How to Become More Self-Sufficient in 2020

This year has thrown a lot of twists and turns our way, but personally, I’m also learning about persevering and what I want my life to look like in the future. Earlier this year still seems like a dream to me. One minute, things seemed normal and the next, most of us were cut off from some resources and services due to lockdowns and low inventories.

One thing that has been more constant in my life over the past few months is self-sufficient living.

What Exactly is Self-Sufficiency?

Financial independence is one thing, but I’m definitely trying to become more self-sufficient in many different areas of my life. Becoming self-sufficient means that you can provide for yourself and maintain your lifestyle without a lot of outside aid.

Now, I’m not planning to move off the grid, start farming and learn how to live without electricity. Still, I do feel that it would be great to learn how to insource more instead of outsourcing all the time. Plus, becoming more self-sufficient can help you gain the necessary life skills so you can earn and save more money.

Related: How to Work Toward Financial Independence and Still Enjoy the Present

How to Save Money With Self-Sufficient Living

Start a Garden

This is the one thing I’ve seen a lot of people start doing this year while others have been gardening for a while. I plan to expand my garden area next year since I’m currently just working with the two gardening boxes that were already set up when we bought our house.

Gardening is hard work but it’s rewarding and you’ll learn a ton during your first years. Start slow with just one type of vegetable or seed. I’m not going to lie, I often cheat and buy plants that I can just stick in the ground and water to grow produce. I haven’t even use seeds yet and it’s okay.

You can also start growing your own herbs indoors or start regrowing produce. I absolutely love the idea of regrowing things. Right now, I’m teaching my son about plants and animal life cycles and we keep going over the concept that plants are living things. I already knew this, but when it comes to regrowing it helps me realize that I don’t have to throw out the celery stems or even garlic or potatoes that are getting older. You can actually regrow produce from the very vegetables you buy from the store.

Check out the video below to see how this works.

Start a Compost Bin

Do you toss out a lot of food waste? When you’re cooking and discarding certain foods, stems, banana peels, etc. your first thought may just be to throw it away. Instead, consider starting a compost pile. If you’re considering gardening, you might as well start composting too.

Compost is an important nutrient-rich supplement that needs to be added to your garden and lawn soil. The nutrients from your compost will help the soil retain its moisture. Other benefits from composting include:

  • Offering a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers that are often applied to lawns and garden beds
  • Warding off plant disease (due to the microscopic organisms that help aerate the soil)
  • Less landfill waste and possibly a lower your garbage bill

So what can you add to your compost pile? Here are a few ideas:

  • Wood chips
  • Table scraps
  • Shrubs
  • Newspaper
  • Leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Flower cuttings
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cardboard

Do not compost meat, bones, fish scraps, or fruit peels that could contain pesticides. Store your compost pile in a bin or bucket with a lid until you are ready to transfer it to a composter. This compost bin is only $20.

Cut Back on Waste – Especially Food Waste!

Cut back on waste in your home by being more intentional about what you buy and repurposing things. Paper waste is something we are trying to cut back on but paper plates are so darn convenient 🙂 – especially during busy nights when we barely have time to wash dishes.

However, we’re cutting back in other ways like opting for paperless billing, opting out of receiving credit card mail offers (go here to do this), and buying reusable coffee cups that we can bring on the go with our homemade coffee. You can also use reusable containers, rechargeable batteries, and meal plan more efficiently.

I like to plan out meals for two weeks then create a shopping list based on those foods. Each meal is listed out for the coinciding day so even if plans change, I have a good inventory system of what’s in my fridge or freezer. At the end of every week, I reorganized the refrigerator and push certain items forward so they can be used before going bad.

Related: What a $150 Grocery Budget Looks Like

Best Clean Eating Grocery List for Newbies

How to Eat Well With a $300 Monthly Grocery Budget

Learn Some Survival Skills

Basic survival skills are important for anyone to learn. Moderns conveniences are all around us, but you may have to leverage survival skills on a whim or in an emergency situation. It’s important to know how to do things like:

  • Start a fire
  • Purify water
  • Navigating and reading a map or compass
  • Learning CPR
  • Tying a knot (an underrated but VERY necessary skill)
  • Using a tarp
  • 1st Aid

You can find online guides and YouTube videos helping you learn all these things. Make it fun and get the whole family involves as a weekend activity.

Start Preserving Food

If you haven’t already, consider investing in a deep freezer so you can store food for longer periods of time. Freezing helps slow the deterioration of food. Also, consider learning canning or pickling for some of your foods.

With the fall season right around the corner, I plan to can some fruits or make apple butter just as an experiment.

I also recorded a YouTube video showing how I set up a long-term dry goods food storage system. Check it out below.

Basic Car Maintenance and Repair

Cars are a depreciating asset and they’re going to break down often at the least convenient times. Instead of running out to an auto mechanic, I’ve been wanting to challenge myself to learn how to do some basic auto maintenance and repair work.

Last year I learned how to change my car’s air filter. This year, I need to learn how to change a flat tire along with how to change my oil.

Of course, there are YouTube videos out there that can help with this along with some great tip articles.

How Self-Sufficient Living Helps You Earn More Money

Learn How to DIY Something

DIY became trendy again in recent years but back in the day I know a lot of people did stuff on their own and didn’t make too big of a deal out of it. One easy way to become more self-sufficient is to find one thing you pay someone to do and try to learn how to do it yourself.

It could be something small and something you feel completely comfortable with doing. This could help you save money or even help you earn more money too.

If you develop a skill that helps your family save, you can consider starting a side hustle with your skill and selling a service to other people as well.

For example, learning how to sew is something I don’t have the patience for, but my sister is in fashion school and sews all the time. She can sew up clothes for people in the family and even made our younger sister a prom dress last year. One way my sister has already made money from her skill is by selling masks to people in our community and families for Covid-19. A few months ago she created some mommy and me masks sets along with masks with certain sports’ team logos on them and they sold pretty quickly.

Earn Passive Income

Earning passive income is one of best ways to build wealth. The average millionaire has at least 7 different sources of income. However, this doesn’t mean they have 7 jobs. Prioritize diversifying your income and exploring things that you can invest in to build passive income.

This may mean investing in realty shares, writing an ebook or getting involved in peer lending. Or, it can involve creating a course you can sell online, making money with affiliate marketing, or even earning cash back and loyalty rewards. Check out my post below for more passive income ideas.

Related: Top Ways to Earn Passive Income (And Why It’s Important!)

How to Make Money with a Blog or Niche Site

How Alexis Makes $3,000+ Per Month With Sponsored Posts

Start a Landscaping or Gardening Business

If you’re already doing a good job with your own garden and landscaping, consider starting a lawn care side business. Depending on where you live, this may be a seasonal business or just something that you do on weekends.

You can mow lawns, trim bushes, do light planting, and help people tend to their gardens throughout the year. You may need some equipment to get started but you can make anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 during your first year with a small landscaping business.

Pay Down More Debt

Some people say paying down debt is like giving yourself a raise. This is because it’s true. When a lot of your income is going toward debt each month, it can feel like finances are tight or you’re not making nearly as much money as you should.

When I paid off the bulk of my debt, I felt instant financial relief. I no longer had to put thousands of dollars toward a bill each month. Instead, my money could start working for me.

This is why one of my best self-sufficient tips for modern times would be to tackle your debt. Get organized and implement a plan. Put extra toward your debt when you can and enjoy freeing up your income for other goals when the balance gets eliminated.

There are quite a few things you can start doing ASAP to adopt a more self-sufficient lifestyle that allows you to save and earn more money.

What are some of your favorite ideas from this list?

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