6 Ways to Stretch Money in a Tough Economy

One thing that preppers sometimes forget is that financial resources are resources just like anything else that we stockpile, and just as important. while it is true that money can’t buy you happiness, it sure as hell won’t make you sad, and more importantly it is absolutely vital that you have enough in order to live and continue to exist in modern, ordered society.

Love it or hate it, that is just the way things are. I know more than a few preppers personally who are so absorbed with preparing for one theoretical catastrophe or plausible disaster that they start missing the forest for the trees. money is viewed only as a means to an end to prepare, and not a prep in itself. This is a grave mistake.

Don’t believe me? Consider how much worse your life will get and how quickly if you can’t afford your mortgage payment or pay your rent.

Consider how quickly you’ll run out of food without regular trips to the grocery store. how dire the situation will be without electricity or gas. if you depend upon your car to get to and from work, what will happen if it breaks down and you can’t afford to fix it? 

The bottom line is that money is a precious resource in any situation, not just survival situations, and lacking enough of it can be a survival situation unto itself! How much worse it will be then when you are on a decidedly limited budget and the economy is working against you.

Be it stagnation or good, old-fashioned inflation, economic woes means it is time to tighten your belt to make up the difference if you can’t make a whole lot more money in short order.

Cut, Cut, Cut Luxuries and Non-Essentials

The first, most essential and least pleasant step to stretching your dollars when times are tough is to slash luxury and not essential goods and services and slash them wholesale.

There is much to enjoy about modern life, and indeed all but the most destitute of us live with a standard of life that would be considered incredibly luxurious by any of our ancestors. Nonetheless, there is an awful, awful lot of things that we all partake of that are not strictly necessary to life and well-being.

What is a luxury? What makes something truly essential? For instance, some things that people absolutely have to have are complete frivolities.

Things like television and your favorite subscription services for media and other programming. For many people the internet, arguably, is one also unless you depend on it for work or networking with important people in your life.

Besides, if you have a smartphone and service for it you are already connected more or less permanently to the internet at large.

Fast food in other prepared meals are another major waster of money. Depending on these quick serve options will give you a fraction of the calories that you could prepare yourself at a fraction of the quality and all for 8 to 10 times the price. That is a losing arrangement no matter how you square it.

The same goes for overpriced coffee from your favorite global franchise. If you want coffee, make it yourself at home or if you must have it on the go get a simple, basic cup of coffee from a corner store and flavor it to your liking. 

It is time to go over your life and lifestyle with a big red marker, and the things that you least want to look at under the circumstances are probably the ones that should be eliminated or severely leaned out in the current situation.

Shorten Your Food Supply Chain

one major tip that I like to rely on at all times, but most especially during times of economic turmoil, is shortening the supply chain that brings food to my dinner table.

Consider the food you get at your grocery store. That food comes from a farm, with must be then transported to a facility that will clean, process or otherwise package it, transported to a distribution center for a grocery store chain, transported from there either to a local distributor or to its final destination at the grocery store, and then it must be picked up, purchased and brought home by you.

all of these extra steps increase cost, and it is directly reflected upon the price tag. The more you can do to shorten this supply chain the cheaper your food will be.

The easiest thing for most of us, especially those who live where or near to where the food is made, is to get the food directly from those who grow or produce it, or borrowing that get it from a co-op or a farmer’s market in your area.

In addition to being fresher and healthier, generally, it will also be much cheaper than the stuff you get at the grocery store.

This will provide a better return on investment for one of the biggest, most persistent and most important expenses, that of food. if you are like me, you will probably come to prefer this method even when things get back to normal and your financial situation improves.

Best of all, done correctly you will start building and strengthening relationships with the actual providers of your food that will serve you well when things get really, really bad and society begins to buckle. It is a win-win!

Barter for What You Need

When you need something, instead of running out to buy it new off of the shelf and an insane markup from any retailer in your region, try to get that item used instead. you might be able to get it used for my retailer depending on what it is, or you might be able to turn to old standbys such as yard sales, Craigslist, Facebook’s marketplace, eBay and so forth. But if all else fails, go really old school and barter for it.

