While many people think that discussing personal finances publicly is not only wrong, some would probably be mortified to do so. I on the other hand, decided to write this to show you that you don't have to be rich to begin prepping. Our family manages to live on a monthly net income that is under $1500. While to some that number may seem low, you learn to work with what you have! We know that there are many other families like us out there, who are trying to live and prep on small incomes too. We hope that these tips will be helpful.
Remember it's not about amassing unreasonable amounts of supplies; it's about doing what you can, with what you have!
Five Tips To Help
1. Appreciate What You Have
In today's society we live in a world where instant gratification and the power of the dollar is everything. I am here to assure you... it's not ! If we don't learn to appreciate and be thankful for what we have now, do we really deserve to be blessed with more? Learn to appreciate the little things. If you have a roof over your head, food in your fridge, and a loving family... then you have more then some people out there. Never take those for granted and don't forget being broke is not the same as being poor.
2. Don't Spend, What You Don't Have!
If you don't keep track of where your money goes each month, it is easy to lose track of it all together. Create a budget of some sort that helps you to track your expenses. This can help you watch those pennies at work! Ditch the credit cards they are only hurting you further. Even if you are making those monthly payments the interest alone is putting you in debt. Instead try to pay for things in cash, that way when it's gone you're done. Never, never, get yourself into more debt to prep! Bills and necessities come first, then and only then use a portion of the left over money to purchase your supplies. Notice I said portion, not all. The last thing you need to do is to spend whatever you actually have left over and something unexpectedly comes up and you have no way to take care of it.
3. Live Frugally
There are many ways to stretch those dollars by living frugally. A couple of examples of this is to make your own cleaning and hygiene products. One way we do this is to make our own laundry soaps. The initial investment is around $10-$15 and with that we can make a years worth of detergent. Think of how much that could save your family, and that's just making one product. We also make our own fabric softener, dryer sheets, dish washer cubes, and all purpose cleaning spray. Another way to save money is to coupon, but learn to do it correctly. If you just clip one or two here and there you will not see the benefit. However, if you find out what stores double coupons, their limits for 'like' coupons (meaning the same coupon), and go on sites like Consumer Queen or The Krazy Coupon Lady to use their store match-ups you can save hundreds. They also have sections on their sites to teach you how to coupon if you would like to get further information. In my experience I have learned to spend $80 in a shopping trip and save up to $300 ! (See one of my own hauls Here) Another way to be frugal is to learn to grow your own food! Yes, gardening can save you hundreds and potentially thousands if you use standard or heirloom seeds (not hybrids) then grow your own food and save the seeds for future planting. Also learn to preserve those garden goodies through methods like canning, dehydrating, and freezing. For meats check into local butcher shops or buy in bulk. Just like vegetables and fruits, meats can also be canned, froze, or dehydrated for long term storage. By the way, you can also save tons of money by cooking and eating at home.
4. Barter, Side Work, and Sell Your Junk!
One good practice to use now is bartering. People have been bartering and trading since the beginning of time. You can barter for items or services to help you further in your prepping. You could also make a little extra money through finding side work if your able. Whether it is through family, friends, posting flyers, or through just simply checking out online resources for labor help on sites like craigslist. Another great way to make some extra money is by organizing your home, garage, or storage shed and selling what you don't use. We all have extra stuff just sitting around, so why not turn that stuff into cash! Facebook has many online garage sell sites that allow you to post items and let the buyers come to you. You can also check out your local craigslist and post the stuff to sell for free.
5. Choose Quality Investments
So what do I mean by quality investments? I'm specifically talking about survival tools and supplies that you will purchase for your prepping. While it would be nice to have the funds to buy the survival store out, it's simply not feasible. Make sure that you are using your money wisely and buying products that are of good quality. Do the research and read the reviews, they matter. In the event of a crisis the supplies you have, ultimately may need to save your life so don't take chances! Comparison shop and read the details of each product. Search for information and videos of the products in action. Once you find a good quality product and are comfortable with your research, go for it! This may sound obvious, but next learn how to use it properly now while you have the time. Remember, knowledge is power and when the shtf it will especially be live-saving!
We Welcome Your Questions and Comments!
(I receive no compensation for the links included in this article, only including them as a resource)
Sharon Pannell is a self proclaimed "Prepsteader", both prepper and homesteader. She authors the blog The Trailer Park Homesteader where she teaches others about the importance of disaster preparedness and self-sufficiency. Sharon believes everyday the stuff can hit the fan, it is not one big epic event necessarily and it only takes one set back to create a hardship; so big or small prepare for it all ! Along with her blog, Sharon can also be found managing her other social media sites including her Facebook Page The Trailer Park Homesteader, TTPH Pinterest Page, and TTPH Twitter Page.