Millennials are constantly being scolded and lectured by baby boomers who think that we don't know anything about finances. According to them, all our economic troubles are our own fault. They say that we don't believe in saving money for the future and that if we would just stick to a budget—cut out coffee shops and bars and stop wasting our paychecks on trendy, over-priced fixed-gear bikes—we could all own our own homes and begin planting some metaphorical seeds for a stable and secure retirement.
What these know-it-alls don't seem to realize is that, while we do believe in the concept of saving, our belief in anything like a "stable and secure" future has been strangled out of us by decades of inaction on climate change and the looming apocalypse it has brought on. None of their advice is even relevant to the meager subsistence that the lucky among us will manage once the world is reduced to a charred husk of human progress. That's not to say that "saving" isn't still important. If you do intend to be one of the survivors, here are some tips that might help you prepare your finances!
Don't Skimp on the Coffee and Alcohol
When society collapses, money won't really mean anything. The same way that bitcoin prices could collapse tomorrow and a throw a lot of "millionaires" into poverty, those "dollars" in your bank account don't really mean anything if the government collapses. Your "savings" will have to be in commodities rather than currency.
A lot of people will tell you to put your money in gold and bury your fortune in your backyard, but we both know that you don't have a backyard, or a house, or a shovel. Besides, the value of gold is still pretty arbitrary. It has some very useful functions, but without a society in place to carry out those functions—to turn it into electronics and dental implants—it's mostly just a nice, shiny metal. Keeping some handy is probably a good idea, but the stuff that's going to be really valuable, after the flimsy structure of our civilization finally gives out, is the stuff that people truly need. Namely, drugs.
There will be demand for all kinds of drugs, but caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine will be your best bets. And since high-proof liquor and freeze-dried coffee are both compact and can be kept around more or less indefinitely, you should invest in a good stock to have on hand for the end times. Alcohol can also be used as a disinfectant, and coffee and cigarettes provide the added benefit of suppressing your appetite and keeping you alert when you've eaten the last slice of avocado toast and the wolves are circling.
Rent, Don't Own
When world governments dissolve and the marauding hordes begin to roam the countryside, do you want to be tied down to one location—a house that you poured your savings into and probably doesn't even have an effective moat? Of course not. You want to be able to leave town in a campervan packed full of coffee and liquor at a moment's notice. Owning is for chumps who believe that a real estate market that collapsed because banks were too greedy will somehow survive as climate collapse brings on our collective doom. Along with decreased stress, maintenance, and upfront costs, renting also allows you to hit the fury road and never look back.
Get a Fixed-Gear Bike
Speaking of that campervan, you'd better find a good, sheltered spot to park it, because once global infrastructure gives out under the tremendous weight of man's folly, it's not going to be good for much more than a place to sleep. Gasoline will start going bad pretty soon after the oil refineries shut down. If your engine runs on diesel—and you happen to have a way to store large amounts in a cool, sealed environment with fuel a stabilizer and some sort of biocide—you may be able to keep your vehicle functional for several years, but even then you'll probably want a backup for navigating the decaying roads. Something fast, functional, and easy to repair—like a fixed-gear bicycle!
Plant Some Actual Seeds
We are constantly being told that we need to develop new skills in order to compete in the modern world, but in the hellscape of tomorrow, the skills that matter most won't be coding or graphic design, but sowing, weeding, and pruning. However much you're able to store in freeze-dried rations and canned goods, eventually the food you can grow yourself is going to be among your most valuable assets.
Seed packets are cheap, small, and can last a number of years, but if you don't figure out how to take care of plants now, there won't be much point in opening those packets after society has been razed to ashes. Find a community garden where you can develop your green thumb, or at least have a go at raising some herbs on a windowsill, or a tomato plant on your fire escape. Once you've got the basics down, you can start learning how to convert your waste into safe and efficient humanure—so you won't have to compete for precious fertilizer.
With these simple rules in mind, you can start saving up today for a secure and stable future in the wastelands of our fallen empire.
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Between buying a new home and transporting yourself and your belongings to it, moving can be an expensive process. One often underrecognized cost of moving occurs before one's original house has even been sold, and that's staging the house. Homeowners often spend hundreds of dollars making a home appealing to potential buyers. To ease the financial burden of moving, here are several tips for staging your home on a budget.
Downsize Instead of Storing
The goal of staging a home is to create a blank canvas that potential buyers can imagine their own lives painted upon. To accomplish this, homeowners should depersonalize the home as much as possible, removing items that are specific to their family and eliminating clutter. This is where homeowners often incur their first costs as they rush to put as many older things in storage as possible.
To cut costs, focus on downsizing rather than storing items. Look for items that you can sell, donate, or give away. For remaining items, look for alternative places to store them, such as a friend or relative's house. This will also reduce the cost of moving your belongings when it is time to go to the new house.
