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The Cost Of Being Self Sufficient


It’s expensive, monetarily. At least initially. It consumes your time, and requires physical energy commitment.

Being self sufficient. It’s the holy grail among some with the preparedness mindset, right?

For some, yes. Many others simply pursue an extent of being self sufficient. The most basic of which may be growing a garden, however large or small.

As many of you know, I’ve been building a chicken coop and attached run for 7 chickens, which today are 7 weeks old. They’re ready to leave the brooder and move in to their new home. Their home might finally be ready enough for them later today or tomorrow. (Gotta get my butt back out there right after this post!)

During the process of building their palace, I’ve thought about the money it took to get this done. As well as the ongoing costs of maintaining the small flock, and feeding them. Let me put it this way. You migh get depressed to realize the ultimate cost per dozen eggs output compared to the money input!

Before anyone jumps in and remarks how one could build a coop & run from old pallets, etc., yes, I know. There are ways to do it cheaper. But in the end, the egg production from your chickens will cost way more than the eggs you can buy at the grocery store.

But that’s not why we did it! Of course big agriculture can mass produce product and get it to your grocery store cheaper than you could do yourself (typically). However the reason we might do it our selves is not necessarily to save money. It’s to be more self sufficient. Plus, Mrs.J wanted chickens. So now there’s chickens…

It can be expensive to be self sufficient

There’s really no way you can beat the price of most foods in the grocery store. Or, there’s no way you can beat the cost of electricity coming into your home from the utility company compared to a alternative energy system. (just two random examples).

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It costs money to set up a decent garden. Obviously this depends on what you’re doing and how. My largest garden required lots of money for posts and fencing to keep deer, bear, rabbits, and other critters out. Then there’s the cost of a rototiller. The cost of materials used to keep weeds down on walkways or sections not being used this year. Not to mention the cost of buying an old tractor and implements, things like that. “Farming tools”.

What about raised garden beds? Got those too. Do you know how much it costs for enough 2×12 lumber to make a 4′ by 16′ by 2′-tall garden bed? Not cheap. Then of course there’s more fencing around the perimeter area of garden beds.

I know, before you tell me I could’ve done it cheaper… I could’ve used some old logs for garden bed materials instead of buying good lumber. But that’s not what I wanted to do. I’m simply pointing out that trying to do things to be more self sufficient tends to cost more money than otherwise in today’s modern world.

Here’s another example. Some people might be interested to integrate a alternative energy system. Can you say, “Cha-Ching!”? Lots of money (comparatively). Don’t even try to rationalize that you’re doing it to save money. Because you won’t. It will cost more. Some things, lots more. How can you beat paying just 10 or 20 cents per kilowatt hour from the utility? You can’t.

But that’s not why we do it, right?

The cost of failure

And then there’s the cost of failure. We all screw up from time to time. And sometimes that can cost money. Or product.

Imagine putting in all that time and money into a garden and having it wiped out entirely or partially (fill in the blank as to the ways how…).

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Imagine spending all that money and time on a chicken coop & run, only to have a predator wipe out your flock one evening because you didn’t do it right? Sometimes you think you did it right, but you find out later that nasty little flaw. The “whoops”…

I could’ve just bought eggs at the grocery store for $1.79 a dozen.

Doing things to be more self sufficient will involve some degree of failures.

The Physical Cost | Your Labor

There’s one thing for sure, it takes time, your time, your labor. You feel it.

Some simply don’t have the time. Or maybe just enough spare time to do one extra thing or project.

Your time is your life. You choose what to do with it. Putting efforts towards self sufficiency will cost you time, especially upfront.

But you know what? That labor is good for you, physically.

With that said, the older we get, the more difficult / challenging on our body. But there’s often clever workarounds to get things done.

Is it all worth it?

Only you can answer that. I believe that it is. At least it is for me personally, in my own situation.

It will likely cost more money to do this or that, rather than purchasing product or services elsewhere. But the advantages are at least threefold:

  1. You are relying less on systems that are beyond your control, which is great for preparedness.
  2. Producing your own (whatever it is) will likely be of higher quality, be it nutritional, taste, or other…
  3. There is great personal satisfaction to produce your own (whatever it is).

So don’t be discouraged by the costs. Be a little more self sufficient – you’ll be happy you did it.



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