You don’t have to look far to find a news article or social media post that talks about high gas prices. In fact, the current national average as of yesterday was 4.318 according to AAA. Incidentally, this exceeds the price in the summer of 2008, which at the time was the highest cost per gallon America had ever seen.
Here in Montana, we’re just down to $4 a gallon for a state average.
Speaking of 2008 and those high gas prices, soon after the country went into recession and the real estate market crashed. Now am I saying it will happen again? No, I’m definitely not smart enough to predict all of this, but I do know that at these prices hard times are coming for a lot of people.
High fuel prices mean things like groceries and other products and services will go up. So not only will we pay more at the pump, but we will also pay more for the products we buy.
For Montananese who are already barely coping, this is not the news they were hoping for.
So what can we do? Is there anything that can provide some kind of relief as we prepare for what are sure to be bumpy roads for a lot of people here in Montana? There are some things Montaners can do to prepare for tough times, whether it’s record fuel prices, a recession, or some kind of natural disaster.
have a garden
Planting a garden is a great way to save money during the summer and fall. For many people, especially large families, a garden is a lifesaver when it comes to the grocery bill. Although some types of products can be a little more difficult, there are several that even a beginner can tackle.
“But what if I live in an apartment?”
Good question and I have a better answer. Here in Bozeman, there are a handful of community gardens that allow people who may not have the land to still have a garden. For more information see bozeman.net for more details.
Another huge benefit of having a garden is the ability to “store” the things you’ve grown to last all year round. Although gardening and “canning” involves hard work, the money you can save is significant.
Have an “emergency fund”
You might be surprised to learn that a large portion of Americans and Montanese don’t have a lot of money in savings. In fact, just over half of Americans have $5,000 or less, while a third of the population has less than $1,000 in savings.
You might be thinking, “how are we supposed to save money with the high costs of everything?”
Well, you have to start somewhere, right? I think one of the problems people have with saving money is the amount. Most people can spare a little money here and there. When you put that aside and keep adding to it, over time you start to accumulate a nice amount of savings that can come in handy in an emergency.
Have food storage
Food storage is a great way to get by when you find yourself in a jam. Whether it’s from a financial perspective, or as we’ve seen during the pandemic when store shelves were empty, it’s good to have options. There are a number of companies that offer all sorts of food storage options, but many of them come at a pretty high price, which could be problematic for those on a budget.
However, there are much more affordable options.
Much like creating an emergency fund, storing food can be as simple as taking small steps every time you go to the grocery store. Let’s say you’re grocery shopping and you buy a jar of peanut butter, maybe you buy two. Unopened peanut butter is one of those items that has a long shelf life, which is essential when putting together food storage. Other items that are relatively inexpensive and have a good shelf life include things like noodles, beans, granola bars, spices, and canned vegetables (see above).
Personally, I keep a few cases of ramen noodles in our pantry because they’re cheap, easy to make, and have a long shelf life. However, it doesn’t have to be food, things like deodorant, soap (both body and laundry soap), toilet paper and paper towels are all great extras to have. . It’s certainly good to be prepared, although it’s not necessary, it’s good to have peace of mind.
Hopefully things will calm down soon, but even if they do, as the motto goes, it’s good to “Always be prepared”.