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Consumerism Vs Self-Sufficiency: There Is Only One Logical Choice

Updated on February 17, 2014

Let’s Begin with Two Definitions

For the purpose of clarification, we will begin this article with two definitions.

Consumerism: the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable; also : a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods.

Self-sufficiency: The term self-sufficiency is usually applied to varieties of sustainable living in which nothing is consumed outside of what is produced by the self-sufficient individuals.

As you can see, these two theories are mutually exclusive when their definitions are strictly applied.

We live in a home with 1,100 square feet
We live in a home with 1,100 square feet | Source

Let Me Ask You a Question

If you lost your sole source of income tomorrow, how long would you be able to pay your current bills? How long could you pay your mortgage payment? How long could you pay utilities? How long would you be able to pay for food?

It is estimated that nearly one-third of Americans are one paycheck away from homelessness. Think about that for a second and then ask yourself if you are one of those 100 million people.

A good friend of mine wrote to me recently and told me that his wife, who had worked for the same hospital for 32 years, arrived at work on a Friday and was given her termination notice along with 22 other staff members. 32 years and gone in one day! Could that happen to you in today’s current economic climate?

If the answer to that question is yes then you have some things to consider.

A main problem in today’s society is that most people are reactionary. They will blithely go about their lives, consuming goods, working long hours to pay for those goods, hoping that catastrophe doesn’t hit, and when it does hit they scramble to find a solution. Instead of being proactive and taking steps to minimize the financial risks, they continue on with the current financial path even though it is a crap shoot at best.

But it does not have to be that way. The madness can end, but it requires a massive change in the way people think.

Let’s think logically for one moment. If your dead end job cannot pay for your consumption, then you only have two choices: you either have to get a higher-paying job (or a second job) or you must cut back on your consumption.

Are you with me so far? Is there another option I have failed to see?

Where Your Money Goes

According to the latest statistics, the average American household spending breaks down like this:

  • 13% food
  • 34% housing
  • 4% clothing
  • 16% transportation
  • 7% healthcare
  • 5% entertainment
  • 11% insurance and pension
  • 10% miscellaneous

Naturally a break down of your expenditures might look differently; these are simply averages based on the entire population of the United States. So where do we find more money? Our basic needs must be met, right? Food, clothing, shelter, those are things that we must have to survive. In fact, from those statistics above, most people would say the only thing that is not necessary is entertainment but man alive, we all need a break from the grind, so a movie once a month is not asking too much, is it?

Where Do We Find More Money?

Well, if you are Houdini then you just pull it out of the air. If you are the average American family, then you start looking for a second job. Of course, a problem with this approach is that you will have less time for family and friends; another problem is that once you have more money you will spend more because, well, that’s what consumerism is all about.

I am going slowly and taking this one small step at a time because I really don’t want to lose any of you. The main point is this: if making more money is unlikely, and you are rapidly sinking like the Titanic, then you need to change your spending habits. You need to gradually move away from consumerism and towards self-sufficiency.

I enjoy listening to this guy

We grow roughly 22% of our food
We grow roughly 22% of our food | Source

Here’s What It Looks Like

Take a look again at the spending percentages up above. If you are spending 13% of your income on food, then self-sufficiency says you should start growing food and stop buying it at the grocery store.

If you are spending 34% of your income on housing costs, then self-sufficiency says you should live in a smaller home, learn how to do repairs yourself, and cut down on utility bills by a variety of ways.

If you are spending 4% of your income on clothing then self-sufficiency says you should learn to make your own clothes, mend your own clothes, or find cheaper clothes at the Goodwill.

If you are spending 6% of your income on transportation, then self-sufficiency says you should either find a cheaper form of transportation or learn to do your vehicle repairs yourself.

And if you are a smoker or a drinker and you spend part of your much-needed income on booze and cigarettes, self-sufficiency says get a grip on reality! (not really but it was fun to write that)

And on and on we go! Get the picture yet?

We find ways to save on utilities
We find ways to save on utilities | Source

But I Don’t Have Time for That Nonsense?

