Sunday, January 30, 2011

What to do with the money?

Last October I asked a question to people about what I should do with a lot of extra money.  I got a couple of answers but I think I'd like to ask it again. 

I had some ideas of my own.  Number one idea was to pay down the mortgage.  It would make a small dent in the mortgage but it would mean that I'd owe for less.  Second idea was to put in solar power.  I would like to get a stand alone system, but sometimes wonder if it's worth the effort.  Sure I won't be tied to the grid but would I be better off just going non-electric?  The third idea was to finish the front fencing.  Right now I have a wrought iron gate but cattle panels across the property.  After deciding to build the hedgerow putting in the wrought iron fence would be a waste of money.   The fourth idea was to make more improvements to my bugout property.  It needs fruit trees, fencing, and just about everything.  The renters are cleaning the place up but I am going to have to spring for the price of the fruit trees.  I will be doing this because every property should have fruit and nut trees.  I'm also going to put in more trees here at home.  I'm planting a date tree for a source of sugar plus more trees although I don't know what kind yet. 


Here were the three responses that I could publish...   

1. My thought is to put it into the solar power. The more independent you are the better off you will be. If you have solar then you won't need to worry about your well or the refrigerator or the washing machine. You can even have enough power to run the air conditioner some of the time. You'll be able to grow as big as a garden as you'll need without worry about water.

2. If you don't have a year or two supply of food you need to do this. Do you have enough weapons and ammunition? You should also look at Rawles Gets You Ready and head to Costco. Then buy silver coins. Then finish fortifying your property.

3. You've said that you have kids there. Do you have clothes, shoes, and other necessary items for them for all of the sizes that they will be growing into in the future?

I can discuss each of these three suggestions:

I still don't know about the solar.  I'd like to get a solar backup to the well.  One reader sent me specific information on how to do this.  There's a good probability that I will do this.  I'd much rather have the water on solar than anything else. 

I have a good handle on the supply of food.  There's never too much saved, but if the stores stopped selling today we'd be ok.  I have the skills to feed us.  I have been focusing on buying ammunition.  I bought between 100 and 500 rounds for each of the weapons just this past month.  I have between 500 and 5000 rounds for each.  I never bought the Rawles Gets You Ready course.  I figured I'd rather spend the money on stuff than spend it on the course.  I was hoping to find a friend who had bought it and would let me read it.  That never happened.  It's now out of print but I'm sure it would have been a good investment. 

I spent one weeks salary buying silver coins when they were $14 an ounce.  I haven't bought any since.  Wish I bought more then.  I don't know how much is enough when it comes to silver coins.  Are you better off investing in your living situation if you don't think you will be bugging out or should you invest it in coins?    Am I better off buying a fruit tree or an ounce of silver?  When buying silver, California has a stupid rule.  If you spend over $1500 then you don't have to pay tax of almost 9%.  If you spend less you have to pay tax.  Is it worth saving the money then purchasing them? Depends on if they are going to go up that 9% while you are saving.

Keeping stuff for the kids.  I can buy clothes for myself and they can last ten years.  This doesn't work with the kids.  I do have bins in the garage with shirts, pants, jackets, undergarments, and shoes for each size 0-16. There's the minimum amount needed for each size. I do let the kids buy new things each year and we add that to what's in the bin.  When they outgrow that size I save the minimum amount in case it's needed by someone else in the family.  All the rest gets donated.  Once the kids reach adult size I can sew or rework other clothing I have.  

The question is, if you had a spare $10-20,000 (probably closer to the $10,000) how would you spend it? No trips to Disneyworld as the kids and grandkids suggested...


  1. Fruit trees for sure. I just bought 6 semi-dwarf trees for $78. Paying down your mortgage is not the best idea. I have paid off three mortgages and in my opinion the only way to own a home/property is with the maximum loan or no loan. But paying down a mortgage with a lump sum won't decrease your monthly payment but will decrease slightly your tax deduction.

    Solar (PV) is expensive. I would opt for a really small system. Something that would power a few lights and a radio and maybe a laptop for a few hours a day (and if you have a well to power your pump). This could be as small as the $199 Harbor Frieght 45 watt panels or two 100+ watt panels that might cost $600 or more. I would not spend the money to buy the 4kw-20kw systems unless you are rich enough to do so without dipping into savings or impacting income. PV is simply too expensive and regardless of the hype you can never get your money back out of it and that is especially true if you don't live in Southern California or Arizona.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts. Semi-dwarf trees are definitely the way to go. Even though I have room for full size trees the semi-dwarf are much easier to handle, they produce a lot and they produce several years earlier.

    I am confused by the solar but am going to have to study it more. I certainly don't have the money for a full system. I'm more concerned about a backup for the well and for some small appliances.

  3. If I were in your shoes the first thing I would do is put solar on the can use non-electric lighting, heating and cooking sources but there is no way to get water on an existing well without power. Second, it sounds like some work on your bug out place might be in order, what kind of power system is there? Also, consider an alternate source for everything...having one is too close to none. So, solar AND a generator, etc.

    Can't wait to see what you decide!

  4. My vote would be to spend a couple of thousand on Solar. My opinion on solar is quite different than the average homesteader. (Let me say that I am still on the grid to run most of my house, but I am working toward being total freedom). It seems as if most survivalist/homesteaders spend a lot of money on maintaining their current level of 21st century luxury. My approach is to maintain the bare minimum of basic necessities. One example is that I have wired up a small DC powered 60psi pump(approx/ $55.00) to my water collection tanks( used 55 gallon food grade barrels on a manifold system) and use an inexpensive solar array ($150.00@ Harbor freight) to charge a 12 volt battery that provides the power to water my garden with a sprinkler. I use another system that I purchased used ($500.00) to run my inverter in the shop to charge the various batteries I use for alarms, Comm gear and assorted other battery dependent items. I also use the invert to run my 2 Short Wave Radios. One is Transistor based and the other is tube. I have a very small solar grid on my roof to power the lights and two electrical sockets. Please note, that a 12 kw system cost around $4,000 +/- and does not supply a lot of energy. But it does get you in the game. Here is the system that I currently have and am pleased with its performance. The customer service is decent. After all they are in sales.
    However it is limited by it size. The one thing I have discovered is that Solar is a life style and insulation of your dwelling/home is the key to making it work.

    Be Blessed, Be Vigilant

  5. here is a deep well hand pump that is good for 350 feet. It does work as advertised. A buddy of mine installed one. He was very impressed with the American Made quality. It does work fairly easy, as I have used it.

    Be Blessed, Be Vigilant
    Gafarmboy aka Bubba Hotep