Thursday, October 13, 2011

How To Make Money When Living a Self-Sustainable Lifestyle

Living a self-sustainable lifestyle does not mean you have to have 139,674, 987 acres somewhere in the middle of nowhere! Off-grid, self-sustainable living can happen no matter where we are. In fact, I believe that self-sufficient living has more to do with our mind-set rather than our surroundings.

Let me explain what I mean here...Last winter, I spent the weekend at the home of a Missouri farmer. He and his wife spent countless hours that weekend giving me reasons as to why sustainable farming and off-grid living is a thing of the past. They were surrounded with 140 acres and not a lick of it produced a thing for them.

On the other side of the coin, I’ve met plenty of people who live sustainable, off-grid lives using what they have; and sometimes that means they only have a balcony or a 1/10 acre lot.

The greatest obstacle our family has to being self-sustainable is money. Like many others, we have bills to pay and a land payment to make. Even when we are debt free, there will still be property taxes and general up-keep costs. Although the whole point of self-sufficiency has to do with a reduction in consumption, reality is we’ll always need some type of income.

So how does one make money living an off-grid, self-sustainable life?

Begin immediately by:

• Reducing living expenses
• Consume less commercially prepared products
• Minimize possessions
• Reduce your living space

This can be accomplished through a variety of means. Perhaps by turning off the TV, rethink those items that you now consider “necessities,” sell everything that you haven’t used in a year or more, and/or by downsizing your living space. By doing these few things, you will save yourself a ton of money in multiple areas (i.e. utility costs, heating, cleaning, cooling).

Then begin generating income by:

1.Follow your interests and do what you love – Before you do anything else, do what you love and the provision will follow. Steve Jobs said that he would look in the mirror every morning and ask, "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."
2.Eat from your garden and sell the rest – Utilize every square inch of your property for production. Focus on planting perennials that come back year after year and require little care (i.e. nuts, fruits, berries, etc.). Gather provisions for your family and sell the rest for profit. Consider joining a CSA as a producer or selling at a farmer's market.
3.Raise and sell animals – Even in our small suburban lot, my daughters are raising heritage breed rabbits and selling them on craigslist and/or to local farm supply stores as pets.
4.Sell pastured eggs from your backyard hens – A super easy way to profit big time. There are farmers that are making thousands of dollars raising and selling pastured eggs. See this Joel Salatin link.
5.Start a Farm School – This you can do with acreage or even in an urban/suburban setting. Open your home to teaching people the old ways of doing things. There has been a huge gap in knowledge. Wisdom that was once commonly passed down from generation to generation has in many ways been lost. People are eager for a rebirth of traditional know-how. Check this site for an example of what I'm talking about here.
6.Turn your crafty skills into a profitable business – Make candles, soaps, lotions, homemade/repurposed clothing. This list is endless and has everything to do with number 1…doing what you love. Etsy is a great way to get your stuff out there to a wide range of folks.
7.Write – Begin chronicling your interests. Use social media to your advantage (smile).Create a blog (Blogger, Word Press, Tumblr, etc.) Start a hubpage. Become a member of StumbledUpon. I promise, someone will find your thoughts valuable.
8.Farm Vacation Destination – If you are one of the fortunate ones to own a small or large farm, consider opening a portion of it up as a vacation destination! See this article in Urban Farm Magazine.

Creating ways to decrease our consumption and increase production is the only method useful in moving toward independence. Self-sustainable living is all about reducing our dependence on someone else to supply our needs.

Consider what it is that makes you come alive. Stop limiting yourself. Go for it!

Share with us where are you in the journey?

The article "How to Make Money Off-the-Grid" was used as a reference.

Find this post and a host of others like it here: Your Green Resource, Simple Lives Thursday, Living Well, Homestead Barn Hop, Monday Mania, Homemaker Monday, Fat Tuesday, Frugal Tip Tuesday, New Nostalgia, Growing Home, Homemaking Wednesday, Farmgirl Friday, Farm Friend Friday, Patchwork Living , Whatever Wednesday

Year Supply of Basics


At October 14, 2011 at 5:39 AM , Anonymous Nichole @ Modern Homestead said...

I love this post! I am trying to become more self-sufficient so I can eventually quit my 3rd shift job. Your examples were great! It's all about your mindset about what you can do in the situation you are in.

This is why I started my own blog, and continue to read yours and others like it. They are great sources of information and ideas for moving forward towards the reality of self-sufficiency. :)


At October 14, 2011 at 6:52 AM , Blogger Fabi said...

great post!
i have an account with Stumble Upon, but I don't understand how to use it. Any tips?

At October 14, 2011 at 7:16 AM , Anonymous April Brown said...

