Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Trim the budget

A common refrain among preppers is that you can find enough money to prep if only you'd cut the fat out of the budget.

For many people, that's true. Stop dining out. Eat less meat. Eliminate TV cable. Do more of your own repairs. Buy used instead of new -you get the drift.

Those things work, but only if you haven't already cut you budget that far. It's possible to cut way back, start to free up a bit of cash, then something happens to wipe out all the gains. The car breaks down, and there's no other way to get to work, so it must get fixed. Medical insurance payments jump up 50%. (happened to me this year). Injuries or sickness are a double blow -no ability to work plus medical bills. Property taxes take a big jump. Divorce. Stuff happens.

What's a prepper to do?

If the extra expense is temporary, it might be a matter of putting preps on hold until the extra bills have been eliminated. If you already have preps, use them. What have you got them for if not for something like this? It doesn't have to be the end of the world to use your stored food. Financial hardship is reason enough. Replace your preps when you get back on your feet.

Sometimes no amount of budget trimming can fix the budget hole. It's going to keep getting deeper. This is where your most important prep comes into play: mental preparation. The ability to take a good hard look at the reality of your situation and act accordingly. Nothing but hard choices here. Bad things are going to happen, no matter what you do.

Living in a state of denial can't go on forever. Eventually the sheriff shows up with an eviction notice, the car gets repossessed, the IRS comes after you, the spouse can't take it anymore and leaves -bad stuff happens.

Clear eyed assessment of the situation can lessen the pain. Maybe it's a matter of selling the house before the bank takes it back. If you can't sell, maybe walking away is the thing to do. Don't wait until your last dollar is gone. There are people who would benefit from bankruptcy, but don't have the money to pay for it. I've seen it happen. Whatever the problem is, the sooner faced, the sooner it can be put in the past.

Consider doing things you thought you'd never do. A friend of mine moved into an old trailer to save money while he went back to school. The money saved made all the difference. When I was out on injury leave, my wife worked nights for the extra money. Then, since she was on a night schedule anyway, she took a second job that was also night work. She didn't do it forever, but it made a difference.

Don't let pride prevent you from doing something to solve your problems. Last winter, my wife was out of work, and my daughter and granddaughter moved it with us. It was hard for me, but I went down and applied for heating assistance. As much as I hated it, it was better than letting my family freeze.

Sometimes budgets don't have any fat in them. There are no easy answers. All the same, it's good to remember that hard answers are better than no answers.

A good prep skill is the ability to endure. Given enough time, everything changes.



  1. I've had to dive into my food preps before when we got caught short. And the house is on the market for precisely the reasons you stated. Just can't afford it anymore. Haven't been able to for a long time, but that's another story...

  2. Consise and insightful as usual SixBears. If more people were willing to make clear eyed assessments of their situations the national stress level would plumment. But, rose colored glasses have never really gone out of fashion.