Surviving the Hustle Economy Part 2: Strategies for Success
Create Rules, Create Ritual, Become a Producer and SURVIVE
In part one of this article, I presented a picture of the US economy that shows that Americans, whether poor or in the middle class, are really struggling financially. You can read part one here. Most of that struggle comes from an unfair white capitalist economic system (also known as the military industrial complex) where we are unfairly taxed, the money in our bank accounts is devalued by the IRS fractal reserve system, and our wages don’t increase along with the increased cost of living. BUT, you are not powerless in this system! There are steps you can take to cut your spending, cut your debt, create ritual, become a creator of the things you need, and SURVIVE the HUSTLE ECONOMY.
Be Aware of Spending Days
I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but there sure seems to be a lot of holidays on our calendar. Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, New Years, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving…the list goes on. One explanation is that we are simply joyful people who enjoy celebrating every month or so with our families. But a more sinister and unfortunately accurate explanation as to why there are so many government-sanctioned holidays on our calendar is to increase spending and create more debt. Debt keeps us distracted. Debt keeps us tired and disconnected. And debt is the life-blood for the white capitalist economic system.
THIS is How Much We Spend on Holidays
Christmas spending is way up for the average American household. This year it was $1,100 for an average household of four. Last year that fiture was only $950. The year before that it was only $875. Most Americans spend more on Christmas then what they can afford meaning most Americans finance Christmas. Financing Christmas has become so bad that by the time the next Christmas comes around, 40% of Americans are still paying off their Christmas debt from the previous year!
Christmas isn’t the only holiday we’re overspending on. For the Super Bowl, Americans are expected to spend about 15.8 billion dollars. That’s almost $82 per American. Right after the Super Bowl comes Valentine’s Day where Americans are expected to spend about 21 billion dollars this year. That’s about $161 per American–an all-time record!
We spend about $180 per family on Thanksgiving, up from $170 in 2017. We spend about $90 per person on Halloween. We also buy gifts and throw parties for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and more.
When we’re not overspending on holidays, we’re overspending on our kid’s birthday parties at an average cost of $478 per party. Then, the average family of four tends to take at least one vacation a year with an average price tag of over $1000 per family.
The point is one way to survive the hustle economy is to cut way back on our spending. American corporations spend BILLIONS every year to manipulate us into buying more and more of their goods and the government circles many dates on our calendars when they want us to spend. But don’t fall into the trap! Here are some steps for significantly decreasing your spending and therefore your debt.
1) Start by De-cluttering Your Home
Marie Kondo is making waves right now for her simple system of de-cluttering our homes. The main message in her book and television show is to only keep items that you need or that bring you joy. The average American household has a garage and a spare bedroom or two full of crap they don’t use or need accumulated from decades of overspending. It’s important to de-clutter so that you know what you have and know what you need.
I’ve done this joyful living process and it felt GOOD to let go of all the useless stuff I had lying around. I got rid of shirts, pants, and shoes I don’t wear. I donated boxes of family crap I’ve accumulated. I donated useless holiday decorations. I recycled books and paper. I gave away pots and pans I don’t need plus so much more. The end result was de-cluttering created space and energy flow in my home. Now I feel good about where I live!
I’m ready to conclude that once we de-clutter, our home becomes satisfying, emotionally significant, and we WANT to be there. Therefore, all of the new stuff that’s available just isn’t very attractive to us anymore. This isn’t just cleaning our homes, it’s about changing our mindset toward LIFE. Navigate toward what brings us joy. Cut the fat and clutter. Make space to breathe.
I believe this mindset change carries over to all opportunities to spend. The bottom line is we spend LESS when we’re not trying to fill an emotional hole with more crap!
2) Create Meaningful Rituals
The second step to surviving spending days is to create significant rituals instead of spending money. On Christmas, most families feel pressured to buy a Christmas tree and put expensive presents underneath it for the entire family. But what else could you do besides buying presents?
How about making presents instead? The Dollar Tree has all kinds of cheap crafting materials available. All it takes is imagination.
Or perhaps you could do something significant for the person you love. Maybe they need help de-cluttering their life. Maybe they’d like their room decorated in a new color and style.
Or, instead of a tree and gifts, the whole family could go out an serve the homeless. Or clean a trail. Or clean a beach. Community service FEELS GREAT and it’s BONDING!
