7 Easy Ways to Become More Self-Sufficient

We all remember the time when we were kids and wished we were adults. Those thoughts about how freedom would feel. Eating ice cream in bed? Binging tv shows? Spending the day at the beach? How about all three?

Little did we know adult life can be more boring and stressful than we first thought.

But it doesn’t have to be.

What if we could have more freedom? Maybe not as much as we imagined adult-life would have, but still more than we have now? To bring back that sense of fun and security we had when we were kids?

This is where self-sufficiency comes in.

What is self-sufficiency

We’re all familiar with self-sufficiency to some extent. To provide one’s own needs as best as possible.

There are many different types of self-sufficiency, and many try their best to become sufficient in many aspects of life.

For example, we might feel a primal drive to secure access to food, water, and shelter. This might be why homesteading is growing in popularity.

With a homestead, not only can you grow food and catch rain-water, but you can own your house and land.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the phrases “growing food”, “catching water”, and “owning land” it gives me reassurance that no matter the struggle with society or the economy, my family and I would probably be okay.

And becoming sufficient with food, water, and shelter is just the start of it.

There are many other ways for you to become self-sufficient, but for now, let’s zoom in and take a look at these 7 easy ways to get started.

1. Grow your own food

growing potatoes in my garden as a test of self-sufficiency
These potatoes are getting out of hand!

I’ve lived in tiny studios in LA and big homes on big lots in Florida. And I can tell you, no matter the size of your home, you can bring at least some self-sufficiency to your household.

And one of the best ways to do this is to growing your own food. This will also reduce your food bill (and improve your health!).

Some beginner options for growing food are:

But what happens if you don’t have a backyard or even a patio?

Well, there are plenty of options still. For example, you still can grow microgreens or herbs indoors. Or even try CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) or fermenting (kombucha is so easy and so worth it).

But if growing plants is completely out of the question because your wacky landlord is a plant nazi, there are still six other options on this list to improve your self-sufficiency.

2. Make what you can

washing hands with soap

Our present-day is consumerism on full-throttle. And while this can be depressing for the environment, it’s important to remember that there’s a lot of positive change happening (and you can be part of it).

One of the best things about homesteading and self-sufficiency is the ability to craft.

To combat the amount of waste out there, many are taking up skills to not only occupy their time but to create more of what they use. If you’re reading this and imaging an old lady knitting, there’s so much more to it than that.

Here are some examples of what you can craft on a homestead:

  • Soap
  • Cleaners
  • Candles
  • Garden tools
  • Clothes and cloths
  • Furniture

And the best one? A freaking house. That’s right, how cool would it be to learn to build your own house? That’s self-sufficiency dialed to 11.

Start small, and consider learning a skill to offset your consumption.

3. Repair what you can

a man drilling a hole in a piece of wood

While this is similar to number two on this list, it’s a bit of a different science. In short, it comes down to being reactive versus proactive.

Being proactive is great, especially when it comes to self-sufficiency (more on this later), but it’s just as important to learn how to fix things when they are broken. This is a skill all of its own.

And sure, repairing things like ripped clothes or your broken hand-spade might not be a big deal, but what happens when it’s your plumbing, electricity, or relationship? (yeah, I went there).

There’s not a great way to be prepared for when things fall apart. The best way to move forward is to remember that everything in existence can and will break. Once you remind yourself that this is a natural order of life, you can stop dwelling on what’s broken and move onto what you can do about it.

4. Learn to cook better

my chicken and veggies that I baked, and burned.
I burned half the veggies. 🙁 Next time I have to rotate it halfway through.

Cooking is a central part of being self-sufficient.

And while you don’t have to cook, it will make the game of sufficiency all the more fun.

For example, you might be skilled enough to grow your own food, but if you don’t cook that food, it’s like cutting down a whole bunch of lumber and not building a house. Sure you can just pay someone to do it for you, but you’re halfway there and missing out on the fun part!

There are so many different ways you can prepare food:

  • Baking
  • Cooking
  • Drying
  • Smoking
  • Curing
  • Pickling
  • Preserving
  • Canning
  • Grilling

Or if you’re new to cooking, try one of my favorite and easy cooking methods–using a slow-cooker. There’s just something so appealing about taking a bundle of ingredients, dropping them in, and letting the slow heat break them down into a delicious meal.

5. Simplify what you can

a view of the inside of my van with the open doors showing the ocean in Big Sur, California
Driving through Big Sur was one of the highlights of my van life

In my quest for simplicity, I’ve taken on a sort of minimalist lifestyle. I almost feel a literal weight off my shoulders and chest and can breathe.

Lucky for us, minimalism and homesteading are the peanut butter and jelly of self-sufficiency. And in the off chance, you’re not into minimalism, that’s okay, it’s not for everybody. But keep an open mind and you might take on one or two of these ideas.

Ahem. Now, let me set something straight.

Minimalism does not mean cheap or frugal.

It’s completely possible to have a minimalist lifestyle but own very expensive things.

The main point is not to live in over-abundance.

In my mind, there’s no need for my girlfriend and me to own 10 glasses for drinking water if there’s only two of us in the apartment. All that’s going to do is take up more space in the cabinet and dishes in the sink, but hey, feel free to disagree.

Minimalism helps simplify and reduce those not-so-important expenses and aspects of your life. Things like:

  • Finances
  • Debt
  • Toxic relationships
  • Junk
  • Stress

This was the case for me when I moved into a van. My finances, relationships, and lack of junk were all simplified and as a result, my mental health recovered (along with my wallet). My van life lasted two years, and through the many ups and downs, I don’t regret it.

I’m not saying you have to sell everything you own and move into a van to start becoming self-sufficient (although it definitely helped me).

If you want to simplify part of your life, all you have to do is take a good look at what is valuable to you. And I don’t mean valuable in a dollar amount, or sentimental items, I mean value in the sense if it’s doing something for your life. And the keyword here is “for”.

Self-sufficiency is getting to a space that works for you, not against you.

While everyone has a different definition of minimalism and self-sufficiency, everyone can benefit from simplifying their life and focusing on the things, or people, that really bring value.

If you’re interested in learning more about minimalism, check out the Minimalism documentary below. It’s worth the watch.

6. Take care of your health

a woman running down a road

One of the best investments in self-sufficiency is to make an investment in yourself.

Literally.

By optimizing your health, you are reducing the chances of getting sick or falling ill and not being able to take care of your homestead. Not to mention all the cost-savings from the doctor’s visits and drugs.

You already know that today’s health statistics today are shocking, especially in the US. There’s so much room for improvement here.

My health journey started almost a decade ago and is still going. After getting certified in health coaching, I found out how many people need a healthy change in their life.

The good news is that most health issues today are preventable and even recoverable. Don’t believe me? Then why not test this theory? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

So, Tyler, what does staying healthy have to do with a homestead?

Everything.

Homesteading can be incredibly demanding and take a toll on your mental, physical, and spiritual health (yes, I tend to believe there’s such a thing).

After all, self-sufficiency isn’t given, it’s earned with hard work. And even then, it’s still not 100% attainable.

Like most things on the planet, and WWE, homesteading is one of those things that love to fight back.

Tools will break. Water will dry up. So will funds. But they will bounce back with some hard work.

Staying in good health will help you continue to wrestle and win some self-sufficiency for yourself.

7. Be more proactive

a to do list

Being proactive is a key component of self-sufficiency. After all, our goal is to build systems to make our lives easier. And while reactiveness is great for refining systems, proactiveness helps push the boundaries and put new processes in place.

A good example of how proactiveness can help achieve a self-sufficient lifestyle is dividends. Most of us are familiar with dividends, which is basically receiving free money simply holding a company’s stock. But what if we can receive more than just money?

What if we can semi-automate our food, water, and electric supply? And on top of that, have these systems running all at the same time?

Well, we can.

While we sleep, gardens can provide us with food, rain barrels with water, and solar panels with electricity (although, that’s more in the daytime). Point is, these are just a handful of approaches we can take.

Yes, they will take some time and money to get them set up. But isn’t it worth it?

Passive income doesn’t only exist for the millennial YouTubers’ bragging rights. It’s a real obtainable thing and can include more than income alone.

Keep in mind, any system, whether for food, water, or even your career, takes time. Lots of time. Not to mention lessons.

But, stay persistent and patient, and you’ll find your garden, water-supply, and bank account slowly growing.


Becoming self-sufficient isn’t easy. But it’s very possible. As with most success in life, it’s usually best to start small.

Start by learning to grow your own food, make or repair things you own, and increase your skill in cooking. Follow that up by simplifying your life, staying in good health, and being proactive where you can. Once you strike a balance with these, you’ll be well on your way to a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Tyler Ziton

After years of fatigue and declining health, Tyler found that good, fresh food was his answer. He learned more about healthy food by completing a certification in health coaching, and from there decided to grow his own food and become more self-sufficient. Tyler also runs a consulting company to help gardeners and website owners solve problems. Read more.

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