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22 Side Gigs to Develop Now and be Ready When the Lights Goes Out

When the power grid goes down and stays down, local economies will focus on the basics, and trade goes low-tech. NOW is the time to think about how you will be able to manufacture goods or offer services from home that you can use for income or barter.

The purpose of this list is to get the reader thinking about ways to earn income or barter with such skills should the need arise. The ideal side gig is one that has a low or no start-up cost, won’t take long to learn to do, and can be earning immediate income in a variety of ways (including using online platforms), yet can be adapted easily and continued in a grid-down or societal collapse scenario.

Here is a list of 22 modest side gigs you can begin now and be ready to go low tech when the time arrives.

Sell firewood. Everyone will need a way to cook their food and keep their dwellings warm. Contact the local US. Forest Service office and inquire about getting a permit to harvest downed trees. Take a truck and a chainsaw and you’re in business. Cut the logs, split it, stack it, and season it. You can sell by the cord, or by the bundle.

Start a produce business. Start as a middleman and buy from a produce wholesaler in your area, then resell at retail prices. Don’t forget many down and out people sold apples during the Great Depression to make ends meet. This is an easy business to start because you can buy bags of apples and oranges and start selling at flea markets, door to door, on street corners or at the farmer’s market. Develop routes for personal deliveries of produce. Take bags of fruit and veggies and drive through campgrounds and RV parks and sell from your vehicle. Make sure you are not violating any local soliciting laws. If you go through campgrounds, ask permission of the park manager first. This business can be adapted to benefit people who will be growing much of their own food and need a way to barter with it (which you can supply) and can be re-tooled to go low tech through distribution by bicycle.

Laundry/ironing service. Before electricity gave rise to clothes washing machines and dryers, people hand-washed their apparel, hung them outdoors to dry in the sun and pressed clothes with irons heated on top of wood stoves. This is a business you can start today with all-electric tools yet can adapt beautifully to low-tech tools in a flash. Be prepared by acquiring a washtub, wash board, and a wringer to pass clothes through to eliminate excess water. Put up a clothesline or find a drying rack and find an old-fashioned iron. Secure a good supply of laundry soap such as Zote or Fels Naptha. Practice using these low-tech tools and you will have an important skill to sell or barter.

Sewing and alterations service. You’d be surprised how rare a business like this is becoming. Back in the day, being a seamstress or tailor was steady work and your family didn’t starve. Start low tech like the Amish! Get a treadle or hand-crank sewing machine. Stockpile fabric, thread, notions, needles, sewing patterns, and replacement parts for your machine. Concentrate on learning how to re-size items and do repairs on coats and jackets.

Learn to knit or crochet. Start small to gain your skill, then concentrate on making warm sweaters and socks. Stockpile yarn and anything made of wool that you can unravel and re-purpose or mend and use for barter. You can find bulk yarn at thrift stores and garages sales.

Recondition and repair shoes. When the electricity goes down, how will the gas pumps run? Walking will become the primary mode of transportation, shoes will take a beating, and people will be more mindful of taking better care of their footwear. Start now to gain the skill to recondition and do small repairs to sneakers and boots. Stock up on polish, leather cleaners, dyes, buffers, Shoe Goo, and all kinds of shoelaces. Since this kind of work is all done by hand, it’s a perfect side gig to learn in stages, yet still earn income before and after the grid goes down. There are people who find quality men’s shoes in thrift stores, recondition them and then sell them for top dollar on platforms like Poshmark, Mercari or Etsy. Why not earn as you learn and do the same? You’ll be ready when the grid goes down and trade this skill for other things you need. Here’s a free reference tool that details shoe repair back in the day: Home book to learn expert shoe repairing (PDF).

Sharpen knives and scissors. With a small investment for proper tools and training, this type of business never goes out of style. Start by sharpening your own knives, scissors and saws, and practice using modern as well as “old school” tools. Set up routes to professionally sharpen kitchen knives at cafes and restaurants and sharpen the scissors and clippers at beauty salons and barbershops. This is not as easy as it seems, because high-end knives and scissors need to be maintained at a higher level and require a professional’s skill with a pro’s tools. Yet, having this skill will be valuable in a grid down economy, when people will need such a service.

Recondition used bicycles, mopeds, scooters, and learn how to motorize bikes. When gasoline costs skyrocket or altogether disappears, bicycles will be THE mode of human-powered transportation. Learn to recondition and repair them now and be ready. If you can also do upgrades to the average bicycle, your service will be gold! It’s possible to install solar-powered electric engines to bikes to help those who can’t pedal everywhere (the elderly, differently abled). It might be useful to learn how to take small gas-powered lawnmower engines and adapt them to bicycles, turning them into motorized bikes. These types of engines can run on alternative fuels, the manufacture of which will also become a cottage industry. Inventory will be the tricky part but start by scouring neighborhoods on trash collection day. Free is the best price! Scrap collectors find bikes put out in the trash all the time. Or scout the freebie section of Craigslist and buy as many as you can at the lowest price you can, at garage sales. Offer to upgrade bikes by attaching a basket in front and back, turning a regular bicycle into a bike that can haul necessities.

Blacksmithing. For many, this is a personal hobby used for purposes around their homestead, yet this profession was the heart of every community before the gas- powered engine displaced horsepower. In an extended grid-down scenario, the blacksmith and his forge will be busy.

Gunsmithing & Reloading – These two skills are incredibly important because guns are tools that help put meat on the table. Yet, without bullets, a gun is useless. So, if you are serious about maintaining your own firearms, and learning an in-demand skill, then either or both these skills will be invaluable in a future grid-down economy. You will certainly be able to provide for yourself and others if you can do them.

Food production. In a grid-down and supply-chain down scenario, food production becomes life or death important. There is a learning curve to all types of gardening, so you better start now to learn how to raise fruits and vegetables. In addition to learning how to garden, do you own a dairy cow? Egg-laying chickens? If you own a dairy cow, learn to make butter and yogurt and sell it fresh. If you own chickens, sell the extra eggs. Set up a weekly route and deliver to those who appreciate food nearest the source and those with specialized dietary needs. You can continue a business like this regardless of what happens. Food products are the ultimate barter item.

Learn to harvest fish, and snare small birds and animals for food. Good fishermen know the secrets of their favorite fishing holes. The use of simple snares has caught many a meal, but can you gut and clean the fish? Can you kill a snared animal, prep and cook it? These are very important skills to have in the short term after a grid-down or societal collapse. Yet, how soon will the lakes, rivers and streams be stripped of aquatic life, and forests made quiet by the disappearance of animals as famine stalks a land? We have all read the stories of how even the zoo animals disappeared in the Socialist takeover of Venezuela.

Create and Sell Bedrolls. In a societal collapse, people will be trying to get home or to reach family. The roadways will be busy with people walking. Think about what they might need for the journey. Why not create portable bedrolls? With very low start-up costs, you can make the ground cover which can be rolled-up, slung across the body and carried as you walk. Learn how to make this for sale or barter. See how they are made below.

Pair the ground cover with a blanket and you have very useful item to sell or trade. Keep your costs low by finding blankets at thrift stores and garage sales.

Find used kid’s wagons and recondition them. Think Radio Flyer. Or make your own and sell them. These will be like gold for people who need to shuttle anything around. Connect them to bicycles and they become more useful.

