Self-Sufficient Lifestyle Reality Check
People adopt a self-sufficient lifestyle for different reasons. Some
people see sustainability as their number one motivator, living a more
frugal lifestyle in order to consume less for the sake of our planet.
Some see being self sufficient as a survival mechanism and safety net in
case of an apocalyptic event or financial crash. The majority fall
somewhere in the middle; seeking a cheaper lifestyle and desiring to
live more sustainably, doing less harm to our precious environment and
being conscious of possible apocalyptic scenarios.
Whatever the motivation, many people will consider life on a farm or small acreage homesteading - as the solution. While it's true that living on a bush block or small farm offers a much greater chance of you achieving a self-sufficient lifestyle, the reality is, that option is expensive. Setting up a self-sufficient farm is very expensive. And the greater the degree of self sufficiency you're striving for the more it will cost you in infrastructure...
- To be self sufficient in terms of energy, you'll need to spend on alternative energy sources like solar panels and wind generators.
- Want to produce your own chickens and eggs? It will cost you in chicken coops and chicken run fencing.
- Want to run stock for meat? It's going to cost you in fences, yards, animal husbandry equipment and hygienic slaughtering facilities.
- Want to maintain your own vehicles? It'll cost you for workshop and the necessary equipment.
- Want to build your own sustainable house? That's going to require a lot of construction tools, know-how and time.
- Want to use wood as your primary source of heating? You'll need chainsaw/s and wood storage sheds
...The list could go on - and on - but I'm sure you get the picture. One seemingly obvious solution is to find acreage or a share on a self-sufficient community where infrastructure costs are shared. Trouble is there are problems with finding real functioning communities and living within that framework. From our personal experience on a multiple occupancy community we would not recommend it. The bottom line here is that creating a self sufficient lifestyle on a small farm is not only expensive, it also entails a heck of a lot of work. Unless you're careful about setting appropriate boundaries you'll most likely decrease your standard of living.
Creating a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle Without Slavery
Self-sufficiency on a farm - homesteading - without proper boundaries
can be slavery to an ideal. The best way to establish sensible
boundaries is to understand and prioritize your motivation for
self-reliance and know and clearly understand the limits of your own
skill-sets and abilities. Some people overestimate their ability and
really are just not cut out for a self-sufficient
living in spite of their dream. A healthy dose of realism is
required. Here are some things to consider...
- As stated already, achieving a very high degree of self-sufficiency is expensive and time consuming.
- Remember you simply can't do everything yourself . Even if you have the required skill-set, doing everything yourself will become slavery to an ideal. You'll find yourself without the time to develop alternative income streams or even time to sit, reflect and enjoy.
- Understand that interdependence is really the key to creating a self-sufficient lifestyle. Look for support from neighbours within your local community. Mail out or better still personally hand out fliers to your neighbours. Let them know you're keen on labour sharing and bartering time. Offer to them your strongest skills in return for their strongest skills in order to share labour efficiently. Offer to share your surplus produce in return for theirs.
- Keep in mind your real motivation; self sufficiency can help the
planet and it's a great safety net should there be some kind of
financial meltdown or apocalypse!