Everyone has their own idea of how to live a self-sufficient life and what it means. For some, self-sufficiency is having a big garden in the backyard and being able to grow food for themselves or their family. For others it goes as far as living off the grid. I don’t believe that you need a huge garden or a house somewhere on a farm to be self- sufficient. ANYONE can be.
Here is some practical things you can do:
1. Plant windowsill herbs.
The first thing I recommend when anyone wants to save money or be more self-sufficient is to grow herbs – it is SO simple! Planting herbs was my gateway down the rabbit hole. Find a few containers around your house, or buy some cheap ones from your local nursery. Fill them with soil and either plant some seeds or herbs that have already sprouted. Well-maintained herb plants can last a while! And what is better than using fresh herbs in your cooking?
2. Cook your meals from scratch
It seems our modern approach at living doesn’t include the art of homemade food. However, the best way to avoid constantly going to the grocery store, eating fast food, and relying on other prepared meals is to learn to cook from scratch. It can be as easy as using those fresh herbs to season some oven-baked chicken breasts and steamed broccoli. Mixing together a few ingredients to create the same pancakes that come from a box only takes a few additional minutes! Homemade food doesn’t have to be complex or fancy.
3. Make your own body care products and household cleaners
One of my favorite things to do is to make my own body care products. Store-bought soap and cleaners are loaded with all sorts of toxic ingredients that I just don’t want to apply on my body or use in my house for that matter. And really, we don’t need to rely on manufacturers to create soap for us. Part of being self-sufficient is knowing how to make items like this instead of buying them from a store (and overpaying!) I also save a lot of money monthly making my own household cleaners. (all the recipes are on the blog https://thatmama.blog/2017/02/09/green-clean-goddess/)
5. Reuse and re-purpose
A large part of being self-sufficient is avoiding consumerism, making do with what you have, and reusing or re-purposing items. From using containers you already have to plant herbs like I mentioned above, to saving used coffee grounds to use as fertilizer in your garden, composting your garden waste, to re-purposing pieces of wood or furniture for other projects…there are tons of ways to reuse and re-purpose common household items!
6. Stock your grocery cupboard with basic ingredients
When you look in my fridge pantry, you might think, “Wow, there is nothing to eat!” That’s because my pantry is mostly stocked with ingredients to turn into meals – it’s not stocked with boxed meals or frozen meals. I have to admit that this might take a little getting used to. Now, when I look in my pantry I see a world of possibilities. Some key items I keep in my pantry, fridge and freezer are: Flour, honey, frozen vegetables (like green beans, peas, and broccoli), tomato paste, quinoa, rice, chickpeas, butter, coconut oil and spices. Keeping these basic ingredients on hand basically insures you can always make something for dinner. That way, you’re not running out to buy fast food – even if you have not pre-planned!
7. Buy from local farmers
Purchasing vegetables, meat, and other items from local farmers (and other local businesses) is the best thing next to producing these items yourself. Plus, you are helping others maintain their self-sufficient lifestyle and livelihood.
8. Grow vegetables
You definitely don’t need a big, luscious garden to grow a garden. Utilize what lawn you do have. And if you don’t have a lawn, make do with some potted plants right on your porch. If you really don’t have any space outside to grow some vegetables, you can absolutely plant some indoors. Also planting some vegetables like green beans in a pot works really well. Same goes for spinach.
Also if you can, keep a chicken or five and you will never run out of eggs again.
9. Stock up on herbal/home remedies
When a cold or the flu hits your house, there is nothing worse than having to run to the store while you or your kiddies are sick. Another key to being self-sufficient is not heading off to the doctor for every little sniffle and paying an arm and a leg. Keeping your “medicine” cabinets full of homeopathic remedies and other home remedies is definitely a life saver during those unexpected sick days.
10. Cloth diaper! (My favorite one!)
Using cloth diapers accomplishes several goals: 1) Saving money and being frugal, 2) Sustainability, 3) Being less wasteful. Though it may be unrealistic for some to go the full nine yards cloth diapering, if you just replace 3 diapers a day with a cloth diaper you are already making a difference to the environment and you are saving yourself a lot of money. Disposable diapers are so dang expensive.
How do you incorporate self sufficient practices in your life? Anything I forgot to mention?