Here are a few ideas of what to do with your money, from the standpoint of preparedness, being practical, and frugal.
Do not spend into debt. Spend only what you have available to you.
1. Set aside the money that you need for the bills that must be paid. This requires that you first determine the total amount of your monthly bills. That means figuring out a budget. It’s not very hard to do. The point is, first set aside the money that needs to be paid towards your bills, and then consider moving to step #2. Hopefully you have some left over after the bills.
Tip: If your cable costs $80 a month, see if you can do without some of the premium channels and instead get it for $60 a month. Cha-Ching!
2. Save an amount of your leftover money, until you have enough cash saved up to hold you for a time, in case of an emergency, or if you lose your job. Start with a small goal of 1 month worth of bills. Then 2… Then build to what is comfortable for you. Several months is a good idea and will put you at ease.
Tip: Don’t feel as though you have to devote every extra penny each week to building this goal, unless you want to use all of it for that. For some, it is motivating to witness a pile of money growing.
Tip: It is much more motivating to take the cash money that is leftover and keep it at home in a safe, instead of putting it all in the bank. Actually ‘seeing’ the pile of cash grow is more motivating than watching the electronic numbers of your bank account. Besides, interest rates are so low right now that you really won’t get much of anything in a typical savings account.
3. Use CASH for groceries and the things that you normally purchase each week, instead of a debit card or writing a check. When you use cash, it is very ‘real’ when you hand over the money to the clerk. Trust me, it makes a big difference and will help you to control yourself.
Tip: If your paycheck is direct-deposited, withdraw cash money from the ATM each week in the amount that you normally would spend with your debit card at the grocery store, etc…
4. With some of your leftover money, purchase extra food items that are a regular part of your diet. Food prices will only continue to go higher as the dollar continues to be debased. You cannot go wrong by buying more food now rather than later. Start with a goal of 1 month extra food, but build towards 3 months, then 6 months… It’s not that hard to do, and you will feel good about it when you look in your cupboards or pantry and see all that food.
5. Think about the consumable supplies that you go through each month and purchase more of them as extra storage. Things like toilet paper, soaps, trash bags, coffee filters, plastic wrap – aluminum foil, etc…
6. Practical and productive tools and supplies that will assist you while growing and managing a home garden from germination to production.
7. Tools and supplies that will assist you while repairing things around the house, or purposed towards building or cobbling together solutions around the home and yard.
8. Items that will help provide security for your person, family, home, and property.
9. Extra gasoline, propane, diesel, etc… for things like your vehicle, means of cooking, and other fuel-powered items. Purchase proper storage containers (e.g. 3 or 5 gallon gasoline jugs).
Tip: Use an additive like PRI fuel stabilizer or ‘Stabil’ to prolong the life of gasoline or diesel in storage.
10. Splurge. So long as you are, for the most part, smart with your money, it is important to occasional splurge on self-indulging items or ‘toys’. Treat yourself once in a while. It is important.