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Author Topic: Dependable income / self sufficiency  (Read 7527 times)

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Dependable income / self sufficiency
« on: April 20, 2012, 08:17:43 am »
BullbytheHorns had a number of questions posted on the welcome page however one which is probably quite interesting for everyone and needs its own thread is

I'm curious to what extent people have been able to make it to the situation where they are mostly self sufficient and/or are  generating any kind of dependable income.

Does any one make a dependable income and how do they do it? or are we all just living a nicer life by working 2 jobs?


  • Joined Nov 2011
  • Middle ish of France
    • Cadeaux de La forge
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2012, 08:43:52 am »
 My guess is that not many of us plan to be self sufficient but with time learn learn new skills and ways of producing and making as much as they can. We swap a lot too. After just 6 months ( May-June) we slashed our food bill and since then we frequently eat meals made exclusively with our own produce (meat,veg,cider,chutneys,jams and fruit).

As for generating income - This has to be planned and location and access to a market is key. I would guess that this is a real challenge and comes with some stress - There are many plus points related to working for yourself of course but essentially generating income to live the same life style as paid work would comes with many challenges. For example it takes quite a financial investment and lots of other challenges to generate income from pigs - planning permission, H&S compliance, Vet bills, tax returns, VAT etc etc then you have to kill, butcher and manufacture, transport  and finally sell the produce.

There is a third option or group.
Semie self sufficient, low expenditure pensioners. I cashed in my chips at 50 and get a small monthly pension that is more than enough for us to live on now that we produce most of our food and live a very modest lifestyle.
Gifts and crafts made by us.


  • Joined Mar 2012
  • Mintlaw
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2012, 11:28:38 am »
I thought about this a lot but came to the inclusion that I was better off working for someone else
and enjoying my hobby or way of life.

Thats just me and we are not all wired up the same thank goodness.


  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2012, 04:00:47 pm »
Our smallholding venture is a bottomless financial pit......... and I couldn't think of a better way to spend my money!!!!

We don't have kids and shrouds ain't got pockets - so what better way than to plough what we've got back into the local economy in exchange for some joy and creative energy. The meat, fruit, cider and fresh veg (I could go on....) that we get out of it is a bonus and I am ever grateful that we don't have to rely on income from the smallholding to keep us afloat.

I work away from home during the week so I probably have a bit of a rose tinted view of the place compared to my husband...... But even still - he is very content as well.

We would be aiming to be in the semi self sufficient, low expenditure pensioner category by the time I retire. Hopefully by then we will have got all the tools and built all the contraptions we could ever possibly need and be running efficiently enough so that we can continue the lifestyle into old age.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2012, 05:54:48 pm by suziequeue »
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  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2012, 05:09:02 pm »
I'm in with SuzieQ, except its my OH that works away and we have a nine year old thrown into the mix - but he is a lot cheaper to keep than sheep!!.  I recon by the time some of my income streams come into fruition (cider orchard comes to mind) - I'll be too knackered!!!    We are trying to use this time of external income to improve our knowledge and resiliance.  Our current (tiny) income streams are Hay, eggs, lamb and the odd half a pig and the odd informal contribution from campers or people staying in our static.  Then a better income stream will come in a couple of years time when I can use my own willow for the living willow structures that I do.  It just might be possible to earn enough for the unavoidable outgoings and a very meagre life, once all the big improvements are out of the way (house fix, barn repairs, fencing, tools and equipment and a wodge put by for future bad luck and emergencies). I am in awe of those on here (Rusty et al) who are close to self sufficiency.  One of the many things I need to get better at is gardening - I dont have the habit yet.


  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Worcestershire
    • Its Baaath Time
    • Facebook
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2012, 05:30:06 pm »
We are able to produce all of our own alcohol and Christmas/birthday presents for friends and family in the form of Wine and Baaath Time goodies, jams, chutneys etc
We are growing more fruit and vegetables each year (yr 3 this June) so able to support our large family. We barter with a friend for meat. Self sufficient in goats milk and will attempt cheese making again this year...

As far as generating income goes, Its Baaath Time is entering its second year so very early days from a business point of view but it does pay for holidays, the family's Christmas presents and I have been able to plough profit back into the business in order to expand. Without the goats I couldnt' make the soap so I do see this has smallholding generated income.
Smallholding in Worcestershire, making goats milk soap for and mum to 4 girls,  goats, sheep, chickens, dog, cat and garden snails...


