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Reallocating Funds For Prepping

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In this article, Reallocating Funds For Prepping, I will touch on an essential (And tedious) aspect of prepping – our finances and tightening our budget so we have more for preparedness.

I won’t get into the political and corporate tyranny that has us on this path. I have a personal blog for topics like that.

I’m not going to give you 101 ways to save money. The internet is full of great resources like that. Using dollar stores, stretching a bag of flour, buying generic brands, eating at home, shopping in discount grocery stores, etc. I’ve been cutting my own hair for years, but that’s not what I want for this article.

This article is more like a personal message with examples to help get your ideas flowing—typical Brian oversharing.

I will focus on saving more and spending less as a prepper. Almost everything the average Jane or Joe can do to clean up their finances works for preppers. The one glaring difference is what we consider essential. Our priorities are a little different when it comes to certain expenses.

No investment advice here short of investing in preparedness. We love to look at different ways of protecting our money with the more romantic methods like investing in gold, silver, and Bitcoin, but we rarely talk about the first step – spending less and stretching every penny.

The Impending Financial Doom

We’ve been dealing with high inflation (high prices weakening the dollar) and shortages for a while now, and it won’t get better anytime soon.

I’m not one of those preppers that look at every current situation and say, “This is it. We’ll all hit the wall, and everything will collapse.” But we can all agree that things will likely worsen before they improve.

Misguided Prepper Mindset Dangers When It Comes To Money

Well over five years ago, I wrote an article, Survival Gear I Didn’t Need And Shouldn’t Have Bought – A Couple Of Real Examples, showing how I allowed outside influences to partly convince me what to buy.

More importantly, I let my want to outweigh my need. I liked that feel-good ‘tacticacool’ gear – not necessarily preparing logically.

I don’t want to make this about me, but perhaps you can relate. I was digging in deep with the bushcraft idealogy where running into the woods and surviving off the land became my bugout plan.

I had packs stuffed with survival and camping equipment. I spent weekends and even a few week-long vacations solo hiking in the woods. I won’t lie, it was fun, and I learned a lot. I also rediscovered I love hiking.

The problem was I convinced myself that a ‘hobby’ I enjoyed ranked up there with preparedness. So I let my love for an activity justify taking money away from being truly prepared.

It was a bitter pill to swallow in admitting to myself that I spent thousands of dollars on survival gear rather than focusing on prepping and logical preparedness.

Can you relate? Is there something you focus on that falls into the ‘want’ category, justifying it with a false feeling of preparedness?

Anything? Equipping the badest 4×4, we can afford because it’s the perfect bugout vehicle? Paying for cable news channels so we can stay informed (Better options), spending more than necessary on a huge generator? Buying another gun, plate carrier, or night vision? How about buying gallons and gallons of hand sanitizer because it’s becoming scarce? ✋Guilty😳

There’s nothing wrong with those things as long as we’re not ignoring the basics like food & supplies, clean water, an emergency fund, medical needs, insurance, and a concrete action plan.

There’s also nothing wrong with spending money on a hobby. The danger falls into believing those expenses serve our goals of preparing for the future.

Don’t let prepping justify unnecessary spending.

Reallocating Funds For Prepping

Reallocating funds for prepping is a fancy way of saying, “Budgeting For Prepping.” I know it’s not a fun topic, but it is crucial for most of us. Of course, if you have unlimited funds, none of this will apply.

A Few Ideas For Freeing Up Funds For Prepping

Tiny expenses add up – We (again with me) have a re-occurring struggle in our budget with simple things like coffee. Without mentioning names, one of us has spent, on average, eighty dollars a week on Starbucks. Add in another forty bucks a week on lunches, and we’re looking at $500/month [$80×4.3=$516] – on expensive, unhealthy coffee and lunch!

Spending more upfront to save – Many of our expenses can be paid annually or even for a lifetime to reduce monthly debits. A few examples of our situation include things like website hosting, memberships, and insurance.

My friend Todd Sepulveda of Ready Your Future pointed me to a website, AppSumo (Aff), that offers lifetime deals (sometimes just one-year deals) on tools we use as content creators and publishers. I’ve found other sites that have similar sales.

One example is the service I use to create the audio so you can listen to these articles. I paid once at a discounted price for life—or the life of that website.

I have several other tools I own for life without monthly or yearly fees by taking advantage of the offers. This is another one of those situations where you can go overboard and buy things you won’t use. Ask me how I know. 😉

Buy once, cry once – There are times to be frugal, and there are times to buy quality. Here’s an example – I wanted an Excalibur dehydrator for years before I bought one. They are expensive. Again, it’s a want, not a need. I already had a decent dehydrator.

