I was going through some old files yesterday trying to come up with some new ideas and I came across an article from over a decade ago on surviving economic hard times. Well, as they say, "all things old are new again"!!!!!! Yep - different circumstances - same old story. (remember 2008/9)
Society goes through changes and cycles and if you pay attention JUST MAYBE you can learn a few things that will help you survive the NEXT CRISIS!!! (there will be a next - there always is)
Most people with low or moderate income are the ones that really see the hard times. Loss of jobs and income - gives you less to live on, changes lifestyles, and causes some people to panic.
Even if you don't consider yourself of low or moderate means, you can learn and prevent yourself from going down the drain in a spiral.
- FIRST - QUIT listening to corporations and politicians! Turn off your TV's. Corporations are trying their best to convince you that you can't live (well) without their products. You will be smarter, better liked, and better off to have their products. B.S.!!!!!!! Politicians are more than likely telling you what they THINK you want to hear. All it does is cause stress and more worry. Turn it off.
- Don't be a slave to a lender. Avoid debt as if it is the plaque!!!!!!! No loans. No charge cards (unless paying 100% off each month). No pay day loans. Pay off debt as quickly as you can. If you would experience a cut in pay - hopefully you can make it.
- STOP buying new stuff. Reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, make it over, make do or do without. Shop thrift and yard sales. Always look to buy "after market" first. If and only if you can't find what you need - do you buy new - and only after thinking long and hard on it!!!
- Be very frugal with utilities. They go up all the time, and the less you use the better.
- Grow some of your own food. Instead of flowers, plant veggies. Learn to can, and preserve in some way. Growing food is like growing money in your yard!
- SAVE something each and every month!!!!! $5, $10, $20 - something! If you are working and can utilize 401K (or similar) - do it. You will save and never miss the funds.
- Try to have AT MINIMUM 2 - 3 months (6 is better) worth of food and supplies on hand at all times. Prices go up and you need to buy when cheaper. Utilize sales, discounts, clearance, coupons, every option you can. Find a place to store extras - under beds, in closets, on shelves, under/behind the couch - just find space !! (seriously it could save your life)
- If you can find a way to make extra income - do it. Start a small side business. Mow lawns, sell veggies from garden, do landscaping for others, sew for others, bake for others, buy cheap and resale, teach classes, etc. DON'T fall for pyramid schemes!!!!! They never work out - make it a good and honest side venture
- If you have investments- don't touch them now! Hopefully you are far enough from needing them - to not bother them. Investments go up and down. You make an investment for your future - leave it alone! Don't panic and remove them. You may make the biggest mistake ever. Penalties and taxes can eat you alive!!!! Just hang on - the day will come - just be careful.
- Be careful about falling for the two income trap! Many say they need 2 incomes to survive and many may. BUT remember that comes with extra vehicle expenses, child care, extra clothes, food/lunches, insurance and on and on. It just MAY be cheaper for one to stay home and take care of things on that level and maybe even home school (important today).
- DON'T give in to despair and don't feel sorry for yourself. You aren't alone. Live more frugally and sustainably. Take your blessings where you can. It is freeing to get out of the consumer lifestyle. Your stuff is not you - it is time your realize that. Be a good person, do your best for you and your family and your community and the CRAP you have will mean nothing! You will see such a difference. Learn/develop a new self image.
Spending money, having new stuff, better stuff and more stuff than others doesn't make you a good person. Your heart and your understanding and your learning/teaching make you a better person.
Stop being a slave to corporations, credit cards and banks. They could care less if you can live well - they just want to your money.
REMEMBER - Living a slower lifestyle on less DOESN'T make you a second class citizen - BECAUSE you will have a first class worry free life!
Better times are ahead - it is just going to be bumpy for a while. We can all get through it and we can do it together. Make no hasty decisions - learn to live with less stress, risk and emotional turmoil in your life.
DON'T WORRY - BE HAPPY and go forward with gusto!!