Already convinced? Go to the bottom of this post for the recommendations, in blue. They’re also at the end of Part One of this article. If you’re not already convinced, please read Part One first, then come back here. Then tell me what you think, please!
Money Prepping Stage Four: The Rest
There are all sorts of little tricks and wrinkles, all perfectly legal and above board, that will help you on your way financially. Here are some that I’ve learned over the last ten years.
As long as you won’t be tempted to spend on them, have two credit cards: this is about those software collapses that banks seem prone to these days. Use different banks for each one, and also both Mastercard and Visa. If one’s out of action, the other might work.
Just as with my credit cards, I have a secondary current account, with a debit card, so if my main current account goes out, I can manage with the other one, if I need to, at least for a little while.
I know there’s a huge debate about this, but I’m a believer in being able to control my money online. Every account I have has at least two levels of access, and I consider that good enough as security, in addition to my own safeguards. The advantages to me are that it saves me time, a large amount of time. It also helps safeguard me against flu season, and as my immune system is a bit crap, that’s really helpful to me. If there were a pandemic, it would help safeguard me against that too, while enabling me to keep my finances on more or less an even keel. Computer/mobile security, however, is critical, and will have its own blogpost(s) on here in the fullness of time.
There’s also a longstanding debate about whether or not to use loyalty cards – Nectar, Tesco Clubcard and the like. The issue that’s at stake is privacy, that companies, or even the government, will know what you’re buying. It sometimes goes further, into fears that there will be a societal collapse, and the government (police, military, local councils, I don’t know) will break into your house and take the majority of what you have.
I think this fear was inherited from American preppers, quite frankly. The “home of liberty” has had some very draconian laws in the past – Prohibition against alcohol from 1920 to 1933, and gold confiscation in 1933-34, to name but two, and those sorts of laws didn’t happen in the UK, as far as I know. While bail-ins (discussed in Part One) are also draconian, they’re different in that they’re not people-intensive. Can you imagine the number of personnel needed to knock at people’s doors and search their houses to take their food and supplies? I simply don’t believe it.
Plus, guess what – unless you use cash, anyone who really wants to know what you buy already knows! The shop, the website, your bank, your credit/debit card company, they all know. Take the money, and use the loyalty card. Without actually being loyal, of course. If you don’t use it, you’re giving the shop even more of your money than you need to.
One completely basic use for the money that you’ve freed up by taking the steps recommended above, is to buy preps. There’s not many of us can feed ourselves from food we’ve grown ourselves, so long term foodstocks are a great area to start. If you can take your food stores from one month, for example, to three months, how much more confident would you be if you were to lose your job, or another winter like 1962-63 came along?
Other purchases to make are small, portable things that will make you safer and warmer in your house: hot water bottles, a water filter, a stove, hand tools, insulation, protective gear like rainwear and thermal clothing. Good boots, wellies too.
Investing in your garden is a good use of funds: topsoil, mulch, a greenhouse or even a polytunnel, perennials like fruit bushes or ginger roots.
Investing in yourself is a great idea too: learning skills! First aid, preserving food, keeping animals, mapreading. This might be courses or books or both.
Sometimes bigger one-off investments are right as well. repointing, double glazing, rewiring and replumbing, a woodstove.
Money Prepping Stage Five: Precious Metals
This is just the promise of a future blogpost. Precious metals have only just come into view for me, and I don’t really know much about them. I can see that they’re important to some people, and my sense is that since I think we’re likely to have another round of the financial crisis coming back to bite us in a few years time, precious metals might be relevant. I’ll research much more before I write anything more than that.
Money Prepping Stage Six: The Websites
Pay off your consumer debt as soon as you can. Pay off more expensive debt first. Not paying some bills can endanger your home, so make sure those are paid most of all.
Consider your outgoings, and cut them down if at all possible.
Minimise your outgoings by looking for cheaper deals on things you need: fuel, insurance, utilities, phones, broadband, anything and everything.
Have a little stash of cash at home, somewhere very safely hidden, in notes and coins. Remember to take this into account in your insurance. Take some of your stash with you if you’re further away from home than walking distance.
Start saving – easy access, then locked away. Consider tax free savings.
Don’t use one financial institution for all your dealings: spread the risk of bail ins and collapses.
Have two credit cards available, unless you don’t trust yourself with that amount of credit.
Have two current accounts available.
Make sure you have online access to your money, if at all possible. Remember computer security.
Make sensible purchases with the money you’ve freed up: food, small portable things like tools, thermal wear and water filters; gardening equipment; skills tuition; or bigger investments like double glazing or a multi-fuel stove.
Use loyalty cards, to lower the cost of your goods.
I’m always up for learning more about handling my finances, if you have anything to add, or any queries, let me know in the Comments below.