And this is where consumerism really becomes nutso! People work more, work harder, spend less time with loved ones, spend more and then get up the next morning and do it all again, all to pay for……stuff!

The average home in the United States in 1950 had 983 square feet. The average home in the United States in 2010 had 2,400 square feet. In 1950, the average family household had 2.9 people; in 2010 it had 2.6 people. Now could anyone tell me why, if the family size has decreased, the average home size increased?


Why do families need more living space today than they did in 1950? There is no logical reason; the simple fact is that they don’t need more room but they do want it, so they are willing to pay for it, and pay for it, and pay for it.

Why does the average American shudder at the thought of fixing their washing machine themselves, or break out in a cold sweat at the thought of doing their own car repair? Their parents and grandparents did those things in 1950; why can’t their children? Well, again, it isn’t a matter of can’t; it is a matter of won’t.

But I don’t have time for that self-sufficiency nonsense! Well, from where I am sitting, you can’t afford not to find the time.

We learn to make our own repairs
We learn to make our own repairs | Source

It Does Not Have to Be All or Nothing

I understand. I really do. There are certain conveniences that even I am not willing to give up….yet. However, the time for backwards, reactionary thinking in this country is over. It is time for citizens of this once-great country to get proactive, and self-sufficiency is the poster child of proactive living.

You do not have to homestead in the wilds of Alaska to begin a self-sufficient lifestyle. Start small and build. Raise your own vegetables. Learn to do some repairs yourself. Mend your clothes. Cut down on utilities during the summer by drying laundry outside. Little actions add up to big savings. I have no doubt that I could walk into your home, observe your lifestyle, and save any of you 10% on your expenses the first year…..but would you be willing to do what is necessary? That, my friends, is the question.

Yes, I Live What I Preach

Four years ago I quit a teaching job that paid $60,000 per year. Today I work for myself and make $20,000. I want for nothing. All of my needs are met.

In the span of fifty years we went from being a country where most households practiced at least some self-sufficiency to a country where most family members cannot even spell self-sufficiency.

It is time to reverse that trend!

Are you willing to try?

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, you have spoken the truth when you said "it's amazing how quickly we learn to survive on almost nothing"....and I suspect we are much better off because of that experience. For those of us who have survived the hard times, the little things take on greater importance and we appreciate all that we now have so much more.

      Thank you for sharing part of your journey with us. You are appreciated by me.


    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Good evening Bill.

      Have you realized what you've created here with this particular article ?! You are genius !- in full meaning - " a person with exceptional ability, esp of highly original kind. ( Anyone arguing my statement, read please the hub again with open understanding and carefully the comments bellow.)

      Above and beyond presenting the facts of our present economic situation, you are my friend sharing your proven experiences,instructing and teaching others to follow simple steps toward self-sufficiency . Your "perching " melts hearts of sincere '" confessing" multiple of those who are coming victoriously on top after being forced to accept reduced lifestyle and the same time sharing their experience , helping others daring to live a much simpler lifestyle and happier once again.

      It's amazing how quickly we learn to survive on almost nothing when suddenly everything we rely upon has gone in matter of days. . . For my family it was so much easier we didn't have close relatives, only several loyal friends didn't turn back on us, then wonder after wonder has followed. We both accepted lowest paid jobs and moved to share living with strangers where regularly " just on time " we have found bags of groceries sitting on porch, never knowing who and when delivered , often some extra cash in envelope almost to the penny for tomorrow car insurance payment. OK we stayed in minority of despised " trusting " the Supernatural, but boy, how the righteous indignation has proved itself working. Sure , we never stopped gardening, preparing every meal from basic, we've quit buying " colored " drinks which again open opportunity for " saving" since our bodies gain total health: no medication, no visit to doctors… Oh, life is/can be beautiful especially with the friend like these…

      Voted awesome, useful and beautiful.

      Good night and have a blessed week my friend.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't know either, Joelle, but you raise a great point. I have seen that as well; heck, when I taught high school some of the seniors had nicer cars than I had. When I was a senior in high school I didn't have a car. Go figure!

