Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Self-Sufficiency
Old 08-22-2014, 01:03 PM   #1
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 555
Self-Sufficiency

Thought about putting this under money but its more about lifestyle than just money.

I notice a lot of threads here walk all around the subject of self-sufficiency but after a couple years lurking I haven't seen a thread that really embraces it. There is the repair thread and gardening gets touched on but more as a hobby from what I can see. Most of the discussions about money talk about making sure we budget for repairs and maintenance. I see some discussions about being frugal but self-sufficient is a little different than that.

I hunt on some family property for meat (deer/hogs/small game) but we do buy some chicken/turkey/beef. Don't do as much fishing or gardening as I want but will hopefully do more when I leave megacorp. I have almost always done most of my own vehicle repairs. I do most of the repairs on our home and rental property. Another thread here is about the workshop I want to complete for my retirement years. $$ are for taxes, healthcare, utilities, those thing I just can't do for myself. I can't do these things forever but I see folks up into their 70's doing almost all these things. This seems to me to be a very different outlook from what others have presented here.

From what I can tell, many (most?) on this site have higher incomes, more assets than I do. I suspect many are coming from working in large metroplexes and downsizing, perhaps moving to lower cost of living locations. Maybe cities are not the place to develop the skills for self-sufficiency?

Plans for me are maintain a garden. Maybe rabbits and chickens. Certainly more hunting and fishing. Working on learning the old skills for preserving meats and a root cellar. Continue doing more of our repairs. All of this but the hunting is still possible on a city lot (or two). One of the things I'm really looking forward to is being able to pursue these on a seasonal rather than vacation schedule!

Just curious what other folks are looking at for self-sufficiency goals as part of their plans for FIRE. Is it something you don't want to do or just never thought about? Maybe I missed a thread and the search engine has a bug!

ArkTinkerer
__________________

__________________
ArkTinkerer is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 08-22-2014, 01:25 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
David1961's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,074
I don't have any specific self-sufficiency goals. For any given "task" like gardening, house maintenance, working on the car, etc, it really depends on whether I'd rather do it myself or pay someone else to do it. One of the great things about having money is that it allows me to pay to have things done I don't want to do.
__________________

__________________
David1961 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 01:35 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,564
My self-sufficiency consists mainly of having plenty of money. If your problems can be solved with money, and you have money, you don't have problems. I do however do all the routine stuff e.g. lawn care, minor repairs, have back-up plans in case I should suddenly not be able to drive to get around, keeping an "overage" of supplies to weather out shortages, propane heater in case heat is out in the winter, foods that can be stored long-term and eaten with little to no preparation.

Anything bigger than that would require tools or implements that I would almost never use and would not be cost-effective plus if I ever needed them my own skills would be rusty and unreliable OR I would be too old, and therefor dangerous to make a go of it.

Now, if you're talking about some kind of Zombie Apocalypse or Mad Max situation... I've been hearing people tell me that was going to happen any time now since I was 6 yrs old. If it did happen: Use available greenbacks till they're gone and access to fresh ones is also gone. Simultaneously join whatever Church or community group or militia I would have to in order to have access to The Group's "we take care of our own" survival resources. In the mean time catching/growing food and doing my own plumbing and roof/car repairs seems like too much trabajo
__________________
razztazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 01:35 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5,326
If you like gardening and hunting and those are your hobbies it is a great lifestyle. But some of us kind of view that as hard work. I spend $4 a week on eggs, so it would cost me more to have to pay someone to watch chickens while we were on vacation than I would save in egg costs. The local ethnic stores sell a lot of produce for 25 to 50 cents a pound and I don't have to spend any of my time growing or harvesting it.

It can be cheaper sometimes to live in a condo or townhouse in an urban area because there isn't any land to buy or exterior house to maintain, and transportation costs are low because of mass transit and close proximity to stores and entertainment.
__________________
daylatedollarshort is offline   Reply With Quote
Self-Sufficiency
Old 08-22-2014, 01:37 PM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,031
Self-Sufficiency

My grandparents were pretty self-sufficient. They had a vegetable garden, an orchard, a berry patch, and some livestock for milk, eggs, and meat. They did not hunt, but they fished. They made their own cheese, bread, cured ham, moonshine, jam, sauerkraut, etc... They purchased only a few essentials like coffee, sugar, and flour from the grocery store. They consumed very few services as well. I am thankful to have learned a lot of their skills as a kid.

