Saturday, August 18, 2012

Self Sufficient Does Not Mean Poor

Homesteading, living off the land, gardening, raising livestock, re-purposing and everything in between can certainly help us spend less money. It does not, however, mean that the lifestyle is for poor people or even that, if you are poor, you need remain so.

Late in 2005, I lost a very good job as a travel agent because my position was outsourced to Tijuana. At the time, we lived in Denver. After five years of somewhere near two thousand job applications or even more, we decided to leave the city. We moved 100 miles out and into ‘small town America’.

I had been making a little bit of money (translate as less than $1000 per year) online selling emergency preparedness supplies and I decided that the best way to be as fully prepared for any emergency situation as one could, was to be as self sufficient as one could be, not to mention that it can help your own self-worth and even help the planet. Once the bills from living in the city became too high, we decided that we should put this self sufficiency into practice.

We rented a small mobile home in an area we liked to see if we actually wanted to live there. We fell in love with the area and decided to purchase a home in a nearby town. We now live smack in the middle of town on a half acre of land in a hundred year old house (translate as live in fixer-upper). We have a nice garden (see my previous post) and a small basement that is perfect for use as a storage pantry and emergency tornado shelter.

All of that is great and good but at the same time, we were still pretty much broke all the time. We live on a disability payment because there really is not much in the way of work to be had out here. I’m still looking for something but I have transformed my online business from emergency preparedness into self sufficiency/homesteading. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I also have a Facebook group and a community page as well as this blog and my website, all of the same name.

The website currently has long term foods, a few water purification supplies, a grain mill page, and a books page. I am in the process of looking for a good company to supply my customers with the rest of the homesteading and gardening supplies that you may not yet have. I would like to be able to provide products that are a cross between Lehman’s and The Vermont Country Store with a little Botanical Interests thrown in for good measure. If you know of any companies like that, feel free to email me here: and I will do my best to provide you all with needed or wanted supplies.

I don’t yet make much money from this as I have been concentrating on gathering and sharing the knowledge with you. (I don’t spend any money on marketing either, lol.) That said, I anticipate being able to barter veggies for fresh local eggs, local meat and maybe milk or a cow share. I am also looking into providing hand-made furniture, selling some of our canned goods (once the garden produces), and maybe some crocheted goods and/or quilting.

There are bound to be many things that one can do to ‘make a little extra on the side’. What are your passions? What are your hobbies? I love creating. Anything. Everything. Many years ago, I was a ‘dumpster diver’. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a big city or a small town ~ one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Almost everything out there has more than one use, even if its use is in making something else out of it. You can use it yourself or you can sell it to someone else or you can simply barter.

The point here is that there are a million and one ways to make the money you need to pay for the things you cannot make or grow yourself, not to mention property taxes, auto and home insurance and the other things you can’t trade a chicken or a bushel of apples for. Like it or not, it is next to impossible to be completely self sufficient. We all need other people in our lives in one way or another. They can help us do the work one person can’t or they can teach us something new or they can simply be companionship in an otherwise lonely world.

As for being poor ~ I may be cash poor but I consider myself to be incredibly wealthy. I have all the love and veggies and friendships a person could need. I hope you do as well. Money is not everything.

Now that I’ve said that, allow me to point you towards the button at the top of the left hand column. You can help out with a dollar or several hundred (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Also, any purchases via any of the links on this page will help. However, I must insist that you don’t ever give what you can’t afford to. I know that goes without saying but there are many wonderful folks out there who will give their last dime to help another. I do not want your last dime as much as I appreciate the offer. Give it to your kids or put it into savings. I am here to help you, whether I make money or not.


  1. We are homesteaders like you, but we have a healthy website building business(from home) and we sell free range eggs and chicken meat from the house. We do not go to market, only from the house, so our costs are at a minimum.

    We are able to be self sufficient with 2 streams of income and growing and canning a bunch of our own food in the summer. We plan on trying our hand at raising pigs when we get more land. Consider teaching classes at your community college and spread your homesteading skills to others.

  2. I am currently away from where I want to be (in the country that is). We lost our home in the country a few years ago to forclosure and job layoffs. (We were not one of those underwater either!) My husband went back to truck driving (why he didn't when we needed the money to make our mortgage payments is another story). Anyway, now we live in an urban area and rent our small townhouse. I have been working to downsize and have been prepping in a number of areas, but it does not include complete sustainability, just let any way. I hope I can get to that place again where we can move back. I am currently working on my education and am working on a few streams of income of my own, one of them is selling dried vegetables, herbs and spices. I am also working on my writing career and all that I am doing seems to be things I love doing that will eventually lead me back to where I want to be, stronger than I was before.