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A while back Jim talked about setting the priorities of survival investing. All of the things he wrote about work well for some folks. Truth of the matter is that there are some families that have total disagreements about survival and preparedness. A single thin dime spent on preparedness items causes fights in the family and more added stress than any of us need.
Over the years I have spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out various ways to earn extra money to purchase the needed survival items I wanted without causing a fight with my spouse. I feel fortunate to have found several that work well for me, and may work for you as well. Frankly, I hope by sharing some of these that Jim will compile them in one column and we can all learn more ways to earn survival dollars.
Ground rules for myself were that working a part time job was out. I hated working my normal 40 hour week and being committed to having to be at a certain spot at a certain time five or six days a week. Over the years I have worked part time jobs to pay off bills that got away and it always take longer to save that money than planned and family life suffers. Any extra income I earn is done on my own terms with me setting the limits. I like to control my own life.
Before I begin I must add one thought. If you need to own a vehicle that vehicle needs to be a pickup truck. It will allow you to earn extra dollars several ways and make life easier. It should be the number one choice vehicle of survivalist.
As I write this I have just completed two days of doing one of the easiest ways to make extra money I know. A friend and I cleaned out a closing business of scrap metal and in four trips so far we have grossed just under $300. By the time we finish the place my guess is that we will net over $400.
Most medium and large towns have a scrap dealer that will pay for old metal items. I will not take a lot of time to explain to you the need to sort metal from ferrous and non-ferrous and all the fine points that being a scraper entails. If you are not familiar with scraping metal talk to someone that is and they can help you. The thing that I want you to know is this; metal sold equals cash. In all the years I have sold scrap I have never been handed a check, only dollars. That extra few hundred dollars that you can get for scrap can mean the difference between buying an old Turkish Mauser, a nicer Mauser, or an even nicer semi-auto.
I must add here also, Jim and I do not agree whole-heartedly with each other about survival investments. I am not a hard-core survivalist waiting for TEOTWAWKI. In my life I have needed to survive snowstorms and power outages a lot of times. I find those little two-five day ordeals a good test of my preparedness. I am willing to think a little more optimistic about the future than most survivalist. I am willing to invest money to make money.
One investment I made was to buy some vending machines. I sell gum and candy out of several locations and can net an extra $30-50 every few months. My investment in machines was around $300 and costs run around a hundred a year. The machines have already paid for themselves and I do end up with net profit every year. Again, the machines pay me in cash not checks. Purchasing silver and gold coins is nice when some of the money to buy them comes from a coin shop.
At one time my partner and I sold trading cards out of vending machines and made a couple hundred dollars a month. It tied up two Saturday mornings a month and was not like work. We made good friends while we ran that business and were able to make some contacts that helped us buy other items for survival at cost. Vending machines might not work for you, but start to think of other things that might work for you. We tried setting up at flea markets, but didn’t feel it was worth it for the time involved. I do however know other survivalist that set up and make a good extra income. Look at it this way. Flea markets tie you up for a whole Saturday or weekend. You have to pay for table rent and more than likely you will end up buying some food and drinks, either at the market or to bring in with you. A vending machine ties up money but not time. Placed in say an all night donut shop they work for you 24 hours a day. At some point they pay for themselves and you pull pure profit. If you believe that the SHTF soon then they are not for you. If, like me, you are slightly more optimistic about the future they might work out.
One fellow I know shared several ideas with me. One that I found interesting and might try is the following. During the winter trapping season he and his wife pick up every road kill raccoon and fox they find. (They buy a trappers license to make sure they don’t get in trouble with the DNR.) Last year their fur check was over $700. There is a company that will pay you for squirrel tails too. It is possible to make money off of road kill animals. Again, it is not for everyone, but it does help some folks get extra income.
One item that my partner found a few years ago that worked well for him was selling used sports equipment. He would go to the local parks and ball diamonds every morning and check for left behind gear. Gloves, bats, balls, and shoes were sold at a resale shop and he made over a thousand dollars during the two summers he did this. The secret was to make sure that he got there early in the morning and since he got off work at 4 AM it was easy to do. His best find was a $200 blazer with the receipt still stapled to the outer bag.
One last thing you can try is writing for extra money. I have been able to take some ideas and write articles that have sold for a payment. Some places pay in check, others in subscriptions, and some pay nothing, like The Bisonblog. Still I get to work at my own pace and do something I enjoy.
Survival is many things to many people. I am lucky that I have my place in the woods and a few other things that will make my life easier if trouble happens. I can go for a week without power or I can convert some quick cash by selling some copper scrap I have saved for the right time. None of these things came easily, they came because I took chances and I worked at securing a few extra survival dollars.
Maybe you have other ideas for extra income that you didn’t read here or something here is a modified version of what you do. Let Jim know and maybe he will share those ideas with the rest of us and we can all increase our survival dollars.