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Self Sufficiency and Homesteading Skills We Need to Learn

by Tiffany in Self Sufficiency

Self Sufficiency and Homesteading SkillsOne of the foremost things that attracted me to green and eco conscious living was the direct correlation to self sufficiency and personal responsibility. Going green is largely about taking control of your spending, your habits, your wastefulness, and YOUR contribution to the pollution of our planet. To live a more eco conscious life and reduce your impact on the planet I think you need to develop your skills set. We need some mad green skills. ;)

This is good news in my mind as I am and will always be a student of life. Learning new things is one of my greatest passions and I loved college more than anyone should I think. I still often think about going back to college to pursue my interests. Classes of any sort whether they be at a college or at my local community center make me stand up and take notice. I LOVE to learn! My hubby and I both enjoy “how-to” books and own a many of them. We subscribe to magazines that discuss self sufficiency and homesteading. We are very interested in expanding on our existing skills all the time and with the economy the way it is and the planet in the condition that it is…I think this is important. Instead of the skills to pay the bills maybe we need the skills to avoid paying the bills. Aka the more self sufficient we are the less likely we will need to rely on other people and services to get by. How can we reduce our consumption and rely more on the sweat of our own backs to get by?

In Mother Earth News awhile back they shared a survey they did of farmers and over 60% of the farmers they interviewed felt they were in a better position than other people in the country to rough it through economic hardship. Why is that? Cause they have skills.

Self Sufficiency and Homesteading Skills We Need

So what kind of skills can save you money and help you reduce your environmental footprint at the same time? Here are some of the front runners in my mind:

Grow Your Own: I think it is incredibly important that people learn to grow their own food. Our conventional food growers use pesticides, genetically modified seeds, and all sorts of chemical nasties on the food they grow. We can opt to reduce the amount we buy and therefore reduce support to such industries. It is also entirely possible to grow all your own food if you want to. All it takes is hard work and the dedication to build new skills. Grow in your front and backyard, patios, decks, balconies, window sills, etc. Join a community garden if you have absolutely no place to grow. Start a freedom garden movement in your community.

Sew Your Own: Sewing is a lost art and one we need to revive. In this day and age of slave labor and cheap Wal-Mart clothes and goods it is easy to decide that sewing your own is too costly. But sewing your own clothing, bedding, bags and totes,  home decor, toys, etc. is just to rewarding and empowering to ignore. And you can pick up very low cost fabric at yards sales and estate sales all to often as well. I have often bought entire bolts of fabric (40-100 yards) direct from the manufacturing companies so that I can keep costs down on sewing projects. Get good at sewing and you also have a marketable skill. I made good money selling hand sewn goods online for several years. I still love to buy hand sewn items from other moms and do so all the time.

Make Your Own: Why not try to make your own bread, soaps, candles, cleaning supplies, etc? Cook your own food and make your own dog/cat food. How much of the “stuff” you buy can you make yourself? Not only can this save money it is really rewarding to be able to make your own stuff and not have to shop for it. Right now I am reading the Outlander series and in a nutshell the heroine decides twice to to go back in time and live in 18th century Scotland where she and her family have to grow their own food or starve, make their own candles in a week long process and harvest the beeswax themselves, make their own clothes, build their own shelters, and set their own broken bones. It is a really fascinating read and every time I catch myself wondering why on earth she would CHOOSE to live that way I am reminded just how strong and self reliant this character is…yet you will NOT find a sub heading here called “Set Your Own”. :) Please don’t try to set your own broken bones.

Entertain Your Own: The biggest budget killer for my family is entertainment. I grew up in an affluent family that traveled a lot and generally just spoiled me. If I wanted something, I got it. Hubby and I ended up passing on a lot of that to our own kids and we had to back peddle. If we didn’t watch it, the kids would talk us into a bunch of worthless toys and large entertainment expenses. Now we invest in season passes to educational places like the zoo and the Science Museum. We buy second hand books and do a lot of reading.  We do crafting and painting. We listen to audio books. We search out our community for free or low cost events. We create fun outdoor play areas at home and we take them hiking and camping. Sometimes in lieu of traveling to warmer places in the winter we get a cheap local motel room with an indoor pool and let the kids spend the whole weekend in the pool. There are so many low to no cost entertainment ideas out there. It is a skill for many to get creative and entertain themselves.

Build Your Own – This is my hubby’s favorite learning area. He reads DIY books on building and carpentry with abandon. By developing building skills you can do home renovations yourself, you can build raised beds for your garden, build furniture, an aquaponics system, etc. The possibilities are endless. My hubby and I both want to pursue education and training in sustainable energy and building systems. We want to learn how to install solar panels and grey water collection systems.

