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Be Thrifty and Simplify: Your Hedge Against Hard Economic Times

October 10, 2011 by  

Be Thrifty and Simplify: Your Hedge Against Hard Economic Times

Are you in financial trouble? Are you unemployed? Are you in danger of losing your home? Are your debts draining your income and savings? Are you worried about the future? What will your children and grandchildren do if we have an economic collapse?

Perhaps you are one of the millions of people that want the government to fix this problem. The truth is that the fix begins with us. We can take control of our own situations and change how we deal with the problems the government has gotten us into.

I read an article about being thrifty in a magazine called The Philadelphia Trumpet, March 2011. I was very impressed with the article, which quotes Benjamin Franklin many times. The author, Dennis Leap, suggests several things that we as individuals can do to improve our own situations in hard times.

Don’t Wait For A Handout

Get out and make your own way. I know there are exceptions for people who have disabilities, however, if you are able to and can work, do it. Hard work is what this nation was founded upon. People are healthier mentally if they are working to pay their own way in life. Make it happen for yourself and you will feel happier and more satisfied than if you wait for someone else to give it to you.

Get Out Of The Habit Of Borrowing

Pay for what you get and don’t borrow or go into debt for anything other than a home and a vehicle. If you can possibly save up and pay cash for these things you can put the interest money in your own pocket and your savings will grow.

Be Thrifty

Being thrifty means using money and resources wisely and carefully. A thrifty person has self-discipline. It must become a habit to be thrifty and live within your means. Controlling spending builds character and self-control. There are two types of people in this world, producers and consumers. If you earn more than you spend, you are a producer. If you spend more than you earn, you are a consumer. Using credit cards and going into consumer debt is one of the things taking our nation down the road to economic collapse.

Live Simply

We live in a consuming society. The government’s answer to this issue is to give out stimulus packages designed to promote spending. The government says, “spend, spend, spend; that will save our nation.” Leaders want us to fill our houses with more stuff that we don’t need. They say that will fix the problem. The truth of the matter is that we need to buckle down and conserve our money and resources and take care of what we have. To avoid waste, we need to purchase quality items in the first place and take good care of them. That way we only need to purchase the items once.

Less really is more. We don’t take any of this with us when we die, yet we work so hard to pay for it while we are here. The truth is that if we lived more simply, we would have time for relationships with friends and family and we might just enjoy our lives a little more. Franklin taught that a full life is made rich with happy experiences and not stuff.

What To Do When Food Supplies Are Low

Many people in our nation are a bit overweight and could actually reduce their intake of food by half and still be fine for an extended period of time. Water is essential for short-term survival, but food is not. We can go for a few days on rationed food and still be OK. There is an exception to this for pregnant women, children and people with diseases that require their blood sugar levels to remain constant.

Ideas to help conserve on food reserves:

  • Purchase items in bulk and look for sale items that will give you more for your money.
  • Use coupons for items you normally purchase. Don’t buy something you know your family won’t use.
  • Learn to cook from scratch instead of purchasing pre-made foods that cost a lot more.
  • Don’t eat out so much; this will save you a lot of money. Fast food is an unnecessary expense that can be avoided by planning ahead.
  • Pack a nutritious lunch and take it to work with you. By not eating out every day you could easily save $200 to $300 per month. That money could be used to pay down debt or put into savings.
  • Look for less expensive cuts of meat and items that are on special.
  • Consume less junk food and sweets. Not only are they expensive, they also contribute to being unhealthy.
  • Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits by growing your own garden.
  • Bottle or can excess food that is in season.
  • Store fruits and vegetables in a root cellar or cold storage to use throughout the winter. Don’t waste any food. Use leftovers and make soups or stews from scraps of meat and vegetables left over from other meals. A high percentage of our leftover food from meals could be used again but is thrown out instead. I give all my unused food to my chickens. It helps me justify throwing it out. Leftovers can also be composted.

