If you’re into homesteading, DIY, and reducing your costs before and during retirement, it pays to be handy. General skills with tools like tape measures, levels, chalk lines, saws, drills are all simple things to learn well and let you do things yourself without having to pay someone else.
For myself, who might sit on the slightly extreme side of DIY, I’m planning on picking up some more specialized skills. I may even be able to make money offering these skills to others further down the road, but the intent is to make myself very self sufficient. The list of skills I have going so far:
- Basic Car Mechanics
In addition to DIY skills, you should also consider what your physical fitness has going for it. Being active is important but there are some skills that could save your or a loved one’s life. These include:
- Being able to run a mile without stopping. The faster the better, but the fact that you can get somewhere on foot fast is huge. An accident while hiking? Get to a road. Need to run from something? Self explanatory.
- Being able to swim 100m. I would actually say more than this. If you can rescue someone from the water, make it to shore from a sinking boat, you’re way ahead of so many people. After the sinking of the cruise ship off of Italy where a lot of people died, could I have swam 500m to shore? Hell no. I’d be sunk.
- Being able to drive manual. Manual cars are more efficient on gas and generally less expensive. Less people can drive manual cars so you can get a better deal buying used.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to adopt a ‘prepper’ lifestyle, but recently with the large number of natural disasters it made me think about how well prepared I would be for one. I’m definitely failing that class. It’s not a huge concern for me, but thinking forward I’d like to be prepared in the future.
Living off the power grid sets you up for success in the event of a disaster. Having your own power source that doesn’t comes from the lines is crucial. Having multiple heat sources in a cold country is hugely important. Fresh water is another hugely important factor.
I haven’t gotten too detailed into my plan, but I will without a doubt recommend the following:
Two or more sources of clean water
- 365 Gallons of drinkable water
- Water purification tablets
- Water Distiller
- A good stock of perishable foods (say 1 month?)
- Optional stock of Meals Ready to Eat (MRES). Costco sells a year worth, it’s expensive but it would be a game changer
- Ways to grow your own food (I think without an emergency this is important)
- A weapon and ammunition. You may not want to hunt, but it might save your life. Ammunition is tradable in the event currency isn’t of much value
- Wood Stove and a winter’s worth of wood
- Propane heating and a large tank/bunch of tanks
I don’t have a hazmat suit on my shopping list yet, but it’s always worth keeping an open mind. All of the above things you can use day to day anyways, just keep more of it than what would be considered average.
As part of a FIRE retirement plan, you need to have an idea of total cost. As a minimal apartment dweller, I don’t have all of the things I’ll need for my retirement. While I may not have these items yet, I’ve compiled some starter ‘forever’ lists of what I think I’ll need to meet my needs for my entire life. My retirement plan is comprised of 3 main pieces:
- A Canadian homestead
- A Canada-based adventure van
- A foreign property in a warm climate to hide from winter
I haven’t fleshed out my plan for more foreign property yet, but I have started to think about needs for my adventure van and homestead. A lot of the items listed cross over between the two, so I’ll have a shared, homestead, and van list. Let’s get into it!
- First Aid Kit – Safety First, folks! [PURCHASED] [Needs Upkeep]
- Fishing Rods – Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime. [PURCHASED]
- Chopsticks – The only utensil you’ll ever need! [PURCHASED]
- French Press – Always keep good coffee on-hand. [PURCHASED]
- Hand Coffee Grinder – Don’t waste power grinding coffee. [NEED]
- Cookware, Silverware, Tableware – Stainless steel will last forever. [PURCHASED]
- Mattress – Good mattress = Good sleep. Good sleep = Longer Life. [PURCHASED]
- Fire Extinguisher – Safety First! [NEED] [Needs Upkeep]
- Butane Stove – Portable stove for indoor, road, and outdoor use. [NEED]
- Carbon Monoxide Detector – Safety First! [NEED]
- Smoke Detector – Safety First! [NEED]
- Water Jug and Pump – Depending on water use, this may not suffice. TBD. [NEED]
- Wire Rack – For campfire cooking at home and abroad. Incredible [NEED]
Adventure Van Items
- Dash Cam – Gather video, and cover your ass. [NEED]
- Car Toolkit – Carjack, Jumper Cables, Pump. [NEED]
- WiFi Extender – Use wifi from outside a store..keep a lower profile. [NEED]
- Sleeping Bag – A warm weather sleeping bag that works into fall. [PURCHASED]
- General Toolkit – Screwdrivers, Socket Set, etc. [PURCHASED]
- Canning Pot + Jars – Preserve the fruits of your labour. Literally. [NEED]
- Hunting Rifle – Hunting offers a great opportunity for food and experience. [NEED]
- Tiller – Cut time and expand your garden operation. [NEED]
- Fruit Trees – Start these as early as possible. Pears, Apples, Peaches, etc. [NEED]
What do you have on your forever lists?
I’m 27 years old and have lived a pretty comfortable life so far. I moved out of my parents house into a fancy condo. This I downgraded to a big apartment in an older build. Now I am realizing, I don’t want this much space and will find a room in a shared house. This will save me money and help me eliminate possessions.
Going forward, I will not stay in hotels anymore while travelling. Usually I stay in hostels, but I splurge on hotels. I don’t need that comfort at this point in my life, so I won’t spend the extra money required to upkeep that comfort. In hostels I’ll stay in larger rooms with more beds to further shave costs off travelling (my biggest expense).
Walking, biking and transiting to work versus driving has been my life so far. I don’t plan to change this. I will no longer Uber to work unless I have no other option due to time. I’ll walk to the GO station instead of transiting. 30 minutes enjoying a walk through the city is better than spending to sit on a hot subway.
Are you able to trade comfort for additional money in the bank? Determine your tolerance and push your boundaries. You might find you’re a glutton for punishment like myself.