2019 has started in style for everybody, it hasn’t been easy for the majority of us in business. Battling from the unavailability of cash to various discrepancies in the economy, to the major shut downs and looting. It surely makes doing business very difficult.
Many of us are caught in the precarious position of being intellectually aware that we are heading into a worsening economy with signs of a looming crisis, and feel as though we must simplify or streamline our lifestyle to prepare for possible disruptions in our standard of living. In a world where consumption has become a sport, you may actually find it more satisfying to shed some material weight. Even if your financial situation is not too dire, it is still a sensible idea to keep preparedness in mind.
An increasing segment of the population is already feeling the pinch from losing a job, while the cost of living continues to increase. This group has no choice but to get creative in the way they manage their limited resources for optimal survival. The key to becoming a content minimalist/survivalist is to develop the most efficient ways to provide for basic necessities. The goal is simple: reduce your daily, weekly, and monthly expenses without giving up items that keep you sane.
The following are my suggestions to those already going down economically,
- Avoid pay TV or rather Turn Off the TV:
Why continue paying DSTV in hard currency and more so the most expensive packages. Why not down grade or better still go for the open view decoders where you can still watch your news and sport fixtures, and find all of your favorite movies and shows. Join the growing trend and cut out your paid TV service. You’ll find the financial savings is a major relief. If you absolutely need to watch your favorite team’s important games, you may have to get to know your neighbors or socialize at a friend’s house.
- Make Your Own
With the TV now turned off, we’ll have plenty of time to produce things we would normally purchase. Our modern world of conveniences has stripped much of our knowledge of how to support ourselves. One of the costliest and least healthy areas of our daily lives are cleaning and personal care products. Using very basic ingredients you can minimize most toxic chemicals in your household, as well as save money for items that help optimize your simplicity. Personal care products such as soap, shampoo, and deodorant are simple and cheap to make at home. Three ingredients to keep on hand; baking soda, distilled vinegar, and water.
- Minimize Transportation
Cars are one the most expensive items we think we need to be functional or happy. They’ve also become one of those staple luxury items that shows your status in society. Let this illusion go; it’s far more important to have your simplicity and the extra savings. Understandably, personal vehicles are necessary in many areas that have inadequate or no public transportation, and cars also represent a tool of trade, as well as personal freedom. But if your family has multiple cars, consider if it is feasible to eliminate one of them. If not, budget and plan wisely for limiting all costs related to the car; fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc.
- Reduce Household Energy Use
Conserving energy is one of the most obvious ways to reduce monthly bills. The topic has been written about and promoted for years. You already know the easy stuff like turning off lights, turning the hot-water heater down or off when not in use.
But now it’s finally time to get conscious of your precise energy use and begin to turn the meter back using all tactics. Look into supplementing with solar power or other alternative sources to become as self-sufficient as possible.
- Produce Your Own Food
The most important step that anyone can take, immediately, is to design a simple garden. With 15% to 20% of the average household budget spent on food, and prices skyrocketing every day, discovering ways to prepare for food inflation is vital to survival. A low-cost way of producing food off-the-grid is always a great investment no matter the economic conditions. Nearly everyone can engage in some level of food production to save money and increase independence.
- Buy Local
If we hope to restore prosperity to our communities, and ourselves, we can start by supporting truly local producers instead of mega-corporations. In many cases you’ll find that essential items like food, used tools, and other items can be found far cheaper than at big box stores — if not free. You can begin giving true support to your local companies, while obtaining healthier food, by searching for farm produces in places like Mbare or Renkini or where ever you live. Buy Zimbabwe has a database that can be searched by anyone interested. By connecting with a local producer , you can obtain healthier produce, and you also help sustain the economy too.
We should re-learn the ability to forage. There is no shame in foraging and many items can be found in our throw-away culture. Even if you can afford to buy something new, discovering a vintage used item for less, or perhaps free, is something to be extremely proud of. This isn’t middle school anymore where you must have shiny new brand name items to be accepted. Your current friends won’t disown you for being more frugal. In fact, when they see your pride of accomplishment on an amazing deal or find, they will likely be envious. As they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Happy hunting!
- Do it Yourself
If you absolutely must have your nails manicured or get frequent haircuts, why not do them yourself? Is it that important to have a “professionally” groomed hairdo? Determine what services that you pay for that can be done by yourself. Mow your own lawn, wash your own car and change your own oil; hand wash your dishes instead of piling them into the dishwasher; and learn other new skills for increased self-sufficiency.