One of the most common phrases you hear these days is something along the lines of either, "I'm broke," or, "I can't afford it." This holds true for a lot of us; money simply does not grow on trees and is harder to come by in present times than it was in the past. A few years back, if you didn't like your job, another was right around the corner, which is simply not the case anymore. Those of us who have work and get paid regularly are now amongst the lucky, and while we hold onto those jobs and that income with both hands, it still seems to rarely go as far as we need it to go.
That is where prepping becomes difficult. How do you buy and stockpile supplies when your bills are past due and you're struggling just to survive? Even the cheap dollar store preps add up, and a lot of dollar store items are junk that will prematurely break on you anyway, so you might wind up needing to buy two. With so many important items you might need on an ever growing list, being able to truly prepare for what is to come is much harder than it sounds.
Some people talk of bartering for supplies, but you never know if you are going to have what someone else needs and vice versa. This leaves you open to yet another avenue of failure. Universal currency may be worthless when the SHTF and while bartering is a nice idea, you cannot expect to rely on it. Your best bet is what it always was: to prepare yourself ahead of time with items you personally feel you will need and must have. You just have to be able to somehow afford those items in the first place, and the way to do so is by taking a look at your current lifestyle. What luxuries do you have that you really do not need? What expenses can you live without? Make a list of what you spend every month and decide what is essential versus expendable. Here are some examples:
1. Do you really need that smart phone with a gazillion apps on it, or can you downsize to a lesser plan to save a few bucks a month? A case of water costs about $4.00; a reduction of how many cell phone minutes or how much internet usage will get you that extra case of water?
2. Cable TV is great to have but how much time do you really spend watching it? Is it possible to instead stream your favorite shows online? Cancelling or reducing the cable channels for which you pay is money in your pocket that translates to supplies in your stockpile.
3. In addition to creating landfill waste, disposable plates and cups are a waste of money, especially when used on a regular basis. You can buy a sponge and container of dishwashing liquid for about the same price as a large package of paper plates. Add elbow grease and you just saved money!
4. Is there a hole in the armpit of your shirt or is your pants hem falling? A needle and thread can fix either of these problems, so why go out and buy something new when what you already own has only a small issue that is easily fixed and rendered invisible?
5. Vacations are fun, but they don't have to be elaborate. You can have just as much fun without splurging by going camping or hiking instead, plus you will have an opportunity to practice survival skills at the same time.
6. The swipe of a credit card may seem to solve a lot of problems, but the truth is that it only creates more. Interest charges are a monthly recurrence that you will not get away from until you pay off your debts, so it is easier to simply avoid incurring debts whenever possible.
7. Going out to eat tonight? You will probably pay about $20.00 for a restaurant steak and surely you will enjoy it, but you can take that same $20.00 to the grocery store and buy two or more steaks, plus vegetables, and you still might get change back.
8. Insurance is mandatory in a lot of cases, and very valuable in others, but overall it also happens to be quite expensive. Did you know that you can save money by qualifying for certain discounts? You can also combine policies, such as home and auto, to get discounts. Call your agent and ask how!
There are plenty of ways to cut costs and have that extra money you need for the survival budget. The cuts you are able to make are not going to make you rich, but if you can score an extra few bucks here and there, you can definitely make it count. Even if you don't need to trim cash from your expenses to go survival shopping, simply doing the math on what you spend and could be keeping might be all the inspiration you need to make some changes. Mull it over and do the math to see for yourself.