I wanted an All-American pressure canner for a long time before forking out close to five hundred bucks for one. I already had a couple of decent canners, both pressure and water bath.

By the way, did you know you could use a pressure canner as a water bath canner? You just want a rack and lid—something to think about.

Are those brand names necessary? Absolutely not. Are they better purchases? That’s up for debate, but I don’t regret the purchases for one reason—I had proven to myself that I would use them long-term. They wouldn’t sit on a shelf collecting dust.

Other examples could be alternative cooking methods, water filtration, medical & first aid supplies, and storage supplies. In my mind, the importance justifies the expense. You don’t want to discover that the Chinese knockoff tourniquet breaks that one time you need it or that your water filter isn’t keeping you healthy when the SHTF.

Pay down your debt – Paying off debt is an obvious step, but I have to include it here. I like the snowball method promoted by Dave Ramsey, where you pay off the smallest payments first, applying those funds to the next loan with the smallest payment. Others feel you should pay off debt with the highest interest rates first.

Regardless of your method, paying off debt not only helps in reallocating funds for prepping—it relieves stress twofold. You relieve the stress of the financial burden weighing on you and relieve stress by being more prepared.

A Side Hustle – This can be huge. Earning more is the same as spending less if you don’t increase your expenses because you have more to spend on things like entertainment or a more expensive car. Better to apply that cash to build your emergency fund, invest, and, yes, reallocate funds for prepping.

Finding a side hustle has never been easier.

Websites – I’ve been running websites for twenty years, but the profit has been up and down. They’re a lot of work, and expenses can get out of hand if you’re not careful. Don’t let that deter you, though. Others have created empires that started with a blog or website.

I get a lot of personal enjoyment and satisfaction from my passion for writing, but it can be tough to make a source of income that puts food in the pantry with blogging.

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I’ve tried Uber, Lyft, and Amazon Flex with some success. I did eBay things years ago. I’ve considered selling garden herbs and microgreens but never pulled the trigger. Speaking of triggers, I have a friend with a concealed carry course who does well with it. I did freelance writing for years.

Almost everything you can imagine is available today. Online stores, crafts, dog sitting, house cleaning, knife sharpening, various training courses, mowing lawns, shopping for people, delivering food or supplies, Airbnb, babysitting, Fiverr, coaching, Etsy, and a thousand other ways of making money.

In 2006, I sold Budweiser signs on eBay and flea markets as a side hustle. I knew a warehouse manager of a promotional product company that would throw out pallets of promotional signs, and we struck a deal over me selling them instead.

Selling Budweiser signs as a side hustle in 2006.
I sold Budweiser signs as a side hustle on eBay and flea markets in 2006.

At $5/sign (Plus shipping for eBay), we did well. There were other items later, but people loved buying signs for their garages. This took nothing more than recognizing an opportunity, working out a deal, and investing a little time and effort. It was fun.

I know a guy that bought a power washer and started cleaning trucks and trailers for a trucking company. Now he has a legitimate and successful business with employees that travel to locations with vans equipped for the job.

Another friend bought a heavy-duty dump trailer to pull with his pickup truck. Now he has five trailers and rents them out for job cleanups and roofers. He gets paid for the rent, delivery, pick up, and dumping of the material at the landfill. For an hour or two of his time per transaction, the trailers are paid for the first year. He’s retiring from his job early to rent the trailers as he expands into residential trash pickup. Insurance is cheap because he lets no one else pull the trailers.

I have a family member that buys from businesses going under and bidding on storage units. She’s turned that into a full-time gig with a local auction site. I’ve added to my preps in a big way using auctions, but that’s for a future article.

Worthy of your consideration:

The Preparedness Community’s Guide to a Microbiz and Increasing Your Finances

More Personal Examples Of Saving Money

Every time I take a step, I find another step to take. As a result, we have cut hundreds of dollars a month without much effort and have plans for more.

We have three used cars for two people but no car payment. The third is a backup vehicle when one of the other cars breakdown. Of course, they break, but it doesn’t push us into a personal SHTF event.

I just did a little spring cleaning of our monthly debits.

I dumped a handful of small debits we don’t need and rarely use. For example, I’ve had Pandora radio for many years but stopped using it a few years ago. I kept it for so long because it worked well, was only $4.95/month, and I’ve had it since 2010. None of those reasons make sense, so we have almost sixty dollars a year for prepping.

Other expenses we’ve cut include Imgflip (9.95/mo), E-link ($15/mo), Microsoft ($7.41/mo), Kindle Unlimited ($9.99/mo), Sling TV ($40/mo. – Bought an outdoor TV antenna for local channels), Inoreader ($9.99/mo), Paramount ($4.99/mo), EasyBib (Chegg) for creating reference citations ($10.55/mo), and, yes, the expensive coffees.

