Becoming self sufficient in an urban home isn't achieved easily or quickly


I'm reading, and seeing on social media more and more people who want to become self sufficient. This is something that I've always thought about and dreamed of becoming but it is easily said that done, especially as we live in an urban home. A mid terrace maisonette above our shop which is on a high street. We do have the benefit of a small courtyard garden and small allotment though. 

There are lots of small changes that we as a family have made over the years to try and be more self sufficient, to cut our spending and to become more ecologically aware of our impact but we are far from self sufficient. 

I really wish that this was something taught in schools, why are we not educated about things like this. Why do we force other academic skills on all children rather than teach them how to take care of themselves, how to grow food, how to save water, forage and learn about what plants can and cannot be eaten, about the healing properties of plants and the effect that different foods can have on our health etc. 

Instead children are force fed subjects that in the long run will likely be of little or no use to them unless they choose to work in certain jobs. I wish this would change. It has taken me years to learn only a small proportion of what I need and want to learn about the world, about ways in which we can reduce costs, be more eco friendly and rely less on the outside world and large corporate companies. 

A life long goal of ours is to save enough to purchase either a piece of land and stay in the home we own here or to find a new home that comes with land. As a family on a very low income this is highly unlikely to happen any time soon and is not very achievable however that won't stop me working hard every day towards achieving that goal. 

In the meantime however I'm always researching ways in which we can save money and look after ourselves. Here are a few ways that we've tried to cut costs (so we can save more) and become a little most self sufficient : 

1. Growing our own food
It is no secret that the price of food is rising rapidly, we are trying to cut this cost by buying the lowest cost items of anything we need and growing some food ourselves. It isn't cheap though to start growing your own food, I'll be the first to be honest about that however there are ways to make it more affordable once you get start.
- Use recycled materials to grow in, old pots, old plastic storage containers.
- Save seeds from your crop so you can grow again the following year without having to purchase more seeds.
- Make your own compost to save having to keep buying more and more. 

Click here to see some great seed bundles to get you started. 

*There are other ways you can cut the costs of gardening, if you would like to read more come back again next week as I'll be sharing even more ways that you can cut the costs of gardening*

2. Collecting water
Another rising cost is water and if you are planning to grow your own food then you are going to need lots to be able to look after your plants. It important then to think about how you can collect your own water and avoid using tap water. Water buts are perfect for this and actually pretty easy to install and connect to your guttering, this could be to your house, shed, greenhouse or conservatory. 
We have one installed on our house already but i realised that i could be collecting even more if i connected another to my conservatory so I have invested in a slimline waterbut. Though there is the initial cost of a waterbut i really do see it as a long term investment. It ill save me a lot of money on water and i can take it with me to new house should we ever more. If you are unable to have water buts you could consider leaving out containers around the garden to collect water, this isn't as aesthetically pleasing and will take much longer but every drop of water saved can save you money. 

If you are looking for a good price water but these links are good: 

Large size water but 

3. Composting 
One of the main costs of growing your own food is compost so if you can create your own it will help cut that cost. Initially you'll just need a space and a compost bin, I can recommend this one we've had it a few years now and it has worked perfectly well for us. You'll need to read up on what you can and cannot put in your compost and the best balance to achieve the best compost, I'll post more about this soon but in my experience a good mix of veg cuttings / peel, grass cuttings, shredded paper, dried leaves and shredded cardboard made brilliant compost for us. 

Click here to see the compost bin i use 

4. Keeping warm
Another rising cost is energy and keeping warm can be costly as is can mean you are using a lot of gas or electric. We personally have NO central heating in our home. No radiators, no night storage units nothing. We have only a wood burner in the living room and a few plug in heated blankets for when we get seriously cold. Other than that we use additional layers of clothing, hot water bottles and moving around more. In the really cold months the family tend to all congregate in the living room where the wood burner is which is actually really nice as we spend time together. We do our best to source wood free where ever we can, this does mean we have to keep an eye out all year round for any free wood, we have to cut it ourselves and store it to dry out too. We also make our own fire starters using toilet roll tubes stuffed with lint / fluff / old tissues. 

5. Using herbal remedies rather than expensive medication 
The cost of prescriptions has gone up and the cost of various medication has too. Though this is something of a necessity for some I've been research over the past 8 years different holistic approaches to health. I'm learning more and more daily through my studies and research about different plants / herbs that can do the same thing as costly over the counter medicines. I took a few courses to help me learn initially and now I do a lot of independent research. 
I personally now no longer spend money on a monthly prescription for my mental health medication, instead I use a combination things, which is considered a holistic approach. This involves change of diet, exercise, talk therapy, herbal tinctures, essential oils etc. It is by no means a perfect cure all, nore though was medication for me. But it does help me manage my mental health without the cost of a monthly prescription and the use of tablets. 
There are lots of other ways in which you can switch to herbal remedies like for example the different things you can use to ease aches and pains, sore throat, coughs, sinus problems and many more things. It does involve a lot of research and study, foraging for the plants or growing them but in the long run in my opinion is is a great way to become more self sufficient, its actually great fun to learn too. 

So there you have it, 5 ways in which we are trying to cut costs and be more self sufficient but as I state in the title, it isn't quick or easy to achieve and we are by no means there yet. There is still so much more I want to do and I'm trying to learn to do. It is especially hard in our urban setting, I can imagine it is much easier in a detached home surrounded by land! 


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