When you think about Thanksgiving, how much food do you end up wasting? Does Thanksgiving have to be about food? Maybe Thanksgiving could be a community service day. Or maybe you could combine your feast with other families to cut down on waste and get to know your neighbors better? Or maybe you could give thanks to your school by organizing a school clean up day.
I also think $478 for a birthday party is outrageous. In my opinion, kids enjoy activities more than decorations and presents. I organized a giant soccer game for my son for his 7th birthday and he LOVED IT! It was by far his favorite birthday because he loves soccer. Playing a game with all his friends and family was significant to him. So, instead of expensive parties, we could think of significant events for our children instead. A hike through the woods with a picnic. A historical tour of your local town. A tour of the fire department. A road trip to the beach. A significant event is something they will remember for the rest of their lives — way more than Power Rangers cups and plates.
You can create new rituals for all of the holidays. It’s important to sit down with your family and have a discussion about what’s important to everyone. Then set a budget. Then stick with it.
3) Create Financial Rules for You and Your Family
Besides re-thinking and budgeting spending days, your family should also create financial rules for the rest of the year. Some examples are:
* Limiting Going Out to Restaurants
* Setting a Clear Budget for Vacations
* Never Using Credit Cards or Other High Interest Loans
* Setting a Food Budget
* Setting a Clothing Budget
* Creating a Savings Plan
* Setting Financial Goals Like Buying a Home and Saving for College
The most important part of creating financial rules is sticking to them. Print them out on a big poster board and post them in a prominent area of your house. I think you’ll find that these rules are not limiting at all. On the contrary, they make you feel free and confident because you are working a financial plan that will create your family’s financial security and improve their future.
4) Grow, Create, Make — and SHARE!
Finally, the most important change we can make to survive the economic hustle is to become our own providers for the food and stuff we need to survive.
No man or woman or family is an island. Yet we tend to manage our finances that way, with no help or advice from our neighbors or anyone else. Imagine for a second that we managed our finances as a community. No, I’m not suggesting we all file the same tax return. Rather, I’m suggesting that we help and share as much as we can with our neighbors.
For example, the average US family spends $180 a week on food. However, a 50 pound bag of high grade semolina only costs about $45. Combine that with a pasta machine and you can make HUNDREDS of pasta meals–macaroni, spaghetti, lasagna, penne pasta. You name it! All for a fraction of the cost!
Someone else could be in charge of the pasta sauce. Tomatoes are pretty simple to grow and there are community gardens if you don’t have a back yard. You could also grow and can other vegetables like squash, zucchini, and green beans and can jars of all these vegetables that could supply your neighborhood. Another option is to check into farm sharing opportunities, especially when it comes to imperfect produce. You can get fresh, organic produce CHEAP when you join one of these programs.
When it comes to meat, it makes sense to contact a local rancher and buy a cow or two outright. Or a few pigs. Or chickens. Then freeze all your meat so that it’s available year round. Again, buying in bulk like this will increase the quality and lower the price.
Another example is clothing. The average family spends a couple hundred a month on clothing. Did you know it’s relatively simple to create your own clothing? You can buy t-shirts, pants, sweats and hats dirt CHEAP when you buy bulk. Just contact the clothing manufacturers and ask about bulk options. You could buy twenty black t-shirts for a couple dollars a piece then you could use a heat press to press on any design you want. Anything! It doesn’t take long to learn the design software and how to use a vinyl cutter to cut out your designs. Then you just press them on! Same quality you would find at Walmart!
Putting it all together, what if one neighbor was in charge of pasta for the whole neighborhood. Then another neighbor was in charge of sauce. Another in charge of t-shirts and pants. Another in charge of meat. Another in charge woodworking. Another in charge of creating organic cleaning supplies. Etc.
With the right planning and organization, you could create everything you need to survive without ever having to go to Target or Walmart. With some collaboration with your neighbors, you can form a community, and reduce EVERYONE’s financial burden.
When you Survive the Economic Hustle, You Attack the White Capitalist Economic System
This article is just the beginning of all you can do to survive the economic hustle. But if you’re still not motivated to take the first step, consider this: Every dollar you don’t give to the banks or the corporations is an attack on the white economic power system (the military industrial complex) that represses the poor and minorities and burdens over twenty million Americans in poverty. Money and interest is the blood of this system. They cannot live without it. So if enough of us become self-sufficient, the system will collapse.
By taking care of yourself and your neighbors, you are actually making this country and the world a better place. Just some food for thought.
So, why not give it a try?