No matter what it is that you need and no matter what you have to trade for it, if you search around enough you will find someone that has the thing you need and is willing to accept something you have.

Keep in mind that you might not necessarily have any goods to trade for it, but you might have services you can offer or some expertise that will be just the ticket to get the thing you desire.

Now, you typically cannot employ barter in a proper commercial setting, such as in a store or shop, although this might not be the case every time in small, privately owned businesses.

However, bartering with your neighbors, people throughout your neighborhood and town, family members and extended networks accessible through friends and family is a great way to start getting into the spirit of bartering.

very much like my advice to shorten your personal food supply chain above This has the happy but significant side effect of creating more relationships that you might call on in times of severe trouble. it will definitely help you get known among your neighbors, especially if you are able to offer good service in return.

Work a Side Hustle

There’s not much for it, if money is tight and prices are rising you need to increase your income, stat. Considering that your employer is likely to be suffering their own woes due to the economy that means you’ll need to grab the bull by the horns and start bringing in more bacon.

For some people, this means a proper second job, even if it is only part-time. For others, however, a little bit of moonlighting in the form of a side hustle could be just the ticket. 

There are all kinds of odd jobs or services you can do on the side, even intermittently, to raise significance amounts of money and most of them are of the nature they can be cash transactions done discreetly and instituted with virtually no setup time. 

One great option is to take any secondary skills or hobbies you have that are marketable and put them into action as money making endeavors.

It just so happens that many secondary or tertiary skills that preppers acquire happen to be quite useful. If you like hunting, you might consider serving as a local guide for people who are inexperienced or who have never gone hunting before.

Carpentry skills are always in demand and so amateur woodworkers might consider performing odd jobs or creating decorations. The same goes for blacksmithing. If you are particularly fluent in a particular subject you might become a tutor. Shooters can give lessons to new gun owners, particularly friends and family. 

You don’t have to turn your hobby into a job, though. think of all of the tasks and chores around the average home that desperately need doing but people frankly do not want to do, even under the best of times. Things like painting, cleaning, landscaping and various installations.

You can cut grass in the summer and clean leaves out of gutters in the fall. With a minimum of equipment, a little bit of hustle and some sweat equity you can rack up cold, hard cash in a hurry.

Don’t be Afraid to Dip Into Stored Goods!

Lastly, I feel it is important to point out that a serious financial downturn, whether or not it is your fault, is a bona fide emergency in and of itself, one that borders on disaster for many people who feel the pinch week in and week out. 

For that reason, you might well consider dipping into your other stores of survival supplies to alleviate the burden. Food, bottled water, hygiene products and more that have been accumulated for hard times can be put to use during hard times such as this!

There is absolutely no shame in it, and I along with my friends who have been in similar situations have all felt profound gratitude that we have those staples on hand in abundance, not just because we can make use of them when we need them but also because accessing them will reduce the amount of money going out every week and every month.

Now, some preppers believe that their stockpiled survival supplies should only be put to use in a bona fide survival situation, but I would argue that for most of us the disposition of your supplies will be in serious doubt if you are in jeopardy of losing access to your home, be it a house, apartment or anything else where you have those supplies stored.

I believe it is far better to use those supplies when you need them, truly need them, for any purpose and replenish them later.

Anything you can do to improve your own situation on the homefront and save money at the same time is a major boon during a period of economic downturn.

Saving Money by Shopping Smart

I am lucky. I have a good job and my wife works as well. I am not heavy in debt.

Regardless – I am pretty particular where I spend my money. In today’s economy a little research, a little looking around and you can save a lot of money.