      Anyway, thank you as always.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Very interesting... as always, Bill! I remember that when I quit my teaching job to go back to school myself ans study multimedia, I was the oldest student in the group... but I was almost the only one without a car. My husband and I decided to have only one car and that I would take public transportation. It made good sense because just paying for gaz, mileage and parking was expensive. But most of the younger students needed their car; I suppose because of that and the cosat of studying they had to take loans.

      I remember that I used my time in the bus to study :-)

      I don't know if it's a generation problem or a society problem?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, I'm wondering how long it will take for the majority to see the truth in your words. I think some people need to suffer a bit more before they will change.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      It has been time to reverse the trend for decades. We all saw it coming, but it is pride, having to keep up with everyone else. Since when is THAT an unwritten law?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, vkwok...I feel better knowing someone as young as you thinks so.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for sharing this awesome hub. Self-sufficiency is definitely a better alternative to consumerism, especially as a lot of environmental and social problems are tied to consumerism.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brandi, when I was teaching I used to encourage some students to learn a trade rather than go to college. Good trade skills will always be needed, and many college educations are practically worthless today. I think we are going to see a shift in the near future and it will be good for all.

      Thank you once again my friend.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      So true. My grandfather taught me how to farm and how to tend animals. That alone is lost today. When I first got married to my husband, his son came to live with us. He was about 16 then. I asked him if he'd like to learn how to plant some vegetables. He told me that if he wanted to eat, he'd go buy something at the corner store. That was so sad to hear from a young man. My children have been gardening since they were old enough to walk. They love it.

      We have a friend that is a welder. He used to have high school students apprentice with him. But now there is no interest in welding so the school cancelled that program. When we had the old van, we needed a welder. My friend helped us with the repairs. Had we paid for it at the shop, we'd be out several hundreds of dollars.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, they are tough questions and they need to be answered. I don't trust any company in today's economic world, and I sure don't trust my future on their whims.

      Thank you for the kind words; they mean a great deal to me.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      You ask some might scary questions that are worth careful contemplation. That is also one heck of a voluntary pay cut, but I am glad you are happy with your decision. You are a very talented writer with messages and encouragement to spread.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Meltdown indeed, Ann, and it is coming.

      As for the modern cars, you are right about the major repairs. The older cars were so much simpler to work on. I still know people, however, who don't know how to change their tires. Hello!!!!! My father wouldn't let me drive until I learned how to change the tires and change the oil...lost arts for sure. :)

      I love that you take this seriously; we need more people to do so because we are headed for an economic meltdown; I am convinced of that.

      Thank you dear friend; enjoy the rest of your week and know that you are appreciated.


    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      I absolutely agree with all of this, of course. The only thing we can't do anymore that we used to (I'm using 'we' loosely!) is car mechanics. My partner was a whizz-kid with anything mechanical, including the cars. However, with all the computer-based cars these days it's impossible to do it without all the gizmos.

      We are considering buying a classic car instead - no tax, low insurance with low mileage, and easy repairs. The drawback with that is that they're not always as safe as the modern ones, so we have a dilemma.

      Apart from that, no problem.

      I do often wonder why people want so much room and so much 'stuff' as you put it, especially as soon as they get married rather than being happy to build up what they'd like, which is much more fun and rewarding. They have to have the latest tv, the latest car, the latest designer fashions, the latest ipad.... and so it goes on.

      Ok, sorry, enough ranting. Suffice to say, I agree with you. If people sustain the status quo, we'll go into meltdown. I jumped off the band-wagon ages ago and I'm perfectly happy, no, I'm happier.

      Hope your week is going well, bill. Ann

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much Eddy. After sixty-five years I better have some information, don't you think? LOL



    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      bac2basics, great comment and I thank you. Small is too much to consider if one is thinking a complete change all at once. You start with one step and then add to it over the years. It really is not hard once you begin the habit of wise living.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, you said a very important fact...growing up with only basic needs gives one an advantage in self-sufficiency. Thank you for that comment.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, that would indeed be a problem. Hopefully the rains will arrive with Fall for your area. Best wishes my friend and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, spoiled??? I don't know what it is, but hopefully we will find our way back to doing for just might become a necessity. Thank you as always my friend.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      chitrangada, living within means is a huge step in the right direction. I have no doubt that you are practical in your spending. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      As always Billy a wonderful hub; so well informed and useful too.

      You are a mine of information my dear friend and how fortunate we hubbers are. Voted up, across and shared. wishing you and Bev a wonderful day.


    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Bill.

      Your phrase about being only one paycheck away from homelessness really hit home with me, wow what a sobering thought. It seems to me that these days keeping up with the jones´s and spending every penny one earns in doing so has a lot to do with the catastrophic outcome when things go awry. What do most people do the minute they get a pay rise, why of course they go out and spend it all and it´s so easy to dwindle this extra cash away leaving nothing in the kitty for emergencies. The savings habit seems to have been lost along with many other good sense ideas now that most people are so consumerist. Almost every one who spends every single penny they earn each and every month would I´m sure argue that it´s impossible to save but I would beg them to look closely at what they are spending on and ask the question " do I really need this or do I just want it " I have always managed to squirrel a little bit away each month even in the hardest of times, it may not be much but it sure as heck helps when the chips really are down. In better times when I got a pay rise I would put at least half the increase in a separate account knowing full well it´s so easy to fritter away that hard earned cash on things I could well live without and wouldn´t even pay much heed to once bought and paid for. Learning the savings habit like learning to be more self sufficient is something that you can start small with but build into a solid way of life which will benefit you in the long run. Great hub Bill and if even half of your advice is taken by people they will I am sure benefit from it. We do need to turn back the clock a little Bill and your hubs are helping to show the way :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Consumerism Vs Self-Sufficiency: There Is Only One Logical Choice says so much to an individual the basic needs are so important stretching out to more than that is just greed. Growing up with the basic needs has made my lief so much simpler now.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      It's great to read the comments here Bill, and see the steps both big and small taken by the people here towards self-sufficiency. You only need to start with small changes and gradually build up. Your hubs explain it so well and make it easy for people to understand, and I take my hat off to you. Keep up the good work of encouraging us all. It really isn't that hard to do and beats working a 9 to 5 job for someone else. You get the satisfaction of doing these things for yourself and family. My problem is that it's hard to keep the vegetables alive at the moment with very little water.( We only have rainwater, not connected to town supply) It hasn't rained for months, but it has to change soon. Well done, keep spreading the word.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 4 years ago from Orange, Texas

      So logical and so simple - why do we resist it so much? Could it be that we are spoiled? No, not our generation!

      Good job, Bill. Sometimes, it's good to be slapped in the face with a two-by-four!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very practical thoughts and useful for everyone!

      I am in the habit of saving for future by investing in various schemes. But having said that, no money can be enough if one is in the habit of over spending. In any case, some expenses can not be avoided, like the medical bills. I always believe in living within means, even if the money may be flowing.

      Very interesting and thought provoking hub! Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No silver spoon here either, Faith, and I'm glad for it. I honestly don't know how some people get by with their spending now pay later is a recipe for disaster, and I'm done with it. Cash for necessities; that's my motto for life now.

      And I thank you as always my friend


    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      I think a lot of people are realizing (especially us baby boomers) that downsizing is wise. I did not grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth, so I know how to get by with just the things I need and not what I want. Thankfully, we were able to pay off all of our debt or most of it and we just live within our means now, as opposed to those younger years when we were not so wise.

      We both had very economical cars that got about 40 miles to the gallon, but then one died on us, and so we did upgrade to the dreaded gas guzzling SUV ...only because my son has blessed us with three growing grandchildren and there was no room to put them all when I went to pick them all up for the weekend! LOL But we got a great deal on a very nice one and paid cash for it! Plus, it helps out a lot with my husband's projects ... well, really my projects, as I have room to haul my wood and such. LOL

