Living a self sufficient life is a dream of ours. We homestead as we can currently, but we are urban homesteaders. We live in a very tiny town; right on the edge of town, so we do what we can. We are bound by a few town laws that really put a crimp in our self sufficient ways for now, but like I said, we do what we can.
There are a lot of reasons why, but the biggest one is that being self sufficient comes naturally when you live frugal and being frugal comes naturally with self sufficiency. In other words, they go hand in hand.
It can be hard to live frugal these days. In the age of high dollar shopping right in the palm of our hands, it is easier than ever to spend money. Sure, there are things you can do to save money, but this instant gratification can make it harder than ever to get your family on solid financial ground; let alone get ahead.
It also has made being self reliant and doing for yourself much more rare than it used to be.
Be Self Sufficient to Truly Live Frugal
It’s also true that the term self sufficient is looked at differently these days than it used to be. It used to mean someone who provided for their family in a way that did not rely on anyone else.
These days though if you tell someone you live a self sufficient life, they’re more inclined to look at you like you’re a crazy kook than to understand why. The majority of people simply can’t understand why someone would want to do more for themselves. After all, isn’t that why we created things such as the Roomba, the Amazon Echo, and so on? So we had to do less? Don’t get me wrong, I use an Echo Dot to save money on my electric bill, but those things should be used to assist; not to do for.
I am reminded of the movie Wall-E. If I were to be completely honest, I am truly concerned that we are headed in the same direction humans did in the movie. Computers and robots doing it all for us while we simply sit back and get fat and lazy.
Ways Being Self Reliant is Frugal
If you are already looking to save money, you’re one step ahead of those that aren’t. As I said earlier, when you live frugal, you have already begun to be more self reliant. Because self reliance relies on doing for yourself which is almost always cheaper in the long run.
You can’t have one without the other.
You grow and raise more for yourself
Being self sufficient saves you money in ways you never imagined. In fact, it may just surprise you with how much you’ll save when you first start living a frugal life by being more self reliant.
Whether you’re simply growing an herb garden on your windowsill or you have started a larger garden in the back yard, being self reliant helps you to feed yourself. When you feed yourself, you spend less money at the grocery store, less gasoline to get to the store, fewer healthcare costs and so much more.
The savings of having a garden can be stacked by raising whatever animals you can. Backyard chickens or meat rabbits can save you significantly on your food bill each year. Even if you are not in a position to raise animals yourself, buying them from a local farmer; like we do now that we drink raw milk; can save you money as well.
We spend more per gallon of milk, but we are actually spending less in the long run. Store bought milk lasts maybe 10 days in my fridge even if I buy the freshest possible. The raw milk we buy lasts two to three weeks before souring and even then it’s still usable. That’s in addition to the raw cream we get from the raw milk before we even begin to drink it.
You cook more – and better quality food -for yourself
Eating out and eating processed foods can cost you a ton of money in the long run. Eating out by itself is expensive enough, but when you add processed foods and how bad they can be for your body, the cost jumps significantly. When you live frugal and are as self sufficient as you can be, you cook real food at home most of the time.
The real food that my family grows is grown from heirloom seeds that use organic fertilizer and soil. The plants put fresh, real, raw food on my families table each night. I can control which chemicals are used on my plants and which are not.
The cost comparison isn’t much of a comparison at all. One single red bell pepper runs around $1.58 regular price for me. I planted an entire plant of red bell pepper this spring for not much more than that.
You make more and buy less
Another reason that you must be self sufficient to live frugal is learning to make things for yourself. When I started my own journey into self sufficiency, it began with a list of 30 things I started making for myself instead of buying.
It led to a home where almost everything is made by my own or my husbands hands at this point. It is healthier, more natural, produces less waste and is cheaper by far than buying the things we make. I make everything from the lilac perfume I use to the ketchup that is in my fridge. Are there things we can’t make? Of course. There always will be. But making what I can so I can buy only what I need keeps us reliant on ourselves only while saving money at the same time.
When you start to live so you are more reliant on yourself, your vision changes. You begin to see the value of creating something with yourself and just how frugal that really is. Making more for yourself is usually the first step to that changed vision.
In fact, it not only allows you to provide what you need without relying on someone else to provide it, but it also teaches you the real meaning of living frugal.
You learn new skills
Having a good set of frugal skills is so important for your frugal life, but as it would happen; those frugal skills also happen to be the most basic self reliant skills. Things such as knowing how to cook a meal, why a clothesline is better than your dryer, knowing how to mend a ripped shirt, how to waste less food or knowing how to change a tire all save you money and keep you from relying on others.
If you don’t have these skills, they are not hard to learn. Honestly, most of them are quite easy to do once you’ve taken the time to learn. Websites such as Youtube, Udemy, and Bluprint all offer video courses and lessons on various topics to help you learn.
If you’re willing to learn to be self sufficient, you’ll open up a huge world of savings for yourself.
You are healthier
I mentioned this a bit earlier, but I feel like I should explain. Whether you view yourself as trying to be self reliant or as simply living a frugal life, you are living a much healthier life. The instant gratification life our society preaches has us moving less, eating food that does horrible things to our bodies, using harsh chemicals on a daily basis and more.
Self sufficiency removes all of that.
Self sufficiency has you eating real food and cooking real meals. It has you moving more and doing more for yourself. Simply put, it is and always will be healthier to be self reliant.
My own health took a drastic and quite negative turn in 2007. 12 years later, it was a gluten free diet provided for mostly by self reliance, making everything I can and striving to be more self reliant that gave me both my life and my health back while knocking my finances back into place after several years of financial catastrophe.
Is Self Sufficiency Frugal?
This whole post boils down to one question and the answer is yes. Self sufficiency and self reliance are frugal.
I’ll even go this far; if you have been trying to live a frugal life without adding in self reliant tasks and skills, you will eventually fail.
You quite literally can not successfully have one without the other.
If you’re having trouble with your budget; if you’re living paycheck to paycheck or if you simply feel you aren’t saving enough money, check how self reliant you are.
Chances are good you will find you aren’t as much as you could be.