  • Joined Feb 2008
  • worcs
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2012, 05:50:07 pm »
Our smallholding is a bottomless pit as well but we have income from eggs, apple juice, and lambs. we grow a lot of our own vegetables and have apples and plums from our large orchard. Christmas presents tend to include variations on the above and we also barter with other smallholders. Couldn't do it without outside employment ( husband) but every little helps, as somebody said!

Castle Farm

  • Joined Nov 2008
  • Hereford/Powys Border. near Hay-on-Wye
    • castlefarmeggs
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2012, 06:11:13 pm »
I don't dare think what money I throw at this place,both from my OAP and 8 hours a week outside work, but I have built up a flock of nearly 80 Lleyn sheep (including this years lambs) in 6 years from the original 6, so they are worth a fair bit.

I have about 400 birds (Eating and hatching eggs) and they just manage to cover the feed bill and with a bit of effort I suppose make a small profit.

I have improved the house and 16 acres we have here and now feel the place is worth a great deal more than when we bought it.

The only problem is as you get older you get tired quicker and I'm getting that way now, so that has to be taken into account. You could never afford to employ someone to do the work you need to do.

It's a lifestyle and not a way to make money.
Traditional Utility Breed Hatching Eggs sent next day delivery. Pure bred Llyen Sheep.


  • Guest
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2012, 06:33:30 pm »
At present our setup runs at a loss and probably will do so for a few more years, till we get the experience
and set - up correct.
I think eventually we will break even, perhaps make a small profit, but we didn't go into
this smallholding with profitable intentions, we see this as a lifestyle not a
I think someone else came up with the idea of how to make good money.
They bought a farm.

Another point, we all care for our animals and care costs, and as carers we tend to in my opinion
look after, spoil, our animals much more.

As we didn't plan our situation then it qualifies us as accidental  ;D

« Last Edit: April 20, 2012, 07:17:17 pm by Bangbang »

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2012, 08:46:24 pm »
Castle Farm if you can please tell us more about your chicken set up and how you break even / make a small profit.


  • Guest
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2012, 09:19:16 pm »
I have this converstation often with my hubby, its must be hard, we plough all our money back into the house and thats just maintainance, although we like our life too...not small holding but self emplolyed..if we had the oppertunity, money and fittness, smallholding would be a great way of life, I think most people years ago used to rent farms and land off large landowners, that way, more people could be tennant farmers or tennant smallholders then more people could have a chance at a wonderful way of life, keeping people fit and mentaly happy!!


  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2012, 09:26:28 pm »
We don't make a living from our land but its a way of life we enjoy.


  • Guest
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2012, 09:38:29 pm »
I ment to add, people spend a lot more on other stuff that they think makes thier life better, nice to get excersise, fresh air and enjoyment!!


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2012, 09:44:20 pm »
As MAK says to make an income you need a market and at the moment nobody is spending on anything but essentials. The DIY stores are full and the tradesmen are struggling. So I guess just breaking even is a great result.

Income 19s 6d, expenditure 20s 00d, result misery.
Income 20s 00d, expenditure 19s 6d, result happiness.

So I suppose with a limited income, like us, you need to tailor your expenditure to suit. Problem is we can't cut back any further on anything!

Poultry wise the only way I can see of making any profit is selling hatching eggs. That way you don't rear good birds as we did only to discover you can't sell them. But the market is flooded with unscrupulous traders and people aren't buying eggs for fear of being ripped off. Think Sabrina sums it up well.


  • Joined Nov 2011
  • Dorset BH21
    • Making Life Exciting Again...
Re: Dependable income / self sufficiency
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2012, 10:26:42 pm »
Agree with all of the above.  It's still early doors for us, but I don't ever see smallholding activities paying the rent for us.  So long as it pays for the extra land and barns and feed and fills the freezer I'll be happy.

The real benefit for us is the way of life - watching the calves grow up and get all excited each time they have a new area to explore - seeing the green shoots springing up over the veg patch and sticking two fingers up at Morrisons - listening to the little contented rumblings the ewes make as their lambs latch on for lunch...  Can't beat it!


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