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Without overtly saying so, a typical theme at Backdoor Survival is saving money. Whether it is making your own household products, finding new ways to repurpose old things, or showing you how to build stuff yourself, saving money is something I promote both in writing and in practice.
Some may say that this is being cheap. Most certainly my own family considers it quirky if not downright silly, especially since they know what I can and can not afford. But you know what? For those of us that are members of the prepper community, saving money is not being cheap, it is being frugal. Furthermore, being frugal is an important part of being self-sufficient because after all, our goal is to take care of our own needs with less reliance on governments, supermarkets and shopping malls.
Frugal is a State of Mind
I have always maintained that living a frugal lifestyle means living a life without waste. It means being economical when it comes to utilizing resources (money, power, water, even words) so that those same resources can be spent on things that matter. And that is the crux of the deal: what matters to one person may be insignificant, excessive or even wasteful to someone else. It all gets down to choices.
You can be rich and be frugal. You can be poor and be a wasteful spendthrift. At the end of the day, frugal is a state of mind.
Wikipedia defines frugality as the practice of acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner, and resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services, to achieve a longer term goal.
So how does one achieve a frugal lifestyle?
8 Tips for Achieving a Frugal Lifestyle
1. Make wise spending choices. A frugal person will buy the things he or she needs only after first looking for the best price and/or value for goods and services.
2. Learn to recognize the difference between need and want. I like to use the analogy of eating that second piece of homemade apple pie after already consuming the first. Sure you want it; but do you need it? Given a few minutes to think about it, the choice is likely to be “no” and much like buyers remorse, if you indulge, you will regret it later.
3. Strive for no debt. The frugal person will pay up front, or if using a credit card, will pay in full with each monthly statement. You can find some terrific deals at thrift stores; especially on used clothing in good repair. Another way to remain debt fee is to barter.
4. Find joy in simple things. Taking a walk with your dog can liberate your mind as you enjoy the fresh air and take in the scenery. Playing cards or board games, reading, and even dancing are simple pleasures that cost nothing.
5. No miserly suffering. The frugal person will not suffer with the heat turned totally off because the cost of electricity is too high. Instead, the thermostat will be turned down and you will bundle up with heavy clothing and a nice down vest (possibly from the thrift store).
6. Reuse, repair and recycle. Continue to use that old, but working toaster. Likewise, keep your things in good repair. Sew on those loose and broken buttons, fix a zipper (it is not as difficult as you might think), and keep your home and tools in tip top shape so that the need to replace things will become a thing of the past.
7. Spend money on things that count. With every purchase you want to add to your lifestyle and not duplicate it. Does that make sense? Automobiles are a good example. If you already have a car that runs great, do you really need to replace it? Will it enhance your lifestyle or are you simply trading up? Go back and read #2 so that you recognize the difference between need and want.
8. Do it yourself. Don’t pay for services you can easily tackle yourself. Or, if you don’t have a particular skill, see if you can find someone who does and barter, barter, barter!
Coming To Terms With Your Own Frugality
Times are tough and are likely to get tougher. Many folks are still unemployed or underemployed, and the cost of merely getting by is escalating rapidly in spite of what the media, economists and governments are telling us.
That said, the challenge for all of us is to define frugality in our own terms. Whatever we do, we want to have a clear goal that makes the frugal lifestyle and the frugal mindset a worthy endeavor. That goal can be paying the rent, saving for a down payment on a house, buying food, or even taking a vacation.
The Final Word
My goal is self-sufficiency but yours may be different. Whatever your goal, think about frugality, and make sure you are not setting your self up for a miserable life by pinching pennies simply for the sake of pinching.
Benjamin Franklin said: “Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves”.
Just make sure that you have a plan for those dollars that will afford you a more complete and more desirable life, however you choose to define it.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: The current Amazon Top 10 Most Wished for Items was just updated. There are a few new items as well as some old favorites.
ProForce Commando Wire Saw Bulk, Ideal For Survival Kits: This new addition that qualifies for the Almost Free page. Here is what one reviewer had to say:
“When I got the saw, I thought it was a dinky little wire. My expectations were blown away!! I can cut a three inch tree in three min. I would much so recommend that you get this saw.”
Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System: This is another new addition. Fans of the Sawyer water filtration systems are evangelistic in their praise.
SABRE RED Police Strength Pepper Spray: This fits in the palm of your hand and is equipped with a convenient hand strap for immediate deployment. SABRE delivers a strong ballistic stream to reduce wind blow back and permits safe distance from your threat with its ten (10) foot range.
BaoFeng UV-5R Dual-Band Ham Radio: These BaoFeng’s are extremely popular with Backdoor Survival readers. I have two. The Baofeng UV-5R is a compact hand held transceiver providing 4 watts in the frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz. It is a compact, economical HT that includes a special VHF receive band from 65 – 108 MHz which includes the regular FM broadcast band. Dual watch and dual reception is supported. Here is the antenna I ordered: NAGOYA Antenna for BAOFENG UV-5R (thanks to a recommendation from my pal, George Ure).
Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: I now own six of these little gems. There is a similar flashlight called the Pak-Lite (which is more expensive) but it does not have a high-low switch like this one. These little flashlights just go and go, plus, they make good use of those re-purposed 9V alkaline batteries that you have recharged with your Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger.
FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight Torch Adjustable Focus Zoom Light Lamp: Here we go with another flashlight. It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof. Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery.
A recent Mountain House Order
These are just a few of the items that are on sale. Click on this link for more: Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials.
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