Monday, August 20, 2018

Quick Financial Tips for Preppers (and Everyone Else)

Hopefully, financial preparedness is a part of your overall efforts to become a more self-reliant. Regardless of where you are at in your efforts, beginner to advanced, here are some quick tips on financial preparedness to consider:
  • Spend less than you make, and make savings a regular part of your life. (Obvious, but many folks fail to do this one, and that leads to debt, stress, and even bankruptcy.)
  • Avoid personal debt. Except for perhaps a home mortgage, debt is never a good idea. Especially avoid high-interest consumer debt. The saying that debt makes the debtor slave to the lender is very true. Don't do it, even if it means doing without. 
  • Have a well-funded emergency account in a safe, well-established credit union or small bank. How much? At least six-months worth of expenses. Even more is better.
  • Keep a smaller amount of cash on hand (in a safe place) in case banks and ATMs are not working when you need it. How much? You'll have to decide for yourself, but I recommend at least $300, maybe more.
  • Have some junk silver coins as part of your preparations (but only after addressing other, more important, preparations first).
  • Learn to be entertained without having to spend a lot of money.  Have a picnic at a local park instead of eating out. Have a family game night instead of going to the movies.
  • Avoid participating in fads and joining in fashionable trends. Trendy clothing is expensive and quickly goes out of style. Trendy technology is VERY expensive and quickly becomes obsolete. 
  • Skip the next smart phone upgrade. New smart phones cost hundreds of dollars, and the "improvements" are rarely worth it these days.  Use your smart phone as a tool, not a status symbol.
  • Avoid impulse purchases.
  • Avoid financial gimmicks and get-rich-quick schemes. Be especially cautious with retirement savings.
  • Learn accounting to really understand the language of business.
  • A homestead and land may make a great investment, particularly if you are expecting major economic problems in the future. 
  • Insurance is a good thing. Make sure you are adequately covered, and make sure your insurance company is sound.
BONUS: Tips for Avoiding Impulse Purchases
  • Don't to pay attention to TV, radio, or print ads. Hit the mute button. or simply don't watch or read the ads. 
  • Don't watch infomercials or home shopping channels. Leave junk mail unopened. Recycle catalogs, flyers, and leaflets unread. 
  • Don't use shopping as a form of entertainment or a means to relax. Don't go to the mall or shopping center just to have something to do.
  • Avoid social shopping with friends. People tend to talk each other into things, not out of them.
  • Shop only with lists, and stick to them. 
  • Don't browse Amazon, eBay, or other Internet shopping sites. Shop them the same way you would a physical store - with a list. 
  • Shop with cash only. Spending cash feels more real than using checks or credit cards, so you are apt to spend less. 
  • If you do find an item you think you can't do without, wait at least 24 hours before buying it. Chances are the impulse will pass.
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