      Up and more and sharing


      Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I doubt we will go that route...we'll just retire on our little farm until they come and haul us away. :) Thank you dear friend.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Another great how-to hub Bill. A lot of people i know are downsizing or moving to retirement centers. I haven't reached that urge yet, but i'm sure i will when the time is right. I would miss my garden and flowers terribly.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      tireless, you cracked me up. No sustainability there for sure. What the heck were those ewes thinking? LOL I will keep preaching it; sooner or later people will wake up whether they want to or not. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, it will be my first trip abroad for's planned in my head; now I have to figure out how to make the money from writing to make it happen. Thanks for the tips and yes, hopefully, we will see you soon.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Christy, it is a tough spot for sure, and many times there doesn't appear to be any way out of we start small and work from there. Thanks for stopping by; you are always appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I love that you and your wife are aware and taking steps. Well done and thanks for sharing that...and yes, my week is progressing nicely. I hope yours is as well.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheila, great story about your dad. Thanks for sharing that with us. I'll have more on this subject; you can bet on that. I just find it amazing that people continue to spend money like it grows on the proverbial tree. Middle income families need to take this seriously because middle income is disappearing rapidly. More coming soon my friend; thank you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I am too, Marlene. I was so foolish when I was younger. I would like to think I'm wiser now my friend.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 4 years ago from California

      Preach it. I don't think 1/2 the kids in California know milk comes from cows and the other half doesn't know dirt is more than what what you walk on.

      Our friends 3 ewes just lambed. They. had two sets of triplets and a set of twins. There wasn't a female in the group. That is anti sustainability.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Plenty of places in the Home Counties, (clockwise): Hertfordshire, Essex (not far from us), Kent, Surrey, Middlesex and a bit further out like Suffolk in the east or Buckinghamshire in the west (where Nell hangs out). Plenty of holiday rental brochures available too. See you sometime.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It's really a tough spot that many people are in right now... living paycheck to paycheck... the reality isn't so pretty - and having a garden to grow one's own vegetables is a great way to supplement that income. Really well written, my friend.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. This is a sad but accurate statement on life today. My wife and I have had some talks lately about this very subject and we will slowly work toward of a goal of getting rid of stuff and eventually downsizing. I am already planning a few major renovation projects here, which I am actually looking forward to. And there will be a garden out back this summer. It's a start.

      Hope you're having a great week.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 4 years ago

      You brought up one point my dad and I have argued about time and time again. I told him I'm perfectly happy with the amount of money I currently make and can make all my living expenses and have some left over at the end of the month. Then I said I can't understand why some people go on strike for more money when they live in the same area as I do, they already make more than I do, and so I know they can live on what they're making. Dad's retort was that if I made more money, I'd buy more things. That leads to needing to make more money. He thought I was lying when I told him that might be true for some people, but not for me.

      Then I realized a lot of them need more money. It's for the reason both you and my dad pointed out. The more they get, the more they spend. Since that last argument with my dad, I've gotten several raises (not much, but it added up over time). The change in my spending was I almost doubled my housing expense - which is still lower than most people pay rent or mortgage because I found a great deal. Everything else has stayed the same or, thanks to tips from you and other hubbers, I've actually decreased my other spending.

      Keep the tips coming. I've learned to live by the Quaker discipline of simple living, now I want to do more by becoming more self-sufficient in other ways.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from USA

      I didn't actually give up a lavish lifestyle, like your friend's wife, my job was terminated and that meant loss of income. Through the years I've learned to live with less. And, to tell you the truth, I am glad to be where I am today.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan old friend, I'm not sure about living there permanently, but I would love to visit for a few months and rent a cottage out in the country. Just to experience some other culture than the U.S. for a change of pace.

      I would love to see that TV series....sounds absolutely hilarious. Sort of like asking Bill Gates to do the same and live in a yurt. LOL

      Thanks for the laugh and drop by. Take care.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Availiasvision, what a nice thing for you to say. Thank you! I don't have an answer for your earlier question about a person in their's a tough go for sure, but it sounds to me as though you doing it right. Living with no debt is huge, and slowly building your investments. It's amazing what one can do with no debt and low needs. Best wishes to you; with your attitude I'm sure you will make it to the Promised Land. :)

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      We had a TV series, 'The Good Life' (repeats still going) with Felicity Kendall and Richard Briers as the hapless couple in suburbia (Surbiton, a posh part of Surrey - been there, got the 'T'-shirt) who decide to go self-sufficient. He gives up his seat on the Waterloo 'treadmill' (8.05 all stations) and a well-paid office job and the pair of them invest in chickens, pigs and cabbages etc.

      Their sniffy (posh) neighbours, Paul Edington (ex 'Yes Minister' and 'Yes Prime Minister') is an executive type, his wife, Penelope Keith is even sniffier than he is (very Tory). Their capers are hilarious if you're watching them for the first time, the attitudes in suburbia are entrenched (bowler hat, briefcase, copy of the Times, first class compartment on the Reading-Waterloo suburban train).

      One of the best ones is Penelope Keith pulling her cracker at Christmas, only to realise the 'tube' is the inside from a toilet roll. The look on her face is enough to launch a luxury liner.

      No probs myself, no mortgage any more, but I pay £125 monthly for council tax, £126 electric monthly, £15 gas, £40-odd home & building insurance and no commuter fares (my wife and I have a 'Freedom Pass' = over 60's free on London underground, overground and buses).

      Nice, eh? Doncha wish you were older, living here?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vicki, I love that you are paying off your mortgage early; that kind of investment will protect you in the future. Best wishes on that and good luck with that garden. One small step at a time my friend. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Donna, I can't think of a single thing to add to your great comment. I'm sorry you had to go through all that but it sounds like great things came from it all. We learn from adversity and often find happiness because of it. Well done and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      For sure, Jamie; so good to hear you say that. Thanks my friend.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, good to see you and thanks for your thoughts. I agree that there is much less stress and concern when you have fewer's a lifestyle I plan on having the rest of my life.

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 4 years ago from California


      What a lovely addition to your simple living articles. I have a special affinity for the genre. I especially love how you show what changes you have made in your own life.

      I find it really difficult to be self-sufficient in my twenties. Until I can afford some land, there is a limit to what I can accomplish. I see a lot of baby boomers selling their homes to buy a hobby farm, but what is a just out of college young adult to do? The principle still stands; things like car repairs, haircuts, and transportation can be changed.

      Some things I personally do are trying to fix broken items myself, selling my old clothes and sporting goods at used clothing stores, walking to the grocery store, living very small with low rent, growing herbs on the patio, driving a very old car, and saving for items I really want. It may not be much, but I have no debt, some investments, and a funded Roth IRA. Sure it would be fun to bomb around town in a new Mustang, but I wouldn't trade my financial goals for a few moments of fleeting pleasure.

      I love that you write everyday. Who needs a newspaper, when we have a Bill Holland.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is great advice. My mortgage is too much, but I'm on track to pay it off very early. I like the space, but I could go a bit smaller. I do little things--hang laundry outside (sometimes), buy food on sale, and I don't shop--for clothes or anything else I don't really need. I need to grow more veggie! I'm working on it little by little. I'll keep reading your hubs for inspiration! I would like to be more self-sufficient.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Cygnet Brown 4 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      We lost our house in 2009 even though we had 50% equity in it at the time because my husband and I both lost our jobs.We made almost $80 K between us. I hated what I did, and my husband did as well. We were able to live in that house for a year after we were unable to make payments. During that year, my husband and I made only $3000 and my husband's child support payments were more than that! We raised chickens, goats, and a garden. All during that time we ate well, had a roof over our heads, and always kept the lights on.

      After that we lived with my brother for two years until my husband found another full time job. I went back to school to work on my degree and I determined that I would make my living writing. In the process of all this, we decided to limit ourselves to one car. We moved to a small townhouse with low utility costs. We learned that living without was not a bad thing. We learned that it was actually a good thing. It is certainly amazing what we can live without.