Learn to make large baskets or tote bags from free or discarded materials. Without gasoline to power vehicles, people will be looking for ways to tote and carry goods.

Make candles from other candles and resell them. Buy up candles at thrift stores and garage sales, melt down the wax and pour it into molds (recycled food jars or Pringles cans). Sell or barter with the candles. Stock up on wicks, and anything that can be used as a wick, like shoelaces.

Know how to make bar soap from scratch. Get a copy of “Primitive Soap Making.” If you can’t make soap, make sure to stockpile it. Great barter item!

Learn Leather working and recycle leather. Re-purpose old leather purses, and turn them into cast iron skillet handle covers, oven mitts and potholders. In a societal collapse and reorganization, people may not need a wallet, but they will need cast iron handle covers because more of them will be cooking over an open flame. There is always a need for leather belts, slings, straps and shoelaces for boots. Recycle old leather and turn it into a cottage industry.

Save containers to sell or barter. Large plastic canisters, small tins with lids, popcorn and candy tins, coffee cans (both metal and plastic). Keep old canning jars. There will be multiple uses for items like this in a grid-down scenario, especially to keep vermin out of food. The things we take for granted now will find sudden value.

Stockpile and recondition garden tools. [This is HOT!] Buy them at farm or estate auctions, garage sales, thrift stores. Clean them, sharpen them, restore them, and sell them. Familiarize yourself with the better brands so you know their true value. If you get the cheaper tools, fix them to last longer, as they will become worth their weight in gold. People are becoming anxious about access to food and millions more will start gardens this Spring. Watch for the price of rakes, shovels, hoes, trowels and tillers to skyrocket!

Save vegetable seeds and sell them. Get heirloom varieties that are hardy and save enough seeds to put together packets to sell before the next growing season. Be sure to save enough for your own needs, but set aside enough to sell or barter. This works especially well for people who can grow very large gardens, but even a small plot or container garden can grow food enough to save and sell seeds.

Start collecting items now to be a “General Store.” Collect items like patch kits, tools, blankets, warm coats, hats, scarves, flannel shirts, cast iron pots, skillets, and dutch ovens. Portable shelters like lightweight pup tents and tarps will become very valuable. Collect ropes of all kinds and for different uses. Stockpile handkerchiefs, bandannas, new combs and hairbrushes, matches, Superglue, bungee cords, duct tape, and long- handled cafeteria-style serving spoons (both metal and wooden). If you prefer to specialize, pay attention to what folks want but are getting too expensive to buy. These are items there will always be a market for but no one will be able to provide, unless you plan ahead. Alcohol, cigarettes, pipe and chewing tobacco and smoking accessories. These are heavily taxed products and will become rare after the stores are looted. If you can supply these items, you are in business.

Open a coffee stand and stockpile green coffee beans. Learn to roast them without electricity over an open flame. Grind them in an old-fashioned coffee grinder. Can you imagine what a single cup of fresh-brewed coffee will cost in a possible future where society is re-organizing after a collapse? Green coffee beans in air-tight cans have been available to preppers for a number of years, but the cans are small. Find a source for bulk green coffee beans and dry can them in 64-ounce canning jars. Coffee beans will not store for long periods of time because they are oily and go rancid, but you may be able to extend their shelf life to 5-7 years if you dry can them and remove oxygen from the jar. You might consider stockpiling freeze-dried instant coffee and store it in a cool, dark place like a dry basement. Stockpile sugar and coffee creamer as well.

Learn to cut hair. If I was just starting out after high school today, the only formal training I would even consider would be to go to barber or beautician school and learn to cut hair. This is an evergreen profession and regardless of how bad society becomes, people will always need haircuts. You can earn a living all day long with this skill, no matter what the future holds. Read this articleDesperate Times – The SHTF Haircut.

About the Author: This is a guest post by PJ Graves. PJ is a retired award-winning radio broadcaster, news reporter and writer, whose reporting has been featured on national radio networks and whose articles have been on Survivalblog, Prepper Website, Rapture Ready and various online news magazines. In addition to writing,  PJ runs Golden Page Media*, a digital publishing business with free email newsletter featuring innovative ways to save money, side-gigs, prepping tips and little-known ways to change careers without going into debt or paying for training.  She enjoys home church, living in Amish Country, exploring historic sites, classic films, cooking, volunteering at a local food bank, and small town living.

side hustle

22 Side Gigs to Develop Now and be Ready When the Lights Goes Out Read More »

Do This With $100 NOW

With more bad news every day regarding the supply chain and the food supply, it is no longer a luxury to have extra food on hand. With more drastic food shortages already being forecast in the near term for 2022, consider spending $100 now to stock up on food.

How Much Food Can $100 Buy Right Now?

According to economists, the real rate of inflation is now 15%. That means for every $100 you have for groceries, it buys $85 worth. Most of this the public doesn’t see because for many years food has been packaged in ever-smaller sizes, while prices remain the same. This is why it is vital to spend at least $100 now on some food staples as the economy continues to erode the value of your money. Your money will buy more today than it will next week, and so on until further notice.

Taking my own advice, this is what I spent $100 on this week:

  1. One dozen 64 ounce canning jars. (I had to buy these online and pay for shipping since they were sold out everywhere in my area).
  2. 24 cans of diced tomatoes at a dollar store.
  3. Three 4 lb. Bags of pinto beans.
  4. One 20 lb bag of long grain white rice
  5. 10 cans whole kernel corn
  6. 10 cans sliced peaches

Here’s the breakdown on cost. I rounded up to the nearest dollar and included approximate sales tax as a separate category.

Jars (12 total), including shipping – $42.00
24 cans diced tomatoes – $24.00
Pinto beans (three 4-lb. bags) – $4.00
White rice (one 20-lb. bag) – $10.00
Canned corn (10 cans) – $7
Canned peaches (10 cans) – $10.00
Tax: $3.00
Total $100

I decided to buy more beans and rice, because when combined, beans and rice form a complete protein and have more fiber, making them superb in nutrition. Beans and rice are also cheap and give you the most bang for your buck. I chose pinto beans because they are the most versatile of beans, and can be prepared any number of ways. They also taste great by themselves. I combine plain beans with diced tomatoes and canned corn and slow cook them. By adding different vegetables and spices to them, you can make a complete nutritious meal in one pot.

Once I get the jars, I will clean them, sterilize them along with the lids, and dry can the beans and rice. I dry can without oxygen absorbers because I hand-pump the air out of the jars using a brake bleeding vacuum pump and a wide-mouth Food Saver accessory. I will have more than what I dry can, but I will use it up in the next few weeks of normal meals. The filled jars will be placed into storage and rotated or stand ready to help my neighbors should the need arise.

How many meals can I make with this food?

Beans
According to the USDA, 1 cup of dried beans equals 3 cups of cooked beans. So a filled 64 ounce jar contains 8 cups of beans and therefore represents 8 meals of beans for two people (1 ½ cups per person) per meal.

A 2-lb. Bag of dried beans = 5 cups
A 4-lb. Bag of dried beans = 10 cups
1 cup of beans uncooked = 3 cups, cooked.
So I purchased 30 meals of beans for 2 adults (1 ½ cups of cooked beans per person).

White rice
There are approximately 2 ½ cups to every pound of rice (long grain white). So the 20 pounds I purchased equals 50 cups.

