So until civilization crashes, we are all forced to participate in the wage economy. There are innumerable reasons to spend less money (and spending less money can translate to working fewer hours, that is, if you don’t have debt like me :-).

There are also innumerable ways to spend less money. Let’s come up with a collection of ideas.

Craigslist, craigslist, craigslist
Free food! (“expired” food from your workplace, dumpster diving, Food Not Bombs, gardening (practically free))
Garage sales (Craigslist is great for this, too)
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Good topic.

Here are a few:


Learn how to sew for repairs. With a needle and thread you can repair nearly any article of clothing you have. I usually always keep some glover’s needles and artificial sinew or nylon thread around for this.

Learn how to sew to make your own clothing. Instead of buying a new article of clothing, buy fabric and use patterns to sew your own clothes. Often I find that this way you get a much more useful and practical parka or mukluks or canoe packs, etc , because you choose how big it is or what straps to use or what material to make it out of. I have sewed pants before but those are more tricky to get a good fit so I don’t make much of them anymore. It’s nice to make your own things anyways and tailor your clothes to your needs.

Buy what clothing you need at thrift stores.

Tan your own hides to obtain leather or ask a tannery for scrap leather they don’t need to make bags, clothing, etc. Many throw out lots of leather and it can be obtained for free.

Food: Herd your own goats, keep your own chickens, grow your own vegetables, shoot your own deer, snare your own hares, etc. Get leather, milk, meat and goat hair from your goats, eggs and meat from chickens, buckskin from deer, etc. Think towards producing food yourself, rather than going to buy it at the shop. Working at a place that serves food can probably also help out with food costs. Some people find dumpster diving good but I don’t do it much because most of the food I’ve found in dumpsters hasn’t been that edible or healthy.

Obviously if you know a community or group of people who can help with food production and that you can contribute to, that helps immensely compared to doing it on your own.

Rent: Having a place in the country to squat or live on is the most economical option, as you can also produce your food there. Yet in winter this isn’t always possible if you don’t own the land or it’s too far north, etc. Otherwise, make friends with people in order to squat in their homes, their land or their buildings. There is work exchange you can do for a place to stay, and often farmers or ranchers will hire someone and provide room and board as well.

If it’s not winter (or not freezing and snowing) buy a tent and camp out in that in summer, spring, and fall. That is what I do when I am in Canada and can obtain a cheap tent. Otherwise I sleep with a blanket/mosquito net or whatever I have out in the open and if it starts to rain head for some kind of overhead shelter.

Dumpster diving is all about selectivity. The right dumpsters, at the right time of day… some dumpsters are never going to have anything useful in them.

walk. ride a bike.

Hmm… I dunno, maybe it’s better in the U.S. Here in Canada, it’s mostly all trash compactors now anyways. I think someone would have a hard time feeding themselves through dumpsters here unless they knew where all the good ones were and the times to go there.

I have been through bakery dumpsters, food stores, etc and all the food is either contaminated from being bagged or tossed in with other garbage or spoiled in one way or another. Also sometimes you’ll see signs or notes left there from employees who have written anonymous threats to potential dumpster-divers which I find mildly amusing.

I think the three most costly energy uses are…


Any ideas on these?

Root cellar?
Raw foods?
Dried foods?

More clothing layers instead of external heat?

etc. etc.

One way to reduce heating is to live in a home with smaller sq. footage.

Also, heating water … I’ve been considering cold showers. That would certainly help me take shorter showers, too…

You can put buckets in your shower to catch the water and use that water to flush your toilet.

My thermostats are set really low. I just adjust with layers/blankets.

Just one or two “good” dumpsters is all I ask for. :slight_smile: It’s not enough to live on, but it’s rewarding enough. And fun!

Yea, free food is fun. I love to pick fruit right off trees or berries off the bush, one of my favorite activities.

[quote=“Urban Scout, post:7, topic:539”]I think the three most costly energy uses are…


Any ideas on these?[/quote]

solar cooking

obviously, it’s not going to always be usable, but given that scavengable materials will be around a while and it may be a while before firewood is really abundant

Peak Oil Prep: Three Things You Can Do to Prepare for Peak Oil, Climate Change and Economic Collapse

The book purports to have lots of money-saving solutions. Haven’t read it yet. When/if I do, I’ll post a review.

Admin note: modified link to “economize” on space :slight_smile:

[quote=“jhereg, post:11, topic:539”][quote author=Urban Scout link=topic=578.msg6444#msg6444 date=1196202598]
I think the three most costly energy uses are…


Any ideas on these?

solar cooking

obviously, it’s not going to always be usable, but given that scavengable materials will be around a while and it may be a while before firewood is really abundant[/quote]

also hayboxes, which, come to think of it, would probably help with nixtamalization (sp?) as well.

Whenever you have the “urge” to buy something, think “do I REALLY NEED this or will it just be something extra that takes up space?” if you don’t really need it, don’t buy it. For things like Christmas, coming up, which I cannot seem to escape while still having a family, I am going to only buy things for my family that they can use, like gardening, baking, cooking, sewing supplies, but I also want to make things for them too, which will have more meaning. I am going to tell my family not to give me anything that I won’t be using in my gardening project or foraging, hand-craft projects this spring/summer… I don’t want to purchase anything unless I absolutely need it, or feel that it would benefit me for years to come…

Ha ha ha, I just thought that if you told them you wanted an ethnobotany field guide or book it might get them to go to the ethnobotany section of a book or internet store.

It doesn’t even have to be something that takes up space for very long.

Back when I was “astray from the fold” (so to speak), I could justify spending $20+ on a meal at a restaurant w/ my boyfriend (and he ate out at least twice a day! I, less often…) because I “need to eat, after all…”

Ha! Ha! Ha.

Yeah I used to blow a lot of money at restaurants going out for lunch at work… well not too much since sometimes people bought for me, but… seeing how I normally don’t spend more than $15 a week ever anymore on food (and usually about half this… $10 in one day is a lot.

I just asked myself that about 100 times as I stood in the bookstore looking at about 10 books. I settled on “Restoring the Pacific Northwest.” It was $50 fucking dollars. But worth it I hope. It looks super good. I wanted to get a book on water in Oregon, Salmon, NW earth quake informations… the list goes on and on. I fucking love books. I once had a great library… than I went fucking crazy and sold everything. It felt great at the time, but now I’ve had to slowly and hastily reclaim my library. Now I think it actually far exceeds what I had years ago, which is awesome.

All I have to say is quality over quantity. That’s how I approach music, and it works out great.

Wellllll… great except for one small problem: if you look closely enough, there is quantity in quality. I mean, there are lots of recordings of Stan Getz out there. :wink:

I already wrote this in another thread you started, but Seattle is an amazing dumpster town. Many of us live primarily off trash, and I know a couple people that have exclusively lived off it. Got lots to say to this, let’s just meet up sometime. :slight_smile: