The popular television series titled The Walking Dead is loaded with lessons for surviving a zombie apocalypse. As it turns out however, many of those same solutions can be applied to everyday living, as well as saving time and money. Here are ten of what I consider to be the top tips from the show.
1. Communication Systems Are Critical
Whether you’re fleeing from zombies, trying to manage your home and family life with minimal disruption, or are simply trying to build your client base, having a solid communication system will go a long way towards saving you unnecessary expenditures of time and money. Booking new contracts for additional biz revenue and checking to see if a particular item is in stock at the hardware store before heading into town to shop for your latest DIY project are both examples of where having access to a working phone would be helpful. Internet access is its own form of communication as well, which is why I like to travel with a tablet device. Situational difficulties relating to a lack of communication options are prevalent throughout The Walking Dead, and the issue is addressed early on with the use of hand-held radios, although conditions dictate that the battery power is judiciously conserved.
2. Trusted Transportation Is Necessary
True, those in urban areas can generally rely on public options like subways, bus systems and free downtown trolleys. If you live in a rural or suburban situation however, you may need to consider how to save money on a reliable car, as well as how to avoid purchasing more vehicles than you need. (See also: The Vehicle Alternative that Can Save You Tens of Thousands of Dollars) Early on in season one, the Rick character rode a horse into Atlanta in an attempt to try and locate other survivors. It’s an option that required no gasoline, and allowed him to carry some supplies as well.
A motorcycle or a Vespa might provide additional transportation support if one of your family members lives closer to home. They provide better gas mileage and take up less room in the garage. It’s of note that this option is also used regularly in The Walking Dead for shorter supply runs when only one or two people will be traveling to bring home a small amount of goods.
3. Rationing Can Really Come in Handy
It doesn’t take long for the cast members to realize that somebody has to be in charge of the supplies if their food stores and fuel are going to last them until they reach some sort of safe haven. Corporations and small businesses do this all the time, and it makes sense for families and single professionals to give it a whirl as well. Areas where this can come into play include only driving into town when you know you have a three or more errands to run, or breaking down bulk grocery items such as ground beef into meal-sized portions to store in the freezer for later use. (See also: 40 Frugal Freezer Meals)
4. Mechanical Skills Are a Major Money Saver
Granted, with regards to the television show these skills are implemented as a life-saving way to get out of Dodge when danger comes calling. However, you can certainly apply any vehicle maintenance skills you have towards your own financial survival and savings goals. Even those who aren’t comfortable performing their own engine overhaul might find themselves able to try their hand at an oil change, belt replacement or at least brushing the corrosion off your car battery posts if the need arises. For some people, saving even a few hundred dollars per year is a big deal. That’s certainly achievable with only minor mechanical efforts. [See also: Car Maintenance: 8 Tips to Cut Down Costs]
5. Scratch Cooking Provides Huge Savings
Granted, as far as the survivors in The Walking Dead are concerned, money no longer plays a part in their economic equation. That being said, preparing meals from their own vegetables, fish and other game saves them from dipping into their fuel supply to scout for canned goods from stores which haven’t yet been looted by other survivors. The truth is, cooking from scratch is one of the most powerful frugal food strategies you can implement. It doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours in the kitchen, either. This recipe for DIY cornbread mix makes a large batch that can be prepared a bit at a time. We frequently use it to whip up quick and small batches of cornbread or jalapeno corn muffins to go with soup, chili or even baked beans.
6. Tool Kits Help Tame Maintenance Costs
It isn’t just automotive mechanic skills that can help save you money. Maintaining your own plumbing, communications equipment and even furniture can be a thrifty way to get by. Keeping the tools you’ll need to accomplish things organized? Huge time saver. A tool kit is a go-to place to find what you need, and can be relocated to the site where you need to perform your work with ease. It comes up in the show when some of the characters take off with the one from camp and fail to bring it back from their salvage efforts in Atlanta. Clearly, it’s a critical piece to their survival puzzle.
7. Fire-Starting Skills Are Far from Incidental
When you don’t have any other way to heat water for dish sterilization, food prep or hygiene, fire is your friend. For city dwellers, starting that fire might mean lighting a portable burner on an urban balcony. Rural homes may provide a fire pit or outdoor barbecue, while suburbanites may need to make do with an indoor, wood-burning fireplace to handle extreme situations. It’s also a way to reduce your reliance on electricity and help reduce utility bills overall. [See also: How to Save Money on Electricity]
8. Develop a Stellar Support System
As is evident whenever the clan stops to regroup in the series, it’s impossible for any one person to accomplish everything on their own. Certain community members contribute by hunting for food or standing guard while others handle laundry logistics, food prep and education for the kids. You may never find yourself in a situation like the characters in the show, but there’s no shame in getting to know your neighbors in a new community and reaching out when you are able. You never know when you may need a backup person to pick the kids up at soccer camp and chances are if you’ve always been there with a relief casserole or a handsaw to lend, the person in question won’t mind jumping in to help you out.
9. Focus on First Aid Skills
Present in a number of episodes is the need for skilled medical care. While nobody’s suggesting you learn how to perform your own surgeries for pets and family members when it isn’t your chosen line of work, knowing basic first aid can mean the difference between developing infections that will require expensive medical treatments and not needing any at all. Purchase a book, take a class and obtain a few simple supplies in order to remain prepared for average medical situations at home.
10. Bartering Can Keep Your Budget on Track
After relocating to the prison as a safe haven with room for growing crops and locking out zombies, the group finds themselves in a position to exchange certain excess goods for ones they don’t have. As discussed above, money isn’t necessarily the point for the purposes of the show’s plot. However, expenditure of fuel supplies and the time required to find a similar supply haul is. Bartering keeps things simple for everyone, particularly when liquid cash is in short supply. [See Also: The Basics of Bartering For What You Need]
These are my favorite life and survival lessons from The Walking Dead. Are you a fan of the show? What are some solutions you’ve noticed that could be applied to everyday life?