Self-reliance is such a powerful tool. The ability to be able to rely on your own abilities to get shit done is an ideology I’m learning can make or break you in many ways. There is just something about being able to fix things when they break yourself which gives me huge satisfaction. Let’s be honest it seems in today’s society it’s a lost skillset, to say the least.
In the last few months, I have had a few perfect examples of how being able to fix things myself saved me money and allowed me to acquire new skills and understand things I own that much better. I really like to get a lot of value and use out of the things I own so the longer I can keep using them the more value I get.
My tail light on my Scion XB broke some time ago. Probably about 2 years ago at this point. I got lazy and simply said screw it and just put some tape over it so that water would not get into my tail light and it was good enough for me. That is a great saying I love to use “good enough”. Well, finally after 2 years the dang tail light broke to the point tape would not work anymore. So it was time to replace the tail light. Luckily I kept my stock tail light and in about 20 minutes they where installed and I was back up and running. I can only imagine how much a mechanic would charge for that and how much time I would have wasted on that.
Not only did I fix the tail light I decided to fix the hatch handle. Notice in the middle picture there is a white looking mess around the handle. That is where I had duck tape holding the handle up. Pretty FI of me right? I bought a new handle on Amazon for about $20. But I did not want this one to break after a few years from tugging on it all the time. I decided to also install a little latch pull strap. So now you push the button and use the strap to pull the door up. That cost me about $5 If I remember right. Not bad and these parts I hope will outlive me owning the XB.
My watch is something I value as I use it every day for both regular use and during runs. It’s cheap but works great GPS watch I bought for $99 about 3 years ago. Funny how I’ll see people spend 4 to 5 times what I did on mine and actually never even need half of the features they have. Well, my band broke on it and I thought well time to replace the old thing. Then It hit me it was time to fix that band and there was no need to buy a new watch. A few clicks later on Amazon and about $20 I had a brand new watch band on the way. It was an easy install and took less than 5 minutes. Sorry, no pics of the watch!
Here is where this topic gets fun or not so fun depending on how you look at it. I now live full-time in my RV. So I’m learning quickly how things can break or need to be adjusted on the fly. Being self-reliant is paying dividends to me on this journey. I’m now knee-deep into my solar project for the RV. The goal is to be able to be 100% off the grid with solar. With having zero experience with this subject I took on this project. While it has been harder than I expected and over a month into working on it so far I’m learning a new skill and how to work on my own setup in the process. There have been times where I wanted to throw in the towel but so far I have stuck it out and still have a ways to go to get it up and running. Unfortunately with work and the weather I only have weekends to work on it and even then the weather has gotten in the way. We also have had a lot of little side projects with the RV. Just little projects like fixing some issues with parts that needed to be lubed up as they were stuck, to learning how to start the stove properly. It’s all a learning curve that gives us new skills and abilities while we learn how to work and maintain our things.
Just being able to learn how to fix things on your own has been so empowering to me and such an amazing skill on my journey to have. It has for sure saved me money and time. It’s a skill I will carry forward on my journey to FI. A big part of my FIRE plan is to be able to be self-reliant for many things. With today’s technology, you can learn so many skills for 100% free. It baffles me that more people don’t try this. Yet I guess in our society it’s easier to just pay someone else to fix the things around us.
I’d like to pivot and tie this into another great concept I mentioned earlier which is the idea of “good enough”. Perfection is something I used to strive for far too often. I always wanted everything to be perfect. Now I’m realizing how much more powerful “good enough” really is. My car is not the nicest, newest, or most luxurious car out there. Yet it’s good enough to get me from point A to point B without leaving me stranded somewhere. Good enough is when we understand contentment meeting the basic objective of our desired task at hand. What I mean is that if my desire is I want a GPS watch for my runs so I can track my distance and pace there will be different levels of watches for that. You will have a low end of around $100 to the high end of around $600. Now, what is good enough to meet your basic objective of the desired task? For me that $100 watch in this case was. I have learned to really challenge my thought process on what is good enough. This is honestly how I am able to keep most of my expenses in life so low.
It’s incredible how much my life has changed by applying a little self-reliance and understanding with that what is good enough for me. This journey has been incredible and I would never have guessed how far I would have come in such a short period.
Ask yourself what is your “Good Enough”?
Is Self Reliance important to you?
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