How should a cheapskate invest his money during uncertain economic times? Stash it in a mattress? Bury it in the backyard? I’m not going to give you advice about investing in stocks, bonds, gold or real estate. I don’t give investment advice, nor am I qualified to do so. I give advice about living a better life by spending and consuming less.
See also: Retirement planning for cheapskates.
But since the economy imploded and the value of a typical 401(k) has dropped faster than a cheapskate bending over to pick up loose change on a sidewalk, I have been thinking a lot about the investing side of personal finance. In this New Economy, I think the smart money is on investing in things that decrease your cost of living, as opposed to things that you hope will increase your net worth.
In the New Economy, maybe the question should be: How much will this investment save me? Not: How much will this investment earn me? Maybe it’s time to invest more in ourselves, equip ourselves to live more self-sufficiently, and take stock in ourselves, rather than continue to speculate and worry about the performance of our stock portfolios.
In this spirit of financial independence, here are six surefire investments that will save you money and make you more self-sufficient:
- Energy efficiency and generation: You don’t need to have a degree in economics to realize that energy — particularly petroleum-based energy — is only going to keep getting more expensive as supplies dwindle. Installing programmable thermostats at home, consolidating car trips to save gas are easy changes. You could spend more and buy a hybrid vehicle, Energy Star appliances, and solar or geothermal home energy systems. Investing in things that reduce energy consumption or help you generate your own energy are almost always smart money moves. And there’s a tank full of federal and state tax incentives to encourage consumers to do just that.