Self-Sufficiency Comes Cheap


Faith to Change

There seems to be the misnomer that the only way to become more self-sufficient is to be loaded with money. Well, I can assure you from personal experience, such is NOT the case. It’s a matter of priorities, not paychecks.


A few years ago my husband and I had just gone through a horrible financial set-back; while 2008 hit a lot of businesses, we managed to do quite well until…well, until a whole lot of things happened all at once. We closed up a business, walked away from over $2.5 million in contracts that were due to us, filed for bankruptcy, held garage sales, etc. etc. I can honestly say that I had never been lower. Up until that time I couldn’t fathom anything more “failure oriented” than having to file bankruptcy! I kept praying I kept smiling and I kept hoping, but the rest of me just wasn’t buying it. I didn't want to DO anything anymore--not consult, not clean house--nothing.  I stopped doing the things I needed to do for my own mental and physical health and, to be a bit vulnerable in sharing this, my husband started to worry after a few days of lengthy hours of watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island and Happy Days. So, he sat me down.  Not 100% sure what we were going to do next he asked me a key question. He said “if money was not an issue, what would you love to do every day for work?” My answer? “I’d write and teach others to approach a self-sufficient lifestyle with peace and comfort in mind instead of panic and suffering.” My hubby paused for a moment and then said, “Then do it. I’ll take care of the bills. You do what you love. At least one of us will be totally happy.”  (Now that’s LOVE for ya!) He was right. I was happy and no one could get in the way of that because I wasn’t held hostage by any advertisers or customers. I could stay focused and true to what I really wanted to do. I’ve never felt more liberated and the funny thing that I discovered was that there’s always a way to earn a living doing what you love to do. With that attitude, we chose to learn from our complacency and never repeat those mistakes again; we moved forward; and we’ve really never had to suffer “without” since then.


Here’s an example.  I presently have a sizeable supply of alternative medical supplies that hold a retail value of approximately $80,000 to $100,000, but I didn’t pay the typical asking

price for those items; I worked for them—literally worked for them. I found a line of products that I knew I wanted to acquire for the purposes of my health and well-being now and in the future. So I simply submitted  a proposal to the company’s president—my work, which he was clearly in need of and couldn’t obtain for what I was willing to take—in exchange for his products at wholesale costs. The agreement worked out so well that after about a year the company started paying me additionally in a currency that was a little more acceptable to utility companies. And ultimately I needed to move on from that relationship to focus solely on Preparedness Pro duties, but what I have to show for all of that work was better than any strict budget I could have put myself in. It required me to meet deadlines, study like I’m preparing for a dissertation or something just so that I could understand enough to write all of that marketing copy, and spend my “money” on preparedness supplies. It worked out perfectly and I’ll always have all of that knowledge I had to learn too.


Plastic Millionaires--hee hee
Copyright 2013 Preparedness Pro

Another example was early on in this experiment. We continued to pray and somehow kept moving forward day after day. I learned how to be a superwoman with couponing, I was able to rely on my cooking skills, and I was always able to come up with odd jobs using the marketing and talent skills I had to pay the bills. One day I received some seemingly insignificant bit of information. The next thing I knew I had this crazy idea that we would start a business selling used plastic buckets. We bought them used and gooey and grimey, cleaned and sanitized them, and then sold them as used buckets to the large market of “food storage” fans in our area. One thing led to another and another and a full-fledged business that actually supported us was born. All we’ve ever wanted is something sufficient to pay the bills and to provide enough funds to increase our self-sufficiency supplies.


My point in all of this is that I’m 100% positive that there’s a way for others to do the same. I am a HUGE proponent of households having at least ONE stream of self-employment income. In a perfect world, there would be no “staff” or “employees.” Mankind would have enough faith in themselves that they would work based strictly on results and get paid accordingly. I’m quite convinced that that’s God’s way too—“The law of the harvest” as it’s been called,  reaping based solely on what you sow that way YOU are in control of your income, your retirement, your healthcare, the time you get to spend with our family, etc.


