The budget is getting tighter and going to get a whole lot tighter. I have read a lot of articles lately and talked to a lot of people about money and budgets. Sacrifices are already being made. I sometimes feel like I am getting a bit extreme in my savings and learning to live without some of the life comforts. I don't necessarily like that feeling. However, I have a feeling that the budget is going to get even tighter.
What can you do about it now? This is what we are doing now:
1. We are so geared towards stocking up and getting prepared that it is hard to let go of that mentality. Sometimes though you will need to scale back or stop. If money gets tight, you will need to use that food storage. That is a good thing! This is why you have it! You need your food storage to get you through those tough months. Start by using up the older food. Look for opportunities like clearance fruits and vegetables that you can for later use. Grow some of your own food indoors.
2. I am so glad I started canning, raising a garden, foraging, raising chickens, and doing things to be more self-sufficient. Knowing that I have the skills and can provide for my family helps me feel better about my budget. Knowing that I can always do more helps keep me motivated.
3. I am not afraid to cut costs and slash expenditures. Yes, we have a few "luxuries" right now, but I am not afraid to shut them off or go without them if I need to. I have in the past and do so again. Having the satellite to watch television is a luxury. Having a cell phone with data is a luxury. Having all the stuff we have in the house is a luxury. These things are nice to have, but it is nicer to have heat and eat.
4. Sell off the things you don't need. I have a lot of things I don't need. I keep an eBay store open for that reason. In addition to selling books and magazines, I sell things around the house when we have no use for them anymore. I also list things on Craigslist, Facebook, and by word of mouth. I may only make $5.00 off of an item, but that money could buy a 1/2 gallon of milk, a box of spaghetti, and a jar of sauce.
5. Sometimes I have had to see how much Lincoln will scream. And he can scream a lot if he has to. By buying quality things and using it until it falls apart again from being mended so much, we have made him scream. By getting the best deal possible and waiting for the best sale, we have made him scream more. By shopping thrift shops first and saving money that way, he screams even more.
6. I have learned how to make do, make it myself, or do without. There is quite a bit I can live without. Some things I don't want to live without, but I have learned it is possible. I do miss my clothes dryer a bit, but I have to have the money to fix it first.
7. Look for money making opportunities. I use my store loyalty cards to help save money on gas, make money off buying certain items (I don't buy anything we don't use), and get discounts on merchandise I regularly use. I also use some apps to help me save and make money from some of my purchases. They may take a little time and trouble, but the payoff could help your bottom line.
8. Get a "Do What You Can Do" attitude. What can you do today to make or save money? What can you do today to help tomorrow? Don't dwell on what is going bad and what has failed. Keep a positive attitude that life will get better and you can do things now to make it better.
9. Be ready to work more. If overtime is available, take it. If someone offers you extra work, take it. If someone asks you if you would be interested in babysitting, baling hay, cutting trees, etc., take it. The extra money helps with the extra expenses.
10. Learn to barter goods and services. No money needs to be exchanged and both parties benefit.
11. Take advantage of websites like Ebates and Swagbucks to earn money and points back on purchases. I usually turn this into Amazon credit to buy things we need for home and for gifts. Both are great programs.
12. Don't make immediate purchasing decisions. I take a few days to think about if I need to buy something or not. Oftentimes, I do not go back and buy. I find I just don't need as much as I thought I did.
13. Shop with a list. I use a list when I go to the store and when I shop online. It keeps me on track and accountable. I even write what item I want to add to my preps and include that in my budget.
14. Stop eating out. Stop buying processed foods. Start cooking your own food every night. Take a lunch to work. Start making your own food instead of buying the processed food at the store.
15. Have a budget and stick to it. Write down your expenses and income. When you write it down on paper, your money becomes very real. Check your bank account very regularly. I had some expenses increase that were paid automatically and I did not receive notice about those increases. I was surprised and we are still recovering from one of the increases. Not good. Be diligent about your budget and spending.
Some of these are really simple and some require sacrifice. What everyone needs may be different than you and yours need. What is your family doing in these tough times?
Thanks for reading!