Financial Health

20 Jan

A great post on Apartment Prepper “Personal Savings Lessons from Prepping” got me thinking about the importance of basic financial health to prepping. It’s hard to prepare for the future when you’re financially sinking in the present.

In the last four or five years, many Americans have suffered their own personal financial collapse. A job is lost and a family can no longer pay its bills. Money is borrowed to cover the gap between income and expenses in the hope that income will be re-established in the near future. The debt becomes overwhelming.

If you suffer a sudden loss of income, immediately reduce whatever expenses you can. Don’t borrow to cover the gap. If you’re struggling to pay current bills, it will only become harder when you must add payments and interest for past debts to your obligations. Even if you could have scrapped by before, the added debt payments can scuttle you.

This is easier written about than done though. Some expenses are hard to avoid. If you have a sick child and must pay medical bills, even if your income remains solid, you can be done in financially.

A great blog post on lazyhomesteader.com  suggests having a “no spend” month. This could work for a country homesteader, but is hard to pull off for a city prepper. You can’t tell your electrical and water company that it’s “No Spend October.” Sorry, guys, you’ll pay them in November!

The time to prepare for a financial blow is before it arrives. Before you make any other preparation, you should put aside at least one month’s worth of income. Two or three months is better. This will give you some breathing room. That money is just like food reserves, it’s there to cover you if you don’t have access to other income. It will let you pay your bills for a bit.

Just as preppers seek some degree of self-sufficiency with a garden, preppers should work to build their incomes. If you lost your main job, would you have something else you could do to earn some cash?

There are opportunities hidden in the open all around us. In the last post I talked about the evilness of springs. Garage door springs, in particular, have a bad reputation as killers, although I couldn’t find one fatality due to a garage door spring by searching Google. There are guys who make their entire living driving around and repairing garage door springs and the other basic parts of garage doors. It’s only one of thousands of business ideas for those who build some special skills and knowledge.

For saving money, one of my favorite things is to learn how to do basic repairs myself. If you read my book, you know I’m a big fan of learning to repair mechanical things: Appliances, your vehicle, your electrical, your plumbing, your HVAC system. I must confess though–I like doing these things.

Most frugal people have their own favorite strategies and techniques for saving money. Here’s a great post about “depression” era money saving tips.

Some ideas are better than others. Baking cookies inside your car on a hot and sunny day? If it worked that would be better than the costly “new car smell.” Turning off your engine while driving is a horrible idea; although I slow down when approaching stop signs to save gas and the brakes. Most people just speed up to the stop sign and hit the brakes and then roar away.

Some ideas appear silly but actually make sense. A constant theme I run into on the net on self-sufficiency sites is making your own laundry soap. Laundry soap’s expensive! It’s a hot ticket item for criminals. One commentator joked: “The U.S. dollar should be pegged to Tide.”

By being more self-reliant, you need to spend less money. David Nash has a good term for this concept of gaining security by being more self-reliant: Prepsteading.

Full homesteading is living your life much like early settlers on the frontier. A grocery store didn’t exist right around the corner to top off your supplies back then.

For many city preppers, full self-sufficiency isn’t practical. But finding a few ways to be less reliant on others can save us a buck here and there.

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Americas Top CEOs have come up with a plan to save the government money. They want to raise the retirement age to 70.

These CEOs fail to realize that not all jobs involve sitting on your butt and telling others what to do. I agree with the commentator to the above article: “force these scums to work in construction til they turn 100.” OK, that’s a little too harsh. But I’d support a two-year stint in their late 60s working a tough job. Make them fill in pot holes. Because of the different nature of jobs a universal retirement age makes little sense.

Here’s an interesting story about somebody who is preparing for the Biblical apocalypse. Even though I bet most preppers are conservative Christian, most aren’t planning for the official end of the world and don’t give predictions of apocalyptic doom too much credence. This fellow removed $50,000 from his 401(k) to spend on prepping. If you had an extra $50,000 to spend on prepping, what would you do with it?

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