Often learning to living frugally means learning to be more self-sufficient and relying on others less. While this does require some skill, it’s certainly achievable. Here are some things frugal moms can do–if you’re not doing them already–to become more self-sufficient and learn to live a more frugal lifestyle.
• Evaluate Your Level of Self-Sufficiency
Visit the Self-Sufficiency Calculator to get an idea of how far your money really goes each month. While this site is designed for residents of the state of Washington, it will give you a clearer picture of your budget and expenses based on what you earn and spend every month.
• Grow Your Own Food
Start a garden and learn to grow your own vegetables. If you have room, consider adding a few chickens, and even a few head of cattle. Next to rent, food is a family’s greatest expense. Everything you can do to lessen what you spend on food each month will take you closer to your goal of self-sufficiency.
• Learn to Fish and Hunt
Nothing beats the taste of fresh fish that you’ve caught yourself. And while some frugal moms shudder at the thought of “eating Bambi,” if you’re a meat eater, venison or turkey that is cured properly and prepared well is delicious. If you’re on a very tight budget, remembering that any food gained from fishing or hunting is free, it may help you get past your aversion.
• Do It Yourself
Learn to do everything for yourself and your family that you can. Cut your own hair, mow your own yard, wash and repair your own car, cook your own meals, bake your own bread, sew your own clothes, build your own website and much more. While you may not be able to do it today, you can learn to do everything you would have to pay someone else to do for you.
• Barter for What You Need
Barter, or trading what you have for what you want or need, is as old as the ages. And while you may not have the money you need to repair the garage roof, or have a tree cut down in the backyard, you may be able to swap your skills with someone who can do those things. Barter can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every year. Make the most of it by swapping your services and unwanted items with your neighbors, friends and family.
• Reuse, Rework, Recycle
Change your attitude toward possessions and begin to see them in a totally different. Consider everything you own–not as something that will be used and discarded–but as something that will last forever in one form or another. Empty two-liter bottles become bird feeders. Cool Whip® containers hold leftovers and lunches. Torn jeans become quilts, aprons, tote bags, etc. When you begin to notice that over half of everything your family acquires is reused in some way, you’ll begin to see what true self-sufficiency really means.
• Learn to Live with Less
Self-sufficiency involves providing for your family’s needs as much as possible and not relying on others. But it also involves learning to live with less and making do with what you have. You’ll be amazed at how little you really have to buy when you make an effort not to buy anything.