We all have our familiar routines, things we don’t even give much thought to, but we just do out of habit. It might be the drive-thru dinner on the way home from work, the soda from the checkout fridge case, or cigarettes. I’d like to challenge you to really think about where your money goes and whether you could re-allocate some towards things that would pay-off in the future.
If you have not already done so, now would be a good time to make a budget. Take a month and record everything you spend money on from mortgage or rent down to snacks on the run. It may be quite eye-opening (“Do I really spend $50 a month on lattes?!”). Then evaluate how much of it is necessary and how much could be better spent on other things if you planned ahead more.
Here are some things we do to try and eliminate unnecessary expenses:
- On the days that I will be out all day, I usually put a meal in the crockpot. It is really gratifying and comforting to come into the house at the end of the day and have dinner ready- at a fourth or third the cost of eating out. There are quite a few cookbooks available that concentrate entirely on crockpot cooking.
- I keep a basket of healthy items like granola bars and bottled water in my vehicle. We could easily blow $15 on snacks at a convenience store while out running errands.
- For daily use, we refill our own water bottles from home out of our filtered fridge dispenser. That has saved us untold amounts of money compared to buying throw-away bottles with as much water as we drink.
- I decided a while back that name brands were rarely worth their extra cost to me. I’m not willing to pay the big price tag for the perfume in fancy detergents when I can get clean clothes from the giant tub of soap from the big box store. Considering what diapers are going to be used for, again I refuse to pay for a prettier package. Cloth diapers are an even better value.
- I stop in the thrift stores regularly to find children’s clothing especially. Another great thing to do is swap clothes with friends from church, etc. Everybody wins.
Once you determine where your money goes, create a budget that plans ahead for all known expenses. Graduations or birthdays coming up? Allocate money without guilt and then hold yourself to your plan to acquire X amount of extra long-term storable food. Or needed tools. Or a class in hunter safety. Maybe buy a DVD to show you how to begin a garden. How about a book of canning recipes? With a plan in mind, you can make concrete steps to prepare.
Choose Better Health
Another thing that may become evident to you when you look over receipts is that you could make buying choices that would benefit your body too. Obviously cigarettes are expensive and cancer-causing. But what about that fast food? Maybe you could simultaneously do your health a favor too.
It’s uncomfortable to get started and takes some willpower to stick to it, but within a few months, budgeting will make it possible to check off some items on your preparedness goals list. You will be so glad you did.