We live in a subdivision with almost an acre of land. My topography has been a challenge. Lots of hills and slopes and a third of it woods but we're improvising a lot with vertical growing techniques, raised beds and edible landscaping ideas. We have the chickens, the compost heap and I just got done planting our fall veggies a few weeks ago. On just our little patch of flat land, we have 4 raised beds and little beds that we have dug all over the place. We use the garden fence as a giant trellis for sweet potatoes, beans, grape tomatoes, you name it. Right now we're growing potatoes, peas, carrots, radishes, lettuces, spinach, kale, turnips, brocolli, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, shallots, peppers still going strong, collard greens, red onions, and we still have giant zucchini and scallopini squash plants producing. We planted some blackberry bushes and babied the wild ones we already have, apple trees, peach trees, blueberry bushes. Me and the kids study wild edibles so that we can add nature's bounty to the pantry. We still aren't at the point where we are providing all our own produce but I can see it not far off :) I want more land sooo bad but right now we have to make do with what we have. It's like you said, it's all about the mindset. Your article was right on time. I'm trying to figure out a way to get some land and then generate some income off it while we provide for ourselves. Great ideas and right up my alley. I look forward to more great articles like this one. So glad I liked your page 2 days ago . Keep on keeping on and spreading the word. Thanks for all you do!

At October 14, 2011 at 8:21 AM , Blogger Andrea said...

@Nichole As long as we keep learning and implementing we'll get there!
@Fabi I am totally just trying to figure it out myself;)

At October 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM , Anonymous Free Range Mama said...

Thanks for your post and inspiration! We are living on less than 2 acres in a city surrounded by subdivisions. We "farm" about 3/4 of an acre with mini dairy goats, chickens for meat and eggs, and a vegetable and fruit garden. I am a SAHM and it is a challenge to keep things going financially so these ideas are inspirational. I love your comment about the gap in knowledge about this kind of living. That's why I have gone back to my 80 year old friends (and some younger) to learn how to do things such as preserving food and sewing/crocheting etc. Another handy skill is pottery. It can be challenging but is very rewarding.

At October 14, 2011 at 1:02 PM , Blogger Mary Joy said...

Oh wow! Thank you so much for this wealth of information! My husband and I have a very small space in our back yard but you have given me hope that we too can do some self-sustainable living!

You have my creative juices going! I am SO glad that I stopped by!


Mrs Mary Joy Pershing

At October 17, 2011 at 8:14 AM , Anonymous marina said...

Thank you for the tips, I love the one about raising rabbits, I bet my girls will love that!
One other great think is of course to shop at farmer's markets. If there is something you can't grow your self, you can get it at a really good price there! This Saturday we got a whole bushel of pears for 10 bucks!!

At October 17, 2011 at 10:44 AM , Blogger April's Homemaking said...

Great post, with helpful tips, earning money is one of the hardest parts of self sustainability for me. My sister does really well selling her crochet creations, I have yet to find my niche. Thanks for sharing! ~April

At October 17, 2011 at 11:04 AM , Anonymous Kelly said...

Great tips here, especially for those of us just starting out. Thanks!

At October 17, 2011 at 5:12 PM , Blogger Treasures Evermore said...

Love this much wisdom. I have gleaned much.

Thank you, thank you for sharing. Added you as a follower.


At October 17, 2011 at 6:59 PM , Anonymous Jeanette said...

I love the Farm School idea--I guess that's partially what blogging is all about--sharing our knowledge and skills--thanks for sharing yours!

At October 18, 2011 at 4:31 AM , Anonymous Kim @ Eat What You've Got said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing all of those ideas. I have some thinking to do!

At October 18, 2011 at 5:02 AM , Blogger ~Sara said...

Great post, thank you for sharing at the Frugal Tuesday Tip.

At October 18, 2011 at 6:28 AM , Blogger Kelly said...

LOVE this post!! So many great ideas. Thanks for sharing. I will be bookmarking this for future reference.

At October 18, 2011 at 9:28 AM , Blogger click clack gorilla said...

Nice post. We're on our way. Not growing much in the way of our own food yet, but we love our tiny house (live in an intentional community of caravans) and save so much money living this way! Which in the end translates into more time spent doing what we want instead of working for someone else. Here here!

At October 18, 2011 at 11:03 AM , Anonymous Misty said...

I started to click on StumbledUpon but had to come back and tell you how much I loved your post!!! :)

At October 18, 2011 at 4:48 PM , Anonymous Jill said...

Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

Be sure to visit on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

If you have grain-free recipes please visit my Grain-Free Linky Carnival in support of my 28 day grain-free challenge! It will be open until November 2.

At October 18, 2011 at 6:55 PM , Blogger LisaWeidknecht said...

Love this post! Stopping by on the Tuesday Tip hop. I'm a new follower!

At October 25, 2011 at 4:34 PM , Blogger Emma said...

This is a wonderful, encouraging article! Thank you!


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