Begin to use a coupon strategy buying items that are on sale. Be sure to check the expiration date. You do not want items with a short shelf life. Grow your own food, as much as you can. Buy non-genetically-modified seeds and plants (marked with a Product Look Up produce code, beginning with 3, 4 or 9.) This may be easier said than done, but worth the effort. Plan to preserve your own food, preferably by canning, smoking or dehydrating.
2. Use cash for all purchases.
Have a 90 day expenses stash of cash on hand. Get your cash in small denomination bills, like ones and fives. Keep this money safe in a fireproof storage box or safe and do not talk about it to anyone. Remember to take it with you if you must evacuate your home. Plan your shopping around a weekly menu. This will avoid over buying and having food go bad. Only buy what you have money for. If you need to send money as a check or money order, look into paying those bills online. You can save the postage. Keep small denomination size bills, they will be easier to make change. Have some money in coins, these will be useful in vending machines if you are evacuating. From time to time, take some $20 bills and trade them in for rolls of quarters and dollar coins. Any bank will make this exchange without question. Gold and silver coins are real money, based on their standard precious metal content. You do not need to be looking for collector coins. In the case of a financial collapse, coins pre-1965, known as junk silver, dimes and quarters; silver eagle dollars and silver bars are impressive looking and will be tradable for commodities. If you have time to acquire gold, get more small value coins than larger value coins. Acquire American gold coins, they will be easier to move, but should be reserved for larger purchases. Each month set aside a fixed amount for savings and tithing. Keep this out of your monthly spending money. Out of sight is out of mind.
3. Invest in yourself.
Ask yourself, “What can I do?” Think about the talents or special interests you have. How can you use these to develop a trade? What about basic needs, like water collection and purification? This is how our ancestors got along. They learned how to create or repair items. Look around, what needs do you see? Find one and learn how to fill it. This will build self-esteem. How invigorating. Find a product or service you are passionate about. The more you learn, the more valuable you will become. Put as much information into your head as possible, as books will be too heavy to transport (if you can find them) and Google searches or YouTube videos may not be available. Learning to promote yourself will be the next talent to develop. Do you tell your friends about items you love? Of course, you do. Share what you know how to do, passionately. Don’t beg, or nag or whine, just share. Your personal value will become obvious.
4. Prepare to trade.
In the case of a financial disaster, trading between locals will become the accepted form of transaction for commodities. Bartering involves both products and services. It has received a bad reputation mostly from government that wants to “standardize” and control exchanges (tax). Historically, that is how our early ancestors survived. In early Scotch/Irish settlements in North Carolina, each house had some sort of “shop” right next door. It could have been a wheelwright, a blacksmith, or a wash house. Talented early settlers were welcome. What had they done? They found a need and filled it. Their home-based businesses, allowed them an opportunity to support their families, meet needs in their neighborhood and give them a service to trade. Acquire essential commodities to have on hand for trading. Who will need a manual can opener when an emergency occurs? Everyone with a can of food and no way to open it! Review Tess Pennington’s list of the first 100 items to disappear in an emergency, and buy extras to trade. Toilet paper, toothpaste and soap will be valuable trading items.
5. Protect yourself.
Debt can create anxiety, even under non-emergency situations. Owing someone big bucks for your home or vehicle will become a huge problem during a financial crisis. Creditors will show up to protect or reclaim their investments. Pay off your big bills as soon as you can. Make an extra $100 monthly mortgage principle payment, when you can, it will shave up to seven years off the life of your loan. In the “new world” things will be different. To begin getting your fiscal house in order, start by reviewing your income and expenses. Make a budget. Be very conservative with the money you spend. If it is not essential, do not buy it. Create an inventory and determine weak areas. Make a priority to have some money left at the end of each month. Keep paper copies of key financial documents. Digital copies are great, but will be hard to read without electricity. Take steps to physically protect your property. Security systems will be worthless when roving looters head your way. Make your protective changes low profile. Protecting windows will be a priority. In Florida, houses with hurricane shutters are not unusual. Some homes even have plywood to cover windows. Put latches with keyed locks inside fence gates. Add steel strips to your door frames under the trim. Some serious preppers recommend having razor wire available to string inside the top of your fence. Defense will be necessary. Bats, guns and ammunitions may be helpful as well. Family members will need to share guard duty. Covered windows will allow you to use light inside at night unnoticed.