Ten Things The Walking Dead Can Teach You About Life and Money

You don’t really believe a zombie apocalypse will come to fruition, do you?  [Well, not really…]

But you may be one of the millions that loves the AMC show The Walking Dead.

Like most great series you get more than just entertainment from The Walking Dead.  If you pay attention you can learn a lot of great lessons that can help you, even without a zombie-pocolypse.  (This is a continuation of our previous article on our site, 10 Life Lessons from the Television Series “The Walking Dead”.)

Here are ten things to learn from The Walking Dead about life and money:

1. When It Comes to Survival Tools, Simple Is Better

Whether you are dealing with a power outage due to a zombie apocalypse, or simply choosing to live off the grid, basic tools can be a better investment than ones that require electricity and regular maintenance.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t spring for your own carpentry or machine shop in the barn if that’s what you want.  Many people have something like this for their own use, but use it to bring in additional cash.

In fact, using extra outbuilding space in that particular manner is one of the better low-overhead business strategies you could implement, as it wouldn’t even require you to commute to the office.

What I am saying is that if you are just beginning to develop a DIY tool collection, there are plenty of low-cost options to start with.

Knives, axes and hammers are all examples from The Walking Dead that can be purchased with minimal expense.  They even take it one step further and include the sustainable ammunition option of homemade arrows.  When push comes to shove, this is a much more affordable option than firearm ammunition when you are trying to pinch pennies while still foraging for your own food.

2. Retro Appliances Can Be Really Handy

If you find yourself in a situation without power like the cast of The Walking Dead, going retro with your day-to-day chores can mean the difference between normalcy and family mayhem.  Some simple and affordable ideas include hand-operated kitchen appliances like food mills, and this pedal-powered washer and spin-dry apparatus.

3. Livestock Can Help You Spend Less

zombie eyesLivestock maintenance has only come up on the show during the time the main characters spent at the farm.

Clearly, this isn’t for everybody.

Not all of us have the energy to steward a supply of pigs, goats, cows and chickens even if space and outbuildings aren’t a concern.

However, if this is something you feel you can work into your lifestyle, you can join the countless others who have been using this money-saving strategy for years.  It’s also a way to avoid the horrors of factory farming and skip the heavy antibiotics present in many store-bought meats if you want to practice compassionate consumption.  A stocked trout pond is another way to go, if feeding chickens every day doesn’t appeal to you.

4. Water Is a Winner

Living on Guam at the mouth of Typhoon Alley for several years taught me a thing or two about having an adequate water supply on hand.  So did living in the Arabian Gulf.

Being without water for even a brief period of time can bring serious consequences.

Having backup drinking water is the most critical.  After that, having some to bathe and launder with will make you feel rich if you have to go for weeks before the public water system gets back to rights.

If you have an extra bathtub, fill it up.  If you don’t, fill a few empty plastic trash cans with water and a splash or two of bleach to prevent the yuck factor that will develop if you don’t.  You can ladle it over yourself in the tub for hygiene purposes, and use it sparingly to clean dishes after mealtimes.

It’s no accident that the survivors from the show chose a location near a major water supply for their very first encampment.

5. Camouflage Can Be Key

As early as episode two of The Walking Dead, the survivors smear their clothing in zombie innards to escape the overrun building in Atlanta.  This helps them blend in with their feared opponents while making their way back to safety.  Also, in season three, the Michonne character uses a similar strategy to walk amongst the living dead as she travels from location to location.

So how can camouflage be useful in day-to-day situations for the rest of us?

Well, in addition to the obvious hunting assistance it can provide for those who prefer to procure their own food, there’s also the basic camouflaging of belongings that many use when leaving items in a vehicle when trunk space isn’t available.  How many times have you tucked your laptop underneath grocery bags when running into one last store for the day to pick up a few things?

Additionally, frequent travelers to destinations with questionable political stability will be the first to tell you that one of the most important universal travel skills is being able to blend in.  Clearly, this doesn’t mean shopping for your vegetables in a ghillie suit.