My dad decided to follow in their footsteps in retirement. He is far wealthier than his parents ever were, so he decided to do away with some of the more cumbersome aspects of that self-sufficient lifestyle, like raising livestock (milk, eggs, and meat are cheap enough). But he's using solar power and collecting rain water for irrigation. So he is more or less off the grid.

As for me? I love the idea as well. I have the land and skills to make it happen. But we live in a world of -fairly cheap- abundance and being self-sufficient is a lot of work. So for now, I'd rather live the easy life (though I try to keep my skills up to date).
__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 01:44 PM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 16,372
DH gardens, mostly flowers (he is the son of gardeners and our yard looks beautiful, although decorative landscaping isn't very important on the self sufficiency scale), a few vegetables, some herbs. We both mow. I used to sew a lot of our clothes (eek, even a pair of pants and a corduroy jacket for DH), make all our bread, can tomato sauce, re-slipcover chairs and couches, etc. We have painted our interior walls but in our midsixties, we don't really enjoy that anymore. Other than this, we are really bad at the home maintenance tasks.

I admire your skills and energy, ArtTinkerer, you are more talented than we ever were. I hope you can continue being so self sufficient as long as you want to.
__________________
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 01:57 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pittsburgh, PA suburbs
Posts: 1,769
I don't know, I kind of think of myself as modern-day suburban self-sufficient type. By writing a few checks every month, I can meet all my needs quite easily. I rarely dine out except if I am meeting friends so I do a lot of cooking from scratch or make simple meals. I do my own housework and laundry. I pay a gardener to maintain my small plot of ground around my home and plow/shovel in winter. I have amassed a go-to list of phone numbers for plumber, electrician, HVAC tech. I live in an area where just about anything I want is a 5 minute drive and anything else can come to my door via Amazon Prime. I bought a new car with concierge service so dealer will send a driver with a loaner car to my door and take mine in in future when it is time for maintenance.

I have friends with big gardens who drop off fresh veggies at my door this time of year (a free CSA arrangement if you will). The other day though I drove around with pots of mums and left them on their porches so that I am not a total free-loader. It is not unusual for me to get gifts of venison and wild turkey a couple of times a year from friends who have family members who hunt (but won't eat the meat!).
__________________
WhoDaresWins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 02:31 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,871
I eat my roadkill.
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 02:43 PM   #9
Full time employment: Posting here.
jjquantz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 846
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I eat my roadkill.
Unfortunately, I drive so little anymore that my roadkill harvest is WAY down.
__________________
jjquantz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 02:57 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,871
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjquantz View Post
Unfortunately, I drive so little anymore that my roadkill harvest is WAY down.
You'll get a lot more if you drive late at night, and fast.
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 03:15 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
brewer12345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 16,391
Interesting post. I am a woeful gardener (although I do fresh herbs well). Other than that, learning to do things that are basic to modern life but most people don't know how to do has become kind of a hobby with the bonus of saving a few shekels. I have been a homebrewer for 20+ years. Started beekeeping this year. I hunt and fish. We harvest the fruit that grows wild on public land near us (working on an apple pie with wild apples today). I bought a hand crank grain mill and have started grinding my own flour. Toying with the idea of keeping some chickens on our suburban lot, but not sure I want the hassle. A lot of these things are not hard to do, they just take a bit of time and sometimes a modicum of specialized equipment. There will be a limit to what is practical for me to do, but for now I am having fun learning new things. Do I need to do all of this for $$$ reasons? Probably not any individual one, but the collection of stuff that I do saves a chunk of change and generally I get a very high quality and/or unique good for the cost of less than the cheapest version I could buy in a store. The sunflower seed-barberry granola I made this morning is not available in any store and has way less sugar than just about any commercial brand. And it was cheaper than the cheapest junk in the store.
__________________
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."



- Will Rogers
brewer12345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 03:30 PM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 555
I'm not a "prepper" looking for the Zombie apocalypse or the fall of civilization. I actually live in the center of a small city with three universities. (Much smaller city when summer rolls around!)

I do enjoy hunting/fishing but not always the repairs. But, my way of looking at it is how many hours would I have to work at megacorp (after taxes) to pay someone to do that repair? Since I enjoy the outdoors, would I rather spend a few weeks hunting or work more hours for megacorp to pay for food? No question for me. Would I rather pay someone to smoke a turkey/chicken/sausage or do it myself? I'm sort of bewildered by the folks that pay someone to mow their lawn and then pay for a gym membership so they can walk on a treadmill.

