SELF SUFFICIENCY 101


If you live in the US...the odds are you likely live, or come close to living paycheck to paycheck.
Most of us do! At least at the moment of writing this.

Becoming more self-sufficient helps leave money aside to use on entertainment and happiness, because no human being is meant to be doomed to dedicating every waking hour of their life on working, it's inhumane.
Self sufficiency is also more helpful to the environment, because not having to buy everything you need every day to live helps stop the purchasing of items in packaging that can't be recycled, or is otherwise nonbiodegradeable and has to be recycled or it will decompose in a landfill and contaminate it's surroundings, becoming a health hazard.
Recycling is a mostly performative method of environmentalism performed by companies now that biodegradeable packaging is a more viable option, but I'll get into that at some other time.

Anyway, a lot of people don't know how to maximize the most out of the resources they have, so they don't have to waste their hard earned money on necessities when in reality you may have the opportunity to provide these things for yourself without relying 100% on capitalism to provide them for you, which leaves that money available for more luxury items.

If you're reading this, odds are you can't be completely self sufficient, because shit like electricity producing solar panels and windmills cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. That isn't realistic unless you're rich.
They'd save you in the long run, but if you could afford that, you probably wouldn't be here in the first place.

->Supplying Your Own Food
->Water and Plumbing
->Electricity
->Just...General Frugality.
->Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

Grow Your Own Food

If you have any yard available on your property and you own your property, or you have permission from your landlord to grow here, make us of it to grow a garden.
You need a tool to till the soil, like a small hand-held cultivator at the very least.
Non-tilling methods do not really work, and I'll explain why.
Tilling may cause loss of topsoil overtime if you do not properly maintain the soil, so this has arisen in a lot of "alternative strategies" like laying cardboard down to kill the weeds.

This doesn't work, because killing weeds is not why we till in the first place.
We till soil to break it down so that planted seeds will be able to root deeply into it, because roots are not strong enough to break deep into soil on their own.

If you don't till soil, this will result in a stunted and lower producing plant, because it's roots can not spread naturally as they should.
There is no alternative way to break up soil for plants to root deeply in, I'm sorry.
You will just have to learn to take good care of your soil to prevent topsoil loss.
I will maybe write something about how to do this at a later date.

Anyway, seeds are relatively cheap from dollar stores, and you can collect seeds of plants at the end of harvesting season to store for next year.
Store seeds in paper or fabric bags, not plastic bags. One, because plastic sucks lol. Two, because plastic retains moisture, and seeds have a lot of moisture when you harvest them from the inside of produce.

If you put them in a plastic bag for all winter steeping in their own moisture, they are going to mold and die.
Paper and cloth suck out this moisture and let them dry out. However, they are also susceptible to bugs, so don't just bury all of your seeds deep down in the back of a shelf somewhere to forget about for several months. Check on them every now and then to make sure there's no pest contamination back there, because insects can eat through your storage bags and eat the seeds, ruining them.

build a compost bin

once you have a garden, you will need a compost bin to get the maximum amount of produce and nutrients out of it.
Compost also helps you maintain your topsoil a bit.

you can use any enclosed container with a lid, like the type that laundry products will usually come in, or any sort of storage tub. you can get these for $10 or under at a department store. You drill holes all over the container and lid, and then you can start layering food scraps and brown waste in there. ANYthing that can hold ANYthing can be a compost bin. Go nuts. If you drill holes in it, throw biodegradeable junk in there. There ya go.

If the compost bin is wet and smells, it needs more brown waste.

A List of Brown Waste:
  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Dry Leaves
  • Sawdust
  • Wood Shavings

I would consider anything that is a bit solid, but breaks down organically, and can absorb and retain the moisture of green waste (more rapidly breaking down and contains liquid, like fruit, vegetables, et cetera.)

don't put meat or dairy products in your compost bin, this is because it can attract bugs that might be harmful to handle and will just honestly be a hassle around the yard.
and don't but any uhh...shit in here unless its cow manure or chicken shit.
idk why i'd have to say that but just in case, don't even think about throwing pet poop or anything in here.
This is because pets have a lot more transmittable diseases and parasites to humans that can contaminate the soil, so consuming greens or working with soil that contains it could make you very sick.

don't put any plants in here that are visibly diseased either, like tomatoes with blight, because you'll probably spread the disease to next year's crop.

start a sourdough starter

Did you know you can use wild yeast to bake with?
It's as easy as just mixing 1 part water, 1 part flour.

To start a sourdough starter, you need a jar, a piece of fabric or paper towel to cover the top with, a rubber band or a hairtie, flour, and water.
You put in one part flour, and one part water into the jar, and mix it up. Cover with the fabric and secure it over the top with a rubber band or a hairtie.
Wait twelve hours, and then it's time to feed it again.
When you go to feed it, move the starter to a new clean jar, mix in one part water one part flour again, and recover it.
Repeat this process and feed the starter twice a day, once every twelve hours, until it's about a week old.
Then, you can move it to a fridge and it will only need to be fed once a week.
When feeding it from the fridge, take it out and let it warm up for a few hours, I usually do 3-4.
This wakes up the wild yeast.
Then you feed it as normally, leave it out for another two hours so it can get started on the new food, and then put it back in the fridge until the next week.
As you take care of it, you will build up excess sourdough starter called discard.
You can store this discard as a second starter to use each week to bake with.
And that's it!
Sourdough starters can all have different tastes, because the wild yeast and bacterial cultures within them can differ from starter to starter.
It's really neat!

save water

Don't keep the water running when you're just brushing your teeth!
Little things matter to your water bill.
Don't run the water for just no reason. stop running the shower water when you're putting soap on, or leaving conditioner in your hair, or shaving, then turn it back on to rinse when you're completely done so it's not just running the entire time into the drain for no reason.

