Here is a quote about being self-reliant from one of my Church's leaders:
"We become self-reliant through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being." (Julie B. Beck, "The Welfare Responsibilities of the Relief Society President, Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance (2009), 4-5)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a plan to help you start on your way to complete self-reliance (and you don't have to be a Church member to read what they have to say.) It includes five basic areas:
- Emergency Preparedness
- Home Storage
Let me give you my interpretation of my Church's counsel on each of these:
Education: What this means is education and literacy. I am going to describe it as a lifetime love of learning. (That is my term, not the official Church description.) The bottom line of this is you can't support your family without a good job. You can't get a good job without an education. This doesn't necessarily mean college - it includes technical training as well.
A love of learning helps in this situation because when you love to learn, you will be willing to invest the time needed to continuously update your skill set. The best jobs go to those who have skills in the latest technologies!
Emergency Preparedness: I do cover Emergency Preparedness on this blog. You can read more about it here. At a minimum, you should have a plan to answer the following questions:
- What would you do if you get stuck in your car in a snowstorm, rushing flood waters, ice storm or an abandoned stretch of road?
- What would you do if you had to leave your car and walk to get help on a very hot summer day?
- What would you do if you were ordered to evacuate your home for a period of time?
- What would you do if you experienced electric or water disruptions for a lengthy period of time?
Finances: Do you have a rainy day fund? How do you plan to handle it when the car breaks down? You can't avoid it, even a new car will break down or require repairs eventually. What about when your TV breaks? Or what if you drop your computer and need to replace it? Unexpected things happen to us all the time. You need to be prepared with savings in the bank so you can weather life's storms. This also includes living below your means. I heard Dave Ramsey say once that we all need to "act our wage". I think that statement is quite profound and I have never forgotten it. Of course it isn't possible to do this if you are watching every dollar that you make go out the door to support a lifestyle heavy with debt. If your answer to this is that you don't make enough money to get out of debt, let me refer you to the first bullet point on Education.
Health: I don't think I mention health enough. Other then eating foods that are grown chemical free, switching to whole grains and removing chemical cleaners from your home, I haven't mentioned how important it is to take care of yourself. In Church yesterday, one of our speakers was talking about how your body is a "Temple of the Lord." It is! AND it is the only one you are going to get! Take care of it so you can get the maximum mileage possible from it.
Home Storage: Home storage includes a storage of food as well as other necessary supplies you need to live (without a trip to the store) for an extended period of time. How long? I am counseled to have a minimum of three months worth of storage of everyday items. One year's worth of storage for life sustaining basics like wheat, rice, oats, powdered milk and honey. You can read more about food storage here.
If all this appeals to you and you think being self-reliant is something you are interested in doing, you can see more information about each of these areas on the following web sites: