It’s really easy to get stuck in the capitalist mindset that you need money for everything, but that can’t be further from the truth.  The beauty of going off-grid is that you are free to come up with creative solutions  The more creative, the more you can consider yourself “Self-Sufficient.”

Today, I’ve put together a list of 10 things you can do to become more self-sufficient in your life, without having to buy anything or move.  However, these tips will only go so far, it is up to you to practice them.  If you do, I guarantee you’ll find yourself living a life worth living.

1. Stay Out Of Debt

For starters, stop spending money you don’t have. Staying out of debt is essential for being self-sufficient.   I’ve never been in debt and I’d have to say it is the main driver that led me to the life of freedom that I have today.

Choose Free (Or Low Cost) Alternatives

While some situations (like healthcare) are unavoidable, some of the things that suck us into debt are not as necessary as we’ve been made to believe – like car repairs. 

Do you really have to drive? If it comes down to it, can you take public transportation instead? Can you carpool?

It’s not even the big things like car purchases that get most people into debt, much of the time it’s from buying little things, every day, that you don’t need.  A cup of coffee at Starbucks everyday can add up, so can lunch out.

We make coffee at home that costs less than a dollar for each cup, and it’s still starbucks coffee!  And everytime we go out, we make food to bring.  It saves SO much money.

Pay in cash

If you do have to buy groceries or other essentials, leave the credit cards at home and pay for everything in cash. You’ll much less likely to buy additional items when you have only a small amount of cash on hand.

However, if you can be responsible with your purchases and stick to only what you need, use that credit card and pay it in full every month and claim that cashback advantage.  I get $200 for free every month using this method.

2. Make Your Own Repairs

The internet, and specifically, channels like YouTube offer a wealth of knowledge for those serious about learning a new skill.

You really can learn how to do just about anything if you take the time to sit down, watch the videos and put into practice what you just learned.

Many how-to channels and sites will include step-by-step illustrated guides or videos that you can pause along the way to learn how to repair just about anything.

Ifixit.com is a free site offering repair manuals along with hundreds of home repair ideas. Just search for your issue and get a step-by-step guide, for free.

Once you’ve fixed a dripping faucet or sealed a leaking tub, you’ll not only be proud of the money you saved, but you’ll also feel pretty satisfied with becoming more self-sufficient, too. 

3. Grow Your Own Food

This one won’t happen overnight, I know, but you have to start somewhere, right? Growing your own food is super easy, any time of year and you’ll literally get to eat the benefits.  

In fact, it’s one of the best returns out there. You can get seeds for a couple of cents each and in turn they produce Hundreds of dollars of food, giving you upwards of a 3000% return.  Can’t find that in the stock market.

Replant Scraps

The easiest way to start growing your own food is by replanting scraps. 

Some foods that regrow just in a glass of water include lettuce, celery, leeks, green onions, even pineapple!

All you need to do is keep the roots intact, drop in a cup of room temperature water, and place them in a sunny window.

Of course, if you are in a warm climate like me, just plant these scrapts directly in the dirt, and watch them regrow – giving you free food.

Reserve Seeds From Fruits and Vegetables

You can also start new plants from the seeds taken from your regular vegetables if they are organic.

Sorry, this likely won’t work if you get GMO options from big grocery stores, because the seeds are sterile. For these, you want healthy, organic, non-GMO produce.

Seeds that are easy to obtain from a fruit or vegetable include:

  • Watermelon
  • Cantelope
  • Honeydew melon
  • Sweet peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas
  • And any kind of tropical fruit tree seed 

4. Keep Chickens

This one may not be free to start off with, but I do know several folks who have managed to negotiate “borrowing” chickens to get their own little flock started, so it can be free sometimes (if you have a generous friend or neighbor – may we all be so lucky!).

Chickens are very easy to care for, and they usually can scratch around the yard or eat kitchen scraps, so they don’t require any additional money for their feed. Within 6 months, you should have your own little growing brood, offering regular eggs and occasionally, some nice meat for the pot, too.

If you do have to fork over a bit of cash to get started, building your own chicken coop and starting off with 4-5 healthy chickens should not set you back more than $40, if you’re smart about it.

If you live in a smaller space where keeping chickens is not possible, consider another livestock animal such as quail, rabbits and even bees.

Be sure not to get in over your heads though. Many beginner homesteaders get animals WAY too soon, which is one of many mistakes I don’t want you to make. That’s why I put together this post, 10 Mistakes Homesteaders Make That You Won’t.

5. Harvest Your Own Water

Water is the most abundant resource on the planet. It falls from the sky FOR FREE! And all you have to do is collect it.

I have several posts about this, with dirt-cheap options for collecting rainwater, like an intex swimming pool, blue rain barrels, etc. They aren’t the most sophisticated rainwater collection systems, but they are easy ways to start and don’t require a big investment.

I’ve helped several people who live in apartment buildings setup rainwater catchments systems, so there really is no excuse that you can’t do this where you already live.

Once you become more self-sufficient, you can improve on your water harvesting system – but the main thing is to get started!

6. Reduce Your Waste

When I think of “waste” I think of so much more than the garbage can. I think greywater, kitchen waste that should be composted, and tossing items that could be recycled.


Are you wasting water that could be recycled? Greywater (the water from your bathroom sink or washing machine) can usually be recycled for flushing your toilet, washing your car, or, even repurposing in your garden or orchard – as long as you use the right detergents and soaps.

If you are interested in learning more, I have a whole post about using greywater, how to use it in your garden, and which detergents are safe (won’t kill your plants).

Kitchen Waste

First of all, make sure your kitchen waste is being properly used, anything that can be regrown (see above) is planted or placed in a cup of water.

Reuse fruit peels

Make your own household cleaner with citrus peels (orange, lemon, tangerine all work) placed in white vinegar for 3-6 months.  It is an easy (and very cheap!) cleaning option that is non-toxic, too.

Compost Compost Compost!

Most of your organic waste should be used as compost to boost your soil; all types of fruit and vegetable peels and husks make awesome compost. You can do half-half compost for your garden and scraps for your chicken’s food.

Do not compost fats or meat products. 


Before you even think about sending containers or plastic bags to a recycling depot, look for ways you can recycle at home, to benefit your homestead.


Plastic containers of all shapes and sizes get a new life in my garden as planters, to start off new seedlings or as makeshift watering cans with a few well-placed holes punched in them.

Cardboard boxes

Cardboard is gold in the garden.  Keep every bit of newspaper and cardboard you can get your hands on. This stuff is gold when it comes to winterizing your garden or converting parts of your lawn into awesome mulch.

Besides, worms LOVE cardboard.  The more you have, the more worms you’ll find.

7. Learn How To Hunt And Fish

Even if you didn’t grow up in a rural area with opportunities to hunt and fish, you still can learn how to do these life skills now. Your childhood should never be an excuse to avoid learning and growing now, as an adult.

Hunting and fishing are important survival skills that humans have been using for centuries to live off the land. 

TakeMeFishing.Org is a free site offering information for how to fish (including salt water fishing, freshwater fishing – even ice fishing!)  

If you live in Hawaii or other tropical waters, I made a card deck featuring common fish that you can catch, with information on how to catch them, which you can pickup at my online store, homesteadinhawaii.etsy.com.

Hunting, though, isn’t something you’re going to learn by following a step-by-step guide. While you certainly can learn how to skin and butcher a deer from a YouTube video, I think having a hunting mentor is essentail for getting started right.

This is where having friends in the off-grid community, or reaching out and making new friends from a homestead group is really going to be helpful.

8. Produce Your Own Power 

There are so many ways to produce your own power, it’s not just solar.  Whichever you choose, make sure it’s right for where you live.


Solar is the go to option for many that live in Hawaii, but that’s because we have a lot of sun.  If you live in a place similar, solar will probably be your best bet.  If you are renting or plan on leaving soon, you can invest in a portable solar setup such as ones by Jackery.

If you live in a place with not as much sunshine as Hawaii, (I’m looking at you, Germany)  you may want to consider an alternative option to produce power.


Typically, if your area doesn’t have a lot of sun it probably has a lot of wind.  So instead of solar panels, it may be a wind generator that you are looking for.  You’re in luck too, because you can DIY your own wind generator, making it that nuch more affordable.


Water Turbine

If you are lucky enough to have a water source flowing where you live, you can consider Hydro-power.  Hydro-power is something I wish I could’ve tried out in my off-grid life, but alas, having a homestead with running water on the property costs a LOT where I live.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG1AthYVgl8 (this is just a small one for a science project, but it gives you the idea)

Bike Dynamo

Can you really power your home by a bike? Yeah… kind of. https://www.ecohome.net/guides/1192/60-minutes-on-this-bicycle-can-power-your-home-for-24-hours-or-maybe-not/

How to build a bike generator: https://www.instructables.com/How-To-Build-A-Bicycle-Generator/

9. Enjoy Creating Your Own Entertainment

If you’re trying to be self sufficient and on a budget, it doesn’t make much sense to blow bucks going to the movies or paying for cable TV, does it?

The good thing is, you don’t need to spend money to have fun: learn some card games, invite friends over for game night, take up a hobby like hiking, bird watching or yoga to allow you to have fun, without spending money. 

10. Barter With Your Surplus

Swap eggs for milk or yogurt.

Trade your extra cantelope for a birthday cake.

Barter some of those fish you caught for your neighbor’s homemade tortillas.

The idea here is that when you have extra, you don’t waste it, you barter with it.

Instead of focusing on money, bartering allows you to skip over currency and get right to the goods.

These are just a few, easy ways you can start right now to become more self-sufficient without making major investments or breaking the bank to do so.