Concerns about the economy. Concerns about the world.
2009 seems like it could very easily be worse than 2008. While we may not be able to stop Congress from borrowing us into oblivion or aggressor nations from blasting themselves into the same, we can make sure that we are ready to weather the storm these things may bring about. Even if these things do not happen, it never hurts to be ready for whatever may come. Below are five things you can start doing now.
1. Plant a garden
How can a garden help? Because gardens are a symbol of independence and because they provide valuable and, often, expensive vegetables that help reduce the grocery bill. Besides, if you are eating more vegetables, you are also probably spending less money on expensive processed foods.
What, a garden in the middle of winter? Yes, even in the middle of winter, we can grow our own food in our own homes for our own benefit. If you have the patience and the knack, find a south or west facing window and plant tomatoes and mesclun. Dozens of plans are available online for pots and planters for that very purpose. Many potted perennial plants like peppers will last years if treated properly.
Also, start planning your spring garden. Think you don’t have room? You can use pots–just keep them warm. Some plants can be planted as early as February and many plants do best when planted in March. Start your seedlings before the end of January to be sure they are ready in time.
2. Start saving
One of the greatest threats to the American way of life right now is rampant debt combined with virtually non-existent savings. When people are suddenly faced with an income altering event, they have no capacity to weather the storm because they have no money.
Resolve to start saving money now. It does not have to even be a lot of money, but even a little money will add up over time and will help pave over times of future uncertainty. Invested properly, this money can pay amazing dividends in the future.
3. Buy locally
Once upon a time, the local economy was the most important economy to most people. What was happening in Washington DC or New York mattered very little in those days because people bought from, worked for, and sold to people they knew. Even during the Great Depression, when times were though for everyone, many smaller towns and rural areas felt the effects far less because their local economies remained undisturbed.
Money you spend buying goods and services from local businesses stays local. Money that stays local helps the local economy, which helps you. This whole process is how jobs are created and people make money that is protected from the vagaries of global economics. If you doubt this can work, talk to the people losing their jobs because some corporation thousands of miles away has decided to lay them off.
4. Find your inner craftsman
What can you do for yourself? If having enough money is the question of the day, then how much do you spend paying other people to do things for you? Perhaps as importantly, do you know how to do something someone else would pay you to do? Consider doing that thing.
5. Give generously
Americans are often at their best when they have been brought to their knees, and charity is the first thing that Americans can do to help others and themselves. Besides, charity wrests people in need from the power of the government and puts them in contact with people who can actually help them. We do not need more taxes and social programs to make this happen; we need an American spirit that remembers how to care for our neighbors again.