Beyond money

Welcome back to Mindful Money Week!

One of the ways we can make peace with money is by it taking a less prominent role in our lives, in moving beyond money.

The more you are plugged into the external economy and the outside world, the more cash you need to fulfill your needs. The more self sufficient and plugged into informal money-less economies the less you will need. 

We are all plugged into the external economy to a greater or lesser extent and its impact can be damaging and scary, emotionally and financially for families, especially in these turbulent times.

How can we make our families more resilient, so we can ride the economic rollercoaster with maximum joy and confidence?

The sustainable money circle

  1. know how much you have
  2. know how much you need
  3. know your skills
  4. know your networks
  5. know your value 
  6. set up your income streams
  7. do your work
  8. collect your income
  9. use your income
  10. rest and reflect

The first thing I recommend is to ensure you have rainbow streams of abundance. This means multiple income streams, some may be major rivers, like a full or part time job, others might be smaller self employed contracts. This way if one dries up, you are not left high and dry.

The other thing is to try and make sure that some of your income is passive! This means that after your initial input of work to set it up, you don’t need to do much. It sells itself. Leaving your time and energy free to create something else: think books or affiliate links rather than one to one teaching…

Beyond banks

In the past couple of years, banks have shown  themselves to not be the steady, reliable institutions we were always told that they were. Many are losing faith in traditional financial institutions for a variety of  reasons: lack of ethical investment, anger at bankers bonuses, lack of interest returns, poor investment in community projects, lack of security for savings, reduction in lending to individuals, corruption, lack of accountability… need I continue?

The best way of dealing with money is not needing money at all, in being reliant on your skills and resources, rather than needing to pay others for goods and services, and therefore needing a full-time job, or two to pay all your creditors. See my article on Balancing Work and Parenting…

However, we are still a money based society, and whilst we can focus on reducing our outgoings, and find alternatives to hard cash for other needs, total self-reliance and living off the economic grid is not a reality for most.

So what to do?

An influential and respected blogger from The Oil Drum made suggestions at a great talk my husband attended a couple of months back at UCC, prior to the total melt down of the Irish economy.

  • Take your money out of the banks, and keep it safe yourself. 
  • Pay off your debts.
  • Invest in your health.
I’d like to add a few more…

These have traditionally been property, fine art and wines. However you can’t eat art if you need it, and burning it aint much use either! A lot of people have had their fingers burnt with property investment in the past few years. Investments that might be worth investigating for the next few years– both because their value will increase hugely – AND they will be products much in demand are:

  • Forestry – preserves the forested land  and so helps combat global warming and gives you land plus wood if needed.
  • Land – preserves it from large scale development, and again provides space to build/ grow food on, if needed.
  • Green technologies – solar, wind and wave – either micro generation for your own home ( but do research CAREFULLY and consult with  advisers who do not stand to make money from you- all solar panels are neither Good not practical for all people). Or shares in green technology companies, though knowing which will be successful is always a gamble.
  • Oil– shares (though ethically this is very tricky -does one invest money in a company like BP which is responsible for the destruction of the environment?), or barrels stored somewhere for your own personal use. One thing I can guarantee is that the price of petrol/ oil/ diesel will only go up in the next few years as demand gets higher and extraction harder.
  • Seeds and tools for yourself and your family
  • Education and health. For yourself, your family, your community. Both of these have high costs when they are not “implemented” early on, and are priceless for individuals and communities.
Beyond money 

Get beyond needing a large wage (and beyond the tax man!)

Barter – a traditional form of exchange of goods which is making a come back.
LETS – (Local Exchange Trading Scheme) – where people exchange their skills and products, no money is used, rather exchanges are recorded as credits.  those of you who are local, there is a Midleton/ East Cork initiative starting up here. Again see my article above for more on LETS and barter.

Or simply informal skill swaps amongst friends and the community: I paint your wall and you babysit for my kids.

Local Currencies- which keep money in the local economy – see one of the founding Transition Towns for more…
And finally, STOP BUYING STUFF! We are now referred to as consumers by business and government. Not people, nor citizens, nor even producers, but consumers. We have really bought into the fact that if we just have this thing or that, then our lives will be perfect and we will be happy. But they won’t. When will we learn? You can’t take it with you when you go!

This is part of the Mindful Money series at Dreaming Aloud. Take some time to check out the other posts on…

Naming Your Price

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