With the drought in California, anticipated flooding in the Midwest, drought in Australia and Brazil, flooding in Great Britain, flooding in Peru and other places in South America there is no better time to think seriously about preparing. This time to build your food storage as prices will go higher. For specific food storage help visit the Totally Ready Facebook page. You have been warned, warn your neighbor and then do it. This is how.
A self-reliant lifestyle doesn’t just happen but it doesn’t need to be intimidating. Remember you eat an elephant one bite at a time and you become self-reliant one goal at a time. Keep your goals small at first and don’t expect everything to be easy. Many of your goals will prove to be easier than you think.
Decide what Areas you need to strengthen and make a plan. Exactly what is your definition of self-reliance? Is it being financially capable of living for a year without an income? Is it being able to go to your General Store and meet the medical, nutritional and gift needs of your family? Is it being able to remain emotionally strong during a crisis? Is it being able to thrive during an emergency? Is it to be able to make basic repairs around the house? Is it to be fit and healthy? If you feel all of these are an important part of self-reliance choose one or two and begin there.
Once you know your definition you can plan to accomplish and conquer each area. You may need to purchase more food, medical supplies, items to be used as gifts, tools, seeds and gardening supplies. You may need to learn some skills. You may need to strengthen your spirituality.
The areas you decide to work on first will be based on your family structure, location, passions, skills and finances. We all have challenges to achieving total self-reliance but with a realistic plan you can achieve your goals.
Create a plan that is a practical and which you can achieve over time. This is not a plan for the year it is a lifestyle plan.
Establish a Budget
A budget will help you understand where you might be able to save money and will help keep you on track as you move forward to reach your goals. Be sure to include self-reliance in your budget so you can purchase at least one item each month or accumulate for several months to purchase a more expensive item.
Find a Partner
Ideally this would be your spouse but some of us have a hard time convincing a spouse that self-reliance can bring peace and even financial rewards. Team up with a friend, parent or sibling who has similar goals and can act as a coach/mentor. Call them often for support when you are discouraged or to share a success.
Practice financial discipline by making a commitment to frugality. Eliminate or downsize luxuries, such as satellite TV, car payment and smartphone services. Do the kids really need to text or access the Internet on their phone? Do you? Why not trade in the car with the payment for a used car you can really afford?
Why rent a movie when you can get it free from the library? Get rid of satellite and get Roku. Shop at clothing swaps or thrift shops. Our daughters had so much fun doing this with friends and competing to see who could find the best outfit for the best price. Chop your own firewood or trade for it. Only purchase items when you have cash.
Remember these sacrifices will only be temporary and will allow you more freedom and peace in the future.
Get Back to Basics
Choose to immediately adopt those things that are easiest for you. One of the easy things for me was laundry. I now spend about $12.00 a year on laundry detergent saving $125.00 a year, as I make my own. I can save almost $200.00 a year by line drying clothes.
How are your gardening skills? Consider planting a small garden if you are a beginner. Learn to cook from scratch. It’s much better for your health, another self-reliance area, and much less expensive. Say goodbye to fast food, learn to make freezer meals instead, when dinners need to be quick.
Ask yourself before you purchase: could I do this myself? Before you throw something away ask yourself if it could be repurposed or sold.
Plant fruit trees and you will be able to add to your General Store (canning) as well as eating well during the growing season.
While you and your spouse may both be committed to working your plan you need to build relationships with those who have different approaches and skills. You can then support and encourage each other and most importantly share skills and learn from each other.
Never be afraid to ask for help. Remember the only stupid question is the one unasked.
Seasons Change, Keep Up
Eat fruits and veggies in season. Know when the best time is to purchase items that are on sale seasonally. For example, January is the time to purchase storage containers and electronics. (see August 2012 Newsletter for seasonal bargains)
Never buy anything that you can’t pay for with cash. Cash purchases will keep you from accumulating more debt. With that commitment made, get rid of any debt you have now.
Determine what you can eliminate and use that money to increase your monthly payments to pay off your debt. If you have debt you are currently wasting lots of money paying interest charges. Tighten your belt now and you will be amazed how much disposable income you will have when you are no longer paying on debt and all that interest each month.
Ask yourself the tough question. Can we get by with less? Many of us live in homes that are larger than we really need. Do you live in a home with a homeowner’s association and a monthly maintenance fee? There are plenty of great neighborhoods without this expense. Could you rent out room?
This is a step you should not ignore. Becoming self-reliant is not an easy road. It will have moments of great triumph and moments when you feel you just aren’t making any progress at all. Keep a record of the steps you take each day even if that is only reading an article about how to harvest seeds or brainstorming a list of people who can help you learn a skill you need. Every small step will be important to reaching your goal. Every step is important! Journal and you will be able to easily see your progress and you will be amazed how much you are really accomplishing.
Put in the time
Set aside time each week to evaluate your progress and to set goals for the next week. Remember anything worth doing is worthy doing right and doing things in the right way takes time.
For the past week I have had the primary song Nephi’s Courage come to mind several times. “I will go, I will do, the things the Lord commands. I know the Lord provides a way, He wants me to obey”.
He will make self-reliance possible it is just up to you to take the first steps.