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 that phone does and much more, buy from this restaurant because you’ll get a much better deal than going there, 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 your 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 mouth. Budgets are unglamorous and tedious; tedious not only to itemize each group of expenses but also to follow month-to-month. ‘I can’t limit myself to $30/month spending on going out to restaurants! Why would I even try to penalize myself after working so hard throughout the week?’ It isn’t penalizing you, it’s rewarding yourself financially. It’s about freeing up the funds you spend on instant gratification (like eating out) and saving those funds to be put toward expenses that will benefit you more in the long-run. It’s about understanding the bare minimum you can survive off and carefully balancing that with what you can realistically be happy with in life.
Think Differently about Entertainment
Going out is fun. Whether that’s 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 activity… but it doesn’t mean you need to spend money! Consider picking up hobbies like working out (not at a gym), hiking, nature walks, camping, foraging, reading, attending free talks and seminars, or practicing bush-craft skills. The alternative hobbies I just mentioned are fun for the whole family, educational, and are essentially free (minus travel expenses). There are ways to enjoy life without spending money.
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 with going to the thrift store, youth ranch, or second-hand store. I guarantee (unless used heavily in which case you shouldn’t have purchased in the first place) no one will be able to walk down the street and pick out the people that bought clothes or other items 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.
If you can develop a mindset, apply it to your actions, and force those actions to become habits, you will be a successful prepper. It comes down to understanding your current habits, reviewing them, re-planning your budget, thinking differently about entertainment, 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.