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How We Built a Barn Debt Free

If you are thinking about building a barn and refusing to go into debt to do it, the tips below are for you. It won’t be easy, but boy, it will be rewarding. You can look through some of the free barn plans I’ve linked to and watch a video of our barn from start to finish.

How We Built a Barn Debt Free

Important Questions to Ask When Building a Barn Debt Free

Before you even begin the building process it’s essential to answer the following questions about building a barn- especially if you are striving for a debt-free project.

1.Why do you need a barn?

Before starting your barn-building project, take some time to think about why.

What is the motivation behind this decision? Is it because of current circumstances, or do you have an idea for something better in mind that will serve as a future goal once accomplished (i.e., starting a homestead and using the money to pay off debt or live on one income?)

The best way I’ve found is to pray about the decision and to think about how it will impact your future.

building a barn debt free process

2. What does the future look like for your barn?

We knew we needed a barn for our animals. We were currently and still do use our 100+-year-old barn. The chickens go in it at night, and that is about it. It’s unsafe, and its life is questionable at this point. 

I have always wanted a small farm. But, now that we have the acres to build on, the animals will continue to come. They have come to look at how many animals I have in this barn today.

We started with a potbelly pig who lived inside with us for a whole year; I knew this wouldn’t last. He was our motivator to look at building a barn.

the shell of how we built our barn debt free

We talked about the barn for an entire year. Where to put it, how big to make it, it took a lot of planning and prayer to find out which spot was best. 

the shell of how we built our barn debt free

At this point in our lives, hiring someone to do any DIY work like building a barn is out of the question. However, we love a challenge, and Eric is pretty amazing when building stuff. 

How We Built a Barn Debt Free
board-batten-barn-debt free

Since he was building the barn himself, we also had to figure out what he could realistically handle. 

Check out how we did our Kitchen Makeover HERE.

board and batten barn building

3.What size and what can you actually afford?

This leads us to this question. First, you have to know what size you can afford. I would have loved to have the money to fix up the original 100-year-old barn.

We even dabbled down that path and had a couple of quotes. To get the foundation level was $12,000. So we would be looking at a $30,000 investment in the barn.

We don’t have $30,000 for a barn for animals. So it wasn’t an option, not at this time. 

board-batten-barn-debt free

We looked at the money coming in from my side hustle, blogging. We figured out that we would have the entire thing paid for by taking my income and building our barn in a few months. We didn’t have to take out any loans or use our credit cards. 

Blogging has been a fantastic journey for me. If you want to learn more about blogging and make money with it, go here.

Key Factors to Building Your Barn Debt Free


We went into building a barn without any debt other than our mortgage. It’s important to note this because we already have a system in place regarding how we spend money and look at debt.

We took a long, arduous path to get here, but it becomes a lot easier to know what you need and wants once you change your mindset. That you can afford and what you can’t.

the shell of how we built our barn debt free

You may want to consider GETTING out of debt before you build your barn.

This will mean a behavior change. That is the key to starting a debt-free life. First, you must change your behavior. You can read more on debt-free living here.

board-batten-barn-debt free


We knew, for now, we didn’t need a huge barn. We only have a few items to put inside, and we only have a couple of pigs. Our goal is to add a couple of goats and sheep.

These animals will fit nicely into this new barn. Take a minute to think about the future and what you need from the barn.

How We Built a Barn Debt Free

Don’t forget to figure in permits for your budget. Every state and country will vary on requirements and fees. In New York state, I’ve learned that building a livestock barn should not affect your taxes- meaning an increase.

We needed a loft to store hay in a safe place. It’s a gamble every time we step foot into the older barn. 

the inside look of a board and batten barn
old barns history and story to tell

Above is our 100+-year-old barn that did end up falling in June of 2020. You can read about it here.

