How to Consume Less During Crisis

We’ve all heard about stuff like “sustainable development”, but what do you think about controlling your consumption during a crisis until you can replenish your supplies?

Basically, all the things we consume cost money. Hence, the less we consume, the less money we spend. The less money we spend, the more we can stockpile or invest. It’s a win-win situation, right?

It’s about creating your own “sustainable” way of life in order to make it through the first stages of post-SHTF life. Maximizing your resources and your “efficiency” during a crisis makes perfect sense.

I know we’re not corporations, but this corporate motto can be applied with success in our day to day lives.

Now, what can you do to reduce your consumption?

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Reduce Energy Consumption

If you think about it, energy is a very general term as it includes almost everything in our daily lives: you spend energy to heat/cool your home, you spend energy to light your home, you spend energy to fuel your car (go to work, go get a pack of cigarettes, take the old Mustang for a ride), you spend energy when you’re reading this article on your computer, you spend energy when you’re “nuking” your dinner.

Everything revolves around this simple issue. Hell, even food and water is converted into energy by our bodies. Basically, reducing your energy needs and consumption is your primary objective. We have published articles about this issue – you can check out here.

  • You must insulate your home in order to decrease your energy bill.
  • You should use dimmer switches, economical light bulbs, and you should try to eliminate phantom loads caused by inactive appliances.
  • Almost 75% of the energy used by your home appliances is consumed when they’re in standby, so you should unplug them when they’re not used.
  • Line-dry your laundry instead of using your washing machine, and keep your refrigerator full (yeah, it sounds good, I know).

Essentially, you should avoid wasting energy (the same goes for water, heat, food, you name it). Try to educate yourself and your family to use only the necessary amount of water when washing dishes/showering, don’t leave the lights on around the house when you’re not there, don’t let the food spoil, don’t take unnecessary trips with your car when you’re in walking distance etc. You can also save money by carpooling, when possible.

Yeah, I know, it sounds hard…but it’s doable!

Buy Items in Bulk

small-food-2When buying in bulk, you will reduce the costs of packaging so you can purchase more stuff for less money. Basically you get the biggest bang for your buck.

Just think about how much a small jar of spices costs vs. the bulk product (a 20lb bag of sugar for example vs. a 4lb bag). The same goes for everything, ranging from frozen meat to potatoes.

This strategy is very effective when it comes to things that you’re buying often that have long shelf lives. Other good bulk items include pasta, grains, dog food, detergents and the like.

Use Multipurpose / Recyclable Items

Avoid shopping and using disposable/single use products, for example paper plates and cups.

Use your old-school dishes and your grandma’s silverware. I know, washing dishes sucks, but who said life is easy?

Pay for Quality, not Commercials

When you’re out shopping, educate yourself to choose high-quality, long-lasting and durable products. Don’t choose the cheapest “Made in China” plasticky thing; in the long term, you’ll see that it’s not worth it. Buy American (if possible)!

When you’re shopping, try to purchase locally produced goods and services. They are usually of better quality and you’ll also help the local community/economy to stay strong.

Also, it may sound silly, but stop watching/listening to commercials. You have no idea how powerful the marketing propaganda is and how efficiently it works in convincing us to buy crap we don’t need.

Smart Shopping

Try to get the most of things you’re buying. Besides their reliability, look for extended warranties, the real costs (the purchase cost is one thing, the cost to use/maintain is another story), if you can repair it/upgraded it (you should go for products that are fairly easy to maintain/repair).

Try to shop less and also to buy second hand things, they are sometimes in pristine condition and you’ll save a bucket of money, especially on cars, household items, and clothes.

Be Self-Sufficient

Grow at least some ofyour own food, if possible and also produce your own stuff, instead of buying everything (works for both goods and services); again, when possible and if you have the skills. I don’t advocate making your own smartphone, but you can always learn how to maintain/service your own car instead of using a mechanic.

That pretty much sums it up folks, I hope it helps!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Written by

Chris Black is a born and bred survivalist. He used to work as a contractor for an intelligence service but now he is retired and living off the grid, as humanly possible. An internet addict and a gun enthusiast, a libertarian with a soft spot for the bill of rights and the Constitution, a free market idealist, he doesn't seem very well adjusted for the modern world. You can send Chris a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • Good article, but why the dimmer switches? They do not save energy if that was the point.

    • Dimmers do save power. Electronic dimmers change how long the power actuality on in each cycle, and rheostats work on Ohm’s law, if your load is 100 ohms and you set the rheostat to 100 ohms the power use is cut in half. True half of the power use is wasted in heat in the rheostat but it does reduce the total power used.

  • I grew up line drying and still do, or hang in garage if rainy, rough fabrics can be softened up in the dryer.

    Maybe open a small LLC dealing with the food business, you will less likely to be looked at; where I live, you buy a 20# bag of sugar and the folks start thinking you are operating a moonshine still.

    Learn how to break down and preserve your smaller quantities of dried items; think small as once opened there will be a “eat by” time established when you crack the seal.

  • In other words…the old adage…”Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

  • Why do you keep assuming that in a SHTF scenario things will be exactly the same as they are today? E.g. car: why bother repairing it, if there is no fuel which there likely wouldn’t be except for some extremely poor quality homemade.

  • My vehicle is capable of 25 mpg on highway and can hold 165 gallons just in the tanks, that not including the 4 5-gallon jerry cans for another 20 gallons. 185×25=pretty far, so ya, I’m gonna learn how to change a tire and maybe a belt or water pump, just in case. Since, it’s an earlier model engine I can modify it to run on red dye, also known as home heating oil, and also to run on kerosene, seems like a lot of fuel sources to me. Also, learn how to repair a generator that can run some appliances in your house so you don’t have to live like a pilgrim. I think what the author assumes is a desire to thrive post-shtf, not just survive it. Remember this could be anything from slight civil disturbance like the LA riots, to full blown Haiti like anarchy. Luck favors the prepared and never assume cause ya know the rest.

  • @Chris B: You look like like some silly punk kid, but your articles show that you really have your shit together. I have been doing many of the things you cover all of my life, but I still learn a few things and get some great ideas for doing things in a better way from your articles, and I want you to know that I appreciate it.

  • Moved into the ‘country’… grow our own food… heat with wood… ‘carry’ always… starting to get off the grid by developing our own power…. dug well… animals for self sustainability coming… family believes in our life style…. How old are we?…I’m 63 and wife is 58… Think we may know something more than others are thinking about?… YOU BETTCHA’!

  • Just as an addendum… A few years ago…lived in the outskirts of a city…had an ice storm that knocked out power for 3-4 days… people around me in the neighborhood were in panic mode… “how can we heat…cook … keep our food from spoiling?”… I said…”Got a basement walkout with a door?…There’s your fridge…out the back door…(because it was winter)… there’s your freezer… woodstove, fireplace?… there’s your heat and cooking area!”… A lot of people don’t think clearly in a situation like that!… Then again…common sense is not always common!