Tag Archives: money

10 Ways to Save Money

In an effort to help you get out of debt I have come up with some ideas to help you do just this.  I am sure there are many more and I would love for you to comment on what you have done to save money so you can pay down your debt.

  1. Cook at home often: If both the husband and wife work, this is likely to be very difficult. Try once and week and move to more days from there.  I have found if I sit down with my wife on Sunday evening before we go to bed and plan out what to cook for the week it is easier to cook at home.  This reiterates the need to have some food storage.  Having food available makes it easier to plan out meals.  Knowing the meals in advance and posting them will allow whomever comes home first to start making dinner knowing the food is already available.
  2. Brown bag lunch at least a few days a week: We can use lunch to engage and network but it comes at a cost.  Try bringing your lunch with the leftovers from dinner to help save money.  Lunches can easily exceed $10 a day.  Twice a week is $1000.
  3. Make a list before going shopping:  Without a list you will buy items that you simply do not need. Even worse is when your forget to purchase the actual item you came to the store for in the first place. If you plan on cooking at home, pre-plan a rough menu and make a list before you go grocery shopping.  Even better is to continue to store food then when you go to the store you are only getting what is on sale and what you need, thus avoiding impulse buys.
  4. Buy in bulk whenever possible: When it comes to non-perishable items, buy in bulk whenever you find something on sale. For such items, shopping at warehouse stores like Costco, Sam’s Club etc can save you quite a bit of money, provided you stick strictly to your shopping list when you shop at these places.  My wife uses coupons and shops when the item we need is on sale.  Thus she is double dipping.
  5.  Pay off debt: Like beating a dead horse around here.  Having some extra money will allow you to pay off this behemoth.  Never to look back.
  6. Borrow instead of buy, use thrift stores: This can be for books, rental tools, neighbors tools, holiday clothing.  Thrift stores are great for finding those costumes you use once.  Don’t be ashamed, many people throw out good jeans and shirt at thrift stores.  Often they can be bought at $1.
  7. Think before you buy: Many of the things you want to buy do not seem all that necessary.  Wait at least 48 before you buy.  Check prices.  Decide if something else can take its place.  Is it really needed or do you just want it.
  8. Keep your car as long as possible: Pay cash for your car and keep it 10 years.  Continue to make a car payment to your savings account.  When you have repairs you can use this account.  When you feel you need a new car you will have enough cash to buy it. Along with this is do regularly scheduled maintenance. Do not skimp on or forget to do regular oil changes. Remember to check the air in your tires often. These small acts can significantly lengthen the life of your car, giving you years of use.  I have  a diesel truck with 250,000 miles on it and it runs like a champ.  Maintenance is key
  9. Toss spare change into a glass jar . I save about $200-300 a year by putting spare change in a glass.  We use it for Christmas presents every year.  This is a great way to save for things without actually having to do much of anything.
  10. Use sales and coupons. Using sales and coupons along with copy canning will save tons.  Buying only what you need of things which are on sale is the way we shop.  We go to the store only to buy fresh items we do not store.  We will spend about $600 a month for a family of 5
  11. Plant a garden.  Here is a freebie.  Having a garden is like printing food.  It costs almost nothing for seeds and provides a summers worth of food.  It is fresh and oh so good for you.  It is also part of your preps.

What are some other things you have done to save money?

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

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Survival Preparedness is a Great Investment

As we think about all the issues in the world now, one I am constantly trying to figure out is investing.  What to do with my money and time.  I have come to the conclusion I will need to invest in myself and family first.  Along this line of thinking, I am concerned with the 5 basic survival needs.  Realize my advice on investing has to do with things I know will have a positive return on investment (ROI).

Food

Food as we know is always going up in price.  Now there are some ups  and downs, but as a general rule food goes up in price.  So how do you contain ever rising food prices.  They way you do it is twofold.  One is buying food before the price goes up.  This is food storage basics.  You are buying food now you will use in the future.  This is a way to mitigate cost increases, but you are still paying higher food costs, albeit at a rate lower than the average person.  The second way to hedge higher food costs is to grow some of your own food.  I think this is the best way to contain food costs.  It will always cost you about the same amount of money to grow a carrot year after year.  So I think having a garden and growing your food is a great investment.  If you grow $1000 worth of food a year it is like having $10,000 in the bank giving you a 10% return.  It takes about $1000 or less to have a garden which will produce $1000 worth of produce.

Also remember part of your garden will include perennials like bushes, vines and trees.  raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, along with fruit trees produce fruit almost forever.  More than likely they will be producing after you are dead.  This is an awesome ROI.  The only drawback to these items is they take a little longer to produce fruit.  Once producing fruit they will produce more than you can use.  I have a pear tree and it produced about 150 gallons of fruit.  We made dried pears, canned pears, pear sauce, pear nectar, pear juice.  This is while we gave away probably 50 lbs. worth to neighbors.

Shelter

Making home improvement is a great investment.  Having a home with efficient appliances, good windows, extra insulation pays dividends.  Paying off your mortgage is one of the best investments I can think of.  Once you have no mortgage payment and you are growing some of your own food.  The amount of money you need greatly decreases.

Along with shelter, look at trying to obtain some land to produce more food with permaculture technics.  Having food systems which need very little human input are great to have on your land.  You can grow year after year and only go up to harvest.  This is why I recommend perennial plants.

Investments

I think you should try to save about 20% of your income till you get to 6 months worth of cash.  With all of the volatility and uncertainty in the market, having cash will be valuable.

If you decide to invest in the market, pick quality companies which have weathered past recessions.  Along the same lines know your exit point.  If you have a goal of getting a return of 10% and you have realized 20% this year, sell your stock, move to cash and wait.  You have effectively realized 2 years worth of gains.  Do your research and find another investment. Do not get greedy.

