Develop Self-sufficiency for success
Self-sufficiency is the ability to meet your basic needs without outside help. To some people, self-sufficiency is simply having the means to pay for a place to live, food, medical care/insurance, and transportation. However, if these are the only things that you can take care of yourself, it could easily be argued that you aren’t very independent or self-sufficient. On the other extreme are survivalists and homesteaders. These folks believe that you are not self-sufficient unless you are growing your own food and living off the grid. Then, in the middle are those who simply want to meet their basic needs, and develop a few other important life skills that will put us on the path to success. Keep reading to learn more about the various aspects of self-sufficiency and what skills you need to be able to claim a basic level of mastery.
Self-Sufficiency in Transportation
If you own your own vehicle, and you have the means to pay for gas and car insurance you are on your way to self-sufficiency. However, you are not all of the way there yet. There are several other factors to consider. For example, are you capable of performing any or all routine maintenance on your vehicle. In order to be truly self-sufficient, you should be able to do the following:
- Check tire air pressure, add air to a tire, and change a tire
- Check and replenish fluid levels
- Jump start a dead battery
- Replace broken fuses
- Check the air filter for dirt and grime
- Wash and wax the vehicle including cleaning the tires
- Read all gauges on the dashboard and understand the meaning of each warning light
- Know who to contact for various types of repairs
Consider yourself especially self-sufficient when it comes to vehicle maintenance if you can change your own oil, replace your battery, and give your engine a tune up.
A final note: owning a vehicle is not the only way to be self-sufficient. In fact, buying and owning a vehicle can make one financially dependent upon others, especially if the vehicle is in constant disrepair or you cannot afford to drive it. On the other hand, making the decision to walk or use public transportation, if that is right for your situation, is an absolutely appropriate way to claim self-sufficiency.
If you pay all of your own bills, that is great. It is not, however self-sufficiency. True financial self-sufficiency is gained when you have the ability to pay your bills now, and into the future. It also includes the ability and willingness to fund any dependents. In addition to all of this, you also must have the ability to protect your financial resources. Take a look at the following list and see which items you can check off:
- The ability to create and follow a budget, including saving money
- Having the knowledge to find a loan at a fair interest rate.
- Having sufficient emergency savings
- Knowing your credit score
- Keeping credit card debt to a minimum and making more than the required monthly payment
- Understanding the steps to take in the event of identity theft or credit card fraud
- Participating in a workplace or SEP retirement savings plan
- Survive comfortably from one paycheck to the next
Another thing to consider is the fact that your financial independence likely hinges on whether or not you are employed. To that end, are you prepared to deal with a job loss? Are your skills up to date and marketable?
Self-Sufficiency and Health
This can be divided up into three different categories, taking care of your basic medical needs, having the means to pay for larger medical expenses, and maintaining your long term health.
Taking Care of Basic Medical Needs: Ask yourself, are you able to handle the following emergency (minor and major) situations?
- Treating minor cuts and burns
- Recognizing the symptoms of a concussion
- Stopping or reducing the flow of blood
- Recognizing the signs of a stroke or heart attack
- Performing CPR
- Treating a sprain or strained muscle
- Treating a high fever
- Recognizing symptoms that indicate a trip to the doctor or the emergency room
Taking Care of Larger Medical Expenses: The major factor here is having a health insurance plan that is adequate to meet your needs should you become very ill or should you suffer a major injury.
Taking Care of Long Term Health: Finally, before you can state that you are self-sufficient in the area of taking care of your medical needs, you must have the ability to take care of your long term health needs. This includes staying in shape, eating right, maintaining appointments, and managing any chronic conditions.
Eating and Self-Sufficiency
No, you do not need to grow your own food to be self-sufficient, although that is pretty cool. However, you should be able to adequately feed yourself and anybody depending on you, even if you run into an emergency. Can you, or have you done all of these things?
- Cook a meal from scratch ingredients
- Read and execute a recipe
- Cook a holiday meal
- Grocery shop for a week while following a strict budget
- Create a meal plan for yourself and any dependents
- Feed yourself without going out to eat
- Stock a refrigerator and pantry in the event of an upcoming storm
- Create an emergency food storage system to feed yourself and your family in the event of a disaster
Gaining True Self-Sufficiency
As you read all of this, you may think that become self-sufficient is nearly impossible. It really isn’t. Almost every item on this list can be learned if you just do a few minutes of research. There are a few that will require a little more in depth teaching, but even those are very doable. So, don’t be intimidated! Just make an effort to learn a few of these items at a time, and you will be truly self-sufficient.