That’s $107.88 a month of reallocated funds for prepping. And that doesn’t include saving $344/month on Starbucks. So how much prepping can we get done with another $5,482 a year (That includes Pandora and Starbucks)? Or how much will another five grand in our emergency fund help?

Separating Your Prep Money

I saved the best advice for last. At least, I think it’s a great idea, and I’ve been doing it for years.

We add prepping to our budget as if it were a flexible monthly bill. I started with an envelope for cash in my safe labeled “Prepping.” I soon realized it would be easier if our prepping budget had a bank account since much of our preps were purchased online. Today I have a portion of my paycheck go into that prepping account.

This helps eliminate waiting to see what’s left of our expenses, which is very little after life happens.

Running a separate account also assists in saving for the more expensive prepping and preparedness items we want. No credit cards are needed – just building funds in a checking account.

Extra Credit Suggestion: It might seem a little unusual, but I pay our larger bills weekly since I’m paid weekly. For instance, I pay one forth of our house payment each week. This helps in two ways: First, I don’t have to come up with that huge payment at the end of each month or worry about setting aside a portion of it from each paycheck. It’s done automatically. I pay only my house payment from that account. Second, it adds an extra payment every year to our principal. By paying 52 weekly payments, 13 monthly payments are paid yearly [52/4=13]. I also pay more than the minimum payment.

I even pay my water bill weekly using bill pay. The lady at our township says I’m the only one that sends a weekly check to them. I’m over a hundred dollars ahead of the actual bill because it varies with each cycle.

Online banking resource links: Here are a few easy and free online banks I use for separating specific bills and our prepping fund (Not an endorsement – we know the issues with banks right now):

  • Ally Bank (Recommended by a prepping buddy I trust that’s also my go-to source for Bitcoin advice)
  • T-Mobile Money (I opened this account after T-Mobile bought Sprint)
  • Capital One 360 (It was called ING Direct when I opened the account in 2008 before Capital One bought them. Nothing seems to have changed except the little orange ball is gone.)

Wrapping Up Reallocating Funds For Prepping

There are two critical steps to getting started when it comes to reallocating funds for prepping. First, you need a plan, and you must prioritize it.

Think things out, and decide what works best for you and your situation. Then do it. It’s not fun, but it can have a massive payoff.

Call To Action / Next Step

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Related Article: Financial Preparedness: 5 Ways to Better Your Financial Situation

Next Step: Building YOUR Realistic Preparedness Action Plan

Stay safe. Stay prepared.
God Bless. Hawkins out.

Disclaimer – I’m a prepper and a blogger. I am not a financial expert. I worked in insurance and financial counseling for a couple of years in the 80s and even ran a silly little financial blog years ago (First published in 2004), but I’m no more a financial expert than a doctor. My bank account proves that. Please seek professionals when needed and use my article only as motivation if you find it helpful.

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Brian Hawkins

Father, grandfather, Veteran, animal lover, law-abiding taxpayer, homeowner, trucker, and a United States Citizen. Oh, and I'm also a prepper, survivalist, responsible gun owner, and hiker.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. jeffb

    Brian, Great idea to automatically create your prepper funds. Like a lot of us out here, I was a loner in the family when I started and had to keep it under the radar until I could get the family on board. I would always get an extra 20 when checking out or when my wife gave me my weekly cash allowance, I would simply stick it in a jar. I created my Emergency cash fund this way and built my 6 month supply of bills this way. A couple of big infusions didnt hurt when the kids paid us back or I sold something. So as the dollar slowly crashes, what to do with the cash? Besides send it to you to get rid of!!! (next article I guess?)

    1. Brian Hawkins

      Ha Ha, you know me too well. That’s exactly what I was going to say – send the cash to me.

      Three visits to the vet, one to an animal emergency hospital, and car issues (battery on one, tires on one, and now my Edge won’t start) all in a few weeks was frustrating, but the emergency fund relieved the financial stress that would have been there without it. I’ve already started replenishing it. I aim to replace those funds on top of the weekly deposits within sixty days. I made another bill (to self) out of it. One payment down, seven to go.

      BTW, my wife was with me when I paid the $651 vet hospital bill. I’m not saying that I kept that account a secret, but she was surprised when I paid with a debit card that she’s never seen. Her sister asked if she was mad about it, and she said, “No, he’s always been like that, and I don’t have to worry about paying a surprise bill. He always comes up with the money.” She didn’t even ask what the balance of the account is. Forty years in August, I think she knows me pretty well by now. 🙂

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