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These days, a majority of people live paycheck to paycheck, drowning in debt, slaves to a society that thrives on consumerism.
If you happen to be in that situation, it may seem nearly impossible to escape, especially if your budget doesn’t leave much wiggle room at the end of the month.
But if you create a good mindset around financial goals and are willing to be patient saving money can be fun. You learn to be thoughtful about your purchases and tweak your spending habits.
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Is it easy to say no to something you really want or something that a person made look like it is going to change your world? Nope. But the way you feel when you see you kept your monthly expenses down will make you feel far better than that one-time purchase.
The great news is, self-sufficiency goes hand in hand with frugality and the idea that less is more.
For this reason, taking steps towards a self-sufficient lifestyle can bring you the freedom and independence you desire, without having to break the bank in the process.
- Cooking From Scratch To Save Extra Money
- Use Food Scraps
- Eat Seasonally
- Use Cloth
- Natural Healing
- Create a First Aid Kit
- Cashflowing A Project Instead Of Putting It On A Credit Card
- Make Your Own Gifts
- Create Your Own Intertainment
- Don't Pay For Cable
- Don't Get Sucked Into Credit Card Rewards
Cooking From Scratch To Save Extra Money
One of the best ways to start being more self-sufficient is to cook your own meals from scratch instead of relying on take-out or already put-together options like hello fresh. I’ve got nothing against them or using them when life is crazy. But if you start to create the habit of cooking for yourself it will save you THOUSANDS of dollars a year.
Those options will cost you about $5 ($450 a month per person) a meal and cooking from home could be as little as $2 a meal. I don’t know about you but that is a significant monthly savings.
Knowing how to cook from the simple ingredients you have on hand (I call this shoot from the hip cooking. This is my favorite way because I am a bit of a rebel)– including the ones you grow and produce yourself – is a huge stepping stone to living life on your own terms without spending a ton of money.
Also, be aware that not everyone loves it. And you don’t have to either. There is no pressure to be a Rea Drummond (the pioneer woman) in the kitchen. I remember the first year we were married I was trying to cook to the level my mom would make meals and hating every minute of it.
But then I asked my husband what his favorite foods were… Tacos, pizza, and burgers were at the top of the list. So if your family doesn’t love big complex meals don’t feel like you have to do them either.
Do the things you love the most and let it be that.
From homemade bread and butter to cream cheese and fruit jams, there is no limit to the things you can create when you take time to understand the basics of “real” food.
Use Food Scraps
I don’t believe feeding dogs people food is the best idea. First, it will cause bad behavior and ill manners from the dog it will also cause them to get fat quickly. Especially if they are food-driven.
If you do want to give your dogs food sometimes make sure to compensate for it and reduce the amount of actual dog food you give them.
The best option is to use the abundance of food you have in a compost pile or feed it to chickens. This will give you free rich compost for gardening and help you save on animal food for the livestock.
Chickens will eat ANYTHING, even inedible food scraps from the refrigerator.
A great way to save money on fertilizers (or eliminate the need entirely) is to create a compost bin and let your old food scraps work for you.
Pick a compost location that is shady, dry, and preferably not too far away from a water source of some type. To start, you’ll need to gather materials like cardboard, shredded paper, dead leaves, or straw (all of these are considered browns) to mix with your food waste (greens). There are different suggestions on the mixture ratios of browns to greens so make sure you do your research ahead of time.
If you don’t have a ton of space, you can also manage to start a compost bin indoors. Either way, you’ll be reducing waste in your home, helping the environment, and saving a ton of money. That’s a win-win!
If you don’t have the space or money to plant a big garden right now, stocking up on fruits and veggies during a peak season is the next best thing. Buying foods that are in season means you are getting the best of the best – super fresh produce that is jam-packed with flavor. The best part?
In-season produce is much more abundant and therefore, less costly to you so you don’t have to bust the budget to get all that goodness on your plate.
Search around to see what foods are in season currently and start making your grocery list. Making a habit of eating seasonally will keep your wallet intact and save money on groceries and your taste buds happy.
Now don’t freak out on me. I am the least likely person to do anything that causes me more mess. Use things that are reusable and can be tested in the washing machine or dishwasher. Instead of stocking up on paper towels, napkins, and disposable wipes, start choosing cloth as your go-to cleaning source.
Instead of having to throw them out after one use, you can reuse a cloth time and again simply by throwing them in the washing machine when they are dirty.
Although you can choose to buy store-bought clothes, a cheaper alternative is to cut up an old t-shirt or two and make your own. By doing this, you can save some big bucks not having to stock up on those pricey, disposable items anymore.
It’s not as hard as you might think. It’s simply a matter of tweaking your daily habits and having enough on hand to last you at least a day or so.
These days, it’s normal to treat the common cold or flu with a visit to the doctor’s office and a prescription.
However, if you want to ease away from that way of life and take on a more holistic approach, you’ll need to educate yourself in the ways of natural healing.
