Self-sufficiency: Breaking Free From Work-earn-spend Consumer Economy


Today, we live in a world where people have food shortages. The cost of living is just too high. Too high to both non-agricultural workers and farmers alike.

To eat one has to pay. Pay for water, fruits, vegetables and just about anything. Because of these, many lives go around in circles.

Let’s consider minimizing the cost of living by growing our own food. How is that? Food is what we can cut off from our expenses. Let’s find out how?

John Ivanko in 9 Strategies for self-sufficient living provides helpful suggestions.

“When you grow your own food, generate your own energy and work from a home office or farm for your livelihood, the so-called “costs of living” largely disappear. You become untethered to the work-earn-spend consumer economy and thrive, instead, in a more locally centered, self-sufficient economy in which money is less essential for a rich life.”

A life in which money is less essential for a rich life. That’s the life many of us only dream of. A life where we feel we’re in control. That’s why we wake up and go to work. At least for a great majority of us. We want to be self-sufficient as opposed to circumstance-oppressed people.

Put another way, a situational, mechanical people. Situational because we’re controlled by situations and mechanical in that we’ve to work hard because money means everything. Working even if when we don’t feel like it.

John equally believes that, self-reliant living can take many forms. You can provide your own food… by running a home-based business, you can generate money needed to obtain essential products or services you’re unable to provide for yourself.

By the way, we do need money. Right? But it should be less essential for the richness of our lives. We should only need it to pursue those things we can’t afford to grow ourselves.

We should produce what we can. Now that I’ve shocked you into life of self-sufficiency, let’s delve into how anyone can attain it or transition to it.

Here are 5 Strategies for self-sufficient living:

  1. Think long-term and stay put: commit to a permanent location and develop a long-term vision. You will want to have a practical plan that you can achieve over a time period appropriate to your current stage of life.
  2. Get back to basics: deciding where to start can feel overwhelming. Start by focusing on survival and sustenance. Six main spheres guide our approach to self-sufficient living: water, shelter, food, energy (including transportation), finances and community. The spheres you decide to work on first will be based on your situation, passions, unique skills and finances. We all have limitations to achieving total self-reliance- but after you know your limits, you can strive to transform them into possibilities.
  3. Change with the season: the seasons also guide the diversity of projects that make up our livelihood.
  4. Create a homestead: while not essential, owning some land can become the foundation on which you cultivate self-sufficiency.  More is not necessarily better when it comes to owning land responsibly. Create a land-management plan that is both realistic and financially feasible. Your land should be an asset that creates cash flow and appreciates in value over time as a result of activities you undertake. Renting farmland is an option as long as the lease agreement allows for the projects necessary to accomplish your goals.
  5. Eliminate debt: when your backyard serves as a farmer’s market, your kitchen as a restaurant and your cellar as your supermarket, you essentially eliminate food costs.

With these few recommendations, it becomes clear that self-sufficiency is something to be coveted. Something we should all aim at. Let’s start out with reducing our spending on what we can produce. Let’s capitalize on economic capacities of our lands- small and large.


Teboho is a Social Worker, Writer and Inspirational Speaker. He is in pursuit of MSc. in Managerial Psychology. Graduates are able to apply psychological principles and methods to tackle challenges in the work environment and provide effective practical solutions. Acting as industrial-organizational psychologists.