Increase your financial IQ.  Start to read online or watch financial news shows.  Look up words you do not know the meaning and learn what they are.  In a world where money rules knowing what people are talking about will give you an advantage.

Community

Focus on your community.  Investing in your neighbors will bring dividend beyond belief.  Help them to grow a garden.  Share some of your knowledge.  Teach a class on financial literacy.  Start a neighborhood garden club.  Focusing on community allows people to get to know one another.  Use the common bonds of food and community to foster relationships.

Self Sufficiency and Self Reliance

Start to increase your self reliance by a preset amount of time.  Try to start with 3 days, then move to 3 months.  It comes one step at a time.

Next is to increase your self sufficiency.  Start to become more self sufficient.  Start with food.  Grow some of your own food even if it is 1% is 1% self sufficient.  This is 1% less you need from the food system.  This increases your resiliency.  Keep moving in small percentages toward greater and greater self sufficiency.  I do not advocate becoming 100% self sufficient unless you need to.  It is cost prohibitive and almost impossible.  Any way you are part of a community right?  Which means you can trade or buy what you do not have.

Investing gets rather complicated.  I want you to focus on being able to do things for yourself and have some time while you are younger to spend with the ones you love rather than working until you “retire” only to sit in your chair and get old.  Life is fun and amazing.  Live it so you can live it later.

Prepping 101

Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Step 6- Save Money

Step 6- Save Money

Saving money is probably the most difficult thing to do. We have so many things pulling at us to spend our money on. So what is the best way to save money?

Let us examine why we save money and then we will get into the how of saving money.

Why save?

  • Future expenses, lets say you know you need a new roof next year or you are going to go on vacation. Then you will need to save for those future needs.
  • Unexpected expenses, flooding, wind damage,tnew car transmission. You need to have an emergency fund to cover things which are unforeseen
  • Wants. We have things we want to buy. Creature comforts
  • Needs. Those things we HAVE to buy in the future. We usually have to have the money first. These would be mortgage, car, utilities.
  • Retirement. At some point we are going to quit working and at this point we will have to have enough money or cash flow from other sources to cover the expenses

So we have all of these things we have to buy or want to buy in future, which is why we save money.

So how do we save money. Like most things it is easier said than done.

Budget-

You have to determine where your money is going before you can decide where to trim or cut back. Everyone cuts back on the needs first and the wants second, because they want to maintain their existing lifestyle. You need to get rid of wants fisrt and the needs second. Turning off the lights help but it will not save you $50/month like cutting thhe cable bill.Places to cut- just to name a fewSportsDanceCableBetter cell phone planHigher deductibles on insuranceDoing your own maintenanceSewing your own clothesTurn up/down thermostat depends on seasonOne carTurn off landline features, call waiting, voicemail

A link to an Excel spreadsheet that has home budgeting is HERE. There is a default Personal finance theme in Apple’s Numbers program.

After you have a budget, you are able to best determine where your money is going. The remainder you have can be saved for various things. The important thing to do is to start saving. Where the savings go can be determeined at a latter date. We can do a whole post on the things which are important to save for.

Remember you are trying to save money.

Prepping 101
Making Life’s Road a Little Smoother

Step 3 Grow Food

Step 3 – Grow food
I think gardening is one of those things that as a prepper you instinctively understand.  Gardening is the ability to provide food for your family if some system goes down.  At its basic level, the ability to eat your own food is very satisfying.
What are some of the rewards of gardening?

Family Unity

As you work together as a family you are united in a common purpose.  You are able to talk to other family members, to draw closer to them.  You are building more than just a crop.  The insight you will gleen from others will be invaluable.

Appreciation of Work

Work with results develops people.  As you learn to work in the garden you will eventually see results.  A garden is a great way to have children learn that the work you put in will have a direct result.

Self Sufficiency

As we grow a garden we develop the confidence to provide for ourselves if we need to.  Buy learning now we will be able to take that knowledge and implement something larger if need be.  We can provide for others as they may need help.

Pleasure

A garden reminds us of the beauties around us.  We are reminded that a little seed can turn into a wonderful meal with work and care.  It reminds us of “the law of the harvest… we reap what we sow.”  Even if what you cultivate is small, it will remind you of the wonders of nature.

Health

Food you grow is healthier.  There is less transport, handling and pesticides on it.  Good health comes from good food.  The food you grow is the best food you can have.

Reduced Expenses

The food you grow costs less than store bought food.  There is no labor cost.  There are no taxes paid.  The money you save can be used for other worthwhile purposes.

What to plant?

Plant what you eat at first.  Try peppers in a small container at first.  Then as your experience grows you can try a raised bed.  You can grow the size from there.  There are so many websites you can go to.  Look around and see what your local climate supports.  Go to you local nursery, they are probably the best resource.

Hopefully you can realize the great blessing that a garden can become in your life.  The ability to cultivate relationships, reap what we sow, and have a healthier lifestyle we provide great happiness in your life.

Prepping 101- Making life’s road a little smoother.

Prepping News

Food

Arab World Grapples with Food Shortage

Economy

The Failure of the Unfree Market– the end of the best 72 years

Hmmmm…. A Crack In The Dam?– The MSM starts to see the light

What happens if we bailout Europe?

NOURIEL ROUBINI on the future.

Greece and US inflation.

Prepping News

Debt News

Jobs

Other

Prepping 101

In the News

Bernanke admits to printing $1.3 trillion out of thin air.  I sure wish I could do that.

Are we killing ourselves?

Is the Government debt explosion subsiding?  Are we going to be OK?

Is Europe going bankrupt?