Losing Money

I do not like losing money! Do you like losing money? 

Let us talk about that. 

Today is a great day to discuss one of the biggest and most costly mistakes people make when starting a homestead – or really anything for that matter.  

What is this costly mistake?

The Costly Mistake?

It is doing things bass-ackwards or said another way, putting the cart before the horse.

The expression cart before the horse is an idiom or proverb used to suggest something done contrary to the culturally expected order or relationship. Ordinarily, the horse pulls the cart. Therefore, to put the cart before the horse is an analogy for doing things in the wrong order. Implying, you are getting ahead of yourself. 

This idea is on my mind because we have been working hard to do many things on the homestead. However, we have not yet picked a clear direction, selected a plan, and executed it. It is overwhelming.

We have come up with 50 or more plans, written 500 lists, had 5000 discussions and followed through with 0. (Head hits the desk).

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time we have run into this issue in the last decade. When we first started homesteading, we had this issue all the time. But worse than that, we would get a chunk of money and throw it at something we knew we wanted before we were ready for it. For instance, we bought livestock before having proper fencing! 

Fencing is always an issue

Rebecca Aaronson

Oh my, I will tell you right now, fencing is always an issue. It will never leave your to-do list. Seriously never! That said, do yourself a favor and spend money in the correct order. Avoid putting the cart before the horse. Secure adequate fencing and or build housing and then purchase livestock. 

I’m sure you have heard it said, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Well, it’s true! Let me tell you a little story about when we had $15,000 worth of cattle confiscated because they were not where they were supposed to be. 🙁 

I spent that summer riding my trusty steed Rocky out to bring our cattle home from the neighbors (over a mile away). The cattle would sneak off our 80 acres and head down the logging road, cross the street to the only neighbors we had within miles! So frustrating. 

Eventually, we got served by the Tribal Range Management. They said they would give us a fine and potentially confiscate the livestock if it happened again. 

Unfortunately, I later took a job in town and was unable to watch the cattle. The person left in charge didn’t care for rule-following. Therefore, the cows continued to get out and do as they pleased. So one day, Range Management showed up and rounded up our 20 + cows and drove them away. OUCH!

$15000 Worth of Cows Lost! 

Long story short, they sold the cattle at the market, and we never saw a penny from them. That was years of work gone! Breeding, natural management, a young soon-to-be milk cow, the whole shebang! All gone! All because we didn’t have the needed fencing for the animals we were trying to run.

The moral of the story… $15,000 worth of cows can pay for really nice fencing. Heck, if we had even sold just a few of those cows to pay for the fence we needed, it would have been worth it. Not that year only but for years to come. 

I hope you can learn from one of our many mistakes and do your best to keep the cart behind the horse. 

Whether looking for the perfect property for your homestead. Or researching breeds of animals. Or finding the right breeders, researching soil types for your garden, or making sure you have proper water and ways to get it where it needs to go (the list goes on), we are here to help you along the way.


In conclusion, doing things in the proper order will save you time, money, and headaches. I promise! Sometimes it means slowing down. I know that can be frustrating when you are passionate and excited about what you are doing, but I promise it will be worth it. 

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  • I am a follower of Christ, mother, rancher, horse broker/trainer, dog broker, "cow-girl," natural health enthusiast, forager...the list goes on. Self-sufficiency, homegrown clean foods, and ministry were the goal. We started as healthy-minded city folk who went from a ¼ acre in the city to 160 acres in about 18 months. These decisions came with a HUGE learning curve. Over the past seven years, we have learned much about homesteading, preparedness, animal husbandry, and pioneer-type living. We learned it the hard way. I hope that you can learn from our struggles and thereby have a smoother transition toward being prepared. Read Rebecca's full story

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