Saving money is a big part of our ability to refrain from actual, full-time, gainful employment. I get a lot of questions about how we do it so I thought a post on the subject might be useful.
Let’s take coffee. I really like a good cup of coffee in the morning but it is an expensive indulgence. I could do away with it and save the $9.00 a pound I spend. That is strategy #1. I could switch to herbal tea that cost nothing as I grow the herbs and harvest our honey to sweeten it. Strategy #2 is to drink less coffee. Rather than 2 cups a day, I could have one cup of coffee and 1 cup of tea, cutting my expenditure in 1/2. #3 is reduce the amount of coffee I put in the coffee maker. I use to put 10 scoops of coffee in a 10 cup coffee maker. I cut down to 6 scoops of coffee to 8 cups of water. This is actually strategy # 4 as well as I almost always threw out the last cup of coffee left in the pot mid-day and not wasting coffee saves money. I buy free-trad, organic, shade grown coffee. Strategy #5 would be to buy a cheaper brand but there are environmental and social reasons why that doesn’t work for me so, while I don’t do that with coffee, I would with something that didn’t matter.
One of the surest ways to save money is to make things from scratch. Now coffee isn’t an option but I am saving considerable money by making my own laundry soap. I needed to clean out a plastic bin this week and tossed in a 1/4 cup of my laundry soap and found it worked just fine. I stated using 1/2 cup of the soap for a load and reduced that to 1/3 a cup for a large load of not-dirty clothes and found there was no real difference. I will reduce to 1/4 cup and see if that works. The goal is to use as little as possible to get the results I want.
There are nearly always positive social and environmental results to using less, making do, doing without, using things up and thinking about how you spend money. I put less waste in our landfill, my kids learn valuable skills watching me build, grow, concoct and figure out how to do things. My life is more interesting than it would be if I spent my time working a job in order to earn money in order to buy stuff in order to do stuff that I can do myself because I don’t go off to work every morning.
In a crisis, the best preparedness thing you have is your own skill set. Creativity will be more important in the long run than a lot of what you will spend money on.