A common refrain I hear is how prepping is expensive and folks just don’t have much wiggle room in the budget. No doubt about it, costs keep going up and up and few people are seeing increases on their paychecks (provided they are getting any) to offset it. I know I haven’t seen any sort of raise or merit increase on my day job paycheck for about five years now.
Absent some sort of financial windfall, the best way to increase the budget for preps is to cut costs elsewhere.
Look first at what we might call luxury items in the overall budget. Cable TV is one example. While the cost of such service varies depending on location and provider, I can tell you that by eliminating that service, my wife and I are now saving close to $100/month. Honestly, we rarely ever watched TV anyway and relied more often on Netflix and DVDs from the library for entertainment. We get all our news from the daily paper and from online sources.
I’ll admit we eat out far more often than we really should. With a family of five, hitting a local fast food joint for burgers and fries costs us about $40. If we just eliminated two fast food meals a month, that’s $80 back in our pockets.
Most of us are, at best, casually energy-conscious. Sure, we try to turn off lights here and there when they’re not being used but I’d bet you could be more vigilant about it. Pay attention also to energy leeches like microwave ovens and DVD players. Even when they aren’t being used, they still use electricity to keep the clock running and such. You can save a couple bucks a month on your energy bill by putting appliances like these on power strips and turning off the juice completely when they aren’t being used. Keeping your thermostat turned up higher in the summer and lower in the winter will help as well. If you get very conservative with energy usage, you can easily save about $20 on your monthly bills, if not more.
Looking at the above, that’s about $200/month we can add to our preps budget. That’s a pretty substantial shot in the arm, isn’t it?