‘All challenges can be overcome,’ is what my grandfather used to say on the farm. Whether 80% of the chickens were just eradicated as a result of a wolf raid, drought crippled our corn yield for the year, or the farm truck died, nothing was too big to overcome. His quote rings true for a number of current-day instances and this includes becoming self-sufficient. Our world is inter-connected via the internet. We spend hours of our days glued to the computer, our iPhones, tablets, televisions/video games, and what seems to be unlimited amount of technology at our fingertips. We depend on Facebook and Twitter or we can’t function. We’ve become, for lack of a better way to say, techno crybabies.
How do we get away from that? How do we go back to our roots and back to living simply? No more concrete jungle, no more planet-crippling pollution, no more dependence on iPods, Facebook, or Netflix. It starts first with getting rid of everything that you’re tracked by. This means getting rid of bills, online accounts, and above all debt. Debt keeps you in the cross-hairs. It keeps you tied down and essentially a slave to whichever entity or person you owe that debt to. Once your debt is $0.00, consider yourself free and the chains broken. This is no easy task, but my grandfather would tell you that it can be down with the right attitude and commitment to the idea of becoming debt-free. Where to start?
The first step to climbing from the dark abyss is to recognize the problem and put forth a plan to solve it. Debt is something that will not be overcome in a few days even a few months and it may even take a few years. It may require you cancel a monthly subscriptions to online magazine or streaming service. And while this may be difficult, let’s be real. Being homeless is difficult but not being able to watch a television series is certainly not. It may take a few months to get used to it but once the new action becomes habit you’ll feel no different than you do now. Call it skimming the cream. Your plan should be completely skimming the cream off the top. This cream includes all the amenities that are not necessary for your human existence. Some of these might sound crazy, but include:
- Automobile fuel (ride a bike or walk if at all possible)
- High-speed internet. Plenty of establishments offer free WI-Fi.
- Eating out at restaurants. Buy a cookbook and do it all yourself.
- Swap a current leisure-time activity with exercise. Running a couple miles a day will keep you occupied and improve health, crucial when SHTF. In addition, it is free to do so.
- Cut down greatly (if not completely) on alcohol and bar nights.
Check out some of Suze Orman’s videos and tutorials if you’re interested more in personal finance and if you need or can afford a given expense.
After you discover how much you’re saving on a month-to-month basis by not paying for these goods or services, use this chunk of income and put it straight towards debt. Do not think twice. High interest should be paid first as a general rule. Credit cards and personal loans are at that top of this list if you’re deciding between the two, mortgages, student loans, or whatever else you’re indebted to. Get out of debt as quickly as possible.
Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. All you can control is now. Do what you can do now. Getting out of debt is about staying in the moment, doing your best to enjoy your life now, and ensuring your future. You cannot control 2 years from now, all you can do is continue to save money and put that towards paying down debt now. The sooner you recognize the problem and begin taking action to combat it, the sooner you’ll get closer to $0.00.
Being debt-free is the first step to becoming self-sustainable. As a prepper, I pride myself in being debt-free and know what it took to get here. It isn’t easy. But the pride and freedom felt from being debt free is like a rush of cool air enveloping my face during a scorching hot summer day. I am no longer a techno crybaby nor do I depend upon technology. I’ve found solutions to my previously egregious spending habits in unexpected ways; running, playing cards, and writing are just a few. I became a prepper not only by necessity, but also by hobby. It is enjoyable to see the money saved on a month-to-month basis now and feel much better about my life as a result.
When the time comes that SHTF (and some believe it will and some do not, I am a member of the former), I will be prepared to hit the ground running. Human beings have walked upon this earth for generations. We have done so without the technology, without the debt, and without all the amenities currently keeping us watched and with a presence on the grid. The time is now to prepare for your future. Skim the fat from the top and put that towards paying off your debt. This is not to say it’s even close to a simple task to tackle. It is the primary step to becoming self-sufficient and shedding the chains of society. Once you’re able to do that, you can begin the real prepping. Change your lifestyle to prepare yourself. Stop living paycheck to paycheck and eeking by on those interest payments.
About the Author: Gale Newell is continually working on being a self-sufficient human being. She finds herself spending her summer days outdoors, whether that raising her own food in her organic garden or playing cards with friends and family. She is very much into grilling meals on her old-school charcoal grill and has since lifted her addiction to multiple television series. She feels freer than ever and is truly happy. She is prepared for the future and ready for whatever happens next.