My gramps used to say that life will give you good and hard times no matter how well you think you have things covered, but he also used to say that it can’t rain forever. While learning to live frugally and making the things we need is an excellent way to become self-reliant, you will still need money here and there to get the things you need/want.
Most preppers and survivalists are concentrated on the aspects of survival scenarios, debating about guns, knives, and all sorts of survival skills, and not many cover the financial aspect of prepping. More precisely, how can one make a little extra cash to sustain this lifestyle.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s good to learn about foods storage, alternative power sources, and all sorts of things that will help you live off-the-grid and become self-reliant. However, there’s more to that, and money will always be part of the survival equation unless, of course, they become useless in a post-apocalyptic world. Until then, how about starting a home business to earn a little extra?
Nobody gets rich quickly
For every success story you hear about someone getting rich quickly, there are thousands of failed attempts, and nobody takes time talking about those since success is more appealing than failure. Preppers rarely talk about the role of money in “survival” scenarios because most of them believe money will have no value when SHTF.
But that’s a false assumption, and there are a lot of scenarios (natural or man-made) where money can get you out of trouble. Perhaps this is why there’s a great interest in all sorts of books, seminars, and TV shows “teaching” people how to get rich quickly and retire early. I honestly don’t believe these work, and they produce more failure stories than successful ones. Not to mention that such seminars aren’t cheap, and the ones who gain from them are mainly the organizers.
You shouldn’t give your hard-earned money to investment specialists or money managers in the hope of making it unless you are willing and can afford to lose that money. There are other ways that can help you deal with your struggling economic situation.
The recommendations you will find in this article may seem common sense to some and are being followed to the letter by those seeking personal economic solvency. Others are unaware of these guidelines, while the rest believe they won’t work. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. It’s up to you to find out.
Spend less or earn more
These are basically the two main ways to control your financial expenses and improve the buying power of your household. While everyone wants to do the same, it is much harder than they think. Spending less, for example, is much more difficult for families with children.
Their kids will want the same clothing, toys, and gadgets their friends have. Another example would be a family in which one spouse is disciplined with the spending while the other will spend money with ease since they “can’t live” without this or that.
While it’s difficult to spend less, you should do whatever you can and use the money you’ve saved to pay off debt. If you struggle with finding a way to spend less, then you should concentrate your efforts on earning more.
We all need to start cutting costs
Every family should have a list with all their monthly expenses and add the high costs and the small ones. You need to be reasonable and objective and write down everything, even if you may think it’s not worth listing it.
Once you’ve made a list, you will almost immediately notice there are some costs you can eliminate. Now I’m not going to tell you what to cut from the lists since these may be personal choices for everyone. You need to bite the bullet and figure it out. However, there are certain costs which I can point out and perhaps you may decide it’s better to eliminate them from your life.
For example, some families have two or three cars, and they mostly use one vehicle. If that’s the case, perhaps it is better to sell the “extra” car, and you will cut costs in insurance, maintenance, and other things. Perhaps you bought a boat which you are using once a year, or you bought that motorcycle you’ve always dreamed of after going through a “rediscovery” phase. Maybe you should plug these budget drain holes.
Some people have a rental unit in which they store all types of junk, and they don’t bother to sort their stuff and decide what’s worth keeping. Rather than paying a few hundred dollars each year, how bout you sell, give, or throw away some of that stuff. What you decide to keep will probably fit in your attic or your garage.
Try to get internet, phone and TV services from a single provider since many times they provide discounts. Also, join a family plan for your phones and bundle them on a single bill if possible.
How about the home, car, and life insurance? Can you bundle these together as well and get a discount? In some cases, if you have a clean driving record, you can obtain a lower rate. Ask your agent about this and see what options you have.
These are just a few examples of the large items on your expenses list, and perhaps your family has others that can be renegotiated to save a buck or two. Now when it comes to the little costs, there are all sorts of savings you can make, but as I said, it’s up to you to figure out what you can eliminate from your life. I’m not going to recommend here to cut on the Starbucks coffee, on eating out, and such, because these words won’t have any influence if you’re not willing to change your lifestyle.
Every family can find some ways to increase their income, and there are some basic ideas that can help you generate some extra cash. Once again, it’s up to you to see what works for your family and if you want to walk down that path.
Making and selling stuff
Some folks have the ability to make things people want, and for them, it comes easy making and selling things. While some know their way around a forge and can make quality knives, others will stick with easier things like making soaps, candles, clothing, leather goods, etc. The idea behind making something valuable is to craft something people actually need. There’s always a market for such items.
