Even if you aren’t living on your homestead as a business, you’ll find out quickly enough just how business-like it can be. You’ll have to do lots of figuring, accounting, and calculating if you want to make informed decisions that won’t cost you a bundle in the end.
Some days it can feel like you spend morning, noon, and night at your desk or kitchen table with a tablet trying to sort things out!
And whether you’re a math whiz or a complete numbers’ dummy like I am, this takes away valuable time and mental bandwidth that’s better spent doing actual work.
You can make your life just a little bit easier with a couple of good, trusty calculators that can do the figuring for you with a few clicks on the keyboard.
I’m bringing you 14 of my favorite homesteading tools and calculators below, each of them totally free!
Vegetable Planting Calculator (Spreadsheet Download)
This free spreadsheet will help you track and determine the best times to plant your veggies, no matter what they are and no matter the season.
It includes a checklist that will make sure you don’t forget any essential planting steps before you get your seeds or seedlings in the ground, and it goes a long way towards ensuring you’ll have a healthy and bountiful harvest.
Seed Inventory Spreadsheet (Spreadsheet Download)
This seed inventory spreadsheet will help you keep track of all the many different types and varieties of seeds that you have on hand. Trust me, this one will save you a massive amount of brainlock and aggravation!
You might have an envelope labeled “carrots” or “Brussels sprouts”, and you might even have the variety on it, but do you remember everything else about those seeds?
How about the days to maturity? How about isolation metrics or how they pollinate? What about the year you harvested the seeds?
You won’t have to guess, and you can have everything you need to keep track of your seed bank with this tool.
Compared to constantly updating a bound journal, it is a cinch to use and very fast. One of my favorites. Get it here.
Land Acreage Calculator (Online)
If you’re new to homesteading, chances are you’ll have to learn how to think in acres assuming you didn’t have a job that requires it already.
Don’t worry, everyone started somewhere, but if you’re used to processing things in feet or square feet it can be a little bit tricky. Make sure you get the math right and also start sharpening your own informed reasoning skills with this land acreage calculator.
Super simple, there’s nothing to it, and it runs in your browser window. You can punch in your area measurements in feet or inches, and it will instantly spit out your total acreage, yards, square feet, or even square inches depending on the calculations you need to do. Link.
Farm Loan Payment Calculator (Online)
Whether you’ve purchased your property with an actual farm loan, a land loan, ranch loan or you just got a loan for livestock or something else that’s homestead-related, watching your finances is going to be incredibly important.
Before you trust the banker or pull the trigger on terms that seem too good to be true, it pays to run the numbers yourself.
Most of us aren’t accountants, and I’m not either, so this loan payment calculator from Farm Credit Services of America can help you figure out exactly what the bottom line is in interest and total payments. Use it here.
Crop Population and Loss Calculators (Online)
Here is a nice collection of farming-centric calculators that you can use to determine everything from crop population to predicted losses for various kinds of plants.
You need a little bit of information to use it, including your stand count, the length of your rows in feet, and your row spacing in inches. Plug that in, punch the button, and it’ll tell you what your population per acre is in a flash. Link.
Seed Quantity Calculator (Online)
Wondering how many seeds you need to get a crop going? That really depends on what you’re planting and what its requirements are.
This handy dandy calculator from Johnny’s Selected Seeds can help you figure that out starting with the type of crop or with your row length and spacing requirements.
It has additional options for direct sewing of seeds or transplanting of seedlings or smaller plants, so no matter what your situation is, you’ll be able to come up with an accurate count so you can purchase intelligently without wasting money. Try it out here.
Seed Starting Date Calculator (Online)
One of the worst things that can happen to you when starting a spring planting is waiting too late or starting too early. Figuring out the right time to plant or start seeds indoors can vary considerably depending on where you live in the nation.
This is why it’s so easy to get conflicting info online if you take it at face value; someone’s advice might be for an entirely different region!
Get rid of this uncertainty using this seed starting date calculator.
All you need to do is punch in a reliable last frost date and then click enter, it will tell you how many weeks you need to start seeds prior to setting them out and when is a safe time to set out mature plants to harden them off for the upcoming warmer season.
Truly handy, and it covers flowers and veggies! Opens here.
