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Lakin Allen
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I am super new to the permie lifestyle idea but I already love it and want to work towards transforming from living amongst the rat race to a much simpler less environmentaly harmful life. Im currently living paycheck to paycheck in Springfield Missouri and when I invision this dream I often get overwhelmed with where to begin. Does anyone have any advice of the first steps or changes needed to make this transition. The finances worry me. I can live simply but it seems like there is a startup cost so the speak to changing lifestyles. I know once I've settled into my homestead money won't be so much of an issue in comparison to the things I can provide by being self sufficient. But what about the cost of  providing my own solar or wind powered utilities? Any advice or share of experience is appreciated!! Thank you
 
David Livingston
steward
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Location: Anjou ,France
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I would start on two fronts
1 start learning and collecting stuff, tools , skills even plants . See if you can borrow a garden and start growing some veggies , read stuff not watching TV mind rot prepare your self mentally
2 change your life style so that you can start to save some money - make freinds share and save stuff for example . Do you really need to buy new stuff ? Latest music ?
Etc etc

David
 
Andie Carter
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For basic getting you finances under control and working for you, I suggest two blogs: early retirement extreme, and mr. Money mustache. You might not like their style, nor wish to retire in the traditional sense, but they lay out exactly what you need to know and do to get your money under your control. Start at the beginning and work your way current.

If books are more your speed, read 'your money or your life'- dramatic title, but very sound.
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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Producing your own utilities is a fairly advanced step. Without more information on where you're starting from it's hard to make suggestions for your next step.

Let's say a rented apartment, a wage slave career (so many things that could be), no experience in cooking with real ingredients (just canned and boxed packages). That's actually pretty close to where I started.

How can you get from that to a healthy and sustainable lifestyle? You're right in thinking money can help here, but even more important is skills. This is the time to start learning and practicing on a very small scale those skills which will feed into your goals. One of the nice things here is that learning many of these skills will also help you save money.

Learn to garden. Even in the smallest apartment you can start growing some food in pots. Any container with a drainage hole can work as a pot. A little research online will help you select the right size of container for each plant.

Learn to identify edible plants that grow in your area and make some foraging trips to collect it. Learn to cook with them. Learn to cook, period. The more food you can cook, from the less processed ingredients the cheaper your food is while your nutrition is usually much higher.

Learn to repair things. From sewing clothing to repairing engines, everything you fix, you don't have to buy, doesn't go into a landfill, and is one less thing that has to be made again. Huge impact on both your budget an your environment.

Next time you need kitchen pans, buy cast iron. https://richsoil.com/cast-iron.jsp That's everything you need to know about why, and how to care for it. I spent 25$ for three of the lowest quality pans out there, 20 years ago. I still cook in them today, and they work better than most of the more expensive pans out there.

There's three very beginning ideas. Maybe you're already past that level. Where do you want to end up and how close are you?  With more specific information, more specific responses are possible.

No matter where you're at, start saving. Even if you only put a couple dollars a month to the side, learning to save money like exercising. Practice with the small amount will help develop the necessary mindset. And even a small amount adds up over time.
 
Tobias Ber
Posts: 485
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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hey lakin.
welcome to the forums. it s nice to see that you re asking the right questions.

i d advice to write own your expenses and look at them. what are the biggest chunks? where can savings be made?

i suppose, one big point is rent. what about living in a van. sharing a flat with people or living in a camper for starts? a camper or van or tiny house on wheels could be start of a homestead later. there are videos on youtube about that.


maybe this helps: 


blessings on your journey
 
Lakin Allen
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Rent is my biggest expense. But here's my hold up on cutting back on my living space...  I'm a huge animal lover and have 2 dogs and 4 cats.  I know that's a bit excessive and I don't plan on replacing them once they pass away but I don't have the heart to rehome any of them. They mean the world to me. And it's nearly impossible to find anyone who will rent to me with all my animals let alone a smaller place. I was lucky enough to be able to rent from someone I have known for years and he will allow all my pets because he knows I take good care of them and they aren't destructive.
 
Casie Becker
gardener
Posts: 1474
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
117
forest garden urban
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I can understand the love of a dear pet.

One of the catch phrases of permaculture is "the problem is the solution". Start with one thing. From the sound of things, your living arrangements require more space than simply an apartment. What can you do with that space? 

Do you regularly take your dogs on walks? If so, each walk is another opportunity to scout out resources in your community.

If your area is prone to gardening pests like voles, squirrels, rabbits or deer do your dogs make it possible to garden without expensive fencing? Just having two cats greatly reduces the squirrel damage in our garden here.

"The problem is the solution" Figuring out where resources are hiding in your life is the trick. Sometimes it's like one of those Magic Eye pictures. (Full disclosure: I've never been able to see the picture in one of those, ever.)

edit: Don't punish yourself for taking things one step at a time. Real change happens in stages. Just choose something you can do better than you did last year. Even the best of us still has room to improve. The worst of us never even try.
 
Tobias Ber
Posts: 485
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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lakin,
from what i ve read, dogs should be easy to rehome. cats not so much. if these are indoor cats, it should be possible.

but to rephrase the question: are there ways to change your living situation, that actually might benifit your animals?

... now just brainstorm that... and check/evaluate these ideas LATER... not now.
 
Elizabeth Rose
Posts: 72
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Hey Lakin!

Welcome to the permie world. Congrats, you've taken a huge first step by identifying this: "
transforming from living amongst the rat race to a much simpler less environmentaly harmful life


This is what we call a Quality of Life statement, or a Holistic context. It's the ideal of what you want your life to be. Every decision you make, ask yourself, is this moving me closer to a much simpler less environmentally harmful life, or not? It's not always simple, and sometimes the answer might surprise you.

You mention you want a homestead - what would you get from a homestead? Simplicity? Freedom? These are the two most common answers when I ask people why they want a tiny home. The great news is, you don't have to make big changes to reach this state of simplicity and freedom (though you find that you might!). You don't need a homestead with a cow and a veggie garden to achieve a state of harmony. You simply need to find the right combination of where, when, what, and why that lets you feel free and simple.

This sounds a bit vague, and it's because knowing the WHY of doing something is a huge part of permaculture design. If you just run off and buy a piece of land and a cow without knowing WHY, you could find yourself overwhelmed, confused, and just as miserable as when you were running the rat race. Just keep asking, whenever you find yourself making a decision, from shopping, to food, to career, to living space, "does this make my life simpler?" Trust yourself to know the answer. And before you know it, you'll be a dozen steps closer to where you actually want to be!

Sounds like you're off to a great start, keep it up!

And because everyone likes a little hands-on practice: the Frugal subreddit is a great place to get tips on cutting down living expenses. https://www.reddit.com/r/Frugal/
 
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