Every Prepper/Homesteader/Survivalist/Pioneer/Self Reliant-est/Self sustainable-est or whatever you want to call yourselves has to have one type of a plan or another. There is really nothing more important than that.
I have had the opportunity to be around many new folks to the self sustainable lifestyle the past few months and the one thing I cannot stress more to them is to have a plan.
Stepping across the line from normal everyday living to being self reliant is very overwhelming. There are so many things to do, so many projects to build and just as many things to learn. The first few months of this lifestyle is filled with anxiety and the overwhelming feelings of trying to get too many things done at once. Even when you think you have it all figured out you will read a blog post or hear of a new political scare that kicks your brain in high gear and makes you want to do too many things at once or have instant gratification by twinkling your nose or snapping your fingers.
You will struggle with spending what money you can between buying ammo or food, bug out equipment or bug in equipment, a power source or a water source, guard animals or farm animals, seed banks or gardens and the list goes on and on.Your mind will make you think this all has to be done NOW, NOW, NOW and being on a limited budget with little time brings in the anxiety.
"Then where do I start?" With a pencil, a piece of paper and a plan.
"What do I write?" Across the top of the paper, title it 12 Month Goals and Objectives
You have to set realistic one year goals. You know your budget better than anyone and you know your skill level as far as construction projects. To start off with a goal to be completely self sustainable in a year with a small budget is not reachable. Start slow and build. I know this is not what you want to hear, but it is the way it is. If you force it and try to deviate from your plan then your goals will be unorganized and cause undo stress and anxiety.
Here is a sample of a 12 month goals and objectives plan I helped set up for some folks that were on a $200.00 a month budget. That gives them $2400.00 to spend on preps for the year.
1. Three months of food and water storage.
2. One defense weapon.
3. Five hundred rounds of ammo.
4. Small chicken coop with Ten chickens laying eggs.
5. Four 4'x16' raised garden beds.
6. Vegetable seed bank.
7. Dehydrator and canning supplies.
8. Equipped bug out bags.
First we had to decide what path they wanted to take. What I mean by that is, are they wanting to lean towards the preeping, the survival or the homesteader sides. In this case they wanted to be more in the homesteading by growing some of their own food and dabble in animal husbandry.
Here is an example of Goals and Mini Goals;
1. Three months of food and water storage.
- Create a inventory system.
- Set up spare bedroom with shelves.
- Add $75.00 a monthly to food budget.
With a limited budget the goals outlined was easily met. Each year their plan gets bigger and they become closer to reaching their ultimate goal. They soon found that once the gardens started being harvested their food budget was able to buy more food to put in their storage. They took classes to learn how to can and preserve foods and also started another income stream by selling eggs and what produce was left over in the farmers market.
In this instance after only one year they were able to achieve and go beyond their goal by storing five to six months of food and water, have chickens, start with rabbits and learned how to preserve foods.
Even a yearly goal and plan is too overwhelming for some. I know one couple where it is a month by month plan. This way it keeps the burden of trying to reach such a big outcome. In the end it still has the same result as a yearly, but mentally per month is easier to reach than per year. It doesn't matter how as long as you do.
The idea is that once you get into the mindset of your plan and start living the lifestyle, the little things you spend money on like going out to eat, snack foods and whatever else can be absorbed into your goals which gets you closer to achieving your plan.
My last point I will make is this, the plan and goals you create are not as good as the paper you it wrote them on unless you are devoted to it, change your way of thinking and are willing to change your lifestyle. The reason you started this in the first place has to be your motivation to continue until you succeed.
The main killer of inspiration is negativity and if you and your partner are not on the same page then your likelihood of success is diminished considerably. Sure there are compromises and certain things can still be done according to your plan, but the headache you get from your loved one will hurt your goals in the end. In order for you to have success you both don't always have to be on the exact same page, but you at least have to be in the same book.
I hope this was some help for the new ones out there just starting out. Remember, an idea without a plan is just that.