Saving Money By Trying to Live a “Pioneer Lifestyle”

Author Bio: Most other Bloggers in the field of Personal Finance discuss their “Goal of obtaining one million dollars” or their “journey to financial independence and freedom.”  After seven years each straight of “higher” education (and all the student loans that go along with it), our husband/wife blogging team goal is to simply get back to broke.  Join us on our journey at

I was brainstorming with my wife (Mrs. Broke Professional) about what we do everyday to save money, which is the subject of this blog swap.  She asked which site I was swapping with and I said Prairie Eco

“I know!” she said with a spark in her eye that meant she had something.  “How about the fact that we try to live a pioneer lifestyle!”

Now my wife has been known to watch epic marathons of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (it’s a sort of sickness really in my opinion) so I thought maybe the good Doctor had gone to my wife’s head.

“What do you mean we try to live like Pioneers?” I asked.  “That’s news to me….our dog has a Coach Collar for goodness sakes.”

“Well, she replied (with a slight bit of exasperation), I mean the fact that we do everything we can ourselves and how that allows us to save a lot of money.

“You’re on to something,” I admitted.  And  obviously I was sold on the idea, as now I’m going with it.

How to Save Money By Being a Jack of All Trades

The more production and people involved in something, the more expensive it is.  Obviously there are certain things that you cannot do yourself.  For example, I generally cannot diagnose myself if I get sick (although I try, thank you Web MD).

Another example of my limitations (of which there are many) would be the fact that I could not design a remodeling of a house.

However, there are many other things I am quite capable of doing.  For instance, I can paint  a house.  I am also capable of shoveling my own snow, cutting my own grass, and a whole multitude of other things, from doing my own taxes to ironing my own shirts.   What each of us are capable of doing will depend upon our physical and mental abilities, but you can definitely save a lot of money everyday by being willing to learn new skills and by working hard.

Saving Money on Everyday Products

When you are at the grocery store, the “cleaned and cut” prepackaged fruit/salad is generally way more expensive than the fresh vegetables.  However, if you are willing to clean and cut those same vegetables yourself, and buy fresh, you save a lot of money (and you cut down on packaging).  We do not enjoy grooming our dog but we prefer it to paying someone else to.  We are currently enjoying a ton of savings by only eating at home, preparing our meals ourselves.

How to Save Money When Something Exceeds Your Skill Set

Even though I do not know how to put an addition on a house, I could work it into the contract that I would dig holes or perform some other type of manual labor so as to keep the costs low.  Another thing I strongly believe in is trying to make friends across a wide spectrum of professions.  Not because you want to use people for “their skills,” but because it is good for your soul (in my opinion) to hang out with a diverse group of people, and because you can then pay those people a fair price while knowing you are (hopefully) not going to get ripped off.   Depending upon their trade/profession, they might even be willing to teach you a little bit about what they do so you can add to your repertoire of skills.

But Isn’t Time, Money?

To be sure, this is something to consider.

Hey, if you could be earning more money by spending your time doing something else and you cannot otherwise fit in the money saving activity, then obviously I say go for it.  However, if I can  save $40.00 by cutting my own lawn through one hour of work, then that is generally a good deal for me personally.  Run the numbers and see if you can benefit from doing something yourself versus paying someone else to do it for you.


There are many ways to save money everyday.  What I like about the “Pioneer” lifestyle idea, is that it allows you to save money in many different ways.  It also can be fun to try and be a renaissance man or woman and learn new things.  For example, just a short few months ago I had no idea how to run a blog.  However, without any real help aside from reading online tutorials (and the friendly advice of some fellow bloggers), I now know enough to perform the basic site upkeep, without having to pay anyone.  (And I’m not even technologically savvy!).

To summarize, if you posses some skill and the will to do things yourself….you may be surprised at just how much money you can save.


Saving Money By Trying to Live a “Pioneer Lifestyle” — 21 Comments

  1. I have often wondered what it would be like to live as a pioneer- maybe I was born in the wrong century.

    I totally think just getting down to basics is a great way to save money. Doing things around the house, and maybe even foregoing the things that you can’t do yourself is a great way to preserve money!

  2. The funny thing is that the more simple of a life I lead the happier and more fulfilled I feel. Decluttering your life has very good benefits….not to sound new agey or anything but I just think it is good for your soul.

