Doomsday preppers: Most of us have heard of them, thanks to the bevy of reality TV shows that are dedicated to nearly every interesting lifestyle nowadays. And though you probably don’t share the same level of anxiety about surviving the holidays as preppers associate with the end of days, you might learn a thing or two by observing how they shop…and avoid a post-holiday financial depression.
Why? It’s simple: Preppers are continually assessing and stockpiling supplies to ensure they’re ready for nearly any disaster, which often means buying in bulk and knowing how to stretch a buck. In a holiday season that may include long gift lists and even longer grocery lists, maximizing your spending power/ability is crucial.
Obviously, preppers are prepared, and you can be, too! If possible, decide on your holiday menus and gift lists well in advance. That way, you can shop around at your convenience for the best deals, and you’ll definitely be prepared for the holidays. Consider these prepper-inspired tips:
According to John Mauldin, president of Millennium Wave Investments, investing in gold and silver may help people avoid becoming a victim of inflation. According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. dollar has lost 95 percent of its original value over the past century, meaning that a dollar you put away 20 years ago is worth much less today. In contrast, gold and silver, as well as Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) that are backed by gold, are great investments. If you want to give a loved one an enduring gift that likely won’t lose value over time, consider gold jewelry or accessories.
An over-sized stuffed toy might make your daughter smile for a while, but what good is it to her in the long run? Instead, give gifts that make sense, such as sports equipment, study books, clothes or tools that the recipient can put to good use over the long haul.
This might sound scarier than it is, but it’s serious nonetheless. Especially in colder parts of the country, seasonal viruses like the flu and the common cold run rampant around the holidays. To boost your immune system, consider taking multivitamins and anti-oxidants a couple of months ahead of time. And don’t forget to stock up on tissues, flu medication, aspirin and hot water bottles, just in case.
Preppers buy a lot of goods in bulk to get discounts, which makes sense if you’re creating a stockpile of provisions. Adapt this technique and purchase those seasonal items you’ll use a lot of, such as candles, wine or firewood. Just make sure that you have enough room to store your purchases appropriately.
While not inherently a practice of preppers, couponing can be an integral part of your holiday shopping plan, and can greatly assist in stretching your dollars. Cut coupons from local circulars and magazines and use them for items you want to purchase. To amp up your couponing skills, use a couponing app on your smartphone. This offers a quick and easy way to find coupons for everything from groceries and gifts to decorations and dinner shows.
And if you really want to get the most out of couponing, hold weekly couponing swap meets with friends. Because even if you don’t want apple-scented candles, your friend —who just happens to have a great coupon for your favorite chocolate—can’t imagine the holidays without them.
Of course, holiday shopping isn’t the end of the world. Preppers use planning and economics to their advantage, skills the average holiday shopper can also learn and effectively employ. Incorporating a few of these simple strategies when shopping can help you enjoy more and spend less this holiday season. Who knows, you may unleash you inner prepper!