Ideas to stretch the dollar and conserve your hard-earned money:

  • If you’re buying a home, choose one that meets your needs but doesn’t put you in a financial bind. Don’t try to impress others with lavish purchases.
  • If you have less stuff you won’t need as big a house. If you live simply, it will be easier to clean your house.
  • Do as much of the home repairs and fix-up as possible yourself.
  • Do your own lawn mowing and trimming if possible rather than hiring it out. With a smaller home and less property there will be less maintenance, and the exercise you get will be beneficial to your health.
  • Get a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Car pool, walk or ride a bike whenever possible.
  • Rent movies instead of taking the family to the theater. You can watch a lot more movies and enjoy your time together as a family.
  • Give up unnecessary expenses such as a TV in every room, all the extra channels on the satellite or cable, and fancy cell phones with Internet charges attached.
  • Conserve energy by shutting off lights in the house and using more efficient light bulbs.
  • Weatherproof doors and windows to reduce heating and cooling costs.
  • When purchasing new appliances, furnaces or water heaters, choose energy-efficient models.
  • Shop for quality clothing on sale or shop bargain centers such as thrift shops. Many people donate perfectly good clothing and you can benefit from it. Quality classics last longer and do not need to be replaced as often.
  • Make a budget and stick to it.
  • Pay yourself 10 percent of every check and stash the cash. It will make you feel better to have a reserve of money just in case you need it.

Are you a producer or a consumer? People who have a good work ethic will find themselves in a position to help others that are in a bind. Having enough to share with others who are in need will not only bless others’ lives but will enrich our own. Peace of mind comes from knowing that in hard times you are the one giving instead of receiving.

Food Storage And Self-Sufficiency Products Available

If you are interested in any of the seven books I have written (such as Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook, or Cookin’ with Home Storage), water storage tanks, ION water treatment, dehydrated or freeze dried food storage sealed in gallon-sized cans with a shelf life of 15 years, wheat grinders, sewage treatment, 72-hour packs or emergency medical supplies, click here.

Prepackaged Food Storage Meals With A 15-Year Shelf Life
I have been storing packaged meals called eFoods. They are ideal for long-term food storage because they are packaged in Mylar® pouches that serve four people. Everything is in the pouch except water. Just add water and cook the food for 15 minutes, and it’s done. The meals are delicious and the company will let you try samples of the meals before you buy. Just pay $9.95 for shipping and you get three meals that serve four people. I find them very delicious and easy to make. That is what you need in a crisis situation. I don’t just save them for a rainy day. I make the eFoods for meals when I am in a hurry, in the mountains, camping or hiking or feeding a crowd. I have decided that premade meals are the best food storage you can buy. They are fast, easy and convenient, and you don’t waste food that way.

This company has a program through which you can get one box of food per month. They call it “auto-shipment,” and it’s great! All you need is 10 minutes to set it up, and your food storage will be on auto-ship. Each month, you get a box of food delivered to your home. Go to the website, click on Take the Freedom Tour, sign up for the free food and enjoy. Check it out here.

— Peggy Layton

Peggy Layton

a home economist and licensed nutritionist, holds a B.S. in Home Economics Education with a minor in Food Science and Nutrition from Brigham Young University. Peggy lives in Manti, Utah with her husband Scott. Together they have raised seven children. Peggy owns and operates two businesses: One called "The Therapy Center", where she is a licensed massage therapist and hypnotherapist, and the other an online cookbook and preparedness products business. She is nationally known for publishing a series of seven books on the subject of food storage and also lectures and teaches seminars about preparedness and using food storage products. Peggy practices what she preaches, has no debt, grows a huge garden, lives off the land, raises chickens, bottles and dehydrates food and has time left over to operate her businesses. To check out Peggy's cookbooks and self sufficiency products go to her website www.peggylayton.com. To get a free sample of three different storable meals that have a 15-year shelf life go here.

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  • Beck

    Thanks Peggy for your article.
    Already cut back and still looking for new ideals. I store a lot in dry goods. Beans and rice are my main dry goods. Make my own egg noodles, and cook from scratch.
    Also I dry herbs for cooking and for herb tea. Herb tea is a high price item at the store but why buy it when it is easy to create your own.
    It’s a toss-up on building a root cellar. I been reading up on them in MotherEarth.com and I would love to try building one, but…. I have hard clay dirt and large rocks to remove by digging. It would take months for me to gain any depth. So the question is: how deep would I need before building the root cellar?

    • independant thinker

      I do not claim to be an expert on the subject but I think you could get by with going 3-4 feet deep. Keep the earth you remove and pile it against and over your cellar for insulation.

  • Patriot II

    Think about this, if all of us lived like our Great Grandparents did
    (Speaking from a Baby Boomer’s age group)

    Dad worked outside in the Field, or on a Ranch, in the Coal mines, or in the Factory, Mom stayed home and worked around the home, the Kids about 8 or so, worked in the Garden, chopped the wood, fed the livestock, helped around the house until they were 12 (old enough to work in the Fields or factories etc. Everyone worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week.