Many common household goods have health benefits that you can take advantage of. For example, you can use honey, lemon juice, and hot water to help downgrade the pain from a sore throat. Drink some ginger tea when you have a cold or reach for the garlic to help get rid of a bad cough or cold. (My dad does this all the time…While he thinks it helps the rest of us run for the hills and buy him lots of breath mints)
There are many ways you can heal your body naturally without using outside medicine. It also does wonders for your livestock as well. I have used herbs in the rabbitry for years and it has never let me down.
I am far from a woo-woo tree huger type. But I also think these natural resources are God’s medicine chest.
This is a great skill to have in your back pocket, especially when those cold winter months hit.
Create a First Aid Kit
No matter how much you try to avoid it, there will always be minor illnesses and injuries that require care of some kind. Instead of running off to the doctor to handle these situations, you can have your very own first aid station right at your fingertips.
The American Red Cross has helpful recommendations on their site for what to include in this homemade first aid kit including bandages, aspirin, cold compresses, tweezers, ointment packets, and much more.
By having the necessary items ready to go, you can combat everything from the tiniest of blisters to deep cuts to heat exhaustion. Providing the injury or illness isn’t too serious, you can avoid the doctor’s office altogether and save a ton of money in the process.
Cashflowing A Project Instead Of Putting It On A Credit Card
When you are working to become more self-sufficient or build your homestead it can be tempting to buy things with credit cards. But the interest adds up fast.
Paying for everything in cash was how I grew the rabbitry. If I wanted to add more holes (cages) to have more rabbits I started putting money back.
It’s so easy to buy things nowadays with just the tap of a finger. Before you know it you will end up with credit card debt out of your ears. The best thing you could do for yourself is get rid of any options you have of buying things with credit.
Set up a savings goal. To do that take the total amount you think you will need and divide the total by how many months you want to save. Then make your monthly payment to your savings account. Watching that total grow will start to get addicting let me tell you.
Make Your Own Gifts
DIY gifts don’t have to be tacky. There are lots of options you could come up with. You can do cool things to save money with affordable gift ideas, like herb gardens and gift baskets. AND if you buy these things during the off-season you will save big from buying things like seeds and gardening supplies in August or September.
Have a tree you need to take down? Cut a log down to about 18 inches then cut it in half and trill three wholes in the top about an inch wide. Presto you have an Ule Log.
Buy a nice spice jar set like this and fill it with herbs and spices you already have on hand.
Create Your Own Intertainment
This is HUGE. People waste hundreds of dollars on entertainment each month. It might take some adjusting and I certainly don’t recommend doing it all at once. Because it will be hard to do and feel like a punishment.
We only have an internal hooked up to the TV. That’s all we have as far as shows go. I used to only get DVDs out at the library when I wasn’t trying to finish a project for the business. Christmas time and during the winter were the main times I would do that. But even now I have pretty much gotten out of that habit.
The only time I watch TV now is at night with my husband before we go to sleep.
You can do so much with your extra time if you slowly ease yourself off those time sucks.
Don’t Pay For Cable
Use rabbit ears instead. This might be really hard for some but cutting that tv bill will give you a lot of contribution to your savings plan.
As you learn to be more self-sufficient and active you will start to have less time to use on TV and shows. We bought an antenna just like this and we get about 15 different channels and that is more than enough.
Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions
Check for auto-renew charges and cancel monthly subscriptions that you’re not using as you could be.
You also do not need multiple subscriptions for the same thing. Like, show streaming services. I’m looking at you Netflix and Hulu.
I struggle with this when it comes to my business. There are so many monthly tools I would love to have but it would at up to so much money. So I started shifting to finding tools that are “pay once” and your done type tools.
Whatever your guilty pleasure is being mindful of how much your total monthly subscriptions add up to alongside looking at your monthly income will help you see what you could keep and what should go.
Switch Your Cell Phone Plan
Changing your plan or checking to see if there is a better plan available is one way to save money on your cell phone bill, but it’s not the only way. Removing insurance from your plan could save you nearly $100 per year, per line.
Also, BUY YOUR PHONE OFF EBAY!
You can find amazing deals on phones that are open boxes and not even used.
Even the “free phones” aren’t free. If we upgraded to a “free phone” which would also renew our contract causing each phone line to go up by $7 a month. That may not sound like much…
Until you realize that is times 24 months totaling $168. So that alone gives you a nice budget to shop for a phone.
Knowing how much it costs over time will help you make better decisions on purchases.
Don’t Get Sucked Into Credit Card Rewards
These sound all well and good but the problem with those is there are often bank fees that these banks charge. Things like Card fees and the banks even make you pay for checks.
I have used a Credit Union all my life and they don’t charge me for anything. No credit card fees and checks are free. A credit union is the way to go.
It’s entirely possible to be more self-sufficient, no matter what kind of budget you’re on. By taking steps to be more independent, you’re not only making a super smart decision for your future but also for your wallet.