1 cup of uncooked rice equals 3 cups when cooked. So the 20 pounds of rice I bought equals 60 cups of cooked rice which equals 30 meals for 2 people (1 ½ cups of cooked rice per person).

The 24 cans of diced tomatoes can be added to 24 of these meals, along with half a can of corn for 20 of these meals.

The remaining rice can be the foundation for additional meals of other canned soups and stews I have stored. Yet the beans and rice alone represent one month of meals of beans and rice for 2 people, plus an additional month of rice for other meals for two people.

Quick Reference Guide

A one quart canning jar holds 4 cups, and a 64 ounce canning jar holds 8 cups.

2-lb. bag of beans holds 5 cups.
4-lb. Bag of beans holds 10 cups
1 cup of uncooked beans = 3 cups of cooked beans (a large serving is 1 ½ cups per person).

A 1-lb. bag of rice (long grain white) holds 2.5 cups
A 10-lb. Bag of rice (long grain white) holds 25 cups
A 20-lb. Bag of rice (long grain white) holds 50 cups.

1 cup of uncooked rice (long grain white) = 3 cups of cooked rice (a large serving is 1 ½ cups per person).

As you can see, $100 can still buy a lot of food. Before prices go higher, I urge you to add to your food storage now.

About the Author: This is a guest post by PJ Graves. PJ is a retired award-winning radio broadcaster, news reporter and writer, whose reporting has been featured on national radio networks and whose articles have been on Survivalblog, Prepper Website, Rapture Ready and various online news magazines. In addition to writing,  PJ runs Golden Page Media*, a digital publishing business with free email newsletter featuring innovative ways to save money, side-gigs, prepping tips and little-known ways to change careers without going into debt or paying for training.  She enjoys home church, living in Amish Country, exploring historic sites, classic films, cooking, volunteering at a local food bank, and small town living.

Do This With $100 NOW Read More »

How to Be Financially Free – Tangibles Investing in an Uncertain Future – Part 3

If you are a student on the verge of graduating from high school or who has just graduated from high school, (or anyone who desires to live a happy and financially free life), you don’t need to go to college in order to find financial security.

This article will show you how you can skip college altogether, and the extremely high student loan debt that comes with it, and secure your financial future better than if you go to college.  Instead, consider a different path that can lead to greater financial security at a much earlier age, even in times of double-digit inflation.

IS COLLEGE EVEN NECESSARY?

I’m going to let you in on a big secret:  unless you want to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, physicist or other education-intensive profession, there is absolutely no compelling reason to attend a college or university right out of high school.  There’s a phony statistic floating around that says people with college degrees earn on average 1-million dollars more during their lifetimes, than those with just a high school diploma.  This is no longer true, especially in this time of pandemic and the so-called Great Reset.

In fact, since late 2007, the United State’s economy continues to crumble.   Jobs are being outsourced overseas and overseas workers are being brought in to take jobs from native-born Americans, making it even harder for new college graduates to find work.  Almost half of ALL college graduates can’t find jobs that pay more than $15 an hour.  Even with a bounce in wages since the COVID-19 lock downs, according to an article in The Atlantic, it is reported that upwards of 61% of recent college grads are still living in their parent’s home.  Since 2020 and the pandemic, that percentage has only gone higher.  Nearly every reputable economist says it will stay this way for the foreseeable future, with inflation destroying the buying-power of our wages.  One simply cannot lose a decade of earnings and ever hope to recover enough financially to make an impact over a lifetime.  That is why you must chose to change your future by choosing a better path.

It is plainly evident that college graduates are being hit now with a double whammy:  crushing student loan debt and double-digit inflation.  Compared to others of their high school graduation class, they start life under a heavy debt burden. Add to this the double-digit inflation, they are no better off than others who immediately struck out on their own and began working towards a different goal.  How can college graduates earn a million dollars more than those with only a high school education under current economic conditions?  How they can earn that much when they also have to pay back crushing student loan debt?  Most are looking for work and doing side gigs to simply stay afloat.  They are treading water and are one poor decision away from drowning. 

In fact, the student loan debt crisis threatens more than just college students, as financial institutions will not make risky loans to others who cannot show how they will pay it back.  This further erodes the economy and forces all taxpayers to pay for loans not being paid back, as well as footing the bill for the loans in the first place.

In such a confusing economy, the only solution is to commit to a financial plan that will instead give you more financial freedom and choices. 

The KEY to being financially free is to eliminate as much of your largest recurring monthly expenses as possible.  This concept is so important, I will repeat it:

The KEY to being financially free is to eliminate as much of your largest recurring monthly expenses as possible.

Previous articles have shown how you can invest in tangibles as a hedge against inflation, and how learning to cook from scratch can help find the money within your existing budget to pay for your tangibles investment.

I’m now going to suggest that the biggest tangible you can ever invest in is a house owned free and clear. 

Since the cost of housing is the single largest monthly expense for most Americans, by reducing or eliminating this expense, you can spend that money on other things.   You get to keep that money and leverage it to your advantage. 

Make Your Own 4-Year Plan to Home Ownership

Instead of going into debt right out of high school, why not create your own 4-year plan with a goal of owning your own home at the end of 4 years?  

The goal of home ownership is a good one because most Americans pay the largest percentage of their monthly income towards housing.  Your goal is to eliminate the cost of housing as your largest expenditure in the shortest amount of time possible, rather than incur crushing student loan debt.  You have a 4-year head start towards the same goal as your college-bound friends.  Why not make your a reality in the same time it would take to complete a Bachelor’s degree?

How to Get Started in Four Steps

Here’s how to achieve your own 4-year plan:

  1. Get a job
  2. Save as much $$$ as possible so you can
  3. Buy a house and own it outright within 4 years. 
  4. Commit to this goal!

Here are several examples of how people just like you managed to do this on modest incomes. 

If you find your income is less than these examples, then you will need more time to accomplish the plan and you can adjust your time line.  If your income is higher, you will need less time to complete your plan.  It doesn’t really matter how much you earn, because what matters most is your determination to complete your plan!

TOM’S STORY

Tom’s Mother and Father divorced when he was 8 years old.  Now he is 18 and soon graduating from high school.  His mother Judy, works as a secretary for a title company in the suburb where Tom, his Mom and his sister Kristine live in an apartment.   

Judy income is only $2,000 a month before taxes and Social Security are taken out of her wages.  Her real take home pay is $1490 a month.  She rents a 2 bedroom apartment for $875 a month.  Her children each get their own bedroom while she sleeps on a pull-out sofa bed in the living room.   Her utilities cost her $250 a month which leaves very little money left for groceries, insurance and travel to and from work by car.  

Tom has been contributing to the household for some time by doing a paper route and mowing lawns.  His monthly income averages about $150.  Now that he is 18 and will be graduating high school soon, he wants to help his Mom even more by NOT going to college.  He wants to expand his lawn care business and go full-time.  He also earns extra money during the winter off-season by harvesting firewood and selling it by the cord and smaller bundles to families around town and in a nearby city. 

Here is Tom’s plan to launch his financial independence after High School and help his family:

Tom agrees to pay rent for his bedroom to his Mom at $300 a month.  His rent includes all his utilities and food.  This helps out Mom because she is getting an extra amount every month to help with bills and Tom benefits from having a goal to reach and achieve each month, learning financial responsibility.

