23 Budget Friendly MUST Haves For Your Homestead

As a homesteading and homeschooling family, we are big on budget and being good stewards of what’s been given to us. We live on a budget and typically buy used when we can. Here are a few items that we keep around the homestead and use regularly to keep things rolling.

1. Multitool

Having a knife, pliers, screwdriver, and wire cutters in your pocket at all times make for far less runs for tools for quick fixes. There are absolutely bigger jobs it’s not fit for, but cutting open bales or bags, tightening a screw on the fly, or holding something tight with the pliers or bending wire for fencing makes this little guy worth his weight.

2. Zip-Ties

From assembling a high or low tunnel to keeping chicken wire over an opening on a gate, or putting one around things to hold them all together these babies are great. We even use them to make chickens from year to year in different colors. It makes knowing who needs culled easy. Keep in mind that when used as a leg band you MUST pay attention to how tightly they are pulled and be prepared to cut them off at any time. We’ve never had an issue, but make sure to be attentive to your animals ALWAYS. We buy the big packs!

3. Lighter

Jordan always laughs at how much he uses a lighter. Mainly for melting the ends of rope/cordage, but sometimes for lighting a torch or fire. It’s incredibly handy and it’s earned it’s space in pocket for the unexpected amount of use it gets. Buy the cheap multi packs and keep them handy all over.

4. Para-cord

Para-cord is great for shoe laces to market displays. We’ve used it on the high tunnels to hold the plastic down, for hanging sticky fly traps in coops or barns. Heck, even the chicken and duck waterers are held up with this strong little cord! Pro-tip, buy the bigger roll, you will use it!

5. Hose Repair Parts

Carrying these started during our RV days. When you use hoses daily they eventually wear out and the $3 replacement piece are much cheaper than a new hose. Splice that baby and keep using it. We extend the life of hoses by years sometimes with these. Plus they are great in a pinch when you simply don’t have another hose or couldn’t run to get one. A back up plan is a must have around here. We have both the males and female ends like these and also these to mend the middle of the hose.

6. Hose Quick Connects & Y’s

On the same note, these hose quick connect and brass hose Y’s are a must have as well! The Y’s are great to have hoses available in other areas. We’ve bought more of both than I’d like to admit. They have held up great, but in our RV days we left them regularly. Oops!

7. 5 Gallon Buckets

The list of uses for these is never ending. Storing animal feed or minerals, compost, hauling tools or toys, uses them as waterers by adding water cups or nipples, we also use them to store people food with a gamma lid. They can be make shift feed buckets and they are great to haul hot water when it’s frozen around here. We dump the hot water to melt the ice in various other waterers. We even milked into a food grade 5 gallon bucket when we first got our cow. Check your local stores. Sometimes the bakeries will have used food grade buckets for a buck or two and you can usually grab them at hardware or farm stores. These ones are food grade and do include a snap lid. For food storage I prefer to swap for the gamma lid.

8. Extra Wire

Fixing gates or fence, extending electric fence, supporting plants on trellis, hanging things any who knows what else are just a few of the things we use wire for. Missing a bolt for a latch, no problem, we have wire for that.

9. 55 Gallon Barrel

This has been one of the best things to have “laying around” on the property. We only use food grade barrels that had been filled with organic food material (mainly organic vanilla extract) around here. We cut the tops off and flip them over to seat well back over the barrel and put feed in them. They aren’t as mouse proof as the metal ones, but they are substantially cheaper and we rarely have mice issues with them. Our pig waterer is one with nipples added. See that video here. We also have a goat waterer from one too. We even use a 55 gal barrel to haul water to animals as we rotationally graze them. Jordan rigged up a spigot that we can turn on or off and attach a hose to. It’s simple and rough, but incredibly effective and useful on our farm.

10. Knife

If you have. a multitool you may be able to skip this one, but the razor blade knives like these are a favorite. I’m bad about keeping mine in my pocket so I stash them in areas that I often use them.

11. Hand Torch

From soldering to starting fires, burning rope ends, loosening bolds, treating exposed wood, and thawing frozen pipes a hand torch is a handy tool to keep around. It’s like a cutting board in the kitchen, it may have one design, but you can use it as a hot plate, serving board, or self defense tool if needed. Also have versatility in your tools! Don’t forget the tanks too.