      In the process of all this, I have figured out that if we learned to leave consumerism behind and embrace living sustainably, the world could be a better place. No one in the world needs to go hungry in the world. There would be no homelessness. The world would heal, if we stopped thinking that it was duties to consume as much as possible. The roots of social justice lie in sustainability.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      I am with you on your travels, consumerism can lead to so many problems, self sufficiency only brings joy. Jamie

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Such awesome advice. I have never been a materialistic person, however, I did buy a lot more than I do now. Now, I love cutting down on things and living simply. It's not only helpful in saving money, but it is SO MUCH LESS stress when you have less things to worry about. I think living simply and within one's means takes the burden off of that "what if" attitude. Let's face it- any job anywhere can let someone go without a moment's notice. It is so important to be readily prepared for that day! Awesome hub and writing!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jainismus, I agree with you...being single certainly simplifies matters. Bev and I can make it work now at this stage of our lives, but it would have been difficult twenty years ago with the kids. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark my friend, one day it will happen. Just stay strong and we'll see what the future holds for us. I believe good days are coming; it's up to me to do the work to make them happen but I do believe it will happen. Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, I will indeed take care and I hope you do the same. A farm in Iowa is sounding pretty damn good right now. One day I want to take Bev back to Iowa so she can see what this kind of life looks like...maybe we'll try to re-create Iowa here in Olympia.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, breakfastpop....I appreciate it.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Nice analysis of both the factors consumerism and self sufficiency. We should develop the habit of frugal living. But it is hard to do it if we live in a family. My experience is that it is easier to live frugal if you are a single.

      In India, many people live an ascetic life. Their needs are few. Living such life is possible for them because they are singles...

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      I live as you know with almost nothing. I have a little rolling luggage bag, a sleeping bag, a few clothes and a toothbrush. I don't need a house, TV, gizmos etc.

      I do admit that a van or tiny RV to live in would be nice (I miss the privacy) and I could easily live and carryout my missions that way. I don't miss much else that my 100,000 a year life provided.

    • profile image

      Larry Kitzmann 4 years ago

      As you know Bill I have and advantage here that most do not. The farm in Iowa has been our fallback plan for quite some time. For now at least Jeanne and I both enjoy a good retirement income as we are both retired teachers. Yes this allows us to travel and do many things that others can not. We do though try to live within our means and fully appreciate all that we have at this point. Were it necessary though we could be pretty self sufficient in Iowa as we have friends and family out there who work the land and support each in time of need. As always your post is right on and most timely considering what I see as our approaching future. No it isn't going to be pretty. As I know you walk the walk will simply add.... Take care my friend.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 4 years ago

      I'm big on food for thought and you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Victoria! I hope I never disappoint you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Okay, Blond, I will not even challenge you. You are living the lifestyle for sure. I love that you can make a chicken last one week...bravo! As for pets....that is an amazing dollar amount that you quoted, and I have no doubt that it is true....thanks for sharing your lifestyle with us.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora! It does make sense, which leads me to wonder why more people aren't taking the steps necessary...oh well, I'll just keep preaching and hope someone listens.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Baby steps are important, Sha, and it sounds like your baby steps have grown greatly. I love that you are aware of the impact we have on our environment...thank you for your thoughts and all that you do.

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 4 years ago from Fountain, CO

      I can always expect great writing form you!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stephanie, well-stated my friend. There are good feelings in doing for oneself...I love the way you stated that. Carry on, Steph, and thank you!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      You are preaching to the converted. Just this week I was replacing the elastic in the fitted sheets. I darn socks and grow some of our own food. Other than one ever decreasing habit of my husband's I would challenge you to find 10% to cut out of my budget.

      I can make a chicken last a week!

      My husband does most repairs on the house and many on the car. Much of the information on how to do simple repairs, is on the internet. We cut each others hair as well.

      When I read about people sitting outside a shop at 3am to buy the latest phone, I think I must be on the wrong planet.

