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We mentioned that this year our family is working towards becoming Self Reliant. We have compiled a list of 12 things that you can do to work towards becoming more self reliant.
Each idea also includes thoughts on how we plan on implementing each of these ideas into our own lives. Throughout the year we will be discussing some of these items in more detail.
I would love to hear your thoughts!
Get out of Debt: Getting out of debt is an important step towards becoming self reliant. You can’t really be self reliant if you have an obligation to someone else. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey as a resource if you are looking to get out of debt.
Our plan: We do not have any credit card debt or automobile loans, but we still have a school loan left from my husband’s MBA. We have increased our payments towards this debt, and if we get some unexpected money we put it towards repayment on the school loan.
Have 3-6 months worth of Living Expenses in Savings: Have 3-6 months worth of living expenses in your savings will come in handy if there is a job loss in your family. It is nice to have a safety net so you don’t have to rely on others (or credit cards) to live on a day to day basis.
Our plan: We plan to continue adding to our savings each month until we reach our goal of having 6 months worth of living expenses.
Food Storage (Stockpile): Having a couple of months or a years supply of food is a good idea for several reasons. There are so many unforseen circumstances that can happen that would prevent you from getting to the store, job loss, natural disasters and more. If you have s stockpile of some basic panty items and things your family eats on a regular basis it will be helpful to sustain your family during those hard times.
Our plan: We are working toward having a years supply of food for our family. We have been gradually stocking up on wheat, flour, sugar, oil and other basic items that we can use to make almost anything we need from scratch.
Learn New Skills: Becoming self reliant involves learning new skills you didn’t previously know how to do. It could be learning to sew, cook, grow a garden or even change the oil in your car. The more you know, the less you have to rely on others to help you.
Our plan: I don’t know how to sew – at all! So, I plan on tackling that this year. It would be nice to know how to hem my boys church pants so I don’t have to use Glue Dots. (Yep, I actually use Glue Dots! Glue Dots and a little heat with the iron and the hem stay in place for …well, not very long). We want our kids to know how to cook when they leave the home, so we will be assigning each child a night to do the cooking. They will plan and cook the meal from start to finish. I see some interesting dinners in our future! We have lots of areas where we can learn some new skills, so these are just a few we plan on working on over the next year.
Plant a Garden: Planting a garden is a great way to become more self reliant. There is something special about putting seeds in the ground and growing food for your family. Having a garden means less trips to the grocery store for produce. Plus, it’s so much for fulfilling when you grow your own.
Our plan: We haven’t had too much success with our garden the last 2 years. We had animals get in and eat it the first year, and the second year we just started too late and had too much rain. We plan on tackling the garden again this year. We need to build a gate to keep the critters out and hopefully we will have greater success this year. We will keep you updated on our progress.
Bake from Scratch: Baking from scratch is not only a great way to be self reliant, but it’s also so much more healthy than boxed convenient foods. When you have the basics on hand, baking from scratch is an easy thing to do and you don’t need to run to the store for any ingredients.
Our plan: We plan on baking a lot more bread from scratch, instead of running to the store to buy it. We even have plans to make your own pasta, hamburger buns and more. This is one of the items I am most looking forward too, it should be fun!
Can your Foods: Canning food is a great way to extend the life of your garden. Canning items when they are in season is also an inexpensive way to have fruits and veggies all year long. You can even can meats and poultry.
Our plan: I have limited canning experience, but I am looking forward to learning more. Every summer I make jam, I have made pickles (thanks to my wonderful grandmother), and I have also canned chicken. I hope to can several items this items this summer, like fruits, green beans and more.
Keep Chickens: If you have the space, keeping chickens is a great way to get fresh eggs. I have been told once you have fresh eggs you will never want to go back to store bought eggs again.
Our plan: My husbands plan is to convince me to get chickens. I have a slight fear of anything with wings, weird, huh? I think we will probably end up with chickens sometime this year. I am thinking he can help me get over my fear by building me a super cute chicken coop.
Have a Reference Library: In this electronic age, we can find all the information we want via the internet on our laptops, phones and even eReaders. However, if the power goes out and we have no way to charge these electronic devices we are left without the necessary information we may need. Having a reference library of “real” books will make for a great resource on a day to day basis whether we have power or not. You can expand your reference library with books on cooking, gardening, home repairs and more.
Our plan: I love how you can download any book you want instantly onto an eReader, so we don’t really own too many real books anymore. We do need to invest in a book that would help us with some basics on home repairs. I am kind of a cookbook junkie and I have a couple books on gardening, so I am set there.
Invest in Reusable Items: When you invest in reusable items, you aren’t having to always run to the store for replacements. Not only that, but you are saving our natural resources as well. Reusable items may be more expensive in the beginning, but usually in the long run they are much cheaper. Reusable items could replace everyday items like diapers, paper towels, water bottles and so much more.
Our plan: My current plan is to get some reusable napkins so we no longer have to use paper napkins. I am sure there are lots of other areas were we can replace some of our everyday items with reusable ones. Thank goodness we are out of the diaper stage.
Install a Wood Stove: Installing a wood stove is a great way to ensure you will have heat in your home if the power goes out, it can even make for a cooking source. You can also use a wood stove to heat your home on a regular basis, so you aren’t relying on the power company for your heat. This not only will help you to be more self reliant, but it will also help you to save money too!
Our plan: We would love to add a woodstove to our home, we don’t currently have an area where one would fit, so this one will require some extra thinking. OK, maybe I should re-phrase that, my husband would LOVE to add one to our home. I am still thinking they are big and ugly and take up a lots of room.
Use Rain Barrels: By using rain barrels you can cut down on water consumption by using them for watering your garden, lawn and more.
Our plan: We have one rain barrel, but we would like to increase that. We would love to use the water from the rain barrels to take care of all of our watering we do during the summer months. The cost of water goes up so high here in the Summer. The rain barrel we have now only hold enough to water our planters during those warm summer months. Since we live in Washington there is no lack of rain to collect.