Because prepping involves so many different aspects of life that some people would call hobbies, it can get expensive very quickly. You have bushcraft, ham radio, bugging out, food storage, and firearms just to name a few, and all of these can tap your bank account.
There is literally no end to the supplies that we “need” for prepping, but sticking to a budget will not only help us become better prepared, it will help our financial situation regardless what happens. Going into debt may help in the short term, but overall it will severely hamper your ability to prep.
The first thing we need to understand about prepping is that knowledge is more important than supplies. All the supplies in the world will not stop you from making poor decisions, and all the supplies in the world doesn’t guarantee your survival. The key is to stay out of the situations that would require those supplies.
You may have heard the saying “knowledge weighs nothing” and while it may seem a little cliché, it may well be one of the most important rules of prepping. You could put $500 into your bug out bag setup, but if you don’t know the first thing about bugging out, your bag is only going to be useful to the guy who finds it next to your dead body.
With that being said, there are still quite a few areas of preparedness that we need to spend money on, but if we do it right, we can become better prepared, while keeping our heads above water.
SPP248 Prepping, Budgeting & Priorities
This week in the show, Lisa and I not only talked about prepping on a budget, we went over some ways to be smart about prepping, earning a few extra bucks, and gave a few money saving tips.
Extenuating Circumstances & Unavoidable Expenses
Before we even begin to think about putting together a budget, we need to assess our personal situation and figure out where corners can be cut, and what expenses are unavoidable. Our age, our health, our job, and our family makeup will all play a role in what we can and cannot do.
On top of all that, it seems that something unexpected always comes up. Just when you think things are going great, the car breaks down, the house needs repairs, or an accident happens. Kids are also great at springing unexpected expenses on you at the worst possible moment.
There are also some unavoidable expenses that take up the bulk of our income. Our homes take up a large portion of our monthly budget, followed by food. Everything else sort of falls by the wayside if you don’t have a place to live and something to eat.
Keep your personal situation in mind when you are figuring out a monthly budget, and ask yourself what do you have more of, time or money? To some people $100 is a drop in the bucket, to other people it means getting by until the next pay check.
Setting Up a Budget
Setting up a budget is not only a great way to find a little extra cash for that new water filter, or that bug out bag you have been wanting, but it’s also a good idea for life in general. Setting up a budget will not only help you keep track of what’s been paid, and what hasn’t, it also helps you save some money for those unexpected expenses.
In the video below I show you how to use the budget worksheet I created that you can download free at The Preparedness Experience. I have used this same worksheet going on 6 years now and created it because the online apps and tools just don’t do what I needed them to do.
Regardless how you decide to budget each month the key is consistency. The more we pay attention to how much money we have, and how much we are spending on a daily basis, the less we are going to spend.
If we are not paying attention to our account balance, we can nickle and dime ourselves to death throughout the month. We can talk ourselves into anything, and justify any purchase we make. We can say “It’s only $20, I can work an hour of overtime.” The problem is that we tend to do this quite often over the course of a month, and $20 here and there adds up very quickly.
We also need to separate want and need, which is easier said than done. Just like justifying going out to eat because you “don’t have time to cook”, we can justify any prepping supply as a need, when in reality, we just really want it.
Money Saving Tips
The first, and possibly most important money saving tip I have is learning how to tell yourself NO. This goes into the justifying our spending I mentioned above, but every time you tell yourself “NO”, you are saving money, every time you say “what the hell”, you’re basically stealing from yourself.
Impulse buying can also destroy your monthly budget very quickly, sometimes with just a click of a button. Companies like Amazon and eBay try to make it as easy as possible to separate you from your money. They know that if they make it super convenient, you won’t have time to think about your purchase.
Another way to save money is to know what you need before you buy it. What works for others may not work for you, and just because it seems like everyone else has this or that, one size does not fit all. When you are first learning about something, you may think you need the “latest and greatest, only to find out that a much cheaper product would have done the trick.
While looking for cheaper alternatives (and by cheaper I mean less expensive not lower quality) Look for deals. These days there is so much competition for your money on the internet, that someone is bound to have a better price. Some companies will actually send you an email with a discount if you leave something in your cart and don’t purchase right away.
Ways to Earn Extra Cash
In the past, Lisa and I talked about some ways to make a few extra dollars to add to your prepping budget. Not all of us have a great job and a huge savings account, which means we need to be resourceful.
Sell Your Junk: Every once in a while Lisa goes around the house and rounds up everything with value that we don’t use anymore and lists it on eBay. When she want’s something, she doesn’t just buy it, she tries to make a few extra dollars so it doesn’t cut into the budget.
Make Something: These days it’s easier than ever to start a home business. With places like eBay and Etsy, we can take our arts and crafts and sell them online. While this is not a good alternative to your day job, you could earn a few extra dollars here and there.
Sell Your Skills: Getting a second job or freelancing is not the most popular idea out there, sometimes we need to do what we need to do. This could be something short term just to get your head above water, or something you enjoy doing.
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)
To wrap this all up, the best way to save money is to pay attention to where your money is going, and give yourself a little time before you hit the “Buy Now” button. Do your research, find a good deal, and make sure you understand if it’s a want or a need.
There is no need to over complicate things, and we don’t need a financial adviser, we just need to be smart with our money.