Learn to Live as They Did

Published  Saturday, April 17, 2010

If you've listened to the news or the radio much in the last year, you've probably heard someone mention that the Country is headed towards a financial meltdown. While people may differ on their view of what will bring this meltdown upon us, most people generally agree that it is coming.

Well, this leaves most of us thinking, "What can I do; how do I prepare?". There are a few simple things that we can all do to help ensure that we are able to put money and goods aside while living within our means and preparing ourselves and our families for what is surely on its way.

While researching Depression Era Mentality in regards to food, clothing, money, and "stuff", I found these wonderful "rules of thumb" from that time period:

1. "Don't spend money you don't already have in your pocket.
NEVER put ANYTHING on credit. Don't do it. Nothing good will ever come of it. If you need it, SAVE for it. I know what you're thinking, "Saving... what is that?". Though it may be a foreign concept to many of us, this is how people functioned and thrived for many generations.

2. "Don't pay someone else to provide something that you can learn to do or to make yourself."

This is pretty straightforward and simple. Though learning how to knit a new set of winter sweaters for your family may not be easy, it is straightforward and simple. I crocheted sweaters as Christmas gifts for my brothers this year, and though I had to start the projects in the Central Texas heat known as August, the resulting sweaters were well worth the effort!

Ask your friends and family about skills that they have! You may be surprised to find out that your aunt knows how to knit and your co-worker grows all her own food. These skills may not be common place anymore, but they are still more common than you may guess.

3. "Never buy anything you can use - only what you can't live without."

How often do we buy things only because "it would be nice to have" but not really because it's needed? I would argue this is the case with most purchases. Realistically, people won't be able to make the shift into this type of mentality overnight. But if you slowing and steadily cut back on your discretionary spending and instead pledge a certain amount of your income to a savings account each month, you will be pleasantly surprised how quickly your money will add up!

4. "Don't buy anything until you have twice the purchase amount."

This doesn't mean since you have a five dollar bill in your pocket you can go ahead and get that venti, half-caff, low-fat mocha; that's something you can definitely live without, even if you think you can't.

Instead, I would apply this rule of thumb to large purchases that would require you to save before hand. If you're saving for a car, wait until you have twice the purchase amount before finalizing the deal!

5. "It's doesn't matter how much money you can make, but how much money you can save!"

Save, save, save, save, save! I was recently asked about my financial goals in life and how much money I felt I needed to make in order to afford the lifestyle that I would like to have. I think my answer rather shocked the questioner.

Really, I don't think about my finances in that way - instead, I think about lowering my bills and financial obligations to the lowest amount possible so that I can live on as little as possible.

But I think this idea is completely backwards to most people. The common wisdom would state that more money is necessary to live comfortably. Whereas, if you are debt free you will end up with more money out of each check than most Americans who live paycheck to paycheck due to credit card, mortgage, auto, and student loan payments.

So again I say, save, save, save.

There you have it, five fairly simple rules to live your life by; simple and by no means easy. But I for one would rather know that I am doing everything I can to position my family and myself in such a way that we can be stable and happy, regardless of the economic status of our Country at any given moment.

Wouldn't you?