    • @ Broke Professionals I totally agree. We have been working on the same thing, decluttering our life and we are finding we are much happier and less stressed.

  3. I remember a few years back, there was a television program on PBS that was on the topic of pioneer living. In fact it involved putting volunteer families on a pioneer living journey for a few months. It was so interesting to watch, but a very hard life to live. Especially for the women. Work, work, bugs, dirty, work, work, work.
    I wish I could remember the who, what, and where for what I’m trying to remember. I would love to watch it again. Does anybody know what I’m talking about?

    • @ Jiva 126 I watched that same show but God help me if I can remember what it was called. It was super interesting to watch. In fact it was filmed not far from where I live. And yes, women had to work just as hard as the men in those days.

  4. After re-reading the Little HOuse on the Prairie series as an adult, it is confirmed that I’m too wimpy to manage the pioneer lifestyle. I mean, Pa was building furniture as his break when he had malaria! It was hard work and I’m just too acclimated to heat when I want it, food in the fridge, and the internet to go pioneer.

    I do cut my own veggies, do my own lawn care (it’s a teeny little lawn) and have a DIY-happy husband, so we’ve got that part going for us!

    • @The Saved Quarter There is a reason we have advanced in society. There are some things that should have been made easier and are. I think if we each do our part to cut back and DIY where we can than that is the key. It is all about balance.

  5. Money *is* time. Being more self-reliant and learning new basic skills is beneficial in many ways, although to channel Clint E a little, man’s got to know his limitations. That’s why I hired out the tile work in our bathroom. Although I could have done it, it wouldn’t have looked as nice, would have taken five times the efort, and I’ve since better deployed my time elsewhere.

    • @101 Centavos I agree. We aren’t going to be able to do everything. The key is balance. The fact that you were able to get other things done yourself out way the cost of getting someone’s expertise in the bathroom. I like to look at it as paying your fellow “pioneer” for his expertise.

  6. @Jiva 126 – I do recall that show. I would not want to take the “pioneer” lifestyle that literally lol.

    @saved quarter – I agree that finding a balance is key.

    @101 Centavos – Clearly your limits are much more advanced than mine. Sometimes I feel awesome if I replace a lightbulb correctly.

    • @Moms Plans Thanks for the name of the show. It was bugging me that I couldn’t remember it. And yes, doing more on our own when and as we can is the key. We don’t need to try to be superheros.

  7. I do not want to generalize, but it seems that even a century or two before (and in more rural areas today), there was not someone there to easily do everything for you. Not every town had a mechanic or a doctor even, or there was one there was only one, or he or she was far away. In turn, people were not as reliant on others to meet their own basic day to day needs. As the world developed and people began living in more urban areas, it made more sense for everyone to specialize, often at the expense of general knowledge. How many “city slickers” could even grow a successful household farm which would provide enough crops for their family to live off of for a a year? Or repair their own car? We do not have a lot of the skills we wish we did, but we are trying to be more self-reliant so we can save money. Plus, being able to help yourself (so long as you know your limits) can be very empowering and a good way to learn new things. So, yeah…we’re certainly not living like pioneers. But as Melissa said, the goal is to try and imbue some of that spirit into your day to day living.

    • @Broke Professionals I absolutely agree. We should try harder to do more things for ourselves and limit our reliance on others. My hubby and I do grow our own garden in the summer and we freeze a bunch of it to feed us in the winter. We also make our own compost and cleaning products. We try to minimize our reliance on consumerism and other people.

  8. @Miss T I am sure you have a lot more experience than we do with such things, as your site proves. I just wanted to say that your post has been a huge success over at our site. It has been linked to a ton of times and has taken the number one spot in our “most popular posts” (which we installed a month ago!) So, thank you so very much for graciously providing us with such an awesome “blog swap” post. You are a really talented writer and people really respond to your writing.

    • @ Broke Professionals. You’re welcome. I enjoyed swapping with you and hope to do it again at some point. I am looking for some guest posts for April while I will be away so if you are interested in getting a few up on my site, just email me.

  9. Good example with cutting fruit/vegetables on your own instead of buying the pre-cut packages at the store. Those pre-cut packages come at quite a premium, and the savings when annualized can be quite a bit!

    • @ My Personal Finance Journey Ya I know. Contractors seem to over charge because they know people will use them. We try to DIY as much as we can or use friends and family members who have skills. We only go external and commercial when we absolutely have to.

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