Reuse Your Own– It is both frugal and green to reuse everything as much as you can. You can use egg shells, old rain boots,  and milk jugs in the garden. Old wool sweaters and t-shirts can be turned into cloth diapers and covers. Torn clothing can be used to make rag rugs. Glass jars can be turned into candle holders and vases, or you just drink out of them. That is what we do. One of the greatest cost savings opportunities available is to use and reuse what you already have.

What green skills do YOU want to pursue?

Related Article: 

5 Ways to Channel Your Inner Farm Girl When You Live in the City

  • Robin Rue

    These are all great ideas. Honestly,we don’t even recycle, so there is a lot more we could be doing.

  • Patricia Colletti

    Great suggestions! Very motivating!

  • Debbie Denny

    Very good tips. We do many of these.

  • Shauna Torres

    Great tips… we used to grow everything when we lived back north but here in texas, nothing grows. HA!

  • This is great. There is so much I wish I learned growing up, but there is always the chance to learn now! I would like to know how to sew (I’ve tried, I am just not good at it) and be more creative in reusing.

  • I love all tips related to homestead and self sufficiency, we have been implementing more and more techniques each year. Gradually bringing the family on board to my way of thinking! Love all these useful tips!

  • Lois Alter Mark

    These are great. It’s like the “give a man a fish vs teach a man to fish” quote. Always better to learn to do something yourself.

  • 1FlourSackMama1

    Good tips! I once had a very awkward experience in making our own recycled paper thought – too thick and lumpy — decided to use less instead:)

  • maria @ close to home

    I agree that sewing is a lost art. I am not very good at it but I learned in Middle school. They don’t have home economics any more in schools such a shame.

  • Kelly Hutchinson

    I love what you said about paying bills and doing things so we do not need to pay bills. I love to sew and have saved a lot of money doing so…or sew?

  • Yes to everything in this article! At our blog (All the Frugal Ladies) we are always talking about doing things ourselves. Not just because it saves money, but it’s interesting to learn a new skill and be self-sufficient.

    You put it beautifully:
    “The more self sufficient we are the less likely we will need to rely on other people and services to get by.”

  • Rebecca Bryant

    we try growing a garden every year but so fr w haven’t been successful. That said we have fun trying.

  • Stacey- Travel Blogger

    I have always wanted to have a garden for myself. I love love love these tips!

  • Heather

    It’s so hard to grow almost anything in Texas!

  • Abigail P

    Great ideas and tips! Wish I lived in a place where I could grow a garden, but the city and our local soil is awful!

  • Pamela : Still Dating My Spous

    It is so important to know how to survive off the land….great info you provided.

  • My son lives right next to a recycling center so he can easily recycle his plastic and cardboard waste. These are great tips for me, since I don’t have much experience!

  • Mama to 5 Blessings

    What great tips – as a family of 7 and living on 1 income it is a must to try to do things myself as much as possible, unforunately just wish i had the time!

  • mail4rosey

    I’m not surprised that farmers are self-sustaining when times get tough. They are definitely hard workers with skills!

  • Carissa

    I love the idea of reducing my bills by becoming more self sufficient. We’d like to sell our home to move to a place we can have solar panels and our own chickens

  • Censie ‘Mumby’ Sawyer

    Great tips. I would love to live like this in all aspects. It is hard sometimes. But we can all try harder!

  • Janeane Davis

    One of the pitfalls of modern technology is that we lose a great deal of the survival skills that were once so important to us.

  • Motherhood on the Rocks

    This is something I need to do more of!

  • Wendy Kaufman

    So glad to have found your blog! I think we have a lot in common. I’ve fallen off the green wagon a bit after a few years of biting off more than i could chew, but I’m renewing my commitments this year. I’ll be stopping by for some inspiration!

  • Debbie Lamb

    I love your saying ~ Instead of the skills to pay the bills maybe we need the skills to avoid paying the bills ~ I am very green and it is amazing how much money you can save by reusing and doing. In 2015 I want to work harder at finding more creative ways to reuse items.

  • anniestow

    These are all great ideas. Entertain your own seems to be the hardest for us!

  • Taralyn Parker

    We love having our own garden. It definitely helps!

  • I would totally love to start a garden! Growing our own produce would be so fab.

  • Real Talk Moms

    I really want to start a garden. Thank you for sharing these great tips. I did not know you could use egg shells in the garden,

  • Lori Gates

    Very nice list of tips. Thanks a lot for this. I can actually see myself using at 2 out of the list.