When it comes to living below your means and building a barn, you probably won’t get everything you want. That can be not easy to accept, depending on where you are on your financial journey.

a 100+ year old barn

It’s best to let it go and focus on the here and now. What you can afford now and your purpose for the barn is now. 

Who’s to say you can’t add on in the future, right?

Update- We added on to our barn in 2021! I thought it would be for my expanding livestock adventures, but my husband decided it was for storage! I did end up expanding our livestock with the addition of two pregnant ewes- who lambed in Jan. 2022! ( Updates coming for that!) I did share a glimpse on Titkok.

 Here is a picture with the addition on it.

board and batten barn expanded

Time Consideration

How long will the barn take to build? If you will follow our route and do it all yourself, think about what else is going on and will it disrupt the barn building.

For me, with my husband, I know when a big project is coming on like this, I don’t offer much physical help, but I’m there taking care of the rest of my life.

the shell of how we built our barn debt free

The challenge for me is to know it’s my time with the kids. I have to help pick up some of the other chores he may not be getting to because his time is going towards the barn.

It takes teamwork and schedule changes, but it’s worth it for us. But, of course, it isn’t a permanent thing, and we could build our barn ourselves and for a whole lot less. 

When it comes to spending money, I always say do I have money to spend or time? Us ally, it’s a little of both, but if you hire others to do things for you, you’re paying them for their time. 

the shell of how we built our barn debt free


We started the barn in April 2018. We ultimately finished it by the end of July 2018. My husband was the one who worked on it. His dad comes out twice for a few hours. Otherwise, it was him and him alone.

The only thing I contributed was managing the rest of the family and homestead while he worked on the barn. Oh, and a few Vlog videos too


The barn is 24’x24′ with a 16’x8′ loft. It cost us $8,000 for everything. We d have electricity in the barn as well. 

We have two stall doors inside that house, the mini pigs. 

It is a beautiful building and one we hope will last many years. You can watch the video below of it coming together. 


Below is a roundup of FREE barn plans you can use to start building your own barn.

  1. A 20′ X 30′ two-story barn with a gable roof and 10′ wide lean-to along its length. GET IT HERE.
  2. A building plan for a two-story wood frame barn, 30′ X 24′, with a gable roof, box stalls, cow stalls, a calf pen and feed room. GET IT HERE
  3. A Pole Barn Shop. Get it here
  4. A 40×44 Barn plan. GET IT HERE
  5. a 18×30 Barn plan. GET IT HERE




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Friday 7th of July 2023

Good morning, love the look of your barn, I am in the process of building or having a barn built. I am sure I will be able to build a barn just never have build something that big, I am a woodworking hobbies so furniture and things but was wondering what kind of wood was used ? Cedar? Or pine with a stain ? Anyway any more info on lumber used would be great


Monday 10th of July 2023

Hi! Its white pine. Then we coated it with a clear coat barn protection spray.


Friday 20th of January 2023

Hi! Do you know roughly how many hrs it took to build? Was you husband working on it full time? Also how difficult was it to set the posts for framing & the roof struts?


Monday 23rd of January 2023

HI Krista! Yes, he worked full-time and worked on it every weekend after work. I will ask him these questions and get back to you.

Janice Bever

Sunday 10th of April 2022

Great article. Sept. 1996 after we married(older) , we began our 28'x 50' gable roofed barn. It had to be done before winter hit here in upstate NY. We bought 1 truckload of lumber at a time from a sawmill. We worked full time off the farm. Nights and whenever we had a minute. Sometimes by the light of the truck headlights. Winter hit hard and quick. No roof. We used a huge orange tarp until Spring. My aunt gave us the money for a steel roof. We had a wide assortment of animals. Totally off grid


Friday 15th of April 2022

I love that you shared your story!


Tuesday 30th of November 2021

It looks just what I could do with


Sunday 26th of July 2020

Love this. Will you share the blueprints


Tuesday 28th of July 2020

We didn't make any blueprints. Sorry. My husband just made a rough outline and went from there.

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