I’ve only had a handful of hourly jobs since I was 12 years old. I just never saw the boundaries that most kids did. My first “job” was when I was 13 and convinced a church member who owned a print shot that he should hire me to create a community newsletter. The deal was I would sell advertisement in the newsletter and he wouldn’t have to pay me while I learned how to do his business and helped around the space. A year later I convinced this same owner that at the age of 14 I was good enough to be his office manager and he agreed. (I was great too until I got too involved in boys, drill team, and jazz band performances. Hee hee)


I’m 100% positive that regardless of your physical and mental obstacles we can all discover something that works well for us so that we can invest in and rely on ourselves. Frankly, if a person can’t rely on his or her own self then they have no business charging someone else to, in my opinion. There are all kinds of opportunities now thanks to the technological advancements. For example, some time ago I wrote about fish antibiotics and how they were a viable back up for a person to use in lieu of traditional antibiotics in a crisis. I even jumped up and down and spit rubber nickels in the article and challenged people to take a cue to the fact that there weren’t very many online sources for such a commodity. Someone could have easily jumped on that and started a nice little home business.


Scrumptious Tigger Melons

Here’s another idea. We all know that our food sources are so volatile, questionable and downright dangerous. When I read the Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog (yes, I said READ) I get all excited to start another business. There’s a bazillion possibilities among the pages of that catalog for some industrial people to make more than enough to support themselves each year. There are some truly RARE seeds available there that are GMO-free, non-hybrid, and even organic which produce STAR attraction kinds of produce that can easily be sold at flea markets and farmer’s markets anywhere. Not only can you grow the everyday stuff—non-GMO, which is NOT SO everyday, but you can grow the amazing kind of stuff that folks haven’t ever seen before that have memorable tastes and heavenly aromas! I’ll never forget the day I tried an Israeli Melon! I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I have several friends all over the U.S. who do this very thing. They purchase the seeds for around $2 and then they painstakingly grow the produce like caring for a newborn baby but simpler (and quieter). Then they turn around and multiply their investment nearly 100 times over and over plus they give themselves an agreed upon salary for their time—all while selling out of their goods at Farmer’s Markets.  Did you notice that one part, by the way? The part about paying yourself to work?? Too many entrepreneurs go under because they forget to pay themselves and to account for that in their budget.


Over the years I’ve made a pretty good living doing marketing consulting. I get paid to tell people how to earn more money at their business. I also frequently get paid to write marketing copy for their business products. As such, I’ve run into a LOT of business owners who don’t know diddly about business (let alone marketing, grammar, customer service, etc.) and yet they STILL make a good run at it. Come on, think about it. Have you ever been so incredibly disappointed in a product or customer service nowadays and yet those businesses are STILL in business! Unfortunately, our society has accepted the mass of mediocrity. Now I’m not telling you that so that you can go ahead and be mediocre too, but what I am saying is that you don’t have to be picture perfect before you start out on your own. And I’m also trying to point out that it takes VERY little in terms of intelligence and customer service skills to outdo any competitor out there. Did you see that? Intelligence and customer service skills—not money!


Lastly I just want to leave you with this thought. Sun Tzu was a vicious warrior but he’s often been looked at as a viable “mentor” of sorts for business people. There’s one lesson that “Suz Tzu’s The Art of War” taught me. That is to burn the Mother Ship. You see, when Sun Tzu was leading his army to conquer a region, he required the men to burn their mother ship so that it wasn’t a temptation to run back and retreat to it. In other words, he left his army with no choice but go forward. I’m not suggesting that you move forward in striving for your financial independence haphazardly or without Plans B through Z, but I am suggesting that you take the leap of faith in YOURSELF and give YOURSELF a job that you love. More importantly you’ll give yourself a peace of mind that no one else can take from you. You don’t have to trust that your employer is managing the money properly or that there really IS a retirement fund, etc. YOU can decide what you can do. You don’t have to go “all or nothing” on this path, but in your pursuit of self-sufficiency, surely you realize the problem with getting there while working for someone else, right? So, take a chance. Take the time to earnest pray about what you could do and then DO IT!! Once you get on that road, you’ll see just how cheaply you sold yourself and your time with your loved ones before. And hey, I’ll even be around for some free marketing advise here and there. Then perhaps you’ll understand what I mean when I say “Self-Sufficiency Comes Cheap”.


Seize the day!


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This could not have come to me at a better time. I was just praying this morning for a way to find something to do to make extra funds. This gave me a great idea. One I mentioned to my husband while doing house work in passing. Now I just may have something there. I am going to keep it close, but if I need a perspective or to bounce the idea, I just may send you a note. You just got me excited about what I CAN do! Happy Dance time and then praying and planning is already in place.

I have been thinking....

Just so you know I am currently working out some details to submit to a business to do what you have suggested. Thanks for all of the encouragement!

I love this post and have marked it as a favorite so I can go back and re-read it when I need to.

Thank you for sharing your story! You really inspire me!

I'm currently working on building up my Etsy shop as well as trying to think of creative ways to start making money from my blog.

You are awesome, Preparedness Pro :-)

Thank you for the encouragement. It was like I prayed to God last night and he put this post here for me to read.
I have a VERY good job, but with the market like it is right now you never know how long it will last. We prep and save and have paid EVERYTHING off. Still what happens if we both lose our jobs and have nothing to fall back on. I was thinking of having a small Etsy business to see how that works before making it bigger. I have been mulling it over for months now and last night we talked about it and I said if there was just some sort of sign. Then WHAM this post this morning. LOL Thanks for the "SIGN" :)

I wish you the VERY best of luck, Lauren. Most people don't know this, but the Sistine Chapel was Michelangelo's FIRST painting endeavor. (he was a sculptor). So don't accept the notion that just because you're new at something it won't be superbly successful.

Love you too, Dear. I knew you made the foam clothing but I had NO idea you've been doing it so long!

really, really hot water and bleach. We didn't buy any that had anything other than fruit in them previously.

Thank you Kellene, your topics are always so right on! Dec 2011 I retired from my work--it was a blessing, my paychecks were insufficient funds for about two weeks until it was time for the next paycheck. Now I sew CUSTOM FOAM CLOTHES for winter survival and love doing it. Have been sewing for about 60 years so it is more than a hobby. I love having the time to do whatever, whenever and not having to answer to a boss. You're so right about being able to find something you love. Thank you again for all you do. Love you.

Thanks for all the pep talk and info you provide. Could you tell me how you sanitzed your used cleaned buckets?

Thank you! I have been battling with a situation with an employer that has made me down right unhappy. I have set my sites to start my own business and fear over the loss of my steady pay check has kept me from fully diving in. Your messages are always so supportive - even when you may not feel like it, we are listening and you are helping!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Now from your lips to God's ears.

I saw you on Preppers (NatGeo) and you and your husband have been such an inspiration to me and my partner!! We live in Cyprus and since the New Year have been planning how to make our dreams a reality - we are looking into buying enough land to be self sufficient and we're up to ears with investigations into building materials, which animals to keep and how to best care for them, how much land we need for fruit and veg, etc etc.. We have recently got into preserving and after an amazing response to the chutneys, pickles, jams and jellies we gave as Christmas presents we are planning to start producing these commercially. My partner comes from Cyprus but I have only recently moved here and am finding it hard to get work - like your husband, my Dimitri has been amazing - fully supporting me starting my own creative business which is likely to bring in very little, if any, money in to begin with. This will not be easy as he has just begun a freelancing business himself, but I have thrown myself into budgeting so that we can see where we fritter our money away and also see the difference that bulk-buying, foraging, recycling and reusing can make to our finances and our well being. The passion, creativity and knowledge you demonstrated came amidst many other 'signs' which we are finally taking notice of - ways that we can make our life more fulfilling through self-sufficiency and by concentrating on what's really important and not seeing money as the path to the things we want in and from life. I know that you will always be an inspiration for me and I will take a lot of strength from the vision you helped create. Above all it is your happiness that touched me most; I'm sure you must make so many people's lives better for having known you or known about you. Thank you!

I think y'all had a conspiracy to make me cry today. LOL. Thanks for your kind words!

WOW! I came to your site tonight to catch up on the next installment of Progressive Preparedness Journey and I read THIS article instead! Earlier this evening, after much discussion back and forth, my husband and I made a major decision affecting our employment, our income, our future and our prepping which is both scary and exciting. I cannot begin to tell you how timely your article is! Thank you!!

Hubby and I started our franchise pharmacy after he had been laid off twice, 21 years ago. I am an rn, so my income saw us thruas we were in the early years. Now I manage our business and act as the CFO. We have worked hard, and take nothing for granted. We are blessed and pray nightly that the Lord will allow us to provide for our 10 employees and ourselves and maintain a positive influence in our community.

