only does it help fight against mold in my towels, but it keeps everything fresh. Plus, fabric softener coats your clothes and actually prevents them from being as clean as they need to be. Gross right?!
14 // Dryer sheets
From my last couple of points, you’re probably wondering how I get my clothes to smell good if I use Tide Purclean and vinegar in my washing machine. Most of the time, it is good ole fresh air from my clothes line, but when I do put things in the dryer, I’m not using dryer sheets.
Dryer sheets are wasteful and expensive. Sure, they smell good, but you can simply replace them with wool dryer balls that have a few drops of essential oils that smell fabulous!
This is one of my favorite homesteading swaps because wool dryer balls can go in the compost when they are no longer good to use.
15 // Aerosol Spray
When I learned how harmful aerosol sprays are for the environment, I looked for alternatives for air fresheners [which is a whole other conversation] and cooking oil sprayers.
When it comes to cooking oil sprayers, I HIGHLY recommend the Misto Oil Sprayer! I’ve had my frosted Misto Oil Sprayer for over 4 years and it is still my favorite kitchen investment!
It uses pump action in order to recreate an aerosol spray without any harmful environmental effects. Plus, you can use ANY kind of oil you want and never have to pay premium prices as you do with aerosol sprays.
What’s next for my list of things I no longer buy as a homesteader?
I’m glad you asked! 😉
This year , I saved more seeds than ever. I’m hoping that once I nail down the varieties of produce I like to grow I’ll be able to eliminate the expense of purchasing these seeds completely.
I will always want to grow new things, so I’ll still purchase seeds from time to time, but I want to stop buying things I grow every year in my garden.
This winter, I plan to learn about soap making and baking bread – two things that have been on my list for far too long. I would love to add both of these to my list of things I no longer purchase as a homesteader, so we shall see!
In the years to come, I hope to say that I’ve mastered growing enough food to put away for a year. This includes all of our meat, vegetables, and fruit. I’m not putting a timeline on this and will take things in strides.
I learned the hard way that adding unnecessary pressure to something I enjoy sucks the fun out of it, so I will choose to keep it fun and interesting.
There are many traditional skills I want to learn, but too many to name them all here.
What about your list?
If you’re a homesteader, I would love to know what is on your list of things you no longer buy!
If you’re not yet started with your homesteading journey, but are curious about it, I have something for you!
In my FREE Resource Library, there is a workbook to help you get started. You can get access to it by clicking the below photo.
I love that every homesteader’s journey is different. That is what makes telling our stories unique and inspiring to others. This is why I share here on The Tannehill Homestead.
My husband and I had an idea of what our homesteading journey would look like, but this list proved to us that no matter how much planning you do, things will always look different.
To me, this is a good thing. There are many things I no longer buy as a homesteader and I’m always looking for more ways to add to this list. I’d love any suggestions you have, too! Just leave them in the comments.
If you enjoyed today’s post, remember to check out my post, 23 Things I No Longer Buy as a Minimalist and Save Money!