It comes from our media outlets. We see advertisements on television, the internet, on billboards, and nearly every other place we can think of. Each of these advertisement’s main goal is to get you to buy their product. Buy this new smartphone that can do everything a normal phone does and much more, buy from this restaurant because you’ll receive a much better deal than going to that restaurant, we’ve got the deal of the century here, and it goes on and on.
Being saddled with so many possible ways to spend your hard-earned money, it can be tough to filter through the things you need as opposed to the things you want. Spending money on wants is as addictive as any drug. Eventually you’ll be buried in a deep pile of debt. Avoiding the temptation of spending money is a learned skill. Here is how you can teach yourself to do it.
Observe and Review
Budget — Many of us cringe as that very word leaks from our mouths. Budgets are unglamorous and tedious, not only to categorize and track each transaction you make, but also to follow a limit on what you spend month-to-month. ‘I can’t limit myself to $30/month spending on going out to restaurants! Why should I try to penalize myself after working so hard throughout the week?’
It isn’t penalizing you, it’s about rewarding you over the long term. It’s about freeing up the funds you spend on instant gratification (like eating out) and having the freedom to put toward expenses that will benefit you later, like saving up for a down payment on a new home or paying off pesky debt. It’s about understanding the bare minimum you can survive off and carefully balancing that with what you can realistically be happy with. For a bit more on personal finance, Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman are good advisers to follow.
Going out is fun — Whether its going out to dinner, shopping, having a few drinks at the pub, betting on the horse races, watching an athletic event, or doing some other recreational activity. However, going out demands that you spend money. You can choose to spend money on any night out. But after you experience that instant satisfaction, you wake up with a subtraction sign on your debit or credit card statement. I’m not saying don’t experience going out at least once or even a couple times, just refrain from making it a regular part of your lifestyle. What are some alternative hobbies? Read a book, rent a movie, spend $10-15 on a monthly streaming service, or play cards with friends or family. There are ways to enjoy life without experiencing the “typical” nightlife. Experiment to find your own enjoyment.
Use Thrift Stores
What’s the difference between a shirt that was worn once or twice and taken to a thrift store and a brand new shirt hanging on the rack in a department store? Probably about $20, if not more. There is nothing wrong going to the youth ranch, thrift, or second-hand store. I guarantee (unless the item was used heavily, in which case you shouldn’t have purchased it in the first place) no one will be able to select the people that bought clothes at a thrift store. Sometimes the goods available at a thrift store haven’t been used at all and include the original price tag. Save yourself from paying full price and buy used instead. You don’t need a wardrobe (or house full) or glamorous items that will useless when If you can develop the mindset, apply it to your actions, and force those actions to become habits, you will become a successful prepper.
It comes down to understanding your current habits, reviewing them, re-planning your budget, staying home, and reusing instead of buying new. While it may not seem applicable to prepping, it certainly is. Living minimally and dealing primarily with the essentials of living is what prepping is all about. Getting yourself into that mindset now will not only help you financially in the short term by avoiding or climbing out of debt, but it’ll also guarantee you will be able to hit the ground running when SHTF.
Gale Newell is continually working on being a self-sufficient human being. She finds herself spending her summer days outdoors, whether that raising her own food in her organic garden or playing cards with friends and family. She is very much into grilling meals on her old-school charcoal grill and has since lifted her addiction to multiple television series. She feels freer than ever and is truly happy. She is prepared for the future and ready for whatever happens next.