Financial Preparedness

As preppers and survivalists, we make plans for all sorts of emergencies. From being stranded in the car due to weather to a full-scale collapse, we’re all set with food, water, and other supplies we’ve carefully curated and stored for just those sorts of situations.

We spend hours wargaming how we’ll handle bugging out from home, from work, and from any other locations we tend to be on a regular basis. Multiple routes are planned to several different bug out locations, both near and far.

We invest time, energy, and expense into learning a huge range of skills, from food preservation to firearms, herbal remedies to wild edibles.

But, here’s a real-life scenario: If you had an immediate and urgent expense of, say, $1,000, could you handle it? Let’s say your car broke down and you NEED that vehicle to get to and from work. The repair work will cost a grand, no way around it. Could you take care of it? How about $500? How about $100? [Note, these are hypothetical questions. I’m not really expecting anyone to post answers in the comments.]

The reality is that we are FAR more likely to experience a personal financial emergency than we are to see an EMP, nuclear war, or any of these other SHTF scenarios we talk about so much. Don’t get me wrong, the societal collapse stuff is fun to talk about but for many families, job loss truly is an end of the world scenario.

Food preps have assisted many families get through a lean period, no question about it. But, you can’t pay the electric or gas bills with your home canned chicken soup (unless you’re able to earn extra cash selling it, more on that later). Most gas stations won’t accept .22LR rounds as payment (cue the one or two people who have a buddy who runs a gas station….). Losing convenient Internet access at home can put a serious hurt on your job search, too.

I know from where I speak.

Like many people, my family has gone through a couple of pretty lean periods. During one of those times, our combined household income for a full year amounted to barely $12,000. We had three young children at the time.  Our mortgage payment was about $1,000/month. Yeah, do the math. It was not a fun time. The stress is unimaginable for anyone who has not experienced it. And it affects everyone in the family. No matter how you try to hide it or cover it up, the kids know something is up. They pick up on the stress, the anger, and the frustration.

I’ve always advocated prioritizing your preparedness actions to take care of the things that will hurt you the most first. For example, if you’re lost in the woods, exposure to the elements is what could kill the fastest so you should always ensure you have an emergency blanket and fire starting supplies in your pocket before you go into the field, just in case. The same logic applies with the other areas of your life. Losing your shelter (house/apartment, climate control like heat or A/C) will have a profoundly negative effect on your life. Therefore, do what you can to ensure it doesn’t happen by making the rent/mortgage payments a top-level priority.

Yes, prepping does cost money, no way around it. But, if you’re putting yourself and your family at risk for financial ruin because of prepping, you need to rethink your approach. Don’t trade almost certain disaster for another one that *might* happen someday.

So, what can you do to help increase your financial preparedness?

Here are a few suggestions:

Set aside emergency funds.
Yeah, I know, that’s far easier to say than do. Think about it like this, though. What do we often say about food storage? No, not that, the other thing. Right, build it a little at a time.

Every extra can of veggies you sock away adds up over time. Same with money. Too often, we get hung up about saving money because we can’t figure out how to save a LOT of money all at once. That’s just not feasible for most people. Instead, focus on the nickels and dimes.

Some things you can do include combining trips with the car to conserve gas, turning the thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer, and learning how to cook more meals from scratch so you can avoid buying as many convenience foods.

Trimming the budget will hopefully gain you a little breathing room. Save all your spare change in a jug. When you can hardly lift the jug with one hand, cash it in at the bank. Put half into your emergency savings and spend the other half on something fun.

 

Consider limiting or outright quitting habits that have a negative effect on your health.
If you smoke a pack a day, that’s anywhere from $8-$12 a day that literally goes up in smoke. I understand the difficulty, I smoked for 20+ years. Tell you what, though. If you want to take your family on a nice vacation, quit smoking now and put into savings every dollar that you’d have spent on cigarettes for a year. Even at $6 a day, that’s almost $2,200 for the year. How much food and other prepping supplies could you buy with just half of that?

 

Pay your bills on time, every time.
Just one late payment fee can really sock it to you. Commit to getting those bills paid on time. Many creditors now offer online payment arrangements, including scheduling payments in advance. Just make sure the money is in your account so you don’t end up with bank fees on top of whatever the credit card company will charge if your payment won’t go through. Paying on time will also serve to increase your overall credit score, which is a good thing. Among other things, that score impacts your insurance rates, which in turn affects your wallet. It will also affect the interest rates you are offered for loans, should the need arise.

 

Think about things you could do to bring in some extra income.
Could you monetize a hobby? Many people are making a few bucks by selling their crafts on sites like Etsy. Early riser? There are still newspaper route jobs out there. While 99% of the “work from home” jobs advertised are nothing more than thinly veiled scams, there are a few legal ways to make extra cash while sitting at home in your PJs.

Writing is one of them. If you have some talent or skill with the written word, there are bloggers out there who will pay you for writing for them. I know some of them use sites like Fiverr to find work. Books and magazine articles can also bring in dough.

I have a friend who makes money on the side selling homemade soups, stews, and such to family and friends. The point is to sit down and brainstorm skills you have that could translate into a little extra cash each month.

~~~

Bear in mind, there is no “one size fits all” solution. What works for one family might not work at all for another. It might be that a combination of things, a little of this and a little of that, works the best.

The takeaway is this
Prioritize your preparedness plan and take care of the most likely things first. While some believe we’re on the brink of one or another global catastrophe, and maybe they’re right, you have far more control over your wallet than you do the world at large. Concentrate on what you can control.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *