By Jerry M
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest
We have all heard the word “ frugal” , we know it means to be sparing , thrifty or economical , especially in our habits of buying or spending. If one is trying to live a self-reliant lifestyle, being frugal in many different areas will pay great dividends to you .
Being in debt financially is akin to being a slave to whomever you owe money to . Many folks have a tough time deciding the difference between a want and a need and the result is often unwanted debt . The use of a credit card is so easy and the interest charged is totally unreasonable. The only way to use a credit card is to pay it completely off every month, without fail. If you cannot control your card habits , cut it up and trash it .
I do not like a paper trail to many of my purchases so I try and pay cash at every opportunity . By paying cash a person sees and feels the money and it is easier to realize what you are spending and where it is going . It is not just using a plastic card , it may also be an eye opener for you to what you really are spending . Here are a few things about getting and using cash that you need to consider .
If you withdraw $ 10,000.00 or more at one time from your bank the transaction will be reported to the IRS . At many banks a with-drawl of $ 3,000.00 will be a red flag of suspicion to the bank . We use 2 different banks so we can stagger withdrawals and not raise any unwanted suspicion . Bank tellers are asked to report any suspicious activity in a Suspicious Activity Report , SAR , the report is then given to the U. S. Treasury Department , it happens often , you just don’t hear much about it . Your account may be frozen and you will not know why . If the teller is having a bad day , they can also create a bad day for you and you may never know why your bank account is closed to you . We always put on a smiley & happy face when dealing with our banks . If your bank puts you down on a SAR they legally cannot tell you . We also use two banks in the event there is a “ bank holiday or closure” , or limited withdrawals , like what happened in the 1930’s in America or recently in Cyprus and Greece . I also advise keeping an emergency cash stash at home .
You should sit down and develop a monthly budget that includes the necessary items that you need to pay : utility, phone , insurance , taxes etc. , and then the nice to have items . We try to purchase needs and not wants . We have almost eliminated dining out for two reasons , one is cost and the other is food quality ( think farming pesticides ) . Yes , we go out to celebrate an anniversary or special event once in a while but not as a regular part of our lives .
If you are a cigarette smoker , I have a word of advice -QUIT ! If a 1 pack a day smoker will quit smoking they will save about $ 2,500.00 annually . $2,500.00 will buy you a lot of food , clothes , ammo , tools etc. , you will smell better and you and those around you will be healthier as well .
I try to be frugal in all areas not just with money . My mom lived through the depression era and I was exposed to a lot of stories on how to live thrifty in all areas of life . Here is an example of what happens when I cut firewood . I cut down the tree and trim off all the branches , all branches are cut 16” in length , larger ones are split and the small ones become kindling . rounds are cut in 16” widths, split and stacked , all small chips go in the kindling box , the stove ashes are put in the compost or the outhouse . I try to use it all . I try to instill that thought process in all I do .
Get used to calculating how much per ounce or pound you pay for groceries . Buying a larger quantity usually means a smaller price , I like Nalley’s canned chili , it was on sale often in a 15 oz. can for $ .89 , then suddenly it was on sale at $ 1.15 for a 14 oz. can . That went from $.06 per ounce to $.08 per ounce , that is a huge increase percentage-wise , about 60% . Inflation is your deadly quiet enemy and it is everywhere .
Shopping at a thrift store can be another good place to save money , especially on work clothes ,books and who knows what treasures you may find there . In our area we also have a builders recycle store that has saved me many dollars on used doors, windows, sinks and cabinets .
We have 2 freezers and we keep some 1 gallon water filled milk jugs in any empty freezer space , the freezer runs more efficiently, saving money , in a power outage it remains colder longer in the freezer and we have potable water to drink or cook with or it can be used to flush a toilet if needed .
If we can look at each facet of our lives we can usually find areas where we can spend and save more wisely . I am not a fan of stock market investing , so I buy extra things that I know we will use , such as shoes , clothing , foodstuffs , tools and other tangible items that are easily stored . We try and think “tangible” when it comes to investments , if you can touch it you own it !
We dumped our T V a few years ago as well as the $ 60.00 a month cable payment .We dropped 2 magazine subscriptions and saved another $ 70.00 annually . We pore over sale flyers and use coupons , anything to save $$ on things we use on a regular basis . We saved $ 450.00 a year on car insurance by shopping around . We deal with an independent insurance agent as they have several companies to choose from for the best pricing and coverage .
The economic future in this country looks rather bleak to me . There is lots of unemployment , millions of people on welfare , prices rising on everything and a great of deal of uncertainty of where it will all end . I foresee a rough voyage ahead for most all citizens .
I believe that you can smooth out the troubled waters somewhat if you are not tied down with a debt load and you have been able to accumulate items that are critical to your well-being . A thrifty lifestyle is a way to reach that position .
Hopefully, I have been able to provide some food for thought in different areas and you can either begin or improve your thrifty , frugal habits on the road to self-reliance . Good luck and God bless.
Prizes For This Round (Ends April 12, 2016) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…
- First place winner will receive – A gift certificate for $150 off of rifle ammo at Lucky Gunner, an Urban Survival Kit a $109 value courtesy of TEOTWAWKI supplies, a WonderMix Deluxe Kitchen Mixer a $299 value courtesy of Kodiak Health and a LifeStraw Mission Filter a $109 value courtesy of EarthEasy, and a 4″ Heavy Duty WaterBoy Well Bucket a $106 value and a WaterBoy Tripod Kit courtesy of Well WaterBoy Products for a total prize value of over $867.
- Second Place Winner will receive – 30 Day Food Storage All-in-One Pail a $119 value courtesy of Augason Farms.com and Berkey Light with 2 (9″) Berkey Earth Elements a $157 value courtesy of LPC Survival, for a total prize value of $276.
- Third place winner will receive – International MRE Meals Supply a $72.00 value, a LifeStraw Portable Water Filter a $19 value, Yoder’s Fully Cooked Canned Bacon a $15 value all courtesy of CampingSurvival and one copy of each of my books “The Prepper’s Primer” and a copy of “The Prepared Prepper’s Cookbook“ for a total prize value of $137.