Are you struggling with your homesteading dream?
Are you wondering why it doesn’t feel the way you wanted or thought it would feel?
Are you just burnt out and don’t know what to do to get back to feeling inspired?
Maybe abundance homesteading is the answer!
What is Lack Homesteading vs. Abundance Homesteading?
Many of us come to homesteading from a place of necessity. Whether it’s a job loss or other financial surprise that forced a new perspective, or whether it was simply not wanting to live the standard American life with 9-5 hours and unsatisfying exhaustion, many of us start homesteading with the intention of saving money.
And there’s nothing wrong with this! Many of us learn that the satisfaction of self-reliance means we don’t have to spend so much money trying to find happiness in life, and so homesteading saves money by default.
But a healthy appreciation for frugality and taking a new perspective on wants and needs can at times transition to a lack homesteading mentality.
Lack homesteading is when we make choices about what we spend our time or money on from a place of “I CAN make it myself, so I guess I SHOULD”. While a healthier approach would be to consider how we truly want to spend our time and money.
We can quickly start believing that it’s wasteful to invest in convenience, or that we’re somehow failing if we don’t do it all ourselves.
Saving money becomes the goal rather than a nice side benefit.
And we can burn ourselves out doing this to the point that we stop enjoying homesteading and start resenting it.
But lack homesteading doesn’t stop at money issues. it can bleed into other areas of life as well from the way we see ourselves to the way we see our surroundings.
What can I Do About It?
If we flip the script and start thinking about homesteading with an abundance mentality, it’s much more rewarding.
Instead of thinking that we are homesteading to save money, or save natural resources, or reduce waste (all noble reasons), we can start thinking, instead, that we are homesteading to create a better life.
This better life will likely include all of those things I just mentioned, but it’s a much happier mindset to live with.
Abundance homesteading is the mentality and perspective that all is well. We can choose what homesteading activities bring joy to our lives and not stress about our enough-ness.
We don’t have to worry about not being frugal enough because there is abundance all around (in the form of money, yes, but also beauty, nutrient-dense soil, vegetables growing in the garden, etc).
We don’t have to worry about being homesteady enough, because we’re doing the homesteading things we want to do and enjoying it all!
Some of the Ways we Slip into Lack Homesteading
Here are some of the most common ways I’ve noticed homesteaders (including myself!) slip into lack homesteading mentality:
Believing that “Real Homesteaders Would Do X”
Homesteaders of the past were resourceful and ingenious because they had to be. It’s a great skill to have and necessary especially when you live far from town.
But modern homesteading is a lot more flexible than homesteading of the past. Most of us have access to just about anything we need with 2-day shipping or a trip to the town.
Just because Ma Ingalls would have made her own cheese, patched worn clothing, or eaten only what she could grow in the garden doesn’t mean you have to.
Believing that you’re not a real homesteader unless you do everything you could possibly do for yourself instead of hiring it out is silly. Abundance homesteading says, “enjoy the ease of modern life when you can, and bring in those old skills when it makes your life better”.
Lack homesteading convinces us that we shouldn’t buy something or hire something out just because we technically could do it for ourselves. It holds us in a place of deprivation.
But there’s no need to intentionally create more stress in our lives! Go ahead and embrace modern conveniences whenever you want to or can.
Of course, sometimes there just aren’t enough resources to buy or hire out those things. This is why it’s great to know how to be resourceful and self-reliant!
Believing the Idea that Farmers Can’t Make Money
If someone asked you to imagine a farmer, what would you picture? I know for me and many others that image would include a family in the 1940’s growing fields of one or two crops that, if they fail, would cause the family to no longer be able to survive. (By the way, this is how my ancestors lived so I’m not criticizing these families at all).
Farmer’s have traditionally and throughout history been middle class at best, and destitute at worst.
But things have changed! People are beginning to see the value in spending more of their budget on quality food. People aren’t always looking for the best deal, and also want the highest quality they can afford.
Additionally, new media has created the possibility of additional income sources from a farm or farmstead that was impossible even 30 years ago.
Take a look at successful farmers like Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm or any of the farming and homesteading YouTubers like Justin Rhodes or Roots and Refuge Farm.
If someone can do it, anyone can do it, including you.
Focusing on Being Frugal Above All Else
Many of us (including myself) have come to homesteading from a place of saving money. So I’m not trying to say it’s bad to be frugal. Not at all.
What I am trying to say is that frugality isn’t the goal. Living a good life is the goal. For many, frugality is one way to create a great life with the resources that we have available.
But when we treat frugality as the goal (because we feel silly for spending money on things we don’t technically need to spend money on) we start moving into a lack homesteading mentality and homesteading can become a prison rather than the thing that creates freedom in our lives.
Thinking Homesteading Always Has to Place Practicality over Beauty
Many women who are new to homesteading have an assumption that all homesteaders look like this: a woman in overalls covered in mud, manure, hay, and whatever else from the homestead. She has no makeup on and does not style her hair. She is strong and capable but does not put a lot of thought into her appearance.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this person (I am her quite often!) there’s also nothing wrong with a woman homesteader who prefers to wear makeup every day and spends extra money on cute homesteading clothes.
And if you’re like me, you are both of these women depending on what day it is!
It’s not just the homesteaders appearance either. This can impact how we see our homes, land, outbuildings, and other things on the homestead.
Some make the argument that if you’re homesteading you’re going to have to deal with unattractive chicken coops and gardens.
While this is certainly true to some extent, I don’t believe that we have to resign ourselves to a home that does not inspire and “spark joy” as Marie Kondo would say.
I think it’s possible to bring beauty to the homestead without being wasteful of resources.
How to Embrace Abundance Homesteading
It’s easy to accidentally slip into lack homesteading, but it’s also simple (if not always easy) to turn things around and improve the homesteading mindset. Here are some things to consider:
Make Decisions Based on What Contributes to a Happy Life
Instead of worrying about if you are “homesteady enough” just do the things that add to your life and outsource the things that don’t.
So if the idea of caring for a dairy cow is overwhelming to you or you already know you hate it, then don’t bother with a dairy animal! You can buy your dairy products from a farmer who loves raising dairy animals.
Homesteading this way may not look the way you or others think homesteading looks, but if it works for you and adds value to your life (instead of causing stress and disharmony), then it’s perfect for you.
So if you prefer to buy tomatoes and eggs instead of growing them for whatever reason, but you do want to have alpacas and grow artichokes, then go for it. There is no right way to homestead!
Find Your Own Balance of Function vs. Fashion
As we just discussed, worrying about if you fit the profile of a true homesteader is counterproductive.
So, if the idea of spending the rest of your life wearing Carhartt and ponytails makes you sick to your stomach, don’t do it!
Figure out a way to incorporate your personal style and desires into your homesteading life.
If you hate wearing makeup, great, don’t do it!
But if you don’t feel human unless you have some lipstick on and your hair styled, then, by all means, make that a priority. You do you!
There is no glory in changing who you are to fit some role. Look to homesteaders like Shaye Elliott of the Elliott Homestead for inspiration on how to rock the lipstick while being a badass homesteader too!
Furthermore, if you want to spend a little extra time or money to create a beautiful chicken coop (not just a functional one), go for it!
There are no rules that say you must deal with things not being as beautiful as you want them to be just because you are a homesteader.
You will figure out which things are important to spend additional resources on and which ones you are happy to upcycle.
Also, upcycled projects can be beautiful too, so keep an open mind!
Know That There is Always Enough
The universe is expanding exponentially every second. More resources are being discovered and created every day on earth. Just think about the things we have today that didn’t even exist a few decades ago.
If you haven’t yet figured out how to welcome these resources into your life, that’s okay, just know they are there waiting for you when you’re ready!
Cultivating this kind of mindset, that there is always enough and there is no need to worry, is a great way to move from lack homesteading to abundance homesteading.
Just think about it: If you feel like there’s not enough money, quality soil, time, etc. you may make choices that reinforce this belief.
But if you believe there is always enough and it may just take some time to figure out how to find the resources, you’ll be more relaxed and open to surprise abundances.
For example, like a friend offering you some extra tomato starts, an estate sale where you can get building materials inexpensively, or an income-generating idea.
Focus on the Abundance You’re Creating
Whether it’s vegetables, better soil quality, a blog that you share your experiences on, or the products you create on your homestead, focus on what you create.
Focusing on the things you are creating keeps your mind from slipping into lack mentality. It’s really hard to feel lack, or deprivation when all around you is growth, new projects, and creative expressions.
Focus on the Abundance Around You
Most farmers I know have the mentality of, “Maybe we don’t have a lot of money in the bank, but we have this beautiful piece of land to work every day”.
So if this is your situation, this is a great way to embrace abundance homesteading instead of lack homesteading.
Gratitude is the fastest way to turning a lack homesteading mentality into an abundance homesteading mentality.
Make note of all of the abundance you notice (beauty, love, health, knowledge, courage, etc.) and you’ll be overwhelmed by how abundant your life is!
Rejuvenate Your Desire to Homestead by Embracing Abundance Homesteading!
Once I started embracing abundance homesteading over lack homesteading, my frustration and overwhelm dissolved.
I was able to start enjoying homesteading much more than I had been when I was always worrying that I wasn’t doing enough or being enough.
Being authentic to the way I want to homestead has completely freed me from worrying about being enough or doing it right. I can grow my lavender and asparagus in peace while I watch others rock the tomatoes, peppers, and corn (not growing those!!).
I encourage you to embrace this way of homesteading too. You will love it!
Have You Thought of Homesteading This Way before? What Do You Do to Embrace Abundance Homesteading and Repel Lack Homesteading?
Heidi Villegas says
Mindy, I just had to write in and tell you how much I just LOVE this. I’ve struggled with this, especially in my early years of homesteading…and in the last two years, I’ve done pretty much what you suggest here, only I didn’t label it “abundance” homesteading. I really like how you’ve managed to not only put a label on a new way of thinking about homesteading, but give people a way to “have permission” to choose convenience and ease sometimes because it just makes for a happier life.
As an “older” homesteader, with no children to help, I used to look at the young families with bajillions of children and family members who provide help with many of the harder tasks, and be a bit frustrated. I stopped that immediately. It does no good to be frustrated. I decided that it’s just fine and dandy to do what we CAN do and the things that we also enjoy doing, too. We’ve learned to hire people to do much of the harder work that we don’t have time for….or the ability.
Anyhow, really great way to look at homesteading in a more modern (and joyful) light. So glad you shared this!
Thanks Heidi! I think more of us feel this way than we realize, so it definitely helps to know others have felt the same way. :)
Diana @ Wandering Hoof Ranch says
Mindy I love this :) thank you for your encouragement and kind reminders. It’s so easy and so many bloggers and influencers on social media out there paint the picture of what modern homesteading is for the world to see and sometimes it can be interpreted as what we should be or should be doing when like anything we need to focus on why we do what we do to create a happy healthy thriving home.
You’re absolutely right!
Oh my goodness. I just saw this, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Thank you for this writing – I really needed it today! :)
That’s so wonderful to hear!!