Last year I became a grim statistic; one of the one in ten people who can’t find work. The past nine months have revealed both good and bad. The good is that my family and I have been above average in our self-reliance. We had money put away for emergencies such as this. We were able to cut back on our budget considerably. We are able to make do, do without, or make it ourselves in quite a few areas.
But I’ve also realized that we could do more. I have nothing against my mechanic, but it costs me $30 to have him change my oil–something I’m pretty sure I could do myself with a little study and practice. I’m still having professionals come and fertilize my lawn and spray my trees. I’m still paying $30-40 for tax software, even though I’m pretty sure there are cheaper alternatives.
Or perhaps I’m just not thinking creatively enough. Is there some skill I possess that I could use to barter with someone else who has the skills I lack? Could I have my friend the out-of-work accountant do my taxes in exchange for my setting up a website for his wife’s day care?
The more I think about it the more I realize that there is much more I could do to become even more self-reliant if I put my mind to it. Could the drive for self reliance become a harmful obsession? Of course it could. But I don’t think I’m there yet. The key, I think, is to determine which areas are the most beneficial and focus on those first, then apply whatever time you have to lesser gains.
For example, is it really worth my time to figure out how to save $20 on an oil change every three months if I could instead figure out how to save $150 on lawn fertilizer each year? Perhaps not. Why waste time trying to save two cents more on a tube of toothpaste that runs out once a month if there are ways to save two cents per roll of toilet paper that I replace every few days? There’s self reliance, and then there’s psychosis.
So hopefully this blog will prove to be both useful and sensible. I’m not advocating we all move to the back woods and build our own compound with our bare hands and prepare ourselves for doomsday. But if I can figure out how to keep at least a week’s worth of food on hand just in case severe weather causes the store shelves to empty for a few days or a new pandemic forces a quarantine, wouldn’t that be a worthwhile pursuit? I think so.
And that’s why I want to do this blog.