Ain’t Nothing Going on But the Rent
Right, I’ve finally added up what my nine months in self-sufficiency has cost me. And it’s a lot.
Let me break it down for you. In getting the garden up and running, which includes buying all the seeds I’ve planted, soil, sheep pellets, plants and all sorts of gardening apparatus, I’ve spent $708.08 (all these amounts are in New Zealand dollars). I’ve also spent hundreds of women hours digging, planting, weeding, feeding, and harvesting.
I’ve spent $238.17 on the chooks (I saved about $100 in not having to pay for the birds themselves). That includes feed, straw, water feeders etc. They’ve produced 15-20 dozen eggs since they started laying. If I’d bought those eggs in the shops, they’d have cost me about $140. You can see where this is going.
In the kitchen I’ve spent $243.47 on preserving jars, mushroom towers, the ingredients to make wine, limoncello, and cider. That does not include the money I’ve spent on pots and pans and kitchen utensils; or the odd ingredients like white vinegar, sugar, fresh veggies to pickle, that I’ve bought in shops. It also doesn’t include all the supermarket shopping I had to do before going self-sufficient seven weeks ago.
I haven’t added my rent, the thousands I spent on food, my power bills, or my internet costs to the list as a) I might have a panic attack at how much money I’ve spent and b) they’re costs I would have had regardless of whether I was dabbling with self-sufficiency or living in a tiny fourth floor walk up in the Big Apple.
So give or take a few hundred, I’ve spent $1,189.72 just on getting myself ready to live off the land. And what have I saved? In the past seven weeks I’ve saved about $150 a week in groceries (I’m not kidding; food is tres cher here), which comes to $1,050. That means that in another week, I’ll have broken even. I’ll be pretty much out of food to eat as well. And about to hop on a plane. Which seems uncanny, but somehow right. (I love it when the universe times everything perfectly like that.)
So self-sufficiency, for me, has cost about the same as shopping in the supermarket does, if my calculations are correct (and who knows if they are: I did fail Fifth form maths) and if I don’t factor the hours of manual work. What has it added to my life? There’ll be a post on that in the next few days.