If your family finances have been wasting away, and you’re pinching pennies more tightly than ever, join the party! I hear that “frugal” is the new fashion, whether we like it or not. On spite of your money crunch, you have people like me, telling you that now would be a really good time to stock up.
“Stock up on six months worth of food, shampoo, gallons of olive oil, and be sure to buy clothing a size or two bigger for your kids! Oh, and don’t forget to have a few hundred dollars in small bills stashed somewhere safe in your house!”
The fact is that it will cost some money to stock up, but don’t give up hope if your budget is screaming for mercy. Here are a few things that I have been doing that have freed up funds for my own preparedness efforts.
- I have a home-based business. You know that friend of yours who has been trying to talk you into becoming a Pampered Chef Consultant or a candle company rep? Maybe it’s time to give those types of businesses some serious thought. Generally, the initial investment is low, and women, in particular, have always loved shopping with friends. If that’s not your style, companies like Alpine Access are looking for virtual customer service agents for various corporations. Be sure to check out any home based businesses at this site. You don’t want to find yourself ensnared by an unscrupulous company.
- Coupon-ing. I know women for whom this is their new religion. They say they get an adrenaline rush just by saving 60% or more on their grocery bill! One popular site I’ve participated in is Coupon Sense. This system compiles food ads and matches them with current coupons, thus expanding your savings. Currently this company is in Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Missouri, Texas, California, and Colorado. The secret, really, is combining store sales, double coupon offers, and manufacturer’s coupons. If you don’t get the weekly Sunday paper with it’s packets of coupons, check out these sites. Coupon Carousel, Coupons.com, SavvyShopperDeals, and there are so many more. Try Googling “printable coupons,” for more sites.
- Insurance. Last month I skimmed through our car insurance policies and discovered we were paying $165 each month on a truck that is almost never driven! By lowering our coverage to liability only, I was able to save a small bundle. Our AAA membership covers things like towing and emergency road service, but so does our State Farm policy. Again, money saved by dropping the unnecessary service in our policy. Examine each of your policies, home, car, and health (if you purchase your own), and see what can be eliminated, even if it’s just a temporary change. I know that I can always increase coverage on that truck if we start driving it again. If you let your insurance agent know you’re trying to save money, they may be happy to give you suggestions rather than lose your business to a competitor.
- Eating out. My family had become so entrenched in the Great American Tradition of eating out, that we easily saved $300 each month when I started cooking every meal at home! What a concept! The kids and I routinely drove through Starbucks or a fast food restaurant and spent about $12 each time. Well, add that up over a month, and that’s a heck of a lot of toilet paper for your stash!
- Get the kids working! When my kids really, really want to buy something badly enough, they’ll work for it. Their grandmas and aunts are only too happy for some extra household or childcare help, and my kids walk away with a few bucks for their bank and a real life lesson in earning money. My little secret? The money they earn to buy their goodies leaves that much more in the family budget.
- Know what you already have. Don’t you just hate it when you buy baking soda or super glue and then find two other bottles hidden in the back of a cupboard? Now isn’t the time for wasting money buying duplicates of items, unless you really need duplicates, of course. Use a list for stocking a 72 Hour Kit or just general preparedness, and before buying anything, even at a garage sale!, make sure you don’t already have it somewhere around the house or garage.
- Live more cheaply. Learn to say, “no”, to unnecessary purchases. In the words of an old Great Depression poem, “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without!” Set goals for food storage, 72 Hour Kits, money in your savings account, etc., and when you reach a goal, treat yourself and your family to something special. The treat can be as simple as a family video night or a picnic at a park.
- Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University has been an inspiration to many of my friends and has helped them work their way out of debt. His books are a quick read, which is something my husband appreciates.
- Check out my article, 4 Super Cheap Prepping Resources to read even more of my penny-pinching schemes.
Remember, stocking up and preparing for emergencies isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon where every step forward makes a difference. Money doesn’t have to be a barrier to making sure your family is prepared for whatever comes. Always hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.
If money isn’t your excuse for not prepping, maybe it’s one of these!