Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Journey in a Nutshell

This is a brief recap of the previous post:

I was recently asked how we manage self sufficiency on our minimal income. I gave an answer that while adequate I feel left a lot out of our story. I is actually WE, a family of three ~ primarily 2 adults, a third grader, our dog, cat and a recently acquired rabbit. Minimal income in our case is defined as around $15,000.00 a year. We had always primarily been city dwellers, had a really nice dual income that within a year became nothing. After our experience we have decided that emergency preparedness recommendations are the barest minimum in our opinion and as we've moved through the learning curve we've blogged, researched, written notes, saved things to a dozen files moving further away from preparedness and more into self sufficiency. As I admitted before I am hardly an expert or even proficient on these topics in my own opinion but I am stubborn and persistent. I basically stated that we follow a basic set of rules and that we try to find out how my great grandma would have done it and see how it's changed since then and pick a way in the middle.

The basic set of daily rules we use are:
1. Make a list 2. Trouble shoot it 3. Make a Budget and stick to it. 4. Allow for some extras 5. Garden and 6. Learn something new

If you want to see the whole blog it is here: "Our self sufficiency Journey"

Now for some specifics...

Things that my great grandma did that encourage self sufficiency
1. Use cash, don't have credit cards
2. Don't borrow if you can help it. The only loan you need to carry is a home mortgage
3. Garden
4. Hang laundry out to line dry
5. Cook from scratch. You can download many old cookbooks on kindle for free

Things that help our budget
1. I do my shopping once a month and buy larger packages. I don't buy many pre-packaged foods, juices or soda.
2. I shop local ~ this may seem like a paradox but my local butcher is cheaper
3. I shop thrift stores, second hand, and consignment shops for clothing, by all means get on their mailing list and go when there is a sale.
4. Look on Craigslist, Freecycle, swap meets, auctions, estate sales, and local "junk" shops. We needed a lawn mower badly, had no money for one, and got one off Freecycle that required minimal fixing of the handle. It's worked for three years now.
5. Netflix through the internet is a bonus for us because where we live there is satellite TV or nothing so it saves us money while giving us that bonus.

Things we do for free
1. Use the Library’s access to books, CD's, DVD's, ebooks, and even kindle books
2. Town events ~ parades, picnics, celebrations, Fourth of July, etc...
3. School events ~ our participation supports our schools, our child, and our community
4. Use the parks and playgrounds
5. Talk to and help out our neighbors when we can

Things we're learning
1. To be better gardeners
2. About rabbits and chickens
3. Canning
4. Home repair
5. Home crafts

Things we do to help our emergency preparedness
1. Store water
2. Purchase one extra or over sized item each month
3. Home canning from the garden
4. Garden
5. Have emergency kits and plans and practice

Places we've sought help and information
1. Local groups/Library ~ big help
2. Town offices ~ found out we can haul our branches and receive wood chips in return at no cost and that we can have chickens but no roosters
3. County offices ~ They have all kinds of information and can sometimes point you in the right direction if you have no idea who or where to look for information if you can give them the details they can often give you the answer
4. Local utilities ~ you need to know if you have buried cables, if they have right of access, and this is sometimes more questionable But they can sometimes point you in the direction of other helpful services
5. Churches ~ this is hit and miss sometimes it's like hitting the four above all in one place, sometimes it's like standing in the Sahara and looking for a lake.

Now there is a category "we get this when" or "we'll get this when" because our lives are like everyone else's and we get busy, we have celebrations, we fail, we forget, it’s not in the budget or we simply need to take a break and go on a nearly unheard of thing called a vacation.
1. Dinner out ~ usually the cheapest fast food available or our local pizza
2. Soda, Starbucks, ice cream, pie, junk food in general, etc...
3. Commercial pesticide ~ I'm thinking of ants we've attempted to eradicate all summer
4. Extras ~ yarn, a toy, house decorations, DVD's, CD's, books, magazines, video games, etc...
5. Tools to do the job right because it’s not always immediately in the budget and it takes some time to find them used.

Now that is 35 specific things we do in our life that enables us to live very moderately on our present income. It includes very little travel, very little of what the main stream considers an entertaining weekend, and it certainly isn't designed to stimulate the economy through commercialism. It is not a hardship though sometimes it is financially difficult. We enjoy our garden, the time spent at school and community events, and our local library. We appreciate the things we have and the ones we get. We savor every new skill we master and the lessons learned when we don't. In some ways we've managed time travel and arrived at a point in time where we have all the marvels and potential of the future combined with the slower pace, values, and sense of community from the past. It's a wondrous place to be if you know how to see it.

As always, here are my companion sites:

Don't forget, the advertisements on either side of this blog help us keep the internet on and the research going. I do hope, as always, that you learned something or got some new ideas. Thanks for reading!
Joetta Napolitan