Land Needed for Livestock Calculator (Online)
When I was getting started out, what I struggled with the most was figuring out how much land I actually needed for my animals.
It’s easy to guess, it’s easy to assume, but if you get this wrong your life and the lives of your critters are going to be a whole lot worse. Plus, land is really expensive, so this isn’t something you can afford to get wrong!
This super simple calculator is designed for homesteaders who want to subsist off the products of their herds and flocks. All you need to do is punch in the number of people you want to feed and your preferred livestock species and you can figure out how much land you’ll need and what the average cost will be in the nation.
You might be seriously underestimating both, or you might be pleasantly surprised! Use this calculator and find out.
Property Tax Calculator
You know the old saying; there are only two things in life that are certain. Taxes are one of them.
If you’re making the transition to a homesteader lifestyle, don’t forget you’ll still have to pay property taxes, and depending on where you live your county might have a very, very different idea on the value of your property compared to you.
This simple estimator will tell you what you can expect to pay in property taxes, and also direct you to the relevant tax assessors, records, and maps using nothing but a zip code and the estimated or assessed value of your property.
Listen to me, and don’t assume! Do your due diligence and avoid a costly blunder. Link.
Oklahoma State University Cow-Culator
The hilariously named Cow-Culator (they couldn’t resist, could they?) from OSU has everything you need to estimate feed and grazing costs for any kind of cow and any size of the herd.
From basic feeding to supplementation and a whole lot more, this calculator uses all kinds of criteria to give you the most accurate answer possible.
It is absolutely indispensable if you’re planning on adding anything but a single family cow, or perhaps two, to your homestead and should be your very first stop for getting your finances in order if you want a larger herd for business purposes.
Go to this link, fill out the simple form, and then submit it to get access to the program…
Chicken Coop and Run Size Calculator
For many homesteaders, chickens are the first choice for livestock. They are cheap, easy to raise compared to larger species, and highly versatile because they provide eggs, meat, and fertilizer. The trick, as always, is figuring out how much room you will need for them.
Yes, you can keep a huge flock of chickens in a much smaller area than you could even a couple of cows, but specifically, you’ll have to have enough room in their coop and run to keep them housed and safe from predators.
This simple, cute calculator will tell you exactly how big the inside of your coop must be for your proposed flock and how much space they will need in the run.
If you’re raising them for eggs, it’ll also tell you about how many nesting boxes you’ll need and how many eggs to expect weekly, though of course, this varies with the breed. Try it out here.
Firewood Cord Calculator
You know what a cord of wood is? Turns out lots of people don’t, but if you are buying, selling, or trading you’re going to have to get really familiar, really quick, especially if you rely on firewood for any purpose.
This simple, handy calculator can help you figure out how many cords of wood you have based on the measurements of your stack of firewood, and also tell you how many face cords you have which is somewhat different. Link.
Wood Burning Stove Calculator
Wood-burning stoves are coming back in a big way. I mean, really, they never left but with the surge in interest among citizens when it comes to living off-grid and being truly self-sufficient, a modern wood-burning stove just makes sense. They are super-efficient, affordable, and very reliable.
The trick, as always, is figuring out how much wood you’ll need to feed the beast and what size stove you need to heat your room or part of your house. Between this calculator and the previous one, you’ll be able to figure out the answers to both questions.
You’ll need to know the size of the room you plan to install it in, but as long as you’ve got that you’ll soon know what to expect when buying a wood stove. Link.
Appliance Wattage Calculator
If you are living on an off-grid homestead or just responsible for providing at least some of your electricity, knowing precisely how much power your home appliances, fixtures, and other devices use is imperative.
It’s especially critical if you’re going to go completely off the grid with solar, wind, hydroelectric, thermoelectric, or other DIY sources of electricity.
This calculator will let you add up all of the appliances and fixtures in your home to get a bottom line on electrical consumption. From here, you can better plan how to provide that power or figure out what you can live without. Try it out here.
Solar Panel Requirements and Savings Calculator
Modern solar panels have changed the game for homesteaders. For supplementary power or full-time generation in conjunction with a backup battery or whole-house battery systems, they are tops.
But figuring out how many panels you’ll need, whether they are installed on the roof or standalone, can be tricky. This calculator can help you with that.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.
Find out more about the team here.