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Making your money stretch to accommodate all that you need to do, including preparing for a disaster, doesn’t make you a cheapskate. It makes you smart. It also doesn’t have to be about sacrifice, but about using your money wisely.

The principals of frugal living are similar to those of survivalists who wish to conserve resources:

  1. Use it Up
  2. Wear It Out
  3. Make It Do or
  4. Do Without

By applying these guidelines to your everyday life, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year, money that can be applied to emergency preparation.

There are so many little ways to save money that can add up. Here is just one example.  Line drying your laundry instead of using an electric dryer can save you a bit of money. First there is the cost of the dryer itself. Then there is the cost of running it: about $2.50 a week or $130 a year on average for five loads a week. If you have a larger family like mine, who does about twice the average number of loads, the savings you’ll get is even greater.

While that doesn’t seem like a lot, you can take that extra $10-$20 left over from the month and use it to buy some of your essentials. For just $20 and some smart shopping, you can buy four or five large jars of peanut butter, or a few bags of rice to add to your supplies. You can also combine all of your savings and use it toward a complete emergency food supply kit. 

Living frugally can also give you good practical experience for the time when resources are really scarce.

Here are some other ways to live frugally that will not only save you money but will also reinforce survival skills:

  • Cook at home from basic ingredients
  • Plan out routes and group errands to save on gas, or walk and bike when you can
  • Use homemade cleaners and other products
  • Lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer by a few degrees–your body will adapt
  • Make your own entertainment
  • Buy used and save the difference
  • Sell or barter away the extra clutter in your home
  • Do it yourself instead of hiring someone
  • Switch prescriptions to generic brands and learn about natural substitutes
  • Negotiate on everything from appliances to insurance

I challenge you to try at least one new way to save money and apply that savings to building up your emergency stockpile. Share your successes in the comments below. I’ll be cheering for you!

*Image: morgueFile

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