“Tips for Becoming Self-Reliant,” Ensign, Mar. 2000, 68–69
The Lord has counseled us through His prophets to live providently, which means to live frugally and provide for the future. “I commend to you the virtues of thrift and industry. … It is work and thrift that make the family independent,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley, then First Counselor in the First Presidency (“‘Thou Shalt Not Covet,’” Ensign, Mar. 1990, 4). Learning to be self-reliant increases our ability to live providently and take care of our own needs, even during difficult times. The following summary of time-tested ideas may help individuals and families become more self-reliant.
Get an education. Both men and women need to pursue educational opportunities. Men need skills that will afford them opportunities to provide the necessities of life for their families. Educated women bless their families, and education prepares them to meet the challenge of raising a family in today’s complex world.
Obtain a year’s supply of food. Work toward having a year’s supply of basic food items with a long storage life. Then expand your food supply with a wider variety of foods that can be kept on the shelf for a year. Some members find it helpful to begin storage efforts by making survival kits with food, water, clothing, first aid supplies, and medication.
Store water. Since water is generally plentiful, it is easy to overlook this simple, basic necessity. Yet in times of unexpected natural disasters, a lack of clean and safe water is often one of the first crises that must be faced. It is suggested that families store a minimum of 14 gallons of water per person (see Essentials of Home Production and Storage , 7).
Learn how to grow food in a garden. Gardening techniques are best learned step by step over a period of years. Even if your garden space is small, it can provide many fresh foods in your diet. Along with growing food comes the opportunity of learning to can, freeze, dry, or store the food properly. Though not difficult, these things do take practice in order to become proficient.
Prepare a first aid kit. Include things needed for emergencies, such as bandages, antibiotic ointments, and alcohol; slings; basic medications for upset stomach, diarrhea, and fever; needle and thread; and other basic supplies. Obtain a good booklet on first aid that lists needed supplies, or check with a pharmacy.
Get out of or stay out of debt. Learn the basics of staying on a budget, then manage your resources wisely. Set something aside each month in a savings account. Be cautious about buying on credit. If debt accumulates, use the principles discussed in One for the Money: Guide to Family Finance (item no. 33293) to reduce and eventually eliminate burdensome debt.
Learn to sew. Taking time to learn sewing skills enables a family to make and mend clothing, sew costumes, or make household items such as curtains or tablecloths. Basic skills practiced during a time of plenty may help a family in a time of need.
Learn how to make or refinish furniture. Acquire the skills to produce simple household furnishings. Those with tools and expertise can often create beautiful and useful articles. Others can learn to strip and refinish older pieces of furniture, reupholster chairs, or repair broken items.
Practice needlecrafts. The art of quilt-making, crocheting, and knitting can help provide clothing and bedding in a time of need.