What it does mean is that wearing your Mickey Mouse tee shirt with bright yellow jeans in downtown Baghdad might not be the best idea.  Opting for more subtle colors and clothing without printed words for example, can provide enough camouflage to keep you from drawing unwanted attention.

6. Hunting Might Be Helpful

If you’re a full-blown carnivore but don’t want to participate in the factory farming retail machine and aren’t in a position to start raising your own meat supply, developing the skill set to hunt and fish might be your answer.

Many in rural communities have been doing this for generations.

Even if you don’t want to deal with preparing the meat yourself, there are usually businesses available that will do that for you.  I’ve seen friends come home from multi-week hunting trips with coolers full of things like venison salami and pre-cut stew meat.

It’s certainly something to consider, or in the case of the television show in question, a survival strategy they use on a regular basis.

7. Farming Can Be Frugal

OK, launching your own major operation with tractors and dump trucks isn’t what most people would consider an affordable startup venture.  And not everyone is handed full farm access like the cast of The Walking Dead.

That being said, if your skills enable you to accomplish something beyond a basic herb garden, you might be surprised at what you are able to achieve and save.

Many people are able to feed themselves and have extra available to sell to local restaurants or donate to homeless shelters, all using very little space.  Here is one video featuring the family from the Path to Freedom project.  They grow most of what they need from their small urban house lot in California.

8. Proper Parenting Is No Joke

Mediocre discipline simply won’t cut it if you find yourself in a survival situation.

I’m not saying you should run your family like a boot camp by any means, but it’s important to know that when a split second decision needs to be made in the name of safety that your child will do what you ask in time to avoid injury.

This is true whether they are the ones about to be injured, or their behavior is near the point of causing harm to somebody else, however unintentional.  When one of the children doesn’t listen to where an adult tells her to stay while locating to a new camp, it ends up costing her life.

Chances are you may not run into a situation that extreme.  However, that doesn’t mean that a failure to listen can’t have fairly significant consequences that have nothing to do with being grounded.

9. A Stocked Pantry Is a Penny Pincher’s Secret Weapon

Yes, the version of a stocked pantry you’ll see on The Walking Dead consists of whatever they are able to scavenge. This might include baby formula, bullets, canned apple sauce and other items of opportunity.

For most of us however, a stocked pantry includes things like flour, sugar, dried lentils and simple yet flexible canned foods to speed up meal prep when time is tight.  Cans of vegetarian baked beans might not be as cheap as the dried version, but if heating them up to serve with sautéed green beans and crock pot sweet potatoes means you can skip the time it takes to throw a roast chicken in the oven you just might save yourself a trip to the takeout deli.

10. Shelter Can Provide Life-Saving Support

We all like to feel comfortable, but in the case of having to brave extreme elements due to a situation that catches you off guard, shelter can provide much more than a comfy place to rest your head.  It can prevent hypothermia and protect you from predators.

Granted, it’s unlikely that zombies will overtake your town anytime soon, but having access to a closed vehicle during a snowstorm for example can provide a make or break solution you’d be wise to implement.


You don’t have to actually find yourself facing zombies from The Walking Dead to put these items into action.  Sometimes thinking back to the basics can help you unclutter and can simplify what’s in your life and finances.

Myscha is a staff writer for Financial Highway, a lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.
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Published or updated February 26, 2014.


  1. Funny. Sounds like such old fashioned advice. But so true. We take things like saving, having a home, having easy access to food, so much for granted. Which we shouldn’t. Not just because of an apocalypse. But in case of a job loss or medical bills or whatever. Hopefully none of these ever happen. But if they do you don’t want to end up walking around like a zombie 🙂

  2. Gotta love the Walking Dead. I’d say that first tip is the best of the bunch. Simplicity really is key!

  3. First off, I’d just like to say I LOVE THAT SHOW! Second, I’m still really wondering why I need to blend in haha. Most people don’t know but the common pocket knife is the best tool you can have. If you need to you can make anything if you have a knife. If you need one thing to survive that’s what it is! I wonder how much hunting saves you money, because the money people tend to spend on gear is absolutely ridiculous. People should try hunting Rambo style, then they could really call themselves frugal. Btw I loved the article, it was very entertaining.

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