The global economic collapse became an eye-opening experience for many people. The ongoing crisis continues to create more joblessness at a time when the cost of essential items like food and energy continue to rise.
Inflation is only expected to continue due to excessive printing of money to compensate for the bursting economic bubbles, which were arguably created by printing too much money with artificially low interest rates in the first place.
The 2008 price shocks in oil followed by the financial collapse have led many people to begin taking measures to become more self-sufficient. Some have taken steps to conserve electricity, reduce spending and consumption, while others are planting kitchen gardens and installing solar panels on their homes. Even living off the grid is becoming a mainstream concept for those seeking independence.
Indeed, becoming more self-sufficient is proving to make common sense whether one anticipates more hardship to come or not.
Sure, many of us would love to live completely off the grid without giving up everyday comforts, but for most of us this is not practical. However, there are many steps that can be taken to move towards self-sufficiency which can be relatively painless and quite rewarding.
The following are 10 basic suggestions for more independent living.
1. Reduce your debt: Do you best to get your debt under control. Call your credit cards companies and ask for a similar work out plan that they received from the taxpayers. You can also do the same with mortgages.
2. Reduce your consumption: Evaluate your current budget and determine absolute necessity. Push your comfort level to find areas where you can scale back, and then identify comforts that you’re willing to sacrifice.
3. Reduce energy use: Change light bulbs, have entertainment systems plugged into a splitter that can be shut off completely to reduce phantom charges, etc. Carefully plan shopping trips and other transportation needs.
4. Store energy: Always have back-up propane storage and a large wood pile for a rainy day. Investing in a generator of some kind (even a solar generator) will be money well spent.
5. Invest in food storage: With a falling dollar and rising food prices, why not create a food savings account? Get some good books, dehydrators and vacuum sealers for storage methods. Best storable food items are grains (rice, beans, flour), canned goods, seeds, and some prepackaged items.
6. Produce your own food: Replace your lawn with a garden, fruit trees, and keep chickens. Go on hunting and gathering adventures for nuts, fish, and wild game. Store extra garden seeds!
7. Learn new skills: Surf the internet, read books, and take courses in practical skills like gardening, cooking with whole foods, composting, carpentry, alternative energy, natural health and wellness etc.
8. Start a side business: Turn your passion or hobby into a small side business to make some supplemental income. Who knows, it may become your path to full financial independence.
9. Install alternative energy: Start with small installations like a solar hot water system, a solar freezer, a solar attic fan, or a wood stove etc. If you have limited funds, tip-toe your way to independence.
10. Suggest solutions for your community: Engage your local community in discussions to take steps for self-sufficiency. Share your story and build support.
These steps will save us money as we move closer to the ultimate prize of independence. For me personally, each action my family takes to live more simply makes us more motivated to do better. So, the steps seem to become swifter after we took the first few awkward baby steps.