But no, not all the old skills are cost effective--you can't buy cloth for the cost of clothing especially if you shop resale shops and garage sales. While I might try some of the old coffee substitutes they only make sense in a zombie apocalypse! Changing oil/doing chassis lube can't be done for less than the local oil change place if you have a coupon (but you better check to make sure they got every zerk and put the filter on right!). You pick what pays off--Canning tomatoes is not real cost effective. Canning salsa pays off big time if you eat as much as I do. Homemade beer is OK. Now if I could just figure out how to do scotch!

I think what made me start this thread was the other post about low care landscaping. I can't make lawncare go away but I'm going to maximize the return on my work. Same sort of attitude leads to self-sufficiency. You trade your time and labor for a paycheck but you have to pay taxes on it. I keep my labor and the dollars that would go to taxes. Its gotten me to this point so I can retire early.

I like WhoDaresWins' idea of community. Happens some but I would like to do more. We do sometimes take extra down to the farmers market and trade.

DayLate's right about being tied down by animals. But our neighbor has kept chickens and we might work out a deal on looking after them as coop type arrangement. I don't know anyplace here where produce gets that cheap around here. Wish I did.
__________________
ArkTinkerer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 03:36 PM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 555
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
You'll get a lot more if you drive late at night, and fast.
Yeah but the ammo for roadkill is VERY expensive.
__________________
ArkTinkerer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 03:58 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,560
We did more when we were farther out in the country with 20 acres. We had a rule that worked for us; only grow stuff that tastes better than you can buy. So our garden didn't have potatoes or broccoli, we couldn't tell the difference. Corn, tomatoes, cantaloupe, herbs, asparagus. If you've ever eaten asparagus the morning it shoots up, you know there's nothing like it.

We'd make salsa or can tomatoes for chille etc. Same with meat and eggs, you can't buy eggs at the market like we had. They're not that fresh. Your own chickens, better than store bought. Fish and venison too. I like venison better than beef, why not enjoy it.

I did try a snapping turtle one year. DW made turtle soup, neither of us cared for it, he was the last one.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Early Retirement Forum mobile app
__________________
MRG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 04:04 PM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Upstate Ruralia
Posts: 283
I like the IDEA of self sufficiency, but for the most part, it does not seem to make economic sense.

I especially like it in the dead of winter when looking at seed catalogs!!!!!


But, then reality sinks in.

Where I live, you cannot have a veggie garden unless you have a HIGH fence to keep the deer from jumping OVER it or the critters like rabbits and groundhogs from getting into it at ground level.

Hunting....license, guns, ammo, clothes, sitting in the wet woods for hours, dragging a huge carcass up to the house and then having to clean the smelly thing and package it in a freezer....

Freezer...Had one, did that. How many times did I find packages dated 5 years in the past that no one would eat but I paid to keep frozen for years?!?!?!?

Now I let the supermarket cool/freeze my food.

Chickens....I LOVED the idea of keeping them...BUT....you can't leave if you have multiple pets....two cats are enough. Pen, house, food, fence, hawks, manure management... then who is going to kill them when they stop laying eggs? Not me!
I'm single....a dozen eggs last a LONG time. And I can buy them from other "Self sufficient" people!

Sealing the blacktop driveway....125 foot X 10 driveway...do I call and have them do it for $325. or break my back brushing the glop onto the driveway? They win.

Plumbing/Heating/AC....I have a new HW tank and water storage tank, and no AC cause I live where I use the window AC 5 times a summer (Not ONCE This year!)....

I do mow my own lawn and clean my own house. I have a small 10x10 plot of veggies that amazes me how much comes out of it ( tomatoes, herbs, eggplants, brussells sprouts, swiss chard, cucumbers and of course two zucchini plants that I can't keep up with.) I cover the veggies at night with two old bedsheets ( the zucchini, so far the deer have ignored the rest!) so fencing cost is nil.

I buy cat litter in those big plastic containers with lids....I used 6 of them to plant some veggies in this summer....they produced SO MUCH MORE food than the garden. Pole beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs. They heat up faster than the garden and the plants just take off. That is how I'll do it next year. They do require a lot of water however.....


Anyway...just my take.....IF you LIKE gardening and hunting, then do it! But I think you would be deluding yourself on savings, if that is your goal.....

