Homesteading Mindset

by Donna Miller


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Some of us can remember reading books like Little House on the Praire or Swiss Family Robinson and having the pioneering spirit awaken within our hearts. The human tenacity to beat the odds, the miraculous provision in times of need, the close family bonds that brought the characters through tough times are all themes that are woven into those books. The "homesteading mindset" is somewhat romanticized or stuck in a time warp in these books' settings, but the pioneering spirit of the homesteader is still very much alive in the population of today. The necessity to develop a pattern of thinking and acting like a homesteader is central to getting a family through tough financial obstacles.

Homesteading can mean so many different things to people. To some, it suggests making or growing all their own food, from milling grains at home to butchering meat they've raised themselves. To others, homesteading means living "off-grid" and supplying all of their own electric and power needs via alternate sources (wind, solar, water, static or a combination). To other people, homesteading is almost a "hippy" lifestyle of simplicity and communing with nature and doing away with the conventional means of making a living.

Some homesteaders have varying degrees of each of the different methods mixed in to their own flavor of a homesteading lifestyle. Yet, regardless of the definition of homesteading, to the majority of the population, it seems that in the twenty-first century homesteading may appear archaic and outdated. The truth is that the homesteading mindset has never been more necessary than it is now in our present economic time.

Developing the mentality of a homesteader doesn't mean one has to live on 40 acres and collect eggs, or have a huge garden. It is something that anyone can do, anywhere and anytime. It is a simple as developing the habit of thinking differently. With a few tweaks of our current way of thinking, we can develop the "homesteading mentality" and use it even in the most packed urban environment. No matter the homesteading style, there are a few things that are common in the mentality that can benefit suburban and city inhabitants alike.

To people who are accustomed to purchasing items because they're used to having enough money, making the shift to the homesteader mentality involves one main little secret habit. This trick covers the whole mindset of a homesteader. The secret habit is to avoid the feeling of deprivation by thinking of it as creativity.

Before purchasing anything (clothing, food, household item, equipment, etc.), there are several questions that run through the mind of someone who considers themselves a homesteader. These questions help decide whether he or she should make the purchase. Here are just a few examples:

  • "Can I make it myself for less than it costs to buy it?"
  • "Do I have something already that works in place of this item just as well?"
  • "How often will I use this new item?" (Hint: If it's not used regularly, don't purchase it.)
  • "Can I do without this item?"
  • "Do we actually need it or do we just want it?"

When choosing to do without or make do or make it myself, the homesteader looks at the whole event as a way to be creative. Creativity is central to this new mindset, not just a budget or skimping, but creatively finding new ways to do things, new ways to make things, and new ways to use, reuse and recycle things. It's a challenge and a game to someone with a homesteading mindset to see just how happily and simply we can live.

As the days ahead are filled with stretching our dollars and becoming good stewards of our time and money, think of the spirit of those beloved books. We can find joy in being creative and change our way of thinking to a homesteader's mindset, no matter where we live! Enjoy the journey.


Donna Miller is a work-from-home wife and mother. She delights in sharing her trials and triumphs of learning to homestead. The Millers own and operate Millers Grain House, which offers Organic and Chemical-free Whole Grains, Bosch Mixers, the NutriMill, instructional tutorials, recipes and more. She also writes The Homestead Mindset Anywhere blog that is hosted right here at The Dollar Stretcher.com.

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