At the heart of the Have More For Less concept is my belief that happiness is the product of simple living and self-reliance.
My own self-reliance is achieved through:
- growing food
- exploring alternative shelter, energy and transport options
- designing and making – and mending things
- trading – selling and bartering
In this post, I provide some detail about those strategies. In so doing, I’m not suggesting that you should follow an identical path. This is simply what works for me.
Arguably, one of the most tangible indications that you are serious about self-reliance is the decision to assume control of your own food chain.
There are a variety of reasons for doing so and, principal among them, is food security….ensuring that you have food when you need it. Knowing where your food comes from, and what’s in it, is central to your health. Making intelligent food choices is not only good for you; you’re helping the planet out, too. By the way, implicit in any discussion of food is acknowledgment of the need for potable water.
A less tangible (but no less important) benefit of growing food is the self-confidence it invests in you.
If the words ‘grow your own’ inspire thoughts of traditional gardening…with all of its digging, weeding and other hard work – relax! It doesn’t need to be that way. There are literally dozens of food production strategies that don’t require a shovel or garden fork.
Of course, there are also ways to access clean fresh food that don’t require you to grow it yourself. You can buy it directly from others who grow it – and still reap the financial and health benefits. You can also underpin food security by setting up your own food bank…stockpiling non-perishable essentials as a hedge against hard times.
The important message here is to take control of your food chain.
Shelter – Energy – Transport
Once you’re had something to eat and drink, your next survival requirement is shelter.
Regardless of whether they are buying or renting, keeping a roof over their head is the biggest expense for most people. Even those who have freehold ownership of their homes will be shelling out substantial amounts of money for insurance, rates, taxes, utilities (like water and sewerage) – and maintenance.
Most people require a loan to buy a house. Many of them will then spend the next 25 to 35 years paying off that loan. Known as the ‘mortgage trap’ this process is an issue for two reasons. Firstly, the sheer amount of life energy that has to be directed to the repayment of housing loans is huge. Second, is the insidious affect that it has on personal freedom. All manner of life choices will be made to mitigate against the risk of not being able to pay that mortgage.
You may have to work in situations that you detest simply because of the captive impact of your mortgage. It’s no exaggeration to say that, for many people, home ownership means decades of anxious scrutiny of the quarterly central bank interest rate announcements.
My interest in alternative housing is largely driven by the desire to demonstrate that people don’t need to be victims of the mortgage trap. They don’t even need to subject themselves to the indignity that often accompanies the renting of residential property. Fortunately, there are many strategies that can be employed to offset the cost of shelter. They just require a little ‘outside of the box’ thinking.
I treat the whole matter of housing as an adventure…a challenge. I live in a tiny house – not because I have to – but rather because I enjoy it. The cost effective provision of providing your own shelter is liberating and no less of a boost for your self-confidence than growing your own food.
Living without electricity is possible but, for most people, not all that practical. Buying electricity through a power company is increasingly expensive but there are things that you can do to reduce your energy costs.
Transporting one’s goods – and oneself – is also an important (and prospectively expensive) part of conventional living. For convenience sake, I treat them as part of my housing deliberations.
Suffice to say, at this stage, the exploration of alternative housing, energy and transport is a cornerstone of the Have More For Less concept.
Designing, Making and Mending
The procurement of goods and services costs money but, the more you can do for yourself, the less expensive it gets.
Eating out will cost you more than growing and preparing your own food. Building your own furniture and making and maintaining your own clothes will also save heaps of cash.
Acquiring practical knowledge and skills not only reduces the cost of living but will also assist you to generate income.
Trading – Buying, Selling and Barter
If you’re like most people, there will be some of life’s essentials that you’ll struggle to provide for yourself and that’s where trading becomes a part of your self-reliance program.
Trading is business…selling products or services. People have been doing it for thousands of years and, in its most fundamental form, it’s easy to do, too.
Long before money existed, people used barter – a system of exchange where good or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services – without using a medium of exchange – like money.
To summarise…HMFL is about growing food, living comfortably, design and making, getting around and selling stuff. It’s about building an enjoyable and sustainable lifestyle in which time assumes a greater value than money.
In my next post, I’ll reveal how a chance encounter with a little book set me on the path to food self-sufficiency.
I like to share and discuss these ideas with others. To that end, I invite you to go to www.havemoreforless.com.