- 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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