Here are some examples:

  • Google Product Search – I buy a lot of stuff online. Although I make every effort to do business locally – I just cannot justify spending more money on a product “up the road” if there is a significant difference to getting it through the mail. Google has a “shopping” search function that helps find some f the best deals on the Internet. I recently bought 5 Ruger BX-25 magazines for $21.99 each plus $2.50 shipping – I found them via Google search and then I clicked n shopping in the left-hand sidebar. Using the Google search options can be used for purchasing just about anything you can think of.
  • Groupon – I have not done a lot of business with Groupon – but basically it is a site that offers deals where you can buy special coupons or products at severely discounted prices. One example is buying a $200 coupon good for a new mattress at a local store for $50.00. I also purchased a $30.00 gift card to a local plant nursery for $15.00. There can be some good deals.
  • Craigslist – Most everyone knows about Craigslist. Pretty much a giant online classified service that is totally free. Basically you log on and select your area – and use keyword searches t find what you are looking for. I have sold vehicles on Craigslist. Many preparedness products can be found inexpensively such as 55 gallon barrels and tools – among other things.
  • Classified section in newspaper – Checking your local newspapers classified section can reap some good deals every so often. Often primarily used to buy and sell cars – other products are also available. Need a working used washer machine? How about a lawn mower? What about a bike for your kid? The local classified ads can save you a lot of money.
  • eBay – I used to be a huge seller on eBay and changes over there left a bad taste in my mouth. That doesn’t mean I wont take advantage of some of the good deals that can be found. One piece of advice – watch the shipping charges. Some sellers overcharge and you loose your savings.
  • Amazon.com – One of my favorite ways of saving money is Amazon. They do not always have the best price – but often times they do. Almost anything can be purchased from Amazon and many products can be had with FREE SHIPPING if your orders total $25.00 or more. I place an Amazon order once or twice a month.
  • Clearance items – In most any store there is a clearance area where items are marked down  – sometimes as much as 90%. Stores such as Wal-Mart, Target and even grocery stores severely mark down items for a number of reasons. I recently bought several small coolers for $2.50 each because the packaging had changed. I also have bought tools, cleaning supplies, pet food, lighters, and much more. It takes some time but the savings can be worth it.
  • Shopping sales and using coupons – Of course shopping sales can save you money. What I promote and what I do is shop sales in quantity. I rarely buy anything for regular price. If canned fruit is on sale – I will buy 10 cans. Next time they go on sale – another 10-15 cans. In between I might use 5-6 cans so I spend less than regular price and build my stores as well. Using coupons can also increase savings especially when used at a store that doubles the value of the coupon.
  • Woot – Woot.com and similar websites have special “Deal of the Day” promotions on items that can be very good deals. One website I recently found out about is CamoFire.com. CamoFire provides items daily with deep discounts that are related to camping, hunting, etc.

I believe challenges are ahead for many of us. This does not mean that in the meantime efforts cannot be made to live a little more comfortably in a world of raising prices and stagnant or declining wages. It takes time and effort – but it can be done.

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last update: Dec 9th 2021

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5 thoughts on “6 Ways to Stretch Money in a Tough Economy”

  1. Great sites. I love Amazon as well.

    One of my favorite sites is Cheaper Than Dirt. It’s a no-nonsense site and you can find a TON of stuff there. They also have a lot of resources too.


    Another site that is starting to gain some users is Upillar.com. The site is totally free and easy to use. You can set up an acount in about a minute. Post your stuff and you are ready to sell or buy. Everything is done thru Pay-Pal so it is legitimate. I have found some great deals there. I bought three 30-round MagPul magazines there from a guy for $30.00 dollars. They were like new and hardly used! Heckuva deal. You can find all kinds of gear there too. As always at those sites, there are scammers so just use common sense. It’s a pretty good site and no I don’t work for them…. 🙂

    Good stuff!

  2. I just purchase two of these and got them Thursday. Well made!!! Not Flimsy cheap plastic like the aftermarke versions. I have not had time to test them, but will report back after I have.

  3. I got one the other day, man that thing is heavy! Hoping to try it out this weekend, thanks for the review.

  4. Avoid debt! For decades we have fully paid for what we purchased, including vehicles and houses. Have not paid paid ANY interest on credit cards in over 45 years; paid in full every month. Plus just about everything goes on credit card to get cash back rewards; make credit cards your friend and not an enemy. Our rule of thumb is that if we do not have the cash to back the purchase, we do not do it. And sometimes you find out that by waiting on the purchase you decide that you actually did not need it anyhow. While we do sell some items, if someone is in need we will flat out give it away free. The old saying what goes around comes around is true; what I have given free out of the blue has been surprising. Do not be greedy.


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