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October 17, 2008


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I would add - save up 3 - 6 months of expenses - in savings account or CD's only. Many people have the money, but it's all tied up in 401K's or mutual funds with nothing immediately accessible, and it's all subject to market risk.

I think it helps also to make a budget. This seems like a no-brainer, but I talk to people all the time who don't have them. It's no wonder people spend more than they make when they don't know how much they're spending. It takes about half an hour to make an Excel spreadsheet and five minutes to enter receipts each night.

My wife and I even budget a little bit of personal spending money for ourselves each month, which helps make the whole thing feel like less restricting.

love the ideas you've gleaned -- being in the world with advertising at every turn aimed at enforcing the culture of consumerism makes these challenging times -- finding balance between inaction and hysteria or paralyzing fear of the unknown we've found it useful to be open to a variety of perspectives, conscious, aware and thoughtful in planning and responses -- and I couldn't agree more -- working cooperatively for the common good, moving together toward building resilient communities will create many opportunities for joyful abundance for all!

Thanks for the great input.

A shared community spirit is what we should all strive for. I do all the above you listed, plus I stockpile whatever I can when it is available, including fuel, building materials, organic matter for my garden, seeds, for example.
Since i'm a solo builder/gardener, I build 'work credits' with my new neighbor/s. I have been helping my neighbor build his green house, chicken tractor and well house. He in turn is helping me build my green house, garden and what other project I pursue. On Sunday I was lucky enough to have 3 helpers, so was able to get a couuple of projects done that would have been inpossible by myself. So now we have 2 more in our 'work credit' circle. I believe work credit used to be called neighbor helping neighbor. Somehow we have lost that great resource in this consumer society. Many of the old skills and social attitudes are about to make a welcome comeback in our lives. blog on

I have purchased a large dump bed farm truck for hauling organic matter to my garden, and am selling my smaller pickup. The truck has a dump bed, so less labor on me, but............here's the good part, my same neighbor is paying the insurance, tag, 1/2 of maintenance, tires, etc. So I have upgraded my hauling capacity, for basically less money than I was spending. So, share a vehicle with your neighbors if possible.

I remember reading Wendell Berry's The Memory of Old Jack and being astounded at the fact that these farm families just went from one family's field to the next during harvest, as a matter of course. It was remarkable to me how unremarkable it was in the minds of the books characters. That's just not something I ever got growing up in the suburbs despite having two of the most generous, outwardly focused parents on earth. I'm not sure exactly how we can get back to that when young people like me have no frame of reference for such neighborliness.

I grew up at rural route 4 in Leedey Oklahoma, and before mechanised farming took over, neighborliness was the way we, as a community lived. Everyone's success was important to YOUR success. I remember one year when my Uncle became ill and couldn't harvest his wheat, w/in 2 days, everyone in the community showed up to harvest and put up all of his wheat crop, then came back and plowed all his fields. He didn't even have to ask. Rarely do I hear people say, "if you need help, let me know". My 2 neighbors and I now have that. it's great....

What a great idea, marry the causes of personal finance with sustainability. I agree with the foundations of having a reserve (of cash and food) and paying off all debt. The debt snowball is the best method I have found for paying off debt quickly. This post explains two approaches to the debt snowball: http://www.bitesizeidea.com/bsi/how-to-snowball-debt-till-its-gone

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