    We have turned into a Nation of Prima Donnas demanding our union wages that are more per Hour than Great Grandpas made in a Month!! Whining about having to work a mere measly 40 hours per week and demanding that the Rich take care of our Lazy Asses.

    They all lived in a 700 Square ft Two Story Shack if they were lucky, the point is they found things to make them happy. They were blissfully ignorant of the burden of Cell phones, CNN, MSN, the Price of Gas, not a big enough TV, having to eat at home, because all you can afford is Groceries, Having a Car rather than a horse and buggy, PC’s Facebook, the list goes on (feel free to add) all the problems we have today. And OMG no 4 wheelers, or Boats, RVs, should I go on?

    Ask yourself this: Why do you think you deserve so much more than your Great Grandparents had?

    • Slw Thnkr

      I completely disagree with your assertion that because they were happy while driving a buggy and cleaning horse manure when all they could afford was groceries that we should villify the luxuries that exist today and revert to shacks and horses.

      The “American Dream” at it’s core is that through my hard work I create an environment that allows my children and grandchildren to have a better life than me, and that they will use that opportunity to exponentially improve the lives of their children, etc. The problem is that we failed to teach fiscal responsibility to the current generations, somehow they didn’t learn that we have to earn the improvements and pay for them as we can afford them – it is not a right and people do not “deserve” them.

      The advantage our parents/grandparents had was that they learned early on that work was how you got to do things – the failure to teach the next generation that actions and choices have consequences is not technology’s failure, it is the boomers. It starts in the mirror – I deserve more than my great grandparents because they, along with my grandparents, parents and I have all worked hard to make sure I do.

      I will not denegrate that legacy by villifying the realization of their dream, instead I will teach my children their heritage and instill in them an awareness of the role of that legacy in their life in and their responsibility to build on that legacy for their children. I pray that my children will not have to work dawn to dusk like the venerated grandparents or 80 hour weeks to make ends meet like my dad or even 50-60 hour weeks like me and that through having to work fewer hours they have a greater quality of life. spend more time with their kids and grandkids, see areas of the world my grandparents only heard about in books and transform a culture that has forgotten the law of consequences.

      • Patriot II

        Slw Thnkr,

        You missed the point all together.

        The point is to be thankful for what you have, not expect someone else to give it to you, and that starts with a fundamental realization that things are much better now than “the old days” and to quit expecting someone else to give to you what you don’t deserve. There is No right in this country to have all the Money Stuff and things that people automatically expect the Socialist government to hand over to them after robbing the wealthy of their hard work earned for them.

        That’s like they New McBama Burger at McDonalds, it has everything you want, don’t worry about paying for it, order it anyway because the Guy in line behind you will have to pay for it so why is it your problem?

  • gigi 81

    this article is so on target. I married in 1947 had 4 children was a stay at home mom. My husband’s job was a commercial fisherman which meant our income was never steady. I always managed by the common sense rule I never bought what I did not need and looked for the least expensive in what ever I purchased. What was important to us was to own a home,car and a savings account, which we were able to do. Our children were able to play in our neighborhood and in time had part time jobs and all went to college. Our example was to be independent and not to depend on the government but on our own resources. What went wrong? For one thing-too much government interference slowing taking over our lives until we believe we can not live without “big daddy”.

  • Elevenarrows

    I would add yet another often-neglected idea to save money: Mom stays home to educate the kids. Government schooling is not “free” and private schooling (although a better choice) is expensive. By home-educating our children, we have been able to provide a superior education with much less expense. Because the kids are at home, we do not have to buy costly “convenience” foods for school lunches. We do not have to buy nicer wardrobes for Mom or the kids. We do not have to spend more money on fuel dashing to school/work every day and countless after-school activities. Mom is free to clean her own house, make her own meals, do her own laundry without feeling the need to outsource these common activities. With Mom at home, there are no childcare expenses. Although we have a second vehicle, many families that choose to have Mom at home have been able to eliminate that expense, too. It is a simpler lifestyle sweetened by wonderful memories made on a daily basis. Sacrifices? Oh, yes. I could write a book about that! But….so, so worth the “cost”.

