While we hope your conditions never become as dire as those in The Hunger Games's District 12, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from Katniss. Her savvy skills and strong resourcefulness keep her family and herself alive even in the absolute worst of times. These 12 tips will keep your head in the game, save you money, and help you make the most of what you already have.
- Swap knowledge for knowledge: Katniss and Gale share each other's secrets and expertise. She explains, "He taught me snares and fishing. I showed him what plants to eat." You have skills that are worth sharing with someone else. Find someone who knows something you want to learn, like computer coding or baking and conduct a swap, offering them something that they would want to learn like your organizational skills.
- Turn your hobby into a moneymaker: Katniss hunts, trades, and sells her game for cash and other necessities. From writing how-to guides to making crafts, your hobby can help you bring in more cash flow.
- Pay back favors: On a desperate rainy day, Peeta saves Katniss and her family's lives by throwing her a few loaves of barely burnt bread. She never forgets that and vows to protect Peeta's life. If someone you know gives you a free handout, find a way to repay the favor.
- Share life's riches: At the beginning of the book, Gale gives Katniss a delicious warm roll. She splits it between them and shares the basil-wrapped goat cheese that her sister gave her. It's often more rewarding to share your bounty rather than hoard it for yourself.
- Remember philanthropy: Peeta and Katniss tithe Rue's family in District 11 one month of their "salary" each year in honor of her death. When you do find yourself financially comfortable, donate to a charity or cause you believe in. Otherwise, donate your time!
- Care for your belongings: Because new clothing is scarce, Katniss's family members properly wash and store their clothing, especially fancier dresses. Learn to take care of your clothes and practice mending holes and repairing seams. Hang your clothing up after you wear them to minimize your laundry. This will help cut down your laundry costs and will keep the clothes in better condition.
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- Cook from scratch: Katniss eats every meal at home, and her family cannot afford the luxury of even buying store-bought cookies. Anything processed, premade, or frozen will cost more than any home-cooked item you make from scratch and preserve.
- Limit your doctor's visits: Katniss's mom is an herbal healer, so their family never went to the doctor. While it's not advisable to avoid the doctor altogether, you can cut down unnecessary visits like going for a cold or a virus that cannot really be treated.
- Avoid alcohol: Katniss chooses not to drink, even though it's overflowing at the Capitol. Alcohol is expensive (especially at the bars), and it makes you inclined to spend more money on cabs and food. If you are on a budget, keep the adult drinks to a minimum.
- Walk everywhere: Before the hunger games, Katniss had never gone on a train. She had walked everywhere. Save money on transportation by walking short distances rather than driving or taking the bus.
- Savor rich experiences: Even though Katniss had a ton of rich foods at her disposal in the Capitol, she was "careful to not overdo it on the richest stuff." Indulge in life's luxuries like chocolate and cheese on special occasions, so you can savor them immensely.
- Use your wits and resourcefulness: The players from District One and Two have to depend on the supplies from the Cornucopia to survive, but Katniss knows how to hunt and find water on her own. Never rely on outside forces to keep you alive. Learn all the skills necessary to keep you self-sufficient and capable of making use of all the resources you have at hand.
Photo courtesy of Lionsgate