For those of us not on Wall Street or running a big bank or HMO, there seems to be many trends chipping away at our very survival before the SHTF comes knocking at our door. So even if none of our SHTF scenarios come to fruition, living life itself can be a survival feat nowadays if your not rich. As such, there are many areas I have had to scale back in or completely cut from my budget.
When I travel with my trailer I boondock for free. Never pay for an RV park. Of course, if your in Key West, boondocking is tough. You can park at Walmart's, Cracker Barrel restaurants, motel parking lots, churches, casinos, shopping centers, RV dealers, etc.
Have not been to a real barber in decades. I used to go to a beauty school, but they even raised their prices beyond my confront level. So I buzz my own hair...3, 2,1 guards.
I reuse floss 2 or 3 times and can reuse mouth wash once or twice if desperate. (Rinse mouth with water first to get the loose stuff our or brush teeth first.)
Paper towels all get a quick rinse and dry to be reused if not oily or too dirty.
Tons of money get wasted on paper products I used to grab 2 or 3 Kleenex at a time without even thinking bout it. Started to use old style handkerchiefs as I did when I was a kid to save on paper. Cut the use of Kleenex out about 95%..
Military showers save on water too. Especially important in the summer during growing season as it eats up water.
Soy sauce - 50% or more dilution with water. Tastes OK but started to do it to reduce the astronomical salt content. Careful though, it get moldy at room temps. so just dilute what you need.
Pancakes - WW pancake mix is very high priced. I dilute original Aunt Jemima with 40% WW flour and a little corn meal and rye flour. The leavening in the Aunt Jemima is enough 'as is' to work with the plain flour.
Again started to do it for sodium cut back, but great to add whole grains to it as well. I use an egg and part milk in the batter. Or can use just water, but like egg better. do not use oil, but probably would be better with oil.
Maple syrup - use 10% water in it
Grape juice - add 40% water for a lighter drink with less calories.
OJ - fresh squeezed I add 15% to 20% water and a table spoon of sugar if the oranges are tart
Hand dish liquid soap I dilute 75% with water and it is still thick. I use it on sponges more than in sinks, so have not tested it except for sponge washing use. Bleach used for mold cleaning around the house can be diluted 80% with water.Just takes a few seconds longer to blast the mold.
Been baking all my own bread since 1997. Grind some grains, although the wheat has shot up so high that it is close to the price of buying ground wheat at Walmart. I make all my own salad dressing and pickles. Make my own raw juices. (But I do this cause of quality and not out of frugality. Store-bought crap is cooked and may have questionable origins.)
I cut out all magazines and newspapers. I get what I need from the library. Same with DVD's. Cut my cable when it got to $70 a month. got tired of them raisning it evey year like clockwork, so cut the bastards out. No Blockbuster, cut them out, I get tons of stuff for free from the library.
Never go to the movies. I like yoga, inline skating, longboarding, dirt bikes, mountain bikes, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, scuba, snow sports, mountain boarding, tree climbing, weight training.
If the Net gets too expensive I'll go back to using the library for free.
Make my own yogurt. Make 4 quarts for $2 and some electric to keep them warm for 8 hours. Switched over to organic milk and it cost more, but still a lot less than buying organic yogurt.
Make my jam, cost a few cents a jar if you got the jars and make high pectin jams that don't require store bought pectin.
I refill my own #1 propane cylinders from a large bulk tanks. Buy my bulk propane at a co-op, cost $12.50 per 20 pounds.
We heat with gas and keep the thermostat set at 62 at night and keep the heat OFF during the day. If it is in the single digits or teens outside, the house gets down into the high 40's or low 50's in daytime. I usually turn on the heat around 9 PM and shut it down at 8 or 9 am.
Although if house gets below 50, wife makes me turn up the heat to 52 or so since the house wont heat back up until after midnight if it below 50 at 9 PM Monthly bill for this type of schedule in mid $250's in the coldest months.
I also supplement my garden with foraging. There are lots of fruit trees in my local and some of em are abandoned or neglected so I make good use of their produce. So if your local is conducive to foraging, study it up and have many options for food production available to you if the world starts decomposing around you.
Here are 3 good books for those interested in developing an urban homestead.
I think we have a real food crisis brewing for the world. Not enough young farmers replacing the old. With the recent food shortages in the news I have to wonder as Richard Heinberg brought up "Who will be growing our food 20 years from now?"
"The average American farmer is 55 to 60 years old. The proportion of full time farmers younger than 35 years of age has dropped from 15.9% in 1982 to 5.8% in 2002. Who will be growing our food 20 years from now?" from "Peak Everything" by Richard Heinberg
"Amish farmers can't compete in conventual agriculture farming. 40 years ago 90% to 95% of the Amish were farmers. Today less than 10% are farmers." from: "How the Amish Survive" DVD.
You still have some valuable time left to prepare for what awaits you down the road.
We are in the 'Indian Summer' of a carbon based world. Don't wait until the winter sets in to start work on your preparedness efforts....Semper Paratus
My wife buzz cuts my hair for me and she also cuts our son's hair as well as her own. We buy just about all our clothes from thrift shops. For my company Christmas party this past year I wore a nice button down shirt from the clearance rack at Tractor Supply that cost $0.99 and a pair of khakis from the Salvation army store that were like 3 bucks. We've cut back a lot too but not to the extent that you have, keepitlow. I'm all for new ideas on how to save a buck or two. You can also get books of all types at the Salvation Army or Goodwill stores.
I cut out credit card interest 100%. The banks get money at 0% from the gov then loan it back to us for 25% to 30% on our credit cards...and what do we get on our investments...1/20th of 1%.
Do you need any further proof that the bankers / insurance companies / Wall Street are in control of our politicians? I have chuckle at the knuckleheads on the forums that rage about how Obama is a socialist. Yeah, he is a real socialist isn't he?
When bills come due they are deducted from my saving account. Saves on stamps, checks and time. Don't use checking account for auto deductions though, only savings account. The banks will rape you with overblown fees if you screw up. With saving accounts, I don't have to worry as much.
Several new ideas presented here and a great site too. I have severe allergies and asthma so I use homemade cleaning supplies. Mostly baking soda in the shower,tub and sinks with plain ole elbow grease. Everything comes out nice and shiny and smells good too. Cleaning products are harsh on the enviroment and hard on people and wallets, use their web site for more info.