  • D Dude

    First of all one has to have the time and money to cook from scratch. One can only go so far
    in depriving their sleep needs on a regular basis in order to get everything done that must be
    done in the day so must purchase sale items or with coupons convenient foods at least a couple of times during the week of necessity for everyday living especially if one is carefully, regularly, & persistently using time management techniques. Limited funds/fixed, taking care of 4 disabled persons, one of which takes double & even triple the time in home schooling efforts. Giving up beef & pork is a great plus economically and is an excellent choice for better health, and limiting the number of servings of fowl to favor vegetarian and cold water fish. Growing your own or raising your own food is a big help if everyone can help for it also costs money, time, and effort, however if you can not commit the time and effort do not start for it will be a waste of invested money. There are however a great many things we buy, but absolutely do not need so always ask yourself, ‘do I need this and will I definitely use it in the near future’ even if it is
    on sale or on clearance. Unfortunately jobs for children are rare for the grownups snatch them up these days even those with degrees snatch them up for a job is a job and better than nothing coming in. There are a great many more unemployed than reported at @ 9% for many are
    off the unemployment compensation lists. We are deliberately being mislead as to how bad
    things really are. It started way back and just mounted up over the years by wheeling and dealing and a lot of self-serving plus ego satisfying on a very large scale. Being practical & realistic went out the door and the voters were not paying attention for they were still OK at
    the beginning. Now, finally that it has gotten seriously bad economically and affects everyone more or less we are paying attention. There has to be a very big clean up of the snake pit
    of rules, regulations and laws and stop all unnecessary spending until it is cleaned up. No
    more give aways. Stop printing unbacked money. Subsidies are totally unnecessary as
    are huge bonuses. When we hear of the huge bonuses we know that company is not being taxed appropriately due to all the special loopholes provided the wealthy.

    • Opal the Gem

      “When we hear of the huge bonuses we know that company is not being taxed appropriately due to all the special loopholes provided the wealthy.”

      No, it means the board of directors are not fulfilling their responsibility to the stockholders and the stockholders are not holding the board responsible for their actions.

  • Thinking About

    I wish it was as easy as some judge in saying just get off your lazy duff and get a job and everything will be alright. I am currently working a minimal wage job which pays $60 a day gross. I am lucky since I have other sources of income but some of my co-workers is trying to provide shelter and food with this amount 5 times a week. Just to add, they are thankful for the dollars they are getting. Talk about being thrifty we know because we live the life and it is not whiners wanting to be supported by the government. For those who think life is so easy to make it on minimin wage, try it for a year it two and then write about your experiences. Occupy Wall Street, keep it going and maybe the truth will get out. We want jobs so we can support our families plain and simple.

  • erskine

    Many of the things printed here is on point, however, overall it talks about how to save, we have to be able to earn, its becoming more clearer to me that we have to redo the business model and start small and stay small. we start small business and start growing to the point that we need more to keep the big business going. LETS STAY SMALL JUST ENOUGH TO TAKE CARE OF MY FAMILY AND PROVIDE A LITTLE SUPPORT FOR MY COMMUNITY”

  • Christin

    Great Article Peggy… thanks for your many ideas.

    We have been doing many of the things you have mentioned.

    We moved to the country and have a simpler life style.
    It is great to look out any window and see trees and pastures instead of streets, crowded houses and traffic.

    We grow vegetables and fruit… though this year was challenging with the 100+ degree heat and lack of rain.

    I make home-made soups, beans and rice… My spouse doesn’t spend so much money eating out in the big city anymore. And he is nearby now when I need help with the kids.

    We don’t have big birthday parties for our children at fancy expensive party places getting many toys to fill up their bedrooms and our house. But we still make a big deal out of their birthday, have cake, a few presents, friends, neighbors and laughter.

    We spend a lot of time at church which is our social network of friends. Our kids love to go to church! We have dinners at church together and we bring a dish and dessert.

    We sometimes have family movie night or game night and invite family and friends.

    We are happy living away from the busy city and the police state mentality of LEO…and I am glad to not be in the ‘rat race’ ‘dog eat dog’ world of the suburbs near the city.

    Simpler life doesn’t mean harder, just less stressful, and that alone will probably add years to anyone’s life.

  • LAW14

    One of the things that frequently gets my attention is the mind-set of younger people that for some reason they feel that they should start off in life where their parents currently are; not stopping to figure out the sacrifices and work that has enabled the parents to provide for their lifestyle. I have to admit that my own children have this attitude, and it is my short-coming for glossing over the hard spots, sacrifices and scrimping that allows us our current lifestyle. If we started that “education” sooner, maybe we could head off some of that “I want it now” mentality.

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