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- I’ve been gardening more since the start of the pandemic, and it’s changed the way I think about self-sufficiency and financial independence.
- A slower pace of life has shown me that I don’t need to outsource tasks — I can “insource” them, doing the labor myself, saving money, and spending more quality time with my family.
- Growing my own food has also shown me that I can make money with different skills, and that’s motivating me to seek work in new ways.
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Like many people, I’ve decided to step up my gardening game this year. Back in March, my state’s governor announced a stay-at-home order, and while we were still able to go grocery shopping, most stores were nearly empty. So gardening has helped me feed my family — but it’s also done much more.
This is my third year gardening, and I still made a ton of mistakes. Nevertheless, walking into my backyard and tending a garden has made me realize so much about money and sustainability.
The connection between self-sufficiency and financial independence
Financial independence is my ultimate goal. I don’t want to retire early necessarily, but I’d like to have more options and not have to trade my time for money so much. There are many different ways to become financially independent, but the bottom line is to spend less than you earn. Then, save and invest the difference.
You don’t have to become rich, but a wealth of knowledge and skills could also be helpful when reaching this goal.
While becoming financially independent means you don’t have to rely on a steady paycheck, becoming self-sufficient means you can provide for yourself and meet your own basic needs without a lot of outside help. Both concepts involve some form of becoming more independent as a person.
I’m grateful for modern-day conveniences, but also understand how important it is to have certain life skills, like knowing how to keep at least a one-month supply of food and household goods on hand at all times. Starting a garden is just one step toward being more self-sufficient, and it will save my family money and possibly even help me earn more money in the future.
Starting with a renewable source of food and eliminating waste
Gardening is an extensive process, but it can be easy to begin if you start small. My first year, I grew tomatoes, basil, and bell peppers. The following year, I threw in some zucchini.
Then, this year, I added cauliflower and broccoli. Things did not go so well, and I realized the weather was probably too warm to have a good harvest with either vegetable. However, I can always try again this fall.
Whether you’re working with potted herbs inside your home, a greenhouse filled with plants, or just a few seeds, having a garden provides a renewable source of food. Plants grow quickly and often replace themselves at fast rates. Once you harvest some produce, the plant can go on to produce seeds that you can then plant for next year’s harvest.
My initial goal is to save $50 per month on groceries with help from my garden. Canning what I grow will also come into play, since you can often freeze and preserve extra produce to use at a later date.
Another thing I started doing with my son is regrowing vegetables from kitchen scraps. Instead of throwing out celery, lettuce, garlic, etc., there are tons of videos on YouTube that show you how to regrow them in your home for free.
So far, we’re regrowing lettuce, green onions, and potatoes. This will also help us eliminate waste and shave more from our monthly food budget.
Insourcing over outsourcing
For the past few years, I believed I had to outsource nearly everything just to save time and be productive. In order to free up time to work and earn money, it made sense to hire someone to cut the grass or do my family’s laundry. I explored the idea of hiring someone to clean the house every few weeks and regularly took my son to get pricey haircuts.
Life has slowed down a lot over the past few months, and it’s reminded me to embrace self-sufficiency in other areas of my life to save more money. But saving money through self-sufficiency…