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25 Ways You Can Be More Self Reliant Today

Updated on November 12, 2014
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

A good supply of wood is a comforting security measure for winter.
A good supply of wood is a comforting security measure for winter. | Source

Learn Self-Reliance Skills Before You Are Forced To

There are a lot more than 25 ways to be more self reliant so use these tips as a creative nudge. Self reliant living has always been an important skill. From the Pilgrims to the generation that lived through the Depression and World War II the ability to survive and thrive during times of intense hardship made the difference between life and death - freedom and slavery.

Sometimes people become self reliant because they want to and sometimes because they have to. Choosing to be self reliant is better than being forced to in difficult circumstances. Since any skill requires practice spending time honing your survival skills when you don't have to is better and more effective than having to learn on the fly. There's also a deep confidence that develops as you learn to do more.

There is nothing in this world that is guaranteed. Things change rapidly. Stock markets rise and they crash, you may have a job today and yet be unemployed tomorrow. It stands to reason that the more independent you can be the better off you are and the better quality of life you will have overall.

Learning to make bread is one step toward self-sufficiency.
Learning to make bread is one step toward self-sufficiency. | Source

A Guide to Self Sufficiency

5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead
5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead

If you want to be self sufficient you know it isn't going to happen overnight. This comprehensive guide walks you through the steps. Written by someone who has been where you are this book (or Kindle) has 24 five star reviews.


25 Steps to Self Reliance You Can Take Today

Becoming independent is not an overnight thing but everything has a beginning and this is no different. The small steps you take today can change your life, even save your life, further down the road.

1. Get Out of Debt

Getting out of debt is the number one priority. You can't be free and in debt.

Come up with a plan to get out of debt. This really isn't that hard. Put up the credit cards and don't use them. Begin to pay an extra five dollars on your lowest balance, more if you can. When that balance is paid off add the amount you had been paying to your next lowest balance, and so on.

When you can pay more by all means DO! Debt costs you money. If you really want to see how much it is costing you add up your finance charges every month. $50? $100? what could you be doing with that money?

2. Learn New Skills

Learn one homemaking, farming, or other skill a month. Sewing, knitting, and crocheting would be my top suggestions and then from their move to soap making and spinning. With these skills you can clothe your family or even make a little money.

Learning to milk a goat or a cow, clip hooves, and handle basic care is important, too. Seed saving, planting, creating compost, and other necessary farming skills will allow you to provide food for your family no matter what happens.

Other skills might include building and woodworking skills, learning about engines and how to fix them, and things along those lines.

3. Choose Simplicity

Make simplicity a habit. When you need to get your nails done, get your hair done, and have the newest technology the lack of these things will leave a huge void in your life. If you create a life without things you don't miss them when they are gone! Learn to enjoy an evening board game with the family rather than DVD's or video games. That's not to say you can't use them! Just beware of becoming too dependent.

The more things you have, the more things you have to keep up with, take care of, and worry about. Try to keep things simple and possessions minimal.

4. Invest in Books

Invest in books. No matter what happens if you have books available you can find the information you need. If the Internet goes down, if power goes off, you won't be able to get your information from your computer however if you have a good collection of books; reference and good literature, you will always have both entertainment and instruction. You can homeschool your kids pretty thoroughly with only a good set of encyclopedias.

5. Learn to Cook

Learn cooking skills. Bread baking, canning, making sour dough starter, and even making things like wine and vinegar are useful abilities.

It's surprising how many people honestly don't know how to make cake with out a mix!

6. Invest in reusable Items

Invest in reusable personal items like cloth diapers and cloth feminine hygeine products. Better yet, learn to make these things for yourself.

7. Plant a garden

Plan a vegetable garden. It doesn't have to be extensive. Good things to plant would be:

  • green beans
  • lettuces
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • beets
  • tomatoes
  • peas
  • okra
  • eggplant
  • peppers
  • zucchini
  • squash
  • cucumbers

There are, of course many other vegetables to try but these are the most reliable and prolific for the beginner.

8. Plant Herbs

Plant herbs. Culinary herbs should include basil, oregano, dill, lavender (mixed use), mint (also mixed use), rosemary, sage, and cilantro. But don't stop at culinary herbs, there are many herbs that make important medicinal teas. Lavender is soothing, mint calms a queasy tummy. Alfalfa cleanses the blood stream and lymph system.

9. Plant Fruit

Plant fruit. Not everyone has the space for an orchard but there are new varieties of miniature and dwarf trees that stay five feet tall or less and yet produce fruit. Usually you need two varieties of each fruit tree for proper pollination. By planting fruit trees as landscaping you will have s guaranteed supply of fruit in hard times. Strawberries, blackberries, and grapes are other good choices.

10. Consider Keeping Bees

Consider bee keeping as a fun hobby and a way to ensure that your sweet tooth gets fed. An added benefit is the increase in bees to pollinate your vegetable garden.

11. Dairy Goats for Milk

Consider dairy goats. Depending on where you live you can keep a couple of does for far less than you will pay for milk. If your space is very limited consider Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats. They are about the size of a Golden Retriever or Lab and are sweet tempered with good milk production on minimal feed. You can even use the large Igloo dog houses as shelter for them - at least temporarily.

