Saturday, April 23, 2011

Financial Friday...a day late and a dollar short...

Okay, meant to post this yesterday, but various events got in the way. Since I am still determined to post on schedule, I'll post this now, and do my Saturday post later this evening!

Financial Friday
Investing your money when you have no money!

A lot of us of the *prepper* mindset have little money to spare. We have very little if any money to spare for investing. Yes, it is nice to talk about the stock market and commodities and gold and silver, but when you are most concerned about making sure you get the car insurance paid on time  or putting food on the table, all the *investment* talk is so much "castles in the air".
Most of us just can't afford to invest monies in anything but the *here and now*.

I think the first thing you have to do is redefine what *investment* means.
Here is the dictionaries definition:


the investing  of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.
a particular instance or mode of investing.
a thing invested  in, as a business, a quantity of shares of stock, etc.
something that is invested;  sum invested.
the act or fact of investing  or state of being invested,  as with a garment.
a devoting, using, or giving of time, talent, emotional energy, etc., as for a purpose or to achieve something: His investment in the project included more time than he cared to remember.
Biology . any covering, coating, outer layer, or integument, as of an animal or vegetable.
the act of investing  with a quality, attribute, etc.
investiture with an office, dignity, or right.
a siege or blockade; the surrounding of a place with military forces or works, as in besieging.
Also called investment compound. Metallurgy . a refractory material applied in a plastic state to a pattern to make a mold.
Archaic . a garment or vestment.
When you break it down like that, the only two definitions we are concerned about today are No 1 and No 6.
No 1:
The investing of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.
The reason I emphasized  appreciation in value is because there are many ways to view this.
All those folks that bought *McMansions* viewed their homes as investments. They expected them to increase in value and to bring them a profit in later years when they sold them. People buy art, baseball cards, comic books, jewelry, etc for the same reason.
I personally know very few people that can afford to sink their money into art, jewelry and the like to hang onto to it for years in the hope of making a tidy profit.
I assume most of my readers are of the same financial situation as most of the country out there...not totally poverty stricken, but not elite wealthy, either.
So lets change that definition o make it more suitable for the of us with a *prepper* mindset.
The investing of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value or increased usefulness in the present/future or as tools in the present to protect and acquire current or future assets.
Now that we are in the *prepper* mindset, lets discuss *investments* with that definition in mind.
Under that definition, we can include:
Grain grinders
Cast iron cookware
Heirloom garden seeds
Canning Jars and Lids
Pressure Canner/Cooker
Quality Garden Tools
First Aid Supplies
Traps and Snares
Quality Carpentry Tools
Long term Food Supplies/Storage
Sewing Machine
Sewing Needles
Fishing Poles
Hooks and Lures

I hope you get the idea.
Items that will help ensure your well-being in the future are an investment.
Let's take cast iron cookware for an example...
You need a new frying pan. You could *invest* 8 bucks in a crappy *non-stick* frying pan at the local discount store or you could invest 20 dollars in a cast iron frying pan. Now, you have to *season* the cast iron and you aren't an expert on cast iron cooking, so there will be a bit of a learning curve. 5 years, or 10 years or 20 years, which pan will you still be able to use?
Which is the best *investment* in your health, considering many *non-stick* compounds have been found to be carcinogenic, while cast iron adds iron to your diet in a slow & natural manner?
If you had no power, which one would you feel more comfortable and confident using on your grill or over a campfire?
Yes, you will spend more on the cast iron (look at thrift stores and at yard sales to lower the price!), but even if the cast iron is double or triple the price it is still worth more in the long term.
Cast iron is a positive investment.
Will it increase dramatically in value?
Probably not (unless that SHTF event occurs that will make further production impossible)
Will it increase in it's benefit to you? Most assuredly it will be of better benefit than that cheaply made non-stick frying benefits, longevity of use, etc. are all far superior with the cast iron option.As time goes on, not having to buy another cheap pan and then another and another will be a financial blessing when added up.The miniscule amount of iron added to your diet from cooking in cast iron is an added health benefit that also continues with time.

You have to think and choose wisely when you are investing your hard earned cash into material items.
No 6:
a devoting, using, or giving of time, talent, emotional energy etc., as for a purpose or to achieve something.

If you invest 125 dollars in, say, a cob building class, that can prove to be a worthwhile investment IF!!!
A very BIG *if*:
You actually learn techniques you didn't know before
You keep in practice
You are able to build useful things using the skills you learned in the class
You are able to sell your labor/skill in cob building to others

If you are taking the class just to take it and tell others that you took said class, but you do nothing with the skills you learned, you have wasted the money and time you invested. That makes it a negative investment.
If you buy a sewing machine and never bother to use it, that equals a negative investment.
ANYTHING that you invest time and/or money into that does not benefit you is a negative investment.
Even if you don't invest a dime into something, if you take several hours or days into learning a skill and then never use it, it is a negative investment!
What else could you have done with those hours or days? Time learning another skill or honing one you already have, time spent improving your property or time spent with your family?

I know, sometimes we all take a class just for fun or buy something completely useless just because we want it. But we should all (myself included), look around and see what investments of our time and monies is the most beneficial to us and our families.


  1. Good, thoughtful post!

    Watching chickens in the yard also counts as an investment you know! (less time at the shrink!) :)

  2. Oh yes, Carolyn! I love watching the chickens! It is calming and entertaining for me. Each one of ours has such a distinct personality, too!


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