Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
For years, I’ve heard one financial guru after another talk about a pending financial collapse. For the most part, they were concerned about the rising national debt, although they typically had something else to go along with that.
But there’s a difference now; before, the people predicting financial doom were somewhat on the fringe; now it’s mainstream financial analysts and advisors saying so. Some of the heads of the biggest financial institutions are warning about the rocky financial times to come.
Even without that, we can all see the problems that inflation and shortages are causing our country. People who normally live from paycheck to paycheck are finding that their paycheck no longer reaches until the next week. They are having to make decisions on what critical things they won’t pay for, so that they can make sure that they have other things they’ll need.
It is clear that the financial struggles we are currently facing are not going to go away anytime soon. The most optimistic prognosis is that we’ll be suffering with high inflation until at least 2025.
But what nobody is able to predict is just how bad it will get, before it starts getting better again. Inflation is still on the rise and there doesn’t seem to be anything that will stop it.
With that in mind, you and I need to be ready to take care of ourselves and our families. Considering that income never keeps up with expenses during a time of economic downturn, that means developing the skills we need, so that we can do things for ourselves, thereby saving money and ensuring that our families have everything they need.
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1. Cooking from Scratch
Many people today eat out more than they eat at home, spending more in restaurants than they spend in the grocery store. Even then, much of the food they buy is prepared foods, paying extra to have someone in the store’s butcher department sprinkle a little bit of spices on their meat and calling it “marinated,” when in fact the spices in question don’t cost more than a dime.
Few people know how to cook from scratch anymore, whether that’s baking their own bread, making soup or cooking a roast. Yet every time you buy prepared foods, whether fresh or frozen, you’re paying someone else to do something you could be doing yourself. Not only that, but you’d end up with better food to eat.
2. Growing Food
With food making up a major portion of a family’s budget, it only makes sense to grow as much of it at home as we can. While it might not be in the cards for you to grow everything you eat, like some people do, just being able to grow some vegetables will help cut down on your food bills, while also making sure that your family is able to eat healthy.
Growing your own food is enjoyable and a great lesson to teach the kids. They’ll be awestruck when they see that the seeds they planted grow up and give them good food to eat.
If you’re going to grow food, then you want to be able to preserve it as well. Veggies all tend to reach maturity at the same time, giving you more than you can use right then. The solution to that is canning those veggies, so that they’ll last. The fresher they are when you can them, the better.
While you’re at it, you might as well learn other methods to preserve food as well, such as smoking and especially dehydrating. You’d be surprised just how much of the food in the grocery store is dehydrated. Being able to do that yourself can save you money.
4. Raising Chickens
Chickens give us both eggs and meat; and they’re actually rather easy to raise. The big question is just how many you can legally raise in your backyard. Most municipalities allow you to raise a few; but probably have limitations in place. If that’s the case, then you’re better off raising them for eggs, rather than raising them for slaughter.
Fresh eggs from your own chickens will taste much better than the ones you buy in the grocery store, especially if you allow the chickens to free-range at least some in your yard. That will help keep the insect population down too.
You can tell a good hunter by the fact that they bring home something every time they go out. Good hunters can save a fair amount of money, keeping their freezer stocked with meat that’s actually much healthier to eat than what you can buy in the grocery store; and the price will be much more reasonable.
I knew an old farm boy in Kansas who shot three deer every year, providing all the meat that he and his wife needed. I think those were mule deer, which are bigger than some other types. Those will give about 110 pounds of meat each, where the deer in Texas only have an average of 58 pounds of meat.
Fishing is just as good for harvesting animal protein from nature as hunting, and it’s usually much easier to find fish, than it is to find a big game.
Besides, big game season is usually short, while fishing can be done all year long. Take the time to learn where the good fishing holes are, so that you can be sure to come home with something every trip.
7. Edible Plant Recognition
While you’re out hunting and fishing, you may as well gather some greens as well, assuming that you know what’s edible. That takes a bit of time to learn, as there aren’t signs on the plants, telling you which ones are safe to eat. Get a good field guide, with photos, and use that to help you find some tasty greens to eat.
8. Home Repair
With prices rising, you need to be able to do as much for yourself as possible. Learning how to make repairs around your home can save you a lot of money.
Granted, there are things like heating and air conditioning that you can’t do yourself, as you have to be licensed to do them; but there are a lot of things you can do, like plumbing and carpentry.
There are lots of videos online, showing the right ways of doing these things and making it extremely easy to learn. Take your time, making sure you do it right. I’ve seen a lot of DIY carpentry that looks like it was done by a 10-year-old.
You don’t want your home to look like that. If you get frustrated when it doesn’t turn out the first time, just remember, every expert out there has made their fair share of mistakes too.
You’ll have to buy some tools to be able to do these repairs; but that’s okay. Those tools will pay for themselves. If you buy one new tool for every project, you’ll soon have a pretty good collection of tools. Not only that, but every one of those tools will have saved you money.
9. Auto Mechanics
Just like home repair, doing your own work on the car can save you a bunch of money. Mechanics don’t come cheap and it’s really not necessary to pay them for every single repair. Even if you just do the simple stuff yourself, you’ll save a lot of money.
You’re going to need tools here too and I’d avoid buying the cheap stuff. Cheap sockets and wrenches are usually made of low-grade steel, which won’t last. You don’t need to have tools breaking on you, while you’re trying to work. Craftsman is a good brand, as is Master Mechanic or Kobalt (Lowe’s brand).
10. Sewing & Tailoring
Sewing has gone out of favor these days, but there was a time when all women grew up learning how to sew. Even if you don’t want to get into sewing so far that you’re making your family’s clothes, there’s still good reason to learn how to sew.
With rising prices and scarcity, I wouldn’t be surprised if people started losing weight. That either means buying clothes or for those who know how, cutting down existing clothing to fit.
Most clothes can be cut down fairly easily, by people who know how. It’s possible to keep the same style, and if you lose enough weight, it may look even better in the smaller size.
Besides, clothing is expensive, having the highest retail markup of any category of goods. So, being able to save those old clothes and keep wearing them is a great way of saving on the budget.
By definition, scavenging is searching for anything usable from discarded waste. The key word there is “discarded.” In other words, taking it out of someone’s backyard isn’t scavenging; but taking it out of their trash is.
People throw away a lot of good things, either because they no longer need them or because they don’t know how to fix them. Looking for what’s available, and scavenging it, can provide you with things that you need.
I know a guy in upstate New York that has made a business out of scavenging. In the evenings, he drives around in his truck, looking to see what’s sitting by or on top of people’s trash cans. He takes his finds back to his shop and repairs them, selling them in the flea market.
There are two keys here. The first is knowing what’s worth picking up. That will depend on what you can use, what you can repurpose or what you can repair and sell. The other key is knowing how to repair your finds.
The good news there is that most of them aren’t all that hard to repair or even all that expensive, as you can take parts out of the other things you scavenge. If it doesn’t work out, you can always throw it away.
Don’t forge about eBay. Some types of scavenged items are easy to sell there. Say you find a non-working blender, with a motor that’s burnt out. You may not be able to get the motor working; but the jar and lid are still good. Put them on eBay, chances are there’s someone who needs that jar.
Develop a Side Gig
This brings me to my last point. During these trying times and the collapse to come, you need to have some sort of side gig that you can use for extra income and as something to fall back on if something happens to your job.
A good side gig will be something that you enjoy doing, is profitable, and doesn’t require a lot of up-front investment. If that means doing home repairs for neighbors, so be it. If it means selling things you scavenge, that’s good too.
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