Do not buy an animal on a whim. It is a responsibility and it's important that you learn all that you can before purchasing them. It will save time and frustration later on.

Raising fruit can feed your family and provide a little income.
Raising fruit can feed your family and provide a little income. | Source

12. Backyard Chickens

Chickens can provide eggs and meat. If you keep a rooster or two you can ensure your ability to continue to produce both eggs and meat as long as necessary by breeding the chickens and allowing them to hatch their eggs. Chickens, if allowed to free range, need little in the way of supplemental foods.

13. Collect Hand Tools

Pick up hand tools and learn to use them. Battery operated and electric drills and saws are great normally but what if the grid goes down and you need to fix something? You can find handsaws,planes, augers, post hole diggers and other tools for pennies at garage sales.

14.Have a Plan

Have a plan. This sounds easy but few people do it. Spend a few minutes thinking about what would happen in a financial crisis, national emergency, or weather related emergency. List some things you would need, plan what steps you would take.

Then discuss the plan with family members. Make sure everyone understands what to do in an emergency.

15. First Aid Kit

Have a first aid kit handy and learn about homeopathics and herbs. These were used for centuries before antibiotics and have a place in home health care today. Colloidal silver can be used as eye drops, nose drops, ear drops, external antibiotic and an internal antibiotic. Keep a medical reference guide where you can get it quickly.

16. Learn to Hunt

Buy a hunting rifle and learn to use it safely. There may come a time when that adorable rabbit that nibbles the clover in your backyard may make an excellent stew.

17. Learn to Forage

Learn to forage for wild foods. Berries, herbs, and other wild edibles abound in most of the United States. get a good reference book for your area.

18. Think Outside of the Box

Change your mentality about money. Working a 9-5 job is only one way to make an income. There are many more from tutoring, selling produce and eggs, to cleaning houses, mowing lawns, and blogging.

19. Create a Reference Library

Start a reference library. Books that have instruction in important survival skills are a great investment.

20. Emergency Rations

Keep some MRIs handy, about 1-2 weeks worth per person. This will give you time, in an emergency, to come up with a plan to feed your family.

Whole grains, powdered milk, and other dry goods can be stored without too much problem. Make sure you have a good supply of water on hand.

21. Wood Stove

Install a wood stove. Whether it is in the den or somewhere else a wood stove will provide heat and cooking surface if need be.

22. Stay Healthy

Exercise. Keeping yourself healthy will enable you to be strong in times of stress.

23. Keep Cash on Hand

Keep some cash at home. 500.00 is a good start. If something happens you have cash to use as you need to.

24. Consider Alternative Energy

Learn about alternative energy and begin moving toward solar power panels.

25. Drill a Well

Have a well drilled that can be utilized without an electric pump.

By doing these things you can feel confident in your ability to lead your family through hard times with a minimal discomfort.

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    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      Long term survival issues may never happen, but short term survival issues definitely will. Back in 2008, my husband and I lost our jobs and got into a situation where we only had an income of $3000 in one year. If it weren't for our survival skills, we would have had a worse situation than what we suffered. Because we had debt, we lost our house and our car, however, we always had food and power. Our garden, chickens, and goats as well as the wood cook stove and furnace helped make that possible. If my husband's eldest daughter's child support had not been higher than our income, we would not have lost the house either.

    • Jorge Krzyz profile image

      Jorge Krzyzaniak 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      I dated a girl, we were both twenty years old at the time. She'd had her car for a couple of years. She called me once from her cell phone at the gas station to get instructions on how to pump gas. I was floored, but instantly I understood how someone who has had everything done for them their entire life will find themselves very confused when having to face the world on their own. She was really pretty and not entirely unintelligent. Sadly however, I do believe that she starved to death at a McDonald's drive thru.

    • anidae profile image

      Anita Adams 3 years ago from Tennessee

      I believe in the future everyone will need survival skills ( you know --simple skills -- like how to cook, heat water without electricity, how to purify water, etc.). I am shocked to learn that many people have eaten all their meals in restaurants or friends home and don't have a clue how to make a sandwich or heat a can of soup. You have good information in your article. Thanks for writing this hub.

    • Jorge Krzyz profile image

      Jorge Krzyzaniak 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Good article. Many of Hesse things seem like common sense to me, then I see into my friends garages and see that they have no tools and no resources and I'm amazed at how little they actually know how to or are willing to do for themselves. Good work

    • profile image

      Marilyn 3 years ago

      Chris, You are assuming that everyone on this list has children. I don't with the exception of the furry four legged kind. I own a wide variety of books covering a multitude of subjects. Many were inherited from family members, many I have acquired over the years. Here is the part you need to take a deep breath for and perhaps even sit down. A few might be what you would classify as "slutty romance novels". But they are in good company, for example, Song of Solomon in the Bible, Scheherazade of One Thousand and One Nights and Arabian Nights, even The Canterbury Tales. So if I want to include something a bit more modern in my reading library please don't be offended and dismissive of it. For all you know, you may be insulting a future classic. Some of the most beautiful and lasting classic novels and poems weren't appreciated in their time because they had a few who considered them "slutty" or dismissed them because they were romantic. Don't judge my books by their covers! :)

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