I've been praying for God's help with our finances and he sent your article. I'll keep praying that he will steer me in the right direction with the new ideas you have inspired!
We might make it after all!

thanks for the pep tall. I needed it.

Maybe I have missed it, since I am new to this site, but, could you sometime give us a list of some of the essential oils that you have and what they are used for? I have several books on it, but you seem to know how to put it into words so we can understand.. Thanks for your insite, I know it takes lots of time and energy to do these articles.

My suggestion is that you make friends with the search bar on here; Put in "essential oils" and read the pertinent articles. That'll give you a good start as well as great resources. As you can see, I have a whole LOT of essential oils (over 120 kinds). There's no way in the world I have time to write about each one of them, nor would that info be applicable to everyone. But learning the foundation would be. If you'd like, you can go to Five Star and purchase the book that they have (which I wrote) that addresses the major, active, and primary constituents found in the essential oils which will help a person understand HOW and WHICH essential oils should be used for specific purposes. The book is called "M.A.P. Constituent Guidebook"

Originally, the hubby only focused on the 4 gallon square. Now he offers the 5 gallon ones, but I refuse to use them. (Look up "buckets" in the search bar here and find out why. You'll know which article to click on as it will have the word "buckets" in the title). I also make suggestions as to where people find buckets. Hubby's business no longer deals with used buckets, only new, because the cost of the used buckets went up so high as a result of skyrocketing costs for resin worldwide. I'll suggest that you do a little homework on the "how" to get the word out about what you are wanting to promote.

With buckets, have you ever tried pickle buckets? I would like to know how to get the smell out of them. I plan on using them with mylar bags for dog food and other dry items.

Hubby and I made a very big decision for our family recently. The area we live in sucks for employment and I stay home to care for our 4 kids while he works out of state M-F to support us financially. I want my husband back... We decided to move 8 hours away to a different state where there are more jobs and we have 4 reasonable opportunities to go into business for ourselves without sacrificing family time. It's a huge leap of faith for us but we agreed that we can't keep passing on this every year unless we want to drown where we are forever.

Kellene~ do you purchase the 5 gallon buckets, or do people give them to you for free? Also, where do you get them? How do you go about approaching people to get the buckets from them? I am looking for a side job and this just might work for me! Thank you!

I just came across this article, Kellene, and you continue to inspire me in so many ways! Allow me to add a bit of inspiration to others, as well! I started selling things online eleven years ago, before it was so....BIG. Back then, wholesalers shrugged me off...didn't take my "little online business" seriously. Many times, they wouldn't even SELL to me. So, I had to evade the subject of "where my store is located" in our business conversations.

I started my business while working full time, and it took me all of nine hard years to get it to be my "full time job", and I haven't worked a "real job" in two years. I now sell on five web sites, and am busy every day. I live on my own terms, on my own time, and no one controls the outcomes but me. I get to determine my income by how much sweat equity I put forth on a daily basis. My "attitude determines my altitude!"

Folks, it can be done! Pull an idea together for your business idea, and no matter WHAT comments you get from others, GO FOR IT! I remember one lady I used to work with who laughed in my face, mocked me behind my back, saying "suuuuure, you're gonna' make enough on the internet to quit your job". Well, I DID. I AM. SO CAN YOU!


Dear Kellene, I was led to

Dear Kellene, I was led to this article and to your website today. I am extremely sick with a severe autoimmune disease, and a rare heart condition. My husband of 18 years abandoned me and our two teenagers after my heart attack. I live off a paltry sum from the government, my daughter is my caretaker, and my 18 year old son works overtime at a fast food place, but its still not enough to cover all the bills and massive medical debt that my husband left me with. However, your articles on being self-employed have given me hope, I'm not sure what the kids and I could do or sell, but I think that our Heavenly Father will direct me. Thank you Kellene for all you do, ever since I watched you on "Preppers" I have followed you and your website. Since the illness took away my ability to work as a Nurse, I've lived in a lot of fear, after my husband left, I've been nearly "paralyzed" with depression, fear, and despair, but I'm not giving up, I have my kids, my faith, and with His help, I'll find a way to be selfsuffient even if I'm almost completely disabled. Thank you for writing these articles, and giving me some hope. God bless you and your husband.


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