Tom has already managed to buy a used pick-up truck and save $300 from his part-time jobs, which he uses to launch his lawn care business.  He knows how many regular customers he must have in order to earn what he needs to earn in order to pay his rent every month to his Mom and meet his 4 year plan goals.  

In March, before he graduates, he has some business cards printed, advertises his lawn service in a local publication and has his business name and phone number painted on the cab doors and rear tailgate of his truck.  Additionally, he promotes his business to his existing customer list, not only to find new customers among their friends, relatives and neighbors, but to sell add-on services they may need, such as trash hauling, tree and shrub trimming, preparing a garden for planting, edging and landscaping.   This helps to increase his profit per customer.  

Using these simple methods, Tom quickly builds his business to earn $2300 a month.

On the weekends, Tom and a friend gets permits to harvest firewood from nearby US Forest Service lands, haul it back to town, where they split it, stack it in covered shelters and then sell the seasoned wood; (his sister sometimes goes with him and she collects hundreds of pine cones, which she sells on eBay and Etsy to crafters).  Tom earns an additional $3000 from this activity during the off season from his lawn care business.

Here is Tom’s monthly budget:

  • Gross wages                               $2300
  • Savings                                      $1200*
  • Rent to Mom                               $300
  • Upkeep on lawn care equipment   $40
  • Upkeep on truck                          $50
  • Gas                                            $100
  • Vehicle Insurance                        $90
  • Misc.                                          $520

* Tom’s savings and misc. amounts also cover his quarterly federal tax filings, of which he gets most back at annual tax time when he does his taxes.  Any tax refund he gets goes into his savings to be used towards buying a house.  Tom’s firewood side business income also goes into savings.

In 4 year’s time, Tom saved $69,000.  He would have saved more money but for two mechanical emergencies involving his truck and a trip to the emergency room for a bad splinter he received while working.  Instead of a stick-built house, he decides to buy a  newer but used 3-bedroom 2-bath double-wide manufactured home in a safe and friendly family mobile home park in town.  The space rent for the home is $350 a month.  He is able to buy this entire house for $35,000.  Once Tom and his family move into the home, their monthly housing costs drops to cover just the monthly space rent and home insurance, which he splits with his Mom.  This allows his Mom to live much more comfortably on her own income, save more towards her own retirement and help his sister Kristine with college, if she decides to attend. 

Tom makes a few upgrades on the home which costs $4000 and they move in.  At the end of 4 years, Tom has:

1.  Bought a house and lowered his family’s monthly housing cost dramatically;

2.  Improved the quality of life for his family as they get a much larger home and small yard; they each get their own bedroom, and they have more living room and kitchen space with a pantry; and

3.  He still has $30,000 in the bank as an emergency fund for the house upkeep, business-related and personal needs;

4.  Because his housing cost is now a fraction of his monthly income, Tom can save even more money from his income (adding to what he still has) and by helping his

Mother, she also has more money to save and invest from her monthly income;

And most important of all…

5.  Tom has no debt.  He owns his house free and clear and is in a position financially to have more options available to him such as expanding his business, or buying into another business, or taking some courses to help him run his business better, etc.  The sky’s the limit!  He’s his own boss and can take time off when he wants to and has the cash to really enjoy life. 

All of this was achieved because Tom made a plan and was determined to stick to it, in order to achieve his goal of home ownership.  He spent his savings wisely by the outright purchase of a home, instead of merely using the money as a down-payment on a home.  Tom chose to buy and own a house free and clear because it dropped his monthly housing cost to about $400 a month (mobile home space rent plus home insurance).  If he had purchased a stick-built house, then the cost of the home would have been tens of thousands of dollars more expensive and the resulting mortgage payment would be $1200 or more, and a much higher property tax bill. From the standpoint of how much money Tom gets to keep each month, instead of having to pay, Tom is way ahead of the game! 

What happened with Tom and his family? 

Tom’s mother was able to quit her secretarial job and start working for her son.  She now works for her son Tom.  She schedules his work, assigns daily tasks for his work crews, markets the business to new customers, and does his billing and bookkeeping.  This frees up his time to train employees, and start bidding on larger projects. 

Eventually, Tom landed a lucrative, long-term contract to do grounds maintenance for a local business industrial park and is branching out into providing janitorial services for these businesses as well as lawn care.  Tom is now on track to build his two businesses up to the point where he can retire before age 40 if he so desires, all the while living a much less stressful life free from financial worries.  Tom credits the key to his success was his initial 4-year plan to buy a house free and clear.

Is a Manufactured home the only type of home you can buy to help you become financially free?

In a word, “No.”  Many people are able to find existing real property homes (homes that come attached to land) for under $60,000.  They may not be the newest or nicest homes but they can be lived in and maintained and if you buy in the right locations, such a home can be sold for more money than what you originally paid and put into it.  One man has created an online cottage industry about finding and buying home for $50,000 or less, here:  http://www.housesunderfiftythousand.com/affordabletowns.html

In fact, if you do a search engine search for “homes for $50,000 or less” you will find untold numbers of available cheaper houses for sale.  Just remember, you will be buying older homes that will require more upkeep, adding to your cost to live there.  But think of what you can do with the larger yard space that typically comes with older homes!  Most of the older homes in small town America come with a 20th of an acre or larger yard, because back in the day, people typically had large gardens, lots of kids who needed space to play, and oftentimes kept chickens and even their own dairy cow.  If you can find a home that you can buy free and clear with the money you save in four years or less, and carefully budget for upkeep and upgrades going forward, you too can reach financially security and have no debt.  

Here’s how one gal did just that.

SARAH’S STORY

Sarah lived at home with her parents in the suburbs.  She decided not to go to college after high school.  Frankly, she was an average student and was simply tired of school.  She wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do but just knew she wanted to enjoy life, travel and not be tied to a 9 to 5 job.  Her best friend Kathy decided to attend college because she wanted to become a teacher.  More about Kathy later.

Although Sarah wasn’t sure about the direction of her life, she did understand that she wanted to make the next few years really pay off so she would have more options and be able to do the “non-work” things she dreamed of doing.  So she devised a 4 year plan to buy a house to at least have a home already paid for which she could never be put out of and for her work to be home-based for whatever direction she pursues.  While her plans seemed vague, she actually committed herself to doing whatever it takes to earn enough to buy a house free and clear in 4 years time so that she would have more financial freedom and choices down the line.  That’s enough of a goal to work toward to start with. 

Sarah realized she didn’t have many skills so she looked around to see what she could do.  What she lacked in skills, she made up for with enthusiasm!  She decided to apply to be a waitress at the most popular upscale restaurant near her parent’s home where she lived.  Luckily, she was hired and learned how to give great service to customers in order to increase her tips, because it was her tips that gave her the biggest portion of her take-home pay.  Legally, a restaurant must pay workers minimum wage or higher and because waitpersons get tips (compared to other restaurant workers who don’t) they are paid a much smaller minimum wage every week (typically $2.00 or less), and thus must rely on their tips to round-out their real weekly take home pay.

Sarah learned quickly how to get the big bucks in tips by waiting on people promptly, being friendly and helpful.  She always kept her areas bussed and cleaned and pitched in with other tasks during the dinner rush hours.  She kept busy and people noticed.  She took an active interest in how the chefs cooked the food so she could describe it better to customers, and learned about wines so she could recommend a good wine to go with every meal.  Her employer really appreciated this about Sarah because she helped him sell more wine and he even started a wine club on the side because Sarah helped to create more of an interest in wine among the customers.  All of her efforts led to promotions for Sarah and she got the pick of the best times to work.  This enabled her to increase her income exponentially each year. 

Sarah was soon working 5 dinner shifts a week including the lucrative weekend shifts and because she had applied herself, she got very good at her job.  She started out at $1.95 an hour minimum wage yet earned $22,000 her first year (her minimum wage checks totaled $4,000, and tips made up the rest).  Each succeeding year she increased her income and tips by $2000 annually.  So in 4 year’s time she earned a total well over 6-figures.  After paying her parents $200 a month for room and board, plus paying her taxes, transportation costs and other miscellaneous expenses, she managed to save $67,000.

At the end of 4 years time, she had saved enough to shop for a house.  In a smaller town just 17 miles from her parent’s house (and slightly closer to the restaurant where she worked) she found an older 1920’s house for sale.  It was a 2 bedroom 1 bath cottage-style house with a walk-out basement on a quarter acre of land.  Sarah paid just $57,000 for the home and owned it free and clear. 

The home needed some upgrades including a dry-sealing of the walk-out basement and fresh paint inside and out.  She removed all the old carpeting and found wonderful original wood flooring, which she sanded and refinished herself.  With all these upgrades, Sarah had depleted her remaining savings down to just $4,000 for her “emergency fund,”  but luckily, her best friend Kathy finally graduated college and had landed a job as a teacher in this same small town.

Sarah rented Kathy a room in her home for $400 a month, which was the going rate for this type of room rent in her area.  This arrangement worked out very well for Kathy, because she incurred student loan debt of over $47,000 between both her Bachelor and Master degrees in Education.  After completing all her college degrees, the Federal Government began enforcing the repayment of the loans, so even though she was working, she could not afford to rent her own apartment!  Kathy figured at least renting a room for a few years from her friend gave her some independence and a way to pay off her student loans quickly.

Sarah saved the money Kathy paid her and used it on more home improvements, including having a second full bathroom built in the basement, where she created a separate apartment to rent to a female teacher friend of Kathy’s.  She charged $600 a month for her 1 bedroom basement apartment plus $400 for the room upstairs to her friend Kathy.  Thus, in just four year’s time, Sarah had:

1.  Learned a trade and increase her knowledge base to earn a modest income;

2.  Saved enough money to buy a house free and clear;

3.  Became a landlord through renting rooms and leveraging the room rental to pay for

creating a basement apartment in her home, all of which;

4.  Added to her net worth and increased her monthly income;

5.  This extra money helped her maintain her home and helped her discover another use for her yard which she soon learned to leverage as another income stream, enabling her to quit her waitress job and start a home-based, part-time business!

How did Sarah use her yard? 

While reading about inexpensive ornamental plants, shrubs and trees (which she wanted to use in her own yard), she discovered she could grow them herself and then turn around and sell them to landscapers and plant nurseries and make a nice income.  After further research she learned a certain ornamental tree accounts for most landscaping needs around new home construction, buildings and industrial parks.  This specific species of tree is the most lucrative tree sold by landscapers and nurseries.

Armed with this information, Sarah felt confident she could earn $10,000 growing this tree to a certain height within 2 years time, in order to sell them wholesale to other growers for $10 each.  Spending $600, she bought and planted 1,200 of this type tree as seedlings in her backyard (which surprisingly didn’t take up much space at all).  All she had to do was make sure they got plenty of sunshine, water, the occasional plant food, and mulch before winter.  In 2 years time 1,100 of the 1,200 seedlings grew to sufficient height and she sold them all.  The experience was such a pleasant one for Sarah, she determined to do it again, and grow other kinds of plants to sell.  The point being, she had found another way to earn a huge amount of money with part-time effort, which could finance almost anything she wants to do!

All of this happened because Sarah wisely determined to save enough money in four year’s time to buy a house free and clear rather than go to college and go into deep student loan debt. 

Today, Sarah’s monthly expenses are practically zero because she has no house payment to a mortgage company.  She has additional passive income from her rentals and has found a way to use her large backyard for a lucrative part-time business.

Given what Sarah was able to accomplish in just 4 years, eventually she quit being a waitress and began a small market garden in her yard, growing the herbs used by chefs in restaurants.  She added a year ’round greenhouse with ventilation and heat and grows enough fresh herbs to supply several area restaurants, working only part-time.  In fact, her former employer was her first customer!  Sarah still grows the ornamental trees and sells those, too.

Between the part-time herb and ornamental tree business, plus her rental income, she has replaced her modest former income as a waitress.  At age 25, she owns a home free and clear, is financially solvent, debt free, works part-time yet earns a full-time income and can afford to do just about anything she wants.  This is real freedom!

Additionally, Sarah discovered she really enjoys growing things and has made this her career.  She is even contemplating buying a couple acres of farmland to expand her herb and tree business.

Not bad for an average high school student who chose not to go to college, is it? 

Here’s another example of how people can leverage their savings to plant themselves on firm financial ground and give themselves a better future.

JOHN AND SALLY’S STORY

John and Sally were high school Juniors when they first went steady.  An unplanned pregnancy during the fall of their Senior year meant that Sally completed her high school diploma online at home.

Right after John graduated in June, the pair were married and Sally gave birth to a healthy son.  At first they were living in the basement of John’s parent’s home.  Rather than go to college, John decided to take a job offered to him at a local lumber supply company.  He earned $11 an hour working long hours, always volunteering to work overtime and to fill in when other employees were out sick or on vacation. 

Sally also chose to not go to college, as she now had adult parenting responsibilities.  She did find work as a babysitter/caretaker in the home of a career woman who worked full-time but had a 2-year-old daughter.  This was a perfect job for Sally because she could bring her own infant son to work with her and care for him at the same time she took care of the 2 year-old girl.  Her duties were fairly light:  making meals, doing some housework and playing with the children.   This was a full-time job for Sally and she was paid $180 a week.

John and Sally’s combined income was $730 a week.  They determined to have a place of their own and to be financially free as soon as possible, so they made a 4 year plan, as follows:

After taxes, their net income was $30,000 a year using every legal deduction available to married couples. 

They determined to pay John’s parents $500 a month for their basement bedroom and half bath, including all utilities and meals.   Since John owned his own car, he would drop off Sally at work every morning and pick her up later each day.  On days he worked longer hours, John’s Mother would pick up Sally and son and bring them home from work.  John’s transportation costs were gasoline ($50 a month) and car insurance, (rather high at $1200 a year).  Here’s what their 4 year plan budget looked like:

Rent, utilities and meals – $500 a month x 12 months = $6000 a year

Gasoline – $50 a month x 12 months = $600 a year

Car insurance – $1200 a year = $1200 a year

Total amount = $7800

Out of the $22,200 that remained, they were very frugal and saved $21,000 each year.  They got all their clothes at resale and thrift stores, and asked for gift cards from friends and family for birthdays and holidays and used them for “date nights,” family occasions and diapers.  In 4 year’s time, they were able to save $84,000.

John had an interest in building things and decided to buy a 3/4 acre property on the edge of town that had a run-down, older 2 bedroom 1 bath single-wide mobile home on it for $62,000.  It didn’t look like much but the property came with an intact septic system and well water with a good flow rate.  Kathy spent her weekends cleaning and fixing it up and it was quickly made livable for the growing family. 

Using his employee discount at the lumber yard where he worked, plus finding doors, windows and hardware at a salvage yard, John built a small combination shop and single-car garage, for less than $14,000.  He saved money pouring the concrete foundation and doing most of the finish work himself.  Many passers-by were impressed with his work and contracted with him to build similar structures.  John discovered he could earn more money and do a faster job by buying prefabricated garages at wholesale prices, and then erecting them in one or two days, hiring temp workers to help.  During the warmer months, he would erect 5 to 8 of these structures and make additional money which went into savings.

One day he was approached to build a small house on a trailer frame for a young man who wanted to travel the country yet have a tiny house to live in rather than purchase an RV trailer.  He needed a small darkroom in the tiny house because he was a professional photographer and figured a custom built dark room would give him everything he wanted, rather than trying to rig a darkroom in an RV.       

John found this to be a very interesting project and started to work on building additional small homes on trailer frames.  He enjoyed this work because it didn’t involve the hassle of dealing with hired day labor and he could custom craft a home with his own special touches, except when he had the electrical and plumbing systems professionally installed. 

John’s income from this extra work enabled Sally to stay home with the children (a second child, a girl, by this time) and he eventually opened his own business creating and building tiny homes, tapping into this lucrative niche housing market.  3 years after moving into their own home, John was able to afford a custom-built stick home on their property, which was also paid for free and clear.  They finally moved out of the 900 square foot mobile home and into their custom 2300 square foot stick built home. 

Let’s Recap

In just 4 year’s time, John and Sally:

1.  Decided not to attend college and instead, found work locally that fit their skill levels right out of high school;

2.  Used their combined income to save enough money to buy a home free and clear, which;

3.  Helped give John additional experience in construction; which he leveraged into;

4.  A nice side business which enabled Sally to be a stay-at-home Mom, which;

5.  Allowed John to gain the skills and experience needed to make custom tiny houses in a lucrative niche housing market; affording them enough money to;

6.  Have a custom built home on their own land (all paid for free and clear) PLUS a new full-time job for John as a tiny home builder. 

So by age 22, John and Sally owned a home, had no debt and were financially secure.  

Additionally, in just 3 more years by age 25, John had gained enough experience to work from his own custom-built home on his 3/4 acre lot, building custom tiny homes for others, earning more than 6-figures a year.

All of this was accomplished ONLY because they made a 4-year plan to save enough money to buy a home free and clearand NOT go to college, incurring massive debt.  All of the extra income that would have been spent on housing went into their savings, which gave them a nice emergency fund, and the means for John to make a very lucrative living and provide for his family.  

Because they made a financial plan and stuck with it for four years, they were able to eliminate a future cost for housing.  Today, John and Sally can save and invest most of their income, providing financial security for their entire family well into the future.

All of these examples proves this Truth: 

If you are willing to do for a few years what others are not, you will achieve more than mere wealth;  you will achieve a self-disciplined life which can enable you to do anything.  THIS is the real education we should all pursue.

Is It Too Late For You?

Even if you have been out of high school for many years, it’s never too late to start a four-year plan of your own.  If you are willing to do whatever it takes to save as much money as possible in order to buy a house and own it free and clear, you can achieve real financial freedom!  This is not impossible. 

Regardless of when you begin this journey, you still must ask yourself the same questions:  What will your future look like?  What will you choose to do?  I encourage you to make your own 4 year plan today and find the discipline to pursue the completion of your plan.  If you do, I guarantee you will be better off financially and be able to weather any financial storm.

Good Luck!

About the Author: This is a guest post by PJ Graves. PJ is a retired award-winning radio broadcaster, news reporter and writer, whose reporting has been featured on national radio networks and whose articles have been on Survivalblog, Prepper Website, Rapture Ready and various online news magazines. In addition to writing,  PJ runs Golden Page Media*, a digital publishing business with free email newsletter featuring innovative ways to save money, side-gigs, prepping tips and little-known ways to change careers without going into debt or paying for training.  She enjoys home church, living in Amish Country, exploring historic sites, classic films, cooking, volunteering at a local food bank, and small town living.

Note:  To get PJ’s free newsletter, click on the link to Golden Page media and click on “Contact” in the upper right hand corner.  Let PJ know you want the free newsletter and include your email address.

Financially Free

How to Be Financially Free – Tangibles Investing in an Uncertain Future – Part 3 Read More »

Tangibles Investing in an Uncertain Economy Part Two – Scratch Cooking Challenge

In the first article, “Tangibles Investing in an Uncertain Economy: How a 42-Year-Old Book Holds the Key to Beat Inflation,” I wrote about The Alpha Strategy, which is a system made famous by author John A. Pugsley in a book he wrote by the same title published in 1980. He advocated buying ahead and storing several years’ worth of items your household uses all the time, thus defeating the inevitable rising prices due to inflation and freeing up additional disposable income over the number of years’ worth of these items you store.

This article will look at scratch cooking as another way to save significant amounts of money on your grocery bill, allowing you to have more disposable income to purchase and store more household items implementing The Alpha Strategy or for other investments.

Why not learn to scratch cook, which is a valuable skill, using the tools you already have in your kitchen?  Preparedness experts agree that having skills is always more desirable than having things. You can purchase all kinds of equipment and tools, but they are essentially worthless if you don’t know how to use them. It also makes sense because of power outages, to learn to cook with ingredients rather than throwing a frozen entree into the microwave. In an emergency, you will be ready to prepare and cook meals over an open flame, if necessary.

What is Scratch Cooking and Why Should You Learn It?

Scratch cooking is how all of humanity prepared food in the days before just-in-time logistics, fast food, and overly-processed foods. It is the skill of making good things to eat from ingredients that are just one or two steps away from the natural state of the food. The steps in processing a foodstuff are to modify the plant or animal to make it edible. For example, flour is ground (or milled) wheat berries, which is one step away from the naturally grown wheat plant. Nutritionists point out that we eat healthier when we eat foods just one or two steps away from their natural state.  Overly processed foods contain ingredients to lengthen the shelf life of the food, but include unhealthy amounts of chemicals. In addition to extending shelf life, modern processed foods add extra calories from cheap filler ingredients along with harmful amounts of salt, and food dyes.

The cooking processes used in the factories that produce such “convenience” foods also destroy the foodstuff’s original nutritional value. For example, most modern breakfast cereals are made by stripping out the intrinsic nutrition of corn, wheat, rice, or oats and replacing it with a processed coating. The ingredients are turned into slush, reshaped into forms (stars, O’s, small squares, etc.), and baked.  In the final stage, “nutritional coatings” (sugars, flavors, and dyes, which are also processed) are then sprayed back onto the cereal before its packaged.  Unhealthy foods like this lead to suppressed immune systems, chronic ailments, and significant disease. By contrast, cooking with simple, nutrient-rich foods improve your overall health and give your body the nutrition it needs to function properly.

Savings Benefits of Scratch Cooking

You can also save lots of money by learning to cook from scratch. If you stop buying overly processed foods and begin to purchase the ingredients to cook healthy meals, you will discover these ingredients are much less expensive, and you can slash your grocery budget. My grocery budget was once $400+ a month, and by learning to cook from scratch using healthy ingredients, I now spend about $175 – $200 a month.

I started my scratch cooking journey by learning to bake bread at home. It’s an ideal way to learn the basics of cooking using ingredients. Bread is THE universal item on everyone’s grocery list, and as food prices rise due to inflation, learning to bake bread can save you significant money.

The Economics of a Loaf of Bread

The average loaf of regular sandwich bread is now $1.50 – $4.00 or more a loaf. I was used to purchasing an organic whole wheat bread that was $3.89 a loaf. Here’s what I discovered when I started to make bread:

Using a standard recipe, I purchased these ingredients:

  • One 5 Lb. bag All Purpose flour – $1.56
  • One 5 lb. Bag Whole Wheat flour – $2.74
  • One 4 lb. Bag granulated sugar – $2.08
  • Four 3-count packets Instant yeast – $3.08
  • 1 box (4 sticks) butter – $2.98
  • Total  – $12.44

How Many Loaves Can I Make?

A 5 lb. bag of All-Purpose flour contains between 3 and 4 cups per pound or a little over 17 cups per bag. When I bake bread, I always make two loaves and use 5 cups of flour, (½ All-Purpose flour and ½ Whole Wheat flour, which is a little more expensive that making a loaf of bread from All-Purpose or Bread Flour alone).  I can make at least six loaves of bread from every five lb. bag of flour.

If I divide the total cost outlay for ingredients of $12.44 by six loaves, that equals a cost per loaf of $2.07. Since I usually purchased bread that cost about $3.89 per loaf, I am saving $1.82 per loaf by learning to bake.

On average, my household consumes one loaf of bread per week. By saving $1.82 per loaf each week for the 52 weeks in a year, my total savings equal $94.64 a year on bread alone. This evaluation doesn’t include how often I can buy the ingredients on sale, or with coupons, or in bulk, dropping the cost per loaf even lower. I figure I’m actually saving about $100 a year on bread by making it myself.  Besides, my homemade bread is tastier, and my house smells fantastic on a baking day!

Once I started making bread, I was soon branching out to make dough for homemade pizza. Homemade pizza is far less expensive and tastes better than frozen, carry-out, or delivery pizza, and there’s no tip!  My household would consume pizza about once or twice a month, so I’m saving that cost by getting the fresher ingredients and making pizza myself.  My scratch cooking skills have expanded to include soups, stews, and casseroles – all made from the freshest ingredients I can find.  It certainly added up because now my grocery budget is just under half of what I used to spend, or $2400 saved in one year.   As you can see, this can be a huge savings for most people, since after rent and/or mortgage and car loan payments, the average grocery bill is the next largest cost outlay in most budgets. 

But Scratch Cooking Takes Too Much Time!

The biggest rap against scratch cooking is the perception that it takes way too much time to produce a meal.  Obviously it takes longer to put a savory vegetable soup together than boiling water for a quick cup of instant soup. It comes down to priorities.  If you are willing to do a little prep work, you will reap the rewards of better health and money saved.  It is possible to do your weekly meal planning with efficiency in mind.  Once you transition to preparing most of your meals from scratch, you can learn to save time by planning your weekly meals and prepping the ingredients ahead of time, and storing them for quick use when needed. Many YouTube videos show you how to do this. All it takes is a bit of organization and time management, and the results will improve your diet, significantly reduce your grocery bill, and not take up too much of your time.   

Overall, my scratch cooking experience has allowed me to finance my tangible investing and has helped me purchase all my long-term food storage. Once you have a repertoire of healthy meals you create from ingredients, you can learn food canning to stretch your savings further and have a store of these items on hand at today’s lower prices, instead of the costs that continue to creep higher during extreme inflation.

The Scratch Cooking Challenge

Given that experts believe we are entering a time of potential double-digit inflation, I urge you to learn scratch cooking, if you haven’t already. Start by baking bread!  By combining scratch cooking with tangibles investing (The Alpha Strategy), you have a 100% risk-free proven hedge against inflation.  I know of no faster way to improve your health and wealth than the savings and skills you will find by learning to cook from scratch.

Take the Scratch Cooking Challenge!  For a free copy of my Simple Sandwich Bread recipe, email PJ at goldenpagemedia@gmail.com

Author: This is a guest post by PJ Graves. PJ is a retired award-winning radio broadcaster, news reporter and writer, whose reporting has been featured on national radio networks and whose articles have been on Survivalblog, Prepper Website, Rapture Ready and various online news magazines. In addition to writing, PJ runs Golden Page, an email newsletter featuring innovative ways to save money, side-gigs, prepping tips and little-known ways to change careers without going into debt or paying for training.  She enjoys home church, living in Amish Country, exploring historic sites, classic films, cooking, volunteering at a local food bank, and small town living.

Tangibles Investing in an Uncertain Economy Part Two – Scratch Cooking Challenge Read More »

Find Your Tribe

I thought it might be necessary to share some friendly advice that might be helpful as you continue looking for your tribes in your local areas. Obviously take this with a grain of salt as this is just some personal opinions of mine that I’ve found helpful while building my tribe.

1.) Your personal safety

I can’t stress this one enough. While it is essential that you find your tribe (none of us are likely to survive a SHTF situation going it alone), you must remember the fallen world that we live in. Although most, if not all, people on this email chain are likely great and moral people, I’m reminded of Matthew 10:16 to “…be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” That being said, if you are meeting a total stranger for the first time (or even the second time) make sure it is in a public place around a lot of other people. You can’t be sure that the person you are meeting is not an online predator that is taking advantage of this email chain. When meeting a prospective tribe member, I always suggest we go to a coffee shop to chat, my treat. Don’t ever go to someone’s residence, hunting camp, private property, tribe meeting, etc. until you have fully established trust with that individual and you bring someone physically capable to accompany you. 

2.) Your “local area” doesn’t have to mean down the street

Mathematically speaking, preparedness-minded people do not embody the majority of the population. That being said, if you are waiting for someone who lives in your zip code or within a 30 min. drive, your expectations are likely too high. My tribe is spread out across almost an entire state! If things get bad in a hurry, we have a plan and travel routes of how to get all of our sub-groups together. Case-in-point, don’t be afraid to drive an hour away if it means connecting with people that will be an asset to you and you to them. 

3.) Shared perspectives 

When thinking of people to add to your tribe or which tribe to join, there are some shared perspectives that I find need to exist in order for you to work together effectively. As a Christian, I find it impossible to accept a member into our tribe who is hungry for violence. Although my tribe has no shortage of arms (we’re 2A enthusiasts after all!), we focus on defending our tribe and helping whoever we can. As Proverbs 24:11 says, “rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.” Aside from moral perspectives, your tribe members must all be preparing for the same thing in order to be a cohesive tribe. You can’t have half your members preparing for a zombie apocalypse while you’re prepping to survive an economic collapse. My people are preparing for an economic crisis and/or some sort of widespread civil unrest. 

4.) A good tribe is a balanced tribe 

After considering the previous three points you should give some thought to what skill sets are needed for your tribe. A tribe with a stockpile of weapons but no food and nowhere to go isn’t going to last long. Likewise, a few unarmed gardeners won’t make it either. I’ve divided my tribe up into basically three classes which you’re welcome to copy: tacticians, engineers and medical personnel. In their most basic form, everyone should fall into one of these three categories.

Tacticians are those that are armed and provide for the defense of the tribe at all times. Engineers embody a wide range of people from those that are building your structures, managing your water supply, engineering your food supply (gardeners), etc. Last, medical personnel range from physicians to nurses and EMTs. While we don’t deny anyone entry based on a lack of skill, we do require that once accepted, they take action to learn a useful skill. Everyone should be responsible for doing the best they can to help the tribe. 

