Choosing to Be Broke: How I Do it and You Can Too

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This is a guest post by KR Prepper and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.

I’m a freelance musician, and producer. I work as a pianist at local churches for $1000 per month. This is my budget, and I’ve lived happily this way since 18. Here’s how I do it.

Shelter: For me, Living with rent is not an option. I live rent-free in my own home. I lived in an office building, then my truck/storage container cabin, then my current home. Getting a piece of property paid for is one of the best investments you could make. MD has an excellent resource in his book “The Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” most of my cabin was built around his book.

Bills: When I lived in the small town. My bills were nothing.. I ran solar, and used a wood stove for heat and hot water.. Now hat I’m back in the Urban area. I do the following:

1. Eliminate Bills: Pick one bill you can live without and eliminate it.

The first thing I did was to stop paying for Gas for heat and hot water. I keep electric due to the freezers I need to keep meat

2. Look at bills yearly, not monthly.

When making $1000 a month.. take hits certain months, and knock as many months off one specific bill as possible. Take a calendar and make plans for the entire sum of your monthly income up to $1000 if you can. Here’s my calendar Jan-May. I really don’t impulsively jump on sales. I make a plan for a specific month, and stick with it.

January:

FOOD STOCK MONTH:

  • Take the after Christmas clearance and rack up everything. I use the LDS Food Storage Calculator as a rough guide.
  • Purchase the majority of your seeds and soil amendments during this month.. Get those things cheaply due to the lack of demand for garden produce in the winter.
  • Keep your eyes open for nearly expired items. I do a bit of foraging and will take in food that is going to be thrown away if it is not spoiled.
  • Instead of Shopping around, make relationships with local small supermarkets. They normally will share older items that they cannot sell, if they know you bring in repeat business.

February:

HOUSEHOLD BILL MONTH

  • Cellular: Use the cheapest service that gets the best coverage and pay in lump sums. I use Wal-Mart’s Straight Talk plan. 1000 min/1000 texts for 33 a month.. I pay 6 months upfront, and put 6 Months in reserve $350 (with tax)
  • Electricity: My average is $60 a month, I pay 5 months in advance $300
  • Cleaning Supplies. Keep it simple. I use Bleach, vinegar, Soap, Borax, Amonia. Deodorant, TPI bulk up on these items during this month. These also have other uses around my home. $200 gets me done for the entire year with more to spare. I make my own dish, and laundry detergent so I never need to buy.

(With the basic needs met) the rest of the year is spent focusing on projects. Each year, try to either expand or simplify your system to meet your need

March:

Communications / Transportation:

The goal is to eventually create a network in which you can communicate with your immediate circle without a cellular bill.

COMM

  • Try CB first. I got my radio from Craigslist for $25. it isn’t private, but in a pinch it works. Each year I hope to expand the system to include ham, and a dedicated cell phone network.. (another article)

TRANSPORTATION: Use the cheapest form of Transport you can afford.

I use a motorized Mountain Bike.. I purchased an engine kit from Bikeberry.com and put it on my mountain bike.. No licence or Insurance required. It gets 125 MPG and takes 1.32 to fill up. It was a $250 investment for the engine kit and install, I also added tires, and thorn proof tubes. I also buy 10 gallons of Gas and 2-stroke oil. this lasts 6-8 months. the oil acts as a form of stabilizer.

April:

SECURITY/HUNTING

During this time, I secure a vast amount of the security implements I need for my homestead.

  • Focus on Low Cost Means of home hardening:
  • Stay away from systems that require monitoring. That’s an extra bill and you can avoid that, by installing a system that sends sms or text to your phone.
  • Use bushes with thorns that deter thieves (I have a mix of Hawthorne and rose bushes)
  • All hunting munitions, arrows, bow tuning, major cleaning, and servicing/ or new purchases ar made in this month. My setup is simple. A bolt-action rifle, 12 ga, 9mm, and 22, a Bow, and A Crossbow. Be mindful of your “ammo footprint” meaning, don’t carry so many calibers that you cannot stockpile within your budget.
  • Hunting and Fishing licences are Paid in this month

May

First Aid, Med Supplies: During this time of year. Many clinics and hospitals in my area do educational clinics on Basic First aid, CPR and the like. I also hit my family members who are nurses for various first aid items. I also take this time to cover any gaps I might have left open in Month 1-4.

I’d like to know.. How do you all save money? What’s budgeting tips do you have.. I’d love to hear them.

Reprinted with permission from The Survivalist Blog.

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