I know this can be an even more stressful time for folks with what is going on with the world. But I did a few things different this year that helped to reduce my stress. Get through this year and try it for next year if it doesn’t work for you please comment and tell us how your system works.
#1 Started my Xmas shopping in January. Please don”t think I’m a super organized, but I worked hard getting my costs down in the last half of 2010. I taught myself to keep cash on hand and think about it differently. I started thinking that if I wanted to buy something would I sell some of my small amount of silver in order to purchase it? This mental game worked for me, and suddenly I wasn’t spending all of my check and I had cash on hand. I stopped using my Debit card and checks so much and paid cash during my normal shopping and bill paying. For me there was a huge difference between swiping the debit card and breaking a 20 or 50 dollar bill. Plus all of my change started going in a jar and after about 3 months it usually grew to $20.00-$30.00 I could run though the change machine and spend for groceries with out paying much of a premium. I know that may not sound like much to a lot of folks, but that’s a 50# bag of rice or beans or flour, yeast, sugar and salt for making bread for 6+ months.
#2 I started keeping a $20.00 bill for “Mad Money” in my wallet away from my normal spending money. This was for great deals at yard sales or something I saw at the Macy’s outlet/Mall while Mom and I walk. I drive by a little pawn shop that let’s put stuff on layaway with 1/3 down. It’s amazing what that little $20.00 will buy or put on layaway. I started with some lovely sweaters I got at the Macy’s outlet for $3.00 each. I think I got 8 over 2 weeks. Then checking the pawn shop in Feb. and they had a Mr.Buddy heater for under $50.00 that I put on layaway and paid off the same month. About June some turkey went on sale. I bought 2 and had the start for Holiday meals. I did Prime Rib last year for New Years Eve/ Dad’s birthday and wanted to do it again. I had hoped to get it under $5.00 per pound but with beef prices what they are now. I settled for 2 very nice 5# prime ribs for $5.39 per pound. I bought a few other items all through the year. I think you get the idea how far that $20.00 can go with a little patience. This also works for a SHTF moment as you have cash on hand for gas or those last minute items or if electronics go down you can pay with cash.
#3 It does not matter what or how you start to get prepared. You must actually start, not plan to start at some later time because of excuses not to start. Be it guns, ammo, food, water, a garden, buying a packet of seeds for herbs or the Boy Scout Handbook. The most important thing is to start with 1 item, that 1st step is the most critical. Make yourself budget $20.00 as a start for preps. It can be monthly, weekly or daily, but spend that $20.00 towards your future. That $20.00 will buy a hell of a lot of TP! or bulk foods, heck you can trade an empty propane tank for a full one for under 20 bucks at most grocery stores.
#4 Learn how to do stuff for yourself. Winter is a great time to build some skills. On my blogroll we got folks that do everything from building boats, running a small business/farms to commodity s, stocks and Macroeconomics. They also have links to others with skills to teach. You have access to the Internet use it for learning as well as looking a LOLCATS. You can get Kindle for PC and Amazon and other sites have free downloads of books. Check out Project Gutenberg and many survival sites have free downloads.
It is up to you! I truly believe your life will depend on how well you prepare. Be it an earthquake, Hurricane, Tornado, Blizzard, a lost job, and economic collapse or the Zombie Apocalypse. Perhaps FEMA, DHS and the rest of the Alphabets of the Government will be ready and do well. But would you bet your life on it? If you are not prepared you already have!