5.) You need somewhere to go when your “event” happens

Last, all of the best gear and the best people will still only get you so far if you don’t have somewhere to go. Don’t overthink this one- you don’t need 1000 acres in the middle of nowhere to be set up. However, you do need to have an agreed-upon secure and sustainable location where your tribe will go when some trigger event happens as well as a plan of how to get there. This could be land that a tribe member owns, a small rural town where you’re friends with the local sheriff, or maybe even just deep in the woods somewhere. 

I hope this gives you some things to think on. Get out there and find your tribe! 

God bless you all,
Kurt

Author: Kurt is a member of The Prepper Website Email Group.

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Tangibles Investing in an Uncertain Economy: How a 42-year-old book holds the key to beat inflation

Everywhere you look, financial experts are warning we could see double-digit inflation in 2022. Like all bad news, it never comes at a good moment when our debts are all paid, our investments are doing well, and our jobs are secure. Life doesn’t happen that way. However, investment advice published 42 years ago in a book laid out a plan that still works and will show you how to beat inflation. Moreover, this plan is easy for anyone to do, is 100% risk-free, and guaranteed to save you money now and long into the future.

The Alpha Strategy by John A. Pugsley came out during double-digit inflation in 1980. It quickly became a national bestseller, staying on the New York Times bestseller list for nine weeks in 1981. The author, John A. Pugsley, set out to show average Americans how they could use the idea of tangibles investing as a hedge against rising inflation. Additionally, he showed them how the strategy could help them save and invest money for the future. He dubbed this strategy “The Ultimate Plan of Financial Self-Defense for the Small Saver and Investor.”

The core idea of The Alpha Strategy is to invest in what Pugsley terms “Level Four Consumable Products.” These are commonly-used tangible items like health & beauty products, cleaning products, clothing, tools and parts, paper & plastic products, home & yard maintenance products, vehicle maintenance products, food, and other miscellaneous products. These everyday household consumer products see price increases yearly, either by design changes, corporate re-branding, downsizing the packaging, or inflation. Pugsley showed how to protect yourself from inflation and save money over the long term by buying several years’ worth of each item you often use. Using The Alpha Strategy can mitigate the effects of inflation, giving you greater cash flow and savings.

Practical and Financial Self-Defense to Beat Inflation

Pugsley’s idea of “financial self-defense” is not only practical but easy to do for nearly everyone. You can invest in tangible products at today’s current low cost, which is guaranteed to be less than you will pay for the same item in two years, ten years, or twenty years. Once you know how much of a single product you use in one year and know its shelf life, you can invest by “buying ahead” as many years of it as you can afford.

The more years you can buy of a “year’s worth” of a product, is how you beat inflation. Just make sure you don’t buy more years than the maximum number of years of a products’ shelf life. With all this description of purchasing several “years’ worth” of numerous products, you’d think this was an expensive investment. Luckily, this strategy can be started with small amounts of discretionary income and is not out of reach for the average saver and investor.

For example, toothpaste lasts indefinitely. Your favorite brand of toothpaste costs $1.89. If you buy ten years’ worth of this toothpaste for yourself today, you have locked in the lower price for a decade into the future. That’s one less item you will need to pay for over and over again, and you never have to pay a higher price for it at any time in the next ten years.

Let’s Look At the Math:

The average household uses two toothpaste tubes each year, brushing twice daily.

So ten years’ worth of toothpaste will be 20 tubes (10×2 tubes = 20). Each tube cost $1.89×20 = $37.80 + tax at the current price. You may pay less for the same toothpaste if you purchase it on sale or with a coupon or buy all the toothpaste at a Dollar Store. However you do it, you have now eliminated the cost of this item for the next ten years. You will save the amount you pay, plus any cost difference based on rising prices due to inflation or the same cost for a smaller-sized tube. Either way, you save money.

Read More: Hygiene Supplies – How Much Do You Really Need?

How much can you save if you created your own “store” and stocked it with all the products you regularly use – up to ten years’ worth? Once you have a 10-year supply of something, you will not need to go to the store again to buy any more for ten years. So no matter what it costs in the years ahead, you already have enough on hand at today’s lower price.

It’s So Easy!

To utilize The Alpha Strategy, keep all receipts when you shop, so you can track what you buy. Next, write down all the level four consumer products you use and the current price for each. Then figure out how much of each item you use in a year. Once you have these numbers, you can budget your purchases. Finally, look up their shelf life.

If the shelf life of an item is ten years or more, stockpile ten years’ worth of it. Do this for as many items as possible on your list, provided each item will last that long or longer. (The Alpha Strategy has a long list of the Shelf Lives of Level Four Consumables in the Appendix at the back of the book. For a FREE copy of the book without the Shelf Life Appendix, SEE link at the end of the article).

Alpha Strategy

The goal is to know how much of each product you use in a year and purchase ten years’ worth of that product at the least-expensive current price to lock in those savings for as many years possible. If you can’t afford ten years’ worth of an item, then try to buy ahead seven years or five or three. Be consistent! Buy the same number of “years’ worth” of every product on your list, provided its shelf life is not less than that number. Do what you can afford, but get started!

How I Beat Inflation

I started doing this type of tangible investing by spending $60 at a Dollar Store and bought 10-year’s worth of 3 products I use all the time. After bringing the items home, I stacked them neatly inside a file cabinet I keep for storage at the back of my clothes closet.

Every payday, I took another $60 and repeated the process for more products I use all the time. Over 51 weeks, I built up my “store.” I now have ten years’ worth of 153 products I use all the time in my store. The cost to me was $3060, but I have ten years’ worth of the 153 items I use all the time. That $3060 will not need to be spent during the next ten years to replace these items because I have these items already on hand. When I run out of one, I go to the file cabinet and take out another.

The effect of doing this on my lifestyle was nearly immediate. I started to see that my spending went down each week, which improved my cash flow and allowed me to do other things with the money I wasn’t spending to replace any of these items. Granted, we are not talking huge sums of money here. Still, savings add up if you diligently apply this technique to ALL the consumer products you use on an ongoing basis. Depending on the size of your household, it can free up a few hundred dollars or much more each month, which you can invest, get out of debt or save for a rainy day.

Read More: Financial Preparedness: 5 Ways to Better Your Financial Situation

The Bottom Line

The Alpha Strategy is a common-sense way to protect from the ravages of inflation. Best of all – it’s 100% risk-free. As supply chains are breaking down, its’ good to know you have a modest stockpile of the items you need for years to come!

You can find a free copy of The Alpha Strategy online at The Wayback Machine, here: https://web.archive.org/web/20131220063428/http://zombieprepdotnet.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/book2-preface.pdf or purchase a copy on Amazon.

Author: This is a guest post by PJ Graves. PJ Graves is a retired award-winning radio broadcaster, news reporter and writer, whose news reporting has been featured on national radio networks and whose articles have been on Survivalblog, Prepper Website, Rapture Ready and various online news magazines. In addition to writing, PJ enjoys home church, living in Amish Country, exploring historic sites, classic films, cooking, volunteering at a local food bank, and small town living.

Tangibles Investing in an Uncertain Economy: How a 42-year-old book holds the key to beat inflation Read More »

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