      The biggest expense I think people don't question is their pets. How can most afford pets? I think America spends something around $55 billion a year. That is crazy.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, you make so much sense, and you demonstrate your wisdom in your lifestyle. I apprecite the stats you quoted in your article. They drive home the point. You didn't lose me. We all have skills that we could use and teach to the younger ones. Thanks again!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I've been working on lowering my utilities. I do laundry about every 10 days, whereas at one point I was doing a couple of loads every other day. (It's ok to wear the same outfit a few days in a row when you don't go anywhere and don't sweat!) I only run the dishwasher when full, which takes about 2-3 weeks to fill up; and I let Mother Nature water the lawn. I have ceiling fans in 2 bedrooms, my office and the living room and try not to run the a/c or heat unless absolutely necessary. I can't remember the last time I bought clothes, but when I do, it's from a thrift store or Goodwill. Baby steps, but progress nonetheless.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Another note on self-sufficiency is that it can increase good feelings and help decrease anxiety. After all, we are supposed to be laborers, not just blind consumers.

      I love working in the yard. I love making meals from scratch. My favorite form of entertainment is taking photographs and editing them (creativity is a plus!)

      I think there is definitely a balance between convenience and putting in a bit of effort and unfortunately, many of us have chosen the former over the latter. Small changes can make a big impact on the bottom line and on personal satisfaction and happiness. Rated up Bill!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, it's funny, but I don't think what Bev and I are doing is all that strange or unusual or difficult. We just stepped out of the rat race and began changing. I hope one day you'll be able to my friend. In the meantime, we will continue to grow our friendship and enjoy each other's company. Thank you!


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Just food for thought, breakfastpop; just food for thought. Thanks for stopping by.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Bill, I think everyone should read this article, you've hit the proverbial nail firmly on the head. I still don't know how you do it, I guess hard work and perseverance helps. We've down sized, and I grow some fruits and vegetables, but time is the enemy, maybe when I retire, the question is, will I be up it? :)

      You and Bev are great examples, I hope many more of us will follow suit. Another excellent and very useful article. Take care now.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 4 years ago

      I have to admit, I am a consumer. But I try to buy what makes sense!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Deb, at least you are honest. Too funny! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I had a few years when I made a six-figure income and had nothing to show for it other than a drinking problem. I think I'll stick with what I'm doing.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      When I was working in my corporate law job and making way more money than I make now, I was miserably unhappy. I was spending money on stupid things just to make myself feel better - clothes I didn't wear, things I didn't need. I've found a simpler life is a much happier life. I do miss my cleaning lady, though. : )

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Jackie, I used to say that all the time...grab a plan, Stan....or "take a break, Jake"....or "that's a fact, Jack".....are you sure I wasn't snatched away from your family at an early age and put up for adoption? :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I don't live above my means and no one could be more saving but I would sure be hurting too if the income I have was cut off or lowered drastically; it is really something to think about. We must have money for utilities and food at least for a few months to grab a new plan Stan! You got something there for sure! ^+

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      lindalou, I do wish you luck although it seems you are already doing things the right way. It's amazing what we can do when we have no other choice...and once it becomes a lifestyle how easy it is. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, you were raised correctly; that is obvious. Carry on my friend; while others struggle you will be working at the solution. Thank you and enjoy your Tuesday....and I am proud to have you as a friend as well.

    • lindalou1963 profile image

      Linda 4 years ago from Texas

      I am on that path also. After losing my job in Dec. and getting booted from my rent house (YAY no more $700 a month rent) I've purchased a 1 bedroom travel trailer, I live in a nice little park with all utilities paid and free WiFi and I have enough put back to pay a few months lot rent ($275 per mo.) and groceries!! I've given the car to my daughter, along with the payment!!

      I'm trying my hand at a 'work at home' thingy and since I don't need to make a whole lot of money, I think I'll be just fine!

      AND I'lll be trying to get that first book published!

      I found your article to be informative with some helpful ideas!

      The man in my life can fix anything... and he does it just for a good meal!!

      So, I'm on the road to self-sufficiency !!! Wish me luck!!

      Thanks for sharing, Bill!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, I am so with you on making less, but I honestly still can't believe I do make money writing, designing and being home with my kids. So, for that alone I am thankful. I have truly learned to do with less and stretch the god almightily dollar. My grandmother, having lived through the Great Depression, was very good at this and somehow even though I am far from perfect, I still have learned so much on this think wherever she is that she is truly smiling down on me. Thanks for sharing and seriously I know how far you have come, too. Very proud to call you a friend indeed!


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