If you suddenly have no income, life style changes are necessary. Any job is better than none, but if there are no prospects, you must become nearly self sufficient. Cancel all insurance, and request partial refunds. Apply for unemployment or welfare. Move onto land that you own where the only essential costs are taxes, electricity, gasoline, bought food, school expenses, used clothing for growing children, and medical care; all but taxes can be minimized. Do without a telephone. Minimize use of electricity (see “Energy Conservation”). Plan trips to make a tank of gasoline last 6-8 weeks; catch a ride with neighbors. Use wood for winter heat and fans for summer cooling. Plant a large garden. Select bought food by the cost per family meal. In 1999, 4 lb. of shelled corn that cost $0.28 ($6.95 for 100 lb.) at a feed store could have been used to prepare a meal of porridge for a family of six. Buy all clothing at yard sales; good shoes or a set of clothing for a child should cost only $1-2. Search out the simple and free pleasures of life; the most satisfying may be a study of nature, the love of another person, and conversation. Some income will be needed, and various options are described in this book. Homemade or home grown products from soap to flowers can bartered for rides to town, telephone use, etc.
For minimal food cost, regular rice, cornmeal, flour, dry beans, and large sacks of potatoes are cheap enough at a supermarket, but untreated seeds, which have been cleaned and sorted, and other whole grains from a feed store are cheaper. Similarly, canned fish, vegetables, chicken, and eggs are inexpensive in stores, but farm-raised products, including free-range chickens and ducks, are cheaper. The principle is that flour is cheaper than bread, grain is cheaper than flour, and seed is cheaper than grain. Also, there are no meat dishes in most of the world. Instead, vegetable dishes include slivers of meat or fish for flavoring; familiar examples for us are hash and soup. To obtain maximum production from a garden with minimal cost and effort, plant snap beans, butter beans, crowder peas, corn, turnips, okra, potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.