Living Wisely During Hard Times

July 31st, 2008

Most homesteaders know as well as anyone that the current state of the US economy isn’t very good. Are probably aware enough to see that it’s not getting better any time soon, either. Hopefully the homesteader has been wise enough to purchase his/her chunk of land far enough away from the ‘boom’ cities and regions that they got a good deal on it, as it probably represents the only real assets that family has.

Of course, there are the other assets related. The house and outbuildings, the farm and garden equipment and tools, the vehicles that get the homesteader to markets or trade-meets, auctions, etc., and the food (and energy) supplied by the property and proper investments in the property. Outside of actual transportation costs, the wise homesteader should weather the recession and coming depression better than most stuck-in-the-city folks. Our homesteads aren’t rollover investments – they’re our HOMES and security, even in hard times. Especially in hard times.

But there are some issues to be considered as the retail marketplace takes as hard of hits as the banking sector is taking. If there’s a shopping mall within 20 miles of your homestead, it’s likely to be an empty eyesore before the end of the year as retail outlets fall. So far this year the standard mall shops that have filed for bankruptcy include Linens n Things, Sharper Image, Mervyn’s (in California), Shoe Pavillion, …and ever increasing numbers of less universal retail shops.

Then there are the “downsizings.” Starbucks is closing 600 shops, Foot Locker will close 140, Lane Bryant/Fashion Bug plans to close 150 outlets, Ann Talor will close 117, and Zales Jewelers is shutting down 100 outlets. Circuit City is nearing bankruptcy, and even Target is lowering expectations dramatically.

This has so far translated into the loss of roughly 100,000 retail jobs. Not the best paying jobs and usually without any benefits, but homesteaders often get such day jobs to make ends meet as they’re developing their overall self-sufficiency. We can count on the loss of at least that many more jobs before the year’s over.

Luckily for wise homesteaders, we’re not too proud (or too rich) to go ahead and bargain or barter for the things we need. I wrote not long ago about homestead tools, and getting the best you can afford, even if you buy them used. Below are some sources for further strategies making use of established means of barter, recycling, buying used, or getting free. These can prove to be very useful in getting your family through the hard times with both yourselves and your property intact.


Credit Crunch: How to Survive the Recession
15 Real Ways to Conserve (and save money!)
Living On Less: The Alternative Economies
Putting Old Clothes to New Use
Thrifting: It’s an Art Form!
Craig’s List: Great Resource or Scary Place?
The Payoff: Thrifting and Re-Selling
It’s Better Than Cheap… It’s Free!

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3 Responses to “Living Wisely During Hard Times”

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