Others with a more creative side will decide to make arts and crafts because it suits their personalities better. If that’s your thing, by all means, go for it. However, keep in mind that you will be making only things that people may want. You’re not making things they actually need, and you may have a hard time selling your stuff. You will have a hard time convincing people that they “need” what you are selling.
Another thing you will have to spend time on is promoting the items and bringing them in front of people (which usually means setting shop in a busy location, where tourists come in big numbers). Promoting yourself and your work may be hard, and there’s no guarantee it will pay off. However, if it does, you can obtain a good price for your stuff.
The idea behind making and selling stuff is pretty simple, and it depends on what type of abilities you have. If you can make something, you will never go poor. However, there’s a big chance you won’t get rich either. People like to haggle, and they will offer you the lowest amount possible for most of your crafts.
Grow and sell food
Food is one of the categories that will be in high demand no matter how times will change. Everyone needs food, and nowadays, people are willing to pay good money for “clean” food. The need for organic produce has increased steadily over the last decade and those able to grow produce without chemicals are making decent money.
If you have a small farm or a large enough backyard garden, you can start growing food that your family can use and sell the extra produce. Your goal is not to compete with big farms or grocery stores but rather to create your own niche and offer a qualitative and fresh product, something that the big chains can’t provide.
While this can provide some income for your family, you need to figure out what your opportunities are and stick to those. Take a look at what people are buying at the farmers’ markets or the healthy/organic grocery stores and find an angle that works for you to make your product stand out. Your produce should be the better choice in terms of quality or the cheaper one while maintaining the same quality level the big chains provide.
You can even settle on a single fresh vegetable, fruit, or herb and find ways to sell it fresh or manufacture products using that single item as the main ingredient. Perhaps you can find a way to ship and package your products to increase your selling range. You can create your own label and start promoting it once it gains momentum and there’s an ongoing demand for it.
Sell your services
Some people don’t want to work at someone else’s business, and they would rather sell their services to those in their neighborhood and pretty much anyone who’s willing to hire them for various projects.
If you want to do the same, the first step would be to make a list of all your skills and talents and be honest about your opportunities to make money using them. These skills and abilities may vary from one person to another, and it may include even hobbies besides the trained skills
If you are truly skilled, people will buy your services, and they will let others know about you if they are satisfied. For example, here are some ideas which may work for some: auto mechanic, cook/chef, gardening and yard work, food caning, house cleaning, plumbing or electrical work, roofing, nursing and teaching, wood or metalwork, handy work, etc.
Concentrate on the skills you can market and on those you like to do the most because it won’t work if every project you take on becomes a stressful and unpleasant task. You need to find a little bit of joy in what you’re doing regardless of whether the interaction with the customer will go smooth or not.
Settle on your top three skills and start advertising your services in every free advertising option you can find (especially on social media). Also, once you start taking projects, always keep a portfolio with your finished projects to show to potential customers.
Another idea would be to rent a room in your house, your garage, or perhaps your backyard, but to do so, you need to make sure you understand and follow the local regulations and requirements.
Start in your neighborhood
Any type of home business you decide to start, you should make its area of action your immediate neighborhood. Talke with those around you, give them flyers and let them know how they can acquire your products or services.
Don’t mind what others may think of you because you’re doing honest work. Some people will stay away from their neighbors because of prejudice. They think their neighbors will think less of them, call them poor, or whatever. These may be real concerns for some, and it all depends on the people living in your neighborhood. However, your financial well-being should not be anyone’s concern, and you need to do what’s right for you.
It also depends on what kind of person you are, and if you interact with people in your neighborhood every time you’ve got the chance and if you are an open and friendly person, chances are you will receive very positive feedback. In some cases, you may reach out to people and find a mutually beneficial solution for you and their family, even establish a barter system.
Once you get experience in selling your products/services and improve your business based on the feedback you receive from customers, you can expand your area of action and find customers in other regions. This, of course, should be established after you calculate your fuel/traveling costs because you want to make some profit (the percentage depends on your home business) and not break even.
A home business is a viable solution for many families, but they fail to use such an opportunity because they overdo it or they overthink things. Start small and concentrate on making products in the “needs” category and sell only your services if you have strong skills.
Get organized and find the system that works best for you while taking into account the possibility of growth but also fraud (some people will not pay what they own, some will want to see the project completed before paying, etc.).
Surviving Financial Hardship – Making Money With A Home Business is written by Bob Rodgers for prepperswill.com