Prepping means something different to everyone. For some, it just means ensuring they’re not caught out by a power outage, a temporary loss of water, or not being able to get out and buy groceries, camping lanterns, etc. because of a natural disaster. Other people take it much further, ensuring they’re ready for anything that life could throw at them, and that they won’t be caught off guard.
Whatever degree of prepping you undertake, you should be including money-saving into your strategy. Money (or some other asset that can be used as a currency) is going to be important in almost any type of emergency. Here’s why and how.
Why is saving money important for prepping?
Putting some money away each month allows you to prepare for sudden changes in your financial situation such as losing your job, a sudden and sharp recession, a period of hyperinflation, or an interruption to the financial system.
Saving also allows you to fund your other prepping work, after all, you can’t fill up your bug out bag or emergency shelter if you don’t have any spare money.
What to do with the money saved
Once you’ve saved some money, you may be wondering what you should do with it. Unfortunately, there’s no single right answer. Instead, it will vary greatly depending on what you’re preparing for.
For example, someone looking to be protected in case of a loss of income may just want to put some of the money into a savings account. However, if you want to have access to your money in case of an interruption to the financial system where cards can’t be used and digital transactions can’t be made, then having some of your money in cash may be preferable.
Anyone looking to be protected against hyperinflation would have to look at alternative assets like gold, silver, or Bitcoin, though each of these comes with its own risks.
Keeping large quantities of cash or precious metals also creates security concerns, so you may need to invest in a heavy-duty safe and other devices to protect your stash.
How to save money
Before you can do anything with the money, you need to put some of it aside. Here are some of the techniques you can use to keep more in your pocket.
Find coupons and discounts
Businesses use coupons and discounts as a marketing tool. By reducing their prices, they hope to encourage customers to buy more than they would have normally. While just buying anything and everything you see that’s been discounted is not a good idea, taking advantage of promotions on products you were planning to buy anyway can help you save a lot of money.
For example, if you’re in a supermarket and see that your usual toothpaste, dried pasta, or beans have been discounted by 50%, buying several months’ worth will help cut the cost of these everyday items. While it may not seem like a lot, doing it with multiple products over a long period of time will make a big difference.
It’s not just grocery shopping either. There are coupons and discounts available for just about everything you could possibly want to spend your money on, even for things you might not have considered.
For example, sports betting fans can get bonuses that reduce the amount they have to wager. We can see an instance of this in this Bet365 sportsbook review, which outlines how new customers can get up to $500 in free credits to use on the site. These kinds of discounts and welcome deals for new users are available for a wide variety of online services including Netflix and Amazon so make sure you do your research.
Additionally, you can find coupons and discounts for restaurants, theme parks, clothing, and cosmetics.
Set a budget
Setting a budget is one of the best things you can do if you’re trying to save money. It allows you to calculate how much you can afford to spend and how much you’ll be putting aside each week or month.
There are plenty of different ways to make a budget and which one you choose will be down to personal preference. The simplest way is to use a pen and paper, though you can use a spreadsheet instead.
Just write down your income at the top, and begin subtracting expenses like your mortgage or rent, utilities, loan repayments, and groceries. Once you’ve included all of your necessities, you’ll be left with your “discretionary spending”. You should plan to put part of this money into your savings.
If spreadsheets aren’t your thing, there are plenty of apps you can use to help you budget instead. Some great options include Mint, PocketGuard, You Need a Budget (YNAB), and BUDGT.
Once you’ve made your budget, it’s important to keep an eye on it. Track your spending against each category to be sure you’re sticking to the plan. Some of the best budgeting apps can even connect to your bank account and automatically categorize each transaction, producing a report from this data.
Make do with what you have
Finance vlogger BeatTheBush has created a string of videos titled Don’t Buy It, You Don’t Need It. In it, he lists all sorts of items that you may feel like you should buy, either because your friends already have or because of strong marketing campaigns. He explains that you can almost always make do without these items and that you can save a lot of money by not buying them.
A major expense that many people have is their smartphone. In many parts of the world, a phone contract lasts for around two years, after which time, you’re encouraged to upgrade to get a brand new one. Most of the time though, your existing smartphone will still be working just fine.
Sure, it may not have the latest camera functionality, but it will still take decent photographs and although its processor will be a little slower, it will still run all your existing (and future) apps just fine.
By not upgrading and paying only for your calls, texts, and data each month, you’ll be able to save hundreds of dollars each year.