DIY What You Can
There are times when homeowners should bring in a professional to manage home renovations and decorating, such as when a task requires specialized skills. These types of jobs, when done incorrectly, will incur even greater costs if attempted on your own. However, many of the home improvement tasks that go into staging a home are simple enough that the homeowner can DIY them, such as painting, installing a backsplash, or refinishing the deck. Doing these tasks yourself will save you a significant amount of money.
Don't Redo, Update
Homeowners are often eager to make their houses look as appealing to buyers as possible. However, recall that the point of staging is depersonalization, making a home presentable so buyers can mentally impose their own style onto it. When staging a home on a budget, focus less on completely transforming the space and more on making what is there look presentable. For instance, if you wanted to give your bedroom a facelift, trying to replace the furniture and flooring would be pointless unless it was damaged or unkempt. Simply organizing the space and replacing the bed's comforter would be sufficient.
Another way to update the space without entirely redoing it is to rearrange it to maximize the space that is already there. For instance, pulling the furniture away from the walls will make a room appear bigger and allows more space for those touring the house. Using window trimmings that maximize natural light and incorporating wall mirrors can also make a room seem more spacious.
Raising a larger family than most means that your lifestyle is going to change. Costs will continue to multiply as your family grows larger. However, just because your family is large doesn't mean your quality of life needs to suffer. It just means you need to make a few adjustments to help things work smoother and more efficiently. We've compiled a couple of money-saving tips for larger families to help you get the most out of your dollars.
Always Buy in Bulk
The benefit of having a larger family is that things you buy in bulk rarely ever go to waste. Smaller families can benefit from buying in bulk, of course, but your large family will see the most use out of shopping in large quantities. You'll want to avoid going to smaller stores for necessities such as groceries and clothes, as these places generally have higher markups on their items.
Buy Wholesale Items Online
If you want to take buying in bulk to the next level, one of the best money-saving tips for large families is to buy online from wholesalers. Buying online comes with a number of benefits that you won't get when you go to a physical store:
- You don't have to drag your kids to the store with you
- You have a lower probability of making impulse purchases
- You can search for exactly what you need
- Wholesalers sell in very large quantities for a lower price per item
Never Throw Away Something Useful
When you have to buy things for multiple children, your costs to replace items will be much higher. That's why it's so important to keep everything you can. Clothing is a big part of this. Hand-me-downs can prevent you from needing to replace entire closets every year. Try to repair or upcycle any clothes that may have damage, as this is usually much cheaper than buying brand-new items.
Stick to a Budget
When you support a large family, expenses can sometimes get away from you. Proper budgeting helps to keep the extra purchases that add up to a minimum. Budgeting correctly can save you a lot of heartache in the long run. It's up to you how much control you want to take; you can make your budget weekly or monthly, depending on how tight a ship you need to run. What's important to remember is that making the budget is only the first step—sticking to it is where you'll really need to enact some willpower.
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Sometimes there is no choice—a home needs to be sold in the winter.
Spring may be the most popular time to put your house on the market, but homes do sell in the colder months. With fewer houses available, your home may be someone's only choice when house hunting in your neighborhood. As your neighbors hold out until spring, you'll already be done and ready to shop for your next house!
Here are a few tips for selling a home in the winter to get you on the right track.
Keep Paths Safe and Landscaping Fresh
Landscaping is the last thing on a homeowner's mind in the winter. Everything was cut back in the fall and may now be covered in snow. Still, take a walk around the house and yard to check everything out. Branches may have fallen from heavy snow, leaving a mess in the yard. Keep everything neat and tidy.
The last thing you need is a potential buyer slipping on the ice-covered walk in front of your house. Buyers often consider those moments bad omens, and this can affect their decisions. Shovel, snow blow, spread salt—do whatever you have to do to keep the driveway and walking paths clear, and don't forget the porch and deck.
Make the Inside Warm and Cozy
In cold weather, buyers won't spend a lot of time examining a home's exterior. Instead, impress them with the inside by creating an atmosphere which causes them to want to move in.
When there's time, leave wintery types of snacks and drinks, such as hot cocoa and cookies, available on a table during showings. This gives your home a welcoming feel to buyers.
Light the fireplace (if you have one) for a lovely ambience and set your thermostat to a comfortable setting. A warm home in the winter is much more appealing than a chilly one.
Make Your Home Less Personal
Understandably, this can be a tough thought for homeowners. After all, you've spent years creating memories in your home. To buyers, though, they need to picture it as their own. Too much personality makes that difficult.
It's always important to stage your home in a way that makes it look clean, comfortable, and move-in ready. Don't feel offended by the idea of taking family pictures down and replacing them with generic décor. This will help your home sell faster by helping buyers envision their own things there.
Cleanliness and Maintenance
Clean, clean, and clean some more. Make appliances, counters, and floors shine. No matter how old your home is, it needs to feel like new to potential buyers. If you aren't into dusting, now is the time to try. Don't forget window coverings that might need washing.
Be prepared ahead of time for home inspections by taking care of maintenance now. HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical should all be up to code and running smoothly.
Use these tips for selling a home in the winter, exercise patience during the slower months, and your home will sell before you know it.