That's wasteful and your wallet will thank you.
When you're warming up your water to shower, you can leave a left over tub, bowl, or bucket under the faucet to collect the excess water, then you can use that water later.

(Don't drink it! Water siting out is bad.)

Excess water that you use out of faucets or doing normal activities that involve plumbing are known as greywater.
Greywater is water that is not completely clean but has the potential of being filtered and reusable, or used in other activities that require water.
You can use stored greywater to dump into your toilet tank when you flush, so that flushing the toilet doesn't use any extra water.
I also use saved water to recycle paper, and water my plants.

save electricity

never leave shit on when you're not in that room. that's a waste of electricity that you'll be charged for.
don't leave devices running that you don't use.
get power strips to plug in all of your main appliances into like a tv or a pc that you use regularly if you use them, and then switch the power button on the strip off when you aren't using them so these appliances aren't draining electricity when not in use.

My local town actually has built a wind farm, so the past couple years, my electric bill has taken a dive and I don't have to worry about this anymore.
I recommend you talk to someone in having a sustainable electric source built nearby!!
Not only is it good for the environment, it's good for your wallet. ;)
My family has actually switched almost entirely to electric because of this to save money.
We bought an electric stove, because propane prices are insane. We only use gas to shower now.
Just another way being green is a money saver, not an expense. This is why I believe green energy is better for our economy.

take advantage of clearance and sales

i'm not saying just buy random shit just because it's on sale, i'm saying hold off on buying things you want until they go on sale so that you can maximize the entertainment, use, and value out of your money during the sale.
only buy games when there is a large steam sale, only buy self care products when they're on clearance, so that you can get a real bang for your buck.
i also make use of humble bundle by spending a dollar there once a month for a constant stream of new entertainment. We are only human, we need new things introduced for enrichment. Buying one new unecessary thing once a month will make you happier. Humble bundle will give you new books, new games, new things to learn, only for a dollar.

Reduce, Re-use and Recycle

RECYCLING

Okay, I'm going to go on a bit of a tangent here.
Do I think you should recycle? Yes.
If you have that option available to you, I very much believe that you should make at least a minimal effort to divert that waste from a landfill.
However: I have a hatred of our recycling system in the US.
They do not recieve enough funding, for one. They do not have enough money to recycle the more costly materials, meaning that a HUUUUGE portion of plastic that you give them ends up in a landfill anyway.
Some centers are even for profit, and accept even less waste, because they only recycle what they can make money on. That ends up with even more that you give them ending up in a landfill anyway.
And on top of that, recycling programs are rare. You are not going to find a nearby recycling center in rural areas. You're just not.
If you cannot go out of your way to drive to a recycling center every week to dump your trash, there is no such thing as a recycling program in a rural town.
I have yet to find one.
Sometimes there isn't even a garbage guy for regular trash.

Because of all of the above, I think the whole recycling motto is a waste of time and is never going to be an effective way of removing waste. It's simply a performative way of a company claiming they care about the environment.

But I still think if you have this opportunity available, you should do it to make an effort.

This is why I have made it my personal goal to pressure companies into prioritizing bio-degradeable packaging to REDUCE waste.
The only efficient way to eliminate waste that contaminates our environment, is to reduce it ourselves, or to prevent the massive output of pollution and waste from the companies that are the ones producing it.
If you haven't noticed, basically all of the products we have to consume every day to live contains some form of non-biodegradeable waste.
Even packaging boxes for snacks are coated in a shiny layer of plastic to look pretty.
The only way to eliminate plastic waste from our lives would be to just...die, or not be a consumer entirely.
Yeah, I'm sorry, I don't think that's doable either.

So, the real target is to stop the corporations from shoving it in our faces.
I'll get back to this at the end.

RE-USE
When we aren't dealing with single-use plastics, there are several ways to re-use products in our daily lives. (Unfortunately, companies have put out less of these "re-usable products" overtime in favor of plastic, which often doesn't even get recycled.)

But when you have things like jars, cans, buckets, you can do so many things with them.
You can use them as storage, for planters, as cups to drink from. Please don't throw them away.

There is also a little thing I do with single use plastics I try to divert from landfills, by weaving them into little pallets like basket weaving that I can make into actually re-usable items.
My wastebin is woven out of single-use plastic.


Anyway, back to the companies putting out waste thing.
I've made the personal decision to slowly eliminate non-biodegradeable waste from my life, and I personally contact companies for their statements on the matter and on the environment, so I can post them here, to show what companies to support and what companies to avoid if you'd like to join me.

Here is my masterpost about this lol

featured petitions:

resources and relevant pages:

edible uses for plants
50 WAYS TO BECOME MORE SELF-SUFFICIENT IN 1 HOUR OR LESS
conserve energy future
The Tech That Can Make Your Home Super Self-Sufficient
carbon sequestration
recycle your waste by mail
Microplastics have moved into virtually every crevice on Earth


<-back