Simple Steps Toward Self-Sufficiency
We have made great technological advancements as a society through the decades.
It’s remarkable how many things we do now that we couldn’t do 100 years ago.
Such as produce light in a room with the flip of a switch. Fly across the country in six hours. Build skyscrapers where thousands of people can work.
And, of course, communicate and gain information through the use of a device so small that it fits into a pocket.
But there’s an irony to our progress. The more we create, the more dependent we become on our creations. The truth is, our ancestors were more self-sufficient than we are. We need to regain some of that self-reliance before it’s too late.
Plenty of options
Today I want to look at some of the steps we can take to become more self-sufficient. These steps are simple, but important.
Use it or do without it. We live in a throwaway society. As soon as something starts to wear out, we toss it out and buy a new one. But sometimes these items – from clothing to appliances – can be repaired. And if not, maybe we can live without them.
Do it yourself. Cleaning supplies and bug repellant are two example of spending more than is necessary. In both cases – and many others – we can make our own. There are plenty of online resources to show us how. So check them out next time you run low.
Walk or bike. There are some errands that require a vehicle. Such as the weekly supermarket run. But depending on where you live, there are other destinations that can be reached on foot or on a bike. Such as a local restaurant or convenient store. Walking or riding a bike is healthier for you and saves money on gas.
Build an emergency fund. Speaking of money, one of the best ways to become self-sufficient is creating an emergency fund. The key is learning to live on less than you earn. Some unexpected expense will come up. You can depend on it. But if you’ve put a small amount of cash into this fund at least once a month, that money will be there when you need it. And if your fund grows more than you thought it would, use some to reduce debt.
Grow a garden. This is something we talk about often. There’s a good reason for that. Establishing and tending a garden is one of the best things you can do to achieve self-reliance. As we’ve seen with the current pandemic, food supply chains can get disrupted. Eat your own fresh vegetables and fruits during the warmer months and freeze some for colder months. That way you won’t be crippled by whatever crisis strikes next. Learn which crops are most suited to your soil and weather. And then get started.
Eat your landscaping. In addition to a garden, consider adding some landscaping. The best type of landscaping you can add is the kind you can eat. If you google “edible landscaping” you’ll find plenty of ideas. Among them are fruit trees, groundcover and herbs.
Start a compost pile. Your garden and landscaping will thrive if you feed it with some of your compost pile. Build this pile with the green stuff that provides nitrogen. Such as plant-based kitchen waste, fruit peels, coffee grounds, grass clippings, etc. As well as with the brown stuff that provides carbon. Including dead leaves and flowers. Plus coffee filters, cardboard egg cartons, newspaper pages, etc.
Cook and bake. This is something you or another household member is probably already doing. But cooking from scratch is more fun and rewarding. Not to mention healthier. Same with baking your own bread. Both will save you money.
Learn about natural remedies. We don’t have to run to the doctor every time we have a minor issue. There are plenty of natural remedies for common conditions that can save us time and money. For example, omega-rich foods are good for dry eyes. Ginger and lemon can help with digestive upset. Apple cider vinegar and herbal teas are good for a common cold. Coconut oil aids dry skin. Baking soda can stave off foot odor.
Select cloth over paper. Paper towels and napkins can really run up our grocery bills. Choosing reusable cloths over disposable paper products can save a bundle over time. And if you want to get creative, you can make these cloths out of old t-shirts and other clothing items.
Other ways. Depending on how serious you want to get about this, additional ways to become more self-sufficient include reducing energy usage, hunting and fishing, and raising chickens. As well as air drying your clothes, collecting rainwater and cutting family members’ hair.
Get started now
If becoming self-sufficient is not something you’ve put much time into in the past, it’s not going to happen overnight. It takes time.
Don’t become discouraged because it doesn’t occur quickly. Set short-term goals for self-reliance and check them off when you meet them.
That way you’ll be encouraged by the progress you’re making. And that will give you more incentive to meet your next goal.
Keep at it. In six to 12 months, you’ll look back and be amazed at how much more self-sufficient you are than you were before.This is a goal well worth pursuing, so give it a shot. And please let me know how you’re doing during this journey!