Its becoming more popular to be self-sufficient these days. Perhaps its the realization that government agencies are set up and shouldn't be taking care of us. Many people are realizing that we have to take care of ourselves and each other. That being said, finding ways to be more self-sufficient can be extremely libertating. It can also save you money or keep you comfortable in a situation where systems you rely upon fail.

The first step is to determine what level of self-sufficiency that you desire. Some people do not want to be self-sufficient. Some people would live like Thoreau. Your goal is your goal and its your job to reach it. A good goal for most is to try and get some short term redundancy for systems that could easily fail. Some examples of short term redundancy include:

  • A generator--for backing up your electric system.
  • Storing water and food in case of emergency.
  • Installing a wood stove to back up your modern heating system.

Then of course there are ways to back up these things in a long term manner.

  • Solar panels or wind generators for permanent electricity.
  • A well for constant water and a garden for (nearly) constant food.

These are larger type projects in scope. There are small things that you can do to reduce your dependency as well. A good way to do this is to evaluate how you spend your money. You buy food (you can grow that). You pay a water bill (you can catch your rain). If you do this and concentrate on the largest cost and work your way down you can save a ton of money and if things were to fail you'd never even really care.

One of the things I noticed since I became a dad is that between haircuts for me and my son we were spending about 40 bucks a month. For only 20 bucks for a one time cost we were able to buy a set of clippers. Now I get more compliments than I did when I had my hair cut by a professional stylist.

I bought a dehydrator so when fruits and vegetables get close to spoiling, I dehydrate them and save them for soup or other snacks.

I installed a programmable thermostat to reduce my dependence on and cost of electricity and natural gas.

I now water my garden with rainwater from my rainbarrel. My total cost for that was about 50 bucks. I have saved at least twice that in water bills.

It may sound like drops in the bucket but those drops add up quickly, saving you money, time, energy and piece of mind.