12. Weed Torch

When you don’t spray poison on the ground you still have weeds to manage in other ways. By burning them (in a few select areas) we can quickly turn those weeds into beneficial organic matter and keep the weeds from spreading. We’ve used this torch for craft projects and to burn plants that have become invested with bugs that are pests (like squash bugs.)

13. Flashlight or Headlamp

You will eventually be in outside in the dark and unless your homestead is full lit up then you will need a light. Maybe it’s short days of winter or laboring mamas a light will eventually be well worth having. We have a plethora of headlamps, but we all have a favorite. And it’s this one from Princeton Tec. We also have a whole collection of flashlights and when it’s dark and you’re in the middle of no where you want one that you can see around you well with. We love this one from Harbor Freight and you can’t beat the price. We’ve had it for about a year and a half and eventually when we make it to a Harbor Freight again (HELLO RURAL LIFE!) we will pick up the bigger one too!

14. Cordless Drill

From putting down crank trailer stabilizers to building tree forts, everyone needs a cordless drill. Jordan got his first one of these before we were married and he replaced it with the same one, just bigger, quite a few years later and it’s still going strong. We can’t say enough good things about this drill.

15. Cordless Reciprocating Saw

A chain saw is a must on a homestead, but for a long time we got by with just this guy and a circular saw. It took it’s sweet time on bigger stuff, but as long as we weren’t trying to take down a full-sized tree it would get it done. We’ve even used it to clear smaller cedars. I (Brooke) prefer it to the chainsaw for branch clean up because it’s just easier for me to use. Rigid saw for the win!

16. Chainsaw

Wether you are felling trees or fixing fence a chain saw is nearly a priceless tool. Here’s the chainsaw we started with on our little homestead. Jord’s since upgraded to a larger saw and more expensive saw, but he is presently building a chainsaw saw mill to use this guy with. Also, he only upgraded because we found a great deal on a used one! 🤪

17. Slime/Tire Repair

Tire repair, slime, fix-a-flat, whatever name you know it as, it’s handy. From bicycles to four wheelers, wagon wheels, even side by side tires this is a great tool to have available. It’s not always a permanent fix if the whole is too large, but most of the times we have used it we have had great results and extended the life of the tires exponentially.

18. Crescent Wrench

One size fits all is a big bonus on the homestead. Less is more and the versatility of a wrench that can be any size you need is a no brainer! We actually have two and we use them at the same time pretty often. They are easy to toss in the tool bag in the gator and tighten or loosen anything in the moment rather than searching for the right size or going to the shop to pick up a tool. These even occasionally get used as a hammer. You can find one here.

19. Battery Jump Pack

We thought this was the silliest thing when we were gifted it and yet it’s been a huge blessing. We have used it on vehicles, atvs, and even used it on the gator for a few weeks while we were waiting on parts! It’s great to keep in a storm shelter or emergency go-bag because you can charge a phone or anything else with it too. Battery Booster Jump Pack

20. Pallets

You will learn where you can grab these for free. Even our rural are has a few places that give them away. If you order from Azure Standard they often have a couple available at the monthly drop if you ask the driver and they are usually heat treated and good quality. You can also search Craigslist and Facebook market place for free or cheap pallets. We have built everything from a fence and dog house to pig shelters from pallets. Jordan even built a bedroom set when we first got married. He’s used the boards as siding for a chicken coop and even bought lags and scrounged scrap metal and made a complete shed! The boys took one and built a trailer to pull behind their ATV from a pallet! The possibilities are endless. Stay tuned for a great project we have coming from pallets this spring!

21. Electric Fence Tester

If you have electric fence then a tester is a must have. This is a quick way to know if your solar charger is working or charged like it should be. You can tell quickly if your circuit is broken or the fence is grounding out and not strong in a particular area.

22. Sledge Hammer / Dead Blow

Jordan told me over and over we needed a dead blow hammer and i thought, how different can a hammer really be? Well, it turns our I was wrong and we reach for this one all the time. It’s a little easier on the plastic posts for the electric fencing and it’s great for crafting without leaving marks like the other hammers do.

23. Mineral Buckets

Great for planting trees (that can’t handle your zone year round) or garden plants, using as livestock waterers when rotationally grazing. You can even use them to flip over some plants when the temps get crazy low to insulate extra. Keep tabs on market place and swipe these up when you see them. You can usually get them for about $5 if you watch and snag them at the right time.

These are all super helpful on our homestead, but I know yours may have different needs. What’s something that you keep on hand as a homestead must have?

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