If some sort of SHTF event happens, and the world as we know it changes, money may quickly become a non-issue. But until that happens, our world still revolves around it. Money. So having your finances in order–and working for you–is important. Finance prepping is just as important as water and food prepping.

Finance Prepping Step 1 – Kill Your Debt

Debt is evil twice. First because you have to pay interest on money that you have borrowed. Second is that you owe this money to someone else. Someone (or some company) has something that they can hold over you. It doesn’t matter if the debt is credit cards, mortgage company, the bank, or your brother-in-law. Any way you look at it, you will spend time worrying over the regular payments that you have to pay to “get your life back.” Stress will kill you slowly. Debt causes stress.

The best resource that I have ever found to explain and teach you how to kill your debt is a book called The Total Money Makeover by David Ramsey. He has a seven step list that he calls the Baby Steps to eliminating your debt.

When you finish paying off your debt, every dollar you earn and save is yours!

Finance Prepping Step 2 – Create a Budget

No one likes this step. People see it as a pain in the ass, and more often than not they don’t do it. But if you don’t plan how you spend your money, you tend to spend more money than needed on items that you don’t need.

Your budget doesn’t have to be super detailed. When people over complicate this process they get discouraged and quit. Dave Ramsey has a simple article and some nice worksheets for this.

Be the boss. Tell your money what to do!!

Finance Prepping Step 3 – Prepper Minimalism

What is minimalism? According to TheMinimalists.com:

Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important.

I know what you’re thinking. Prepping and minimalism just don’t fit together. How in the world can you stockpile items for an emergency while at the same time getting rid of things so that you have less to store.

But it does fit. If you eliminate items in your life that are not needed, you have room for items that are needed. Make a list of all of your possessions that you need to get rid of. Then, make a list of all of the things that you would like to have in place of them. Make big decisions.

For example:

  • How much food and water do you need to store? What water containers and food preservation methods are best for your plans?
  • Do you really need to own ten pistols in six different calibers? Why not reduce the number to two pistols in a single caliber? You have to store ammo for each pistol too.
  • Minimize duplicate items. Buy higher quality items instead of higher number items. For example, instead of a few $20 hardware store axes. But a really nice high end axe.

Finance Prepping Step 4 – Multiple Streams of Income

When someone refers to multiple streams of income, that doesn’t usually mean that both the husband and a wife in a family are working jobs for income. It is about having an additional source of income besides a full-time job. This is a good way to bring in a little extra money and pay down debt faster.

How to create multiple streams of income? Maybe you could:

  • Mow lawns for your neighbors
  • Handyman services
  • Make a product using woodworking or soap making
  • Photography or blogging
  • Train someone in a skill that you are good at. Maybe an instrument, shooting skills, or computers skills.

The idea is to have a money making purpose for your spare time.

If you are homesteading I highly recommend the book How to Make Money Homesteading. Well written and great information.

Finance Prepping Step 5 – Prepper Passive Income

What is Passive Income? According to Wikipedia:

Passive income is income resulting from cash flow received on a regular basis, requiring minimal to no effort by the recipient to maintain it.

The idea is to work really hard upfront on something that will slowly pay you over time forever.

Some passive income involves an investment of your time like:

  • Writing an ebook that you can sell on Amazon.
  • Selling your personal photography images on iStockPhoto or ShutterStock.
  • If you are a programmer, you can build a smartphone app. Even if you are not a programmer, you can have a really good idea for one and pay someone to build it for you.
  • Develop an online course for Udemy.

Some passive income involves investing your money:

  • Rental properties
  • AirBnB properties
  • Amazon affiliate web sites

But I think the best long term passive income solution is Dividend Stocks. Stocks are kind of a scary subject for most people. But this isn’t the same.

At one time I had a little extra money that came from a 401k that I rolled over from a past employer. So I decided for a year I would play with buying and selling stocks. I did a lot of trading. There are several free stock picker web sites on the Internet that I used to try to and buy stocks that would make a lot of money quickly. I had some really big success and some really bad failures. A year later I basically had the same amount of money that I started out with.

Then I heard an NPR story about a guy who calls himself Mr. Money Mustache (MMM). His slogan on his web site is Financial Freedom Through Badassity. Made me laugh out loud when they introduced him. But basically his retirement plan was to live small and invest as much as he possibly could into stocks/mutual funds that pay quarterly dividends. He buys index funds (mostly one called Vanguard), that sends him a check every quarter for owning their stock. He retired in his mid thirties with his wife and family.

This process wasn’t invented by MMM, it has been around as long as the stock market has been open. There are a lot of good books and sites out there that go into more detail about the process. I link to many of them below. But really it is just about getting a investment account and buying stocks that pay regular dividends. At first you have them reinvest in themselves until you accumulate enough for a nice income. Then you use it as an income for the rest of your life. What is nice is that with the right stocks they will never go away and it will just increase.

I know the next question that popped in your head is “how do I know what the right stock are?” But this is pretty easy too. The above mentioned Vanguard mutual fund is great. It does require a $3000 minimum buy in. But worth it. After that you can buy what is called Dividend Aristocrats.

According to Wikipedia:

S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats. The Dividend Aristocrats are S&P 500 constituents that have increased their dividend payouts for 25 consecutive years. The companies that make up the Dividend Aristocrats span ten different business sectors with both growth and value holdings.

Your dividend investing strategy is simple, all you have to do is buy these stocks and sit on them. Don’t worry about them going up and down in price. Just keep buying them and you will get a check every quarter. This is financial security for you and for your kids.

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