Saving in the Hard Times, for the Harder Times

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I am by no
means a financial expert and have lived most of my life from paycheck
to paycheck, so the first thing I thought of when I read Patriots:
A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse
was "Wow,
those guys must have been rich to buy all that stuff!" I was
very overwhelmed and felt somewhat hopeless that I could ever have
enough money to buy the things we needed to make it through TEOTWAWKI,
especially now that the economy is worsening, and people have less
and less money. So I set out to figure out what I would have to
do to scrape together enough money to start preparing. I have compiled
a few of the tips and tricks I have discovered over the last few
years here, in hopes of sharing my knowledge so others can follow
suit and become better prepared in these hard times.

A few notes
here before we go on:

A. In this
article I will refer to any "extra" or "saved"
money as TEOTWAWKI Funds (or "TF"). This is to
be used for buying your preparedness supplies, not hoarded away
in a bank account as useless cash.

B. There IS
a difference between "NEED" and "WANT."
Anything you buy requires three things; Money – not only for
the purchase, but also for operation, maintenance, storage, licensing
etc. Time – not only to find the item, but also for maintenance
and repair. Space – to keep it in. Never buy on impulse. If
you want something go home and think on it for a few days. Ask yourself:
is this necessary? Who is it being purchased for?
What will it be used for? When will it be used? Where
will it be used and stored? Why is it needed? How
can I pay for it? Most of the time when people sit down and think
about it, a "need" actually isn’t a need – it is actually
a "want."

With that being
said, here are some of the things I have learned. No one thing is
going to save you a ton of money, but added all up together can
mean the difference of having money for your TF or not…
Think and act as if you are poor and you will have more money in
the end!

The Big
Things:

1. Credit
Cards – Do Not
live off your credit cards! Do Not pay
credit cards with other credit cards. Do Not pay recurring bills
on credit cards. See a trend? Credit Cards should be used for emergencies
only
. Sell what you have to sell and do what you have to do
to get them paid off to a zero dollar balance, then Do
Not
use them. If you can’t help yourself, take them out of your
wallet and leave them at home. I can’t overemphasize this enough;
too many people stretch themselves thin by living over their means
and off their credit cards. That is not what they are meant
for, and doesn’t do anything except get you further and further
in debt.

2. Entertainment
Living in San Diego, I am in the epitome of wealth,
status, and spending, so the first thing we will talk about here
is entertainment. Do you really need those Pro Sports Jerseys,
barbecues, flags, #1 fingers, helmets, cups, bottles, pens and all
the other useless stuff they have? No you don’t. Put your money
in your TF, and get your head out of the clouds. In fact, why not
take up hiking or running, (which, incidentally, are free) and start
training yourself for TEOTWAWKI. Buy yourself that expensive coffee
every morning? Guess what, you don’t do it – brew your
own at home and save a bundle! Spend money on toys? Do you really
need an electric airplane? Gas-powered RC car? Boats? Quads? 50"
Flat-screen TV? $5,000 stereo system? New china set? New furniture?
I think not. Make do with what you have and save your money. What
good is a high definition TV going to do for you when there is no
food? Nothing. In fact, sell your big expensive items, downgrade,
and use the extra money for your TF.

3. Cars
and Appliances
– Do you really need that new BMW
you’ve been looking at? Ahem, no you don’t! If you have a
vehicle that is paid off or close to it, it would be cheaper to
keep that vehicle and fix it up than to buy a new one – even
if you had to put a new engine in it! Better yet, if it’s financed,
sell the vehicle you have – get out from under that loan –
and go buy a used multi-purpose vehicle in cash. Even
if
you had to replace the whole drive-train in a used
vehicle, it’s still cheaper than buying a brand new car!
Also, while we’re on the topic of cars. Limit your driving and errand
running; If you need a gallon of milk, don’t make an extra trip
to the store – wait until you need to do your weekly grocery
shopping. You will save so much money in gas alone just from cutting
out useless running around. Limit your driving; write down where
you go in one week’s time, and cut out or combine trips.

4. Electronics
and Gadgets
– people think they need things they actually don’t.
Do you really need that new fridge, stove, washer, computer,
cappuccino machine? CD, iPods, Blueray discs? I think not! As long
as it works then keep it! If it stops working, learn how to fix
it, and only then if it is too expensive to fix, sell it as used
junk and buy another one, used. I see people all the time
buy new appliance after new appliance needlessly, and it’s such
a waste of money.

The Little
Things:

1. Clothes
This is a big one for women, but also applies to men. Everyone already
owns clothes. Look in your closet and arrange them to category.
Work clothes. Play/ Relax clothes. Clothes for getting dirty. Clothes
for going out. Do the same for shoes. You only need just a few per
each category. That’s pretty much it. Sorry women, you don’t need
20 pairs of shoes and 15 purses. One works just fine. Get
yourself a nice pair of sturdy boots and put the extra money in
your TF. I haven’t bought new clothes in years. Take care of the
ones you already have and you will be just fine – you can
even alter them if they don’t fit or need adjusted for a very small
fee. Again, cheaper than buying new ones. When you have to buy new
clothes, buy ones that are on sale, functional, and easy to take
care of. Sorry to say, you don’t really need a $200 pair
of jeans, or a $500 cashmere jacket. Take the extra cash and buy
TEOTWAWKI gear.

2. Food
This is an important one and not just for people new to survivalism.
I have slowly learned how to cut our food bill – it does take some
work, but it’s very possible. If you can cut your current food bill
in half, then you could be using that other half to buy store away
foods!

First
grow as much of your own food as possible! (Including animals; chickens
and rabbits are cheap and easy to keep!) Even if you have a small
yard, or no yard at all, buy some 5-to-15 gallon buckets and grow
plants. You can set them up on your lawn, balcony, or even in your
driveway if need be. You would be amazed at how much food you can
get from pots. From just four big pots I got tomatoes all summer
long, never had buy a single one. For whatever you can’t grow, buy
your produce at the local vegetable stand or farmers market. Find
the cheap ones. Either of these are usually much cheaper
than the grocery market. Also, don’t buy expensive exotic fruits
and veggies – you don’t need them.

Second
don’t buy name brand products. Most of the time the store-brand
tastes exactly the same, and in many cases is even manufactured
in the same plant!

Read
the rest of the article

May
13, 2010

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