PS: Heating with wood. My neighbor has spent ALL SUMMER dragging a dual axle trailer, with his dually diesel truck, 15 miles a day roundtrip to "get wood". Then, he bought a 18x15 covered aluminum shed thing to store it, ha dit put up, and dug down 1 foot and filled that with gravel BEFORE stacking the wood.

All summer. My gas budget is 117. a month. WHo is ahead here? He will be out there in our -15 degree winter playing with wood, and ashes in the house, smoking up the neighborhood.....NO THANK YOU.

Just like RV'ing. There is NO WAY that that hobby costs less than a hotel room, but, if it is what you like to do, then go for it!!!!

Me? if the economics arent there, I will probably pass. The ONLY time these things are "worth it" is if you LIKE the work involved ( in my opinion).
__________________
Lcountz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 04:28 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
38Chevy454's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 1,577
I don't do the self-sufficiency for food beyond small garden. That is really just because my DW likes gardening.

My main self-sufficiency is being able to do most things around the house/garage/property for maintenance and repairs. Save a lot of money doing it myself. I am not afraid of a little hard work and getting dirty. In fact it is probably good for me!
__________________
After Monday & Tuesday even the calendar says, W-T-F...

Semi-Retired 7/1/16: working part-time (60%) for now [4/24/16 changed to 80%]
Retired Aug 2, 2017; age 53
38Chevy454 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 04:30 PM   #17
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,824
Quote:
Originally Posted by razztazz View Post
My self-sufficiency consists mainly of having plenty of money. If your problems can be solved with money, and you have money, you don't have problems.
+1

I'm not at all self-sufficient, and like others in prior posts I think it sounds like more work than I would prefer or could even handle, especially in my declining years. Those years are coming up faster than I might wish.

Also I think the less admirable end of the so-called self-sufficiency industry involves a lot of expense and even con artists. YMMV
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 04:40 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
brewer12345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 16,391
Ah, yes, wood heat. I use it as a supplement to the gas furnace. However, it is a great way to keep a lid on the gas bill, since on the coldest days are when I love having a fire the most. I get wood for free that I can get nearby (people cut down dead trees and often list it on craigslist). I will drive maybe 10 minutes. Cutting and splitting is physical work, but I enjoy it and it is excellent exercise. Even in the coldest month of the year, our combined gas and electric bill does not breech $200. Will I do it when I am old and decrepit? Nope. In the meantime, it is fun.
__________________
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."



- Will Rogers
brewer12345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 04:50 PM   #19
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 555
Lcountz, I agree with the gist of what you are saying but I also think you are trapped into thinking about things based upon the commercial image society presents. Take two examples from your list--

Hunting (and fishing!) are pushed in magazines with lots of fancy gadgets. People go out and set up feeders and food plots and buy a new rifle every couple years. Fancy camo and scents and scent blockers and $600 bows and $20 arrows. I use the rifle my father gave me. I did invest in some reloading equipment but I don't have to shoot that much now. $50 license for hunting and fishing. I wear blue jeans and a shirt. I can take 6 deer. I only take 3 because thats what we will eat. Hogs are free. Under $1 a pound here to have them butchered if you don't want to do it.

RV--Got an older trailer used (about $2000). One time license fee. another $200 to rig the SUV for towing with electric brake controller. We have heat, stove, fridge, shower. Camp on our property or in the woods for free. At state parks its under $30 per night-- have to do that if we want the AC. I did have to replace tires ($300) and have redone the plumbing after we let it freeze (<$50 as I did it myself). I splurged about $100 to add some fans and a new sound system. Will probably spend another $100 soon to double our battery capacity. Family actually saves money when we turn off everything at home and go camp in the woods.

I do agree people make stupid choices on many things but that doesn't mean it has to be done that way.
__________________
ArkTinkerer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2014, 04:51 PM   #20
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 555
Only place I've really seen economical wood heat is people who live in the woods or the cabinet shop where they burn the wood scraps to heat the shop.
__________________

__________________
ArkTinkerer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
self-sufficiency


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Another Reason For Energy Self-sufficiency yakers Other topics 10 06-25-2007 10:12 PM
Self-insurance health opinions and challenges Roger_R FIRE and Money 23 05-27-2007 07:56 PM
Early Retirement from Self Employed nwsteve Other topics 17 07-24-2004 04:18 PM
Self Directed IRA Suggestions moguls FIRE and Money 12 02-24-2004 03:00 PM
Real Estate in a self-directed IRA???? ryalmokas FIRE and Money 2 02-23-2004 10:29 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:22 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.