Building up a homestead takes a lot of time and work. It can also take a lot of money. If you have ever looked through a farm supply catalog, you know what I mean. We have lived on our homestead for seven years now, and before we lived here we were on another piece of property for another seven years. We still don't have everything we would like to have. But we do have everything we need.
There is a way of getting around the high prices at the feed store. It involves a lot of time, and you may not get what you need right away, but the savings pay off in the end.
Craigslist is where I find the majority of farm items I need. You can find people near you that may be trying to sell the very item you have been looking for. While everything is not in mint condition, you may find a bargain. For several years I have been trying to find a good horse round bale feeder. They run around $400 new at the feed store. I found one on craigslist for $200. Then, when I got there I talked them down to $150. That is a huge savings! It isn't brand new, but it works for what I need.
Don't stop at the housewares or farm and garden sections though! Make sure you check out the antiques and barter categories. Put up a list of items you would like and items you have to trade. Another man's trash is another man's treasure!
The Local Newspaper
This is a good place to find deals too. I haven't had as much luck with this as I have with craigslist, but it's always worth a quick glance.
County Based Websites
Everyone may not be so lucky to have one in their county, but if you do, take advantage of it! My husband and I found a great kitchen table and china hutch for our house through our county website.
Estate Auctions and Auction Houses
This is a great place to find anything you are looking for, but unfortunately is the most time consuming of all the methods. Be ready to spend the whole day waiting for the item you are looking at to go up for sale. If you are patient enough though, you can find anything from housewares to farm equipment. A great website to find auctions near you is auctionzip.com.
-Always carry cash, and in different amounts. You know that round bale feeder? I ended up paying $160 because I only had $20 bills on me.
-Have a list of items you are looking for and the condition you want the item in. This is especially helpful for auctions.
-Know the value of what you are looking for. Don't end up being the guy that just bid 2X what the item is worth.
-Be comfortable talking people down on a price. Unless the ad says they won't take any less than the said price, it's probably expected. When I post an item, I always make sure to price it a little high because I know someone will try to talk me down. Others say not to, but in my opinion it never hurts to ask.
-Network. Get to know people nearby that may be able to help you find what you are looking for.
-Be safe. A lot of people say not to go to a seller's home. This is good advice, but unfortunately most of the time I can't avoid it because many items are too large to have the seller meet me in town. Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you'll be back. It's even better if you can take someone with you. Most of the time though, the people I meet are great people. I even got a tour of the last person's farm. (They had some adorable Scottish Highland Cattle ;)
Do you have any favorite websites for farm purchases? I'd love to hear it!
This post is linked to:
Barn Hop 66