This article was originally published on the website of the Save the Earth Cooperative under the title, "How to Be Self-Reliant - It Can Save You a Lot of Money," on June 27, 2016.
So far, the twenty-first century has not developed a reputation for being an era of particular plenty. Governments around the world are cutting back on social programs, businesses are cutting back on labor, and there are millions of people around the globe that are unable, due to a plethora of circumstances, to properly provide for their day to day needs. With dwindling supplies of resources, less financial security, and disappearing government assistance, life is becoming more difficult, even for people living in the developed world. In such a setting, people need to learn to be more self-reliant. They need to be able to make due with less and maximize what little they do have. The first place that you can begin to do this is with your pocket book. There are countless ways that you can save money around the house, so that you will have the money necessary to afford the things that matter more in the long run like food, fuel, medical care, and the like. Here are some things that you can do to put yourself on the path to self-reliance that in the long run, will also lighten the load on your bank account.
-Be your own plumber. Most of the time, the everyday tasks of keeping the plumbing in your house under control do not necessarily require the services of a licensed professional. If you have a leaky faucet, fix it. If your toilet is malfunctioning, replace it. If a drain is clogged, unclog it. If you do not know to do these things, there are countless ways to learn how. Buy a do-it-yourself manual, look up the procedures on the internet, or invest in an intro class at a local vocational school. The initial investment will save you tons of money in the long run.
-Be your own electrician. When it comes to doing electrical work, there is a measure of caution that is warranted; however, much like plumbing work, the everyday mundane tasks that need to be performed to keep you house electrically safe, are not beyond your capabilities. You will save a great deal of money if you learn to do these basic things on your own. If you have an electrical socket that has gone out, replace it. If you have a light fixture that no longer works, fix it. If you want to trade out a ceiling lamp for a ceiling fan, do the work yourself. If you do not know how do these things, again, there are plenty of ways to learn how.
-Be your own auto mechanic. Of the many charges that you can incur in your day to day life, car repairs, by far, can be the most daunting. Further, what happens if you cannot afford the shop charges to get the needed repairs done? You are grounded and loosing time and money. Has your car’s battery died? You are going to have to accept the cost of a new one, but save yourself the absorbent cost of having some else install it for you, by doing it yourself. Did you blow a serpentine belt? Such a part is normally very inexpensive. It is putting it in that will cost you at the shop. Do it yourself. Have your spark plugs stopped working properly? Replace them yourself. The job will cost you ten dollars versus one hundred and fifty dollars to have a shop do it for you. Finally, never, never, never, pay anyone to change the oil in your car. This is the most basic of all maintenance tasks, and you can do this by yourself in less than ten minutes and at a fraction of the cost of taking your car to the shop.
-Be your own landscaper. Everyone that owns a home wants their yard to look nice year round. However, unless they hire a professional, most people never get around to doing it. Further, many people would rather pay someone else to do the basic lawn work like mowing, edging, and raking, instead of doing it themselves. Well, do it yourself, and save yourself all of the money that you would pay other people to do the work for you. Mow, edge, and clean up the leaves in your yard yourself. Beyond that you can do the complicated stuff on your own too. If you want a new tree in your yard, plant one. If you want to put a row of bushes in up against your fence line, do it. If you want a new flower garden, get down and plant the petunias yourself. You will not just save a lot of money. You may also find yourself enjoying the work and taking more pride in how your home looks.
-Be your own carpenter. From the most basic tasks, like fixing a cabinet door, to replacing a door frame, to the more complex jobs, like remodeling a kitchen, or building a new deck in the backyard, you can save yourself a great deal of money by doing the work yourself. It is not difficult to fix a broken hinge or replace the damaged facing on a door frame. Nor, is it difficult to install new kitchen equipment. Things like cabinets and shelving can usually be purchased premade. If they are not premade, assembly instructions are usually available. If you want to build from scratch, there are plenty ways to learn how to do so. The same goes for deck work. You can do the work yourself. All you have to do is take the time to do it and then follow the task through to the end. The savings will be dramatic.
-Instead of buying the tools that you need, rent them from a local hardware store, or borrow them from a neighbor. Admittedly, the tools needed to do some of these jobs can be both bulky and expensive. You might not have the money to buy the tools, and even if you did, you may not have sufficient space to store them when they are no longer needed. Besides, not everyone really needs things like a heavy pipe wrench, a voltage tester, a one-ton floor jack, an auto tiller, or a belt sander for more than a few hours at any given time. Save yourself the time and the trouble by either renting tools for a single use, which is cheaper than buying them, over time, or borrow them from a trusted friend, which is even cheaper.