Thinking of dropping off the grid? If you’ve become more and more skeptical of the economy, the stability of the country, or you just want to become more self-reliant, there are ways to go about withdrawing yourself from society in a healthy way and reducing your dependence on others. Here’s how to avoid the mistakes others have made and become self-reliant in a year or less.
Focus Less On Appearance
There’s always a compromise when you choose to be self-reliant. One of those compromises is aesthetics. You can’t be as concerned about your appearance unless you pick up sewing and become a master tailor. But, for most people, you will end up having used clothes, and will have to adopt a policy of buying more functional or practical clothing that’s durable, and forgo fashion. Ditto for the home. High-maintenance places don’t work when you’re a prepper because they’re a lot to keep up, especially when you have other, more important things to worry about – like eating.
Get a Bug Out/In Bag
A bug out or bug in bag is basically an emergency kit. A bug out bag is for times when you might have to leave your home due to an emergency situation – a flood, fire, or maybe some serious weather or an evacuation or state of emergency.
The bug out bag should include some food rations, a way to filter non-potable water, a way to sterilize water for other uses, bandanas, a wool blanket, antibiotics, antiseptic, a flare gun, a Faraday-style flashlight, first aid kit, two ways to make fire (three, ideally), and some simple tools like a pick axe and collapsible shovel.
The bug-in bag is similar in concept, but it’s designed to help keep you safe when you have to barricade yourself in your house. It should contain everything a bug out bag contains, but more of everything with a focus on non-perishable food and water and a power generator of some kind.
Save Money and Commodities
Save some hard cash and put it somewhere safe in the house. Also, consider some “hard commodities” (i.e. gold, silver, platinum, palladium). While your aim is to self-sufficient, realize that, during an emergency situation, you may need cash for things and in a worst-case scenario, you might need something of intrinsic value, like silver or gold.
Get Rid Of Debt
Pay off as much of your debt as possible. Debt makes you dependent on a bank for survival. Not good. Pay down debt any way you can and start building up your savings.
Keep Expenses Low
Keep your ordinary and regular expenses to a minimum. That means ditching your expensive cell phone and getting a cheap TracFone, or something similar. It also means getting rid of cable T.V., and relying on Internet for any access to news. You could hypothetically get rid of Internet too if you wanted to, but then you’re limited to radio for news, which isn’t ideal in this day and age.
Get a Power Generator
Companies, like 4 Patriots sell solar generators that don’t require gasoline. This is a very good idea because gas generators aren’t portable and have limited functionality. Eliminate this handicap by using something that’s a little more portable and provides near infinite energy.
Start Farming and Saving Food
This is one of the most important things you can do to start becoming more self-sufficient: start a hobby farm. A few chickens is a great start. Plant a vegetable garden, and you’ll have eggs from the chickens, vegetables from the garden, and pretty much an endless food supply so you won’t starve.
If you get more serious about it, you can buy a cow and keep it out on pasture for milk and other dairy products. Or, get two cows, breed them, and have an unending source of meat. Expand your farm to include goats, lambs, and whatever else you might want to eat. Over time, you might like it enough to become an actual farmer, sell your surplus for profit and never want for anything ever again. Is it a harder life? You bet, but you won’t be relying on other people for necessities.
Allen Baler is a Partner at 4Patriots LLC, a Tennessee based small business that provides products to help people be more self-reliant and more independent. Allen founded the company in 2008 after 14 years as a corporate executive leading profitable business for the Easton Press and the Danbury Mint. He graduated with honors from Harvard University and resides in Nashville with his wife and 3 daughters.