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Tips to Survive Hard Economic Times

Updated on October 7, 2008

With the DOW falling steadily, the unemployment rate rising, the prices of staples increasing, and the ability to borrow money getting tougher and tougher, what can you do to survive in these tough economic times? I think just about everyone is feeling the pinch - my church was even talking about it during the sermon on Sunday. There are things you can do immediately that will help you manage during this tough time.

I know that it wouldn't be best for the economy to stop spending money, but it would be best for you and your family to stop spending money. Holding on to more of your money each day, week and month is something you can do right away to help improve your financial situation. The more money you don't spend, the more money you have in savings to weather a financially hard time.

There are many things you can do to hold onto more of your money. Don't spend money on things that are "wants" right now. Stick the money in savings and take a wait and see approach about the economy. Wait and see how it all shakes out in a few months, you can always purchase that "want" then. Don't spend money on unnecassary items. Think before you automatically go through the drive thru or purchase that magazine while in the check out line at the grocery store. The little things do add up each month.

I think it is time for people to evaluate their monthly bills. Can you cancel that extra movie package or drop some expensive options on your phone? Can you consolidate your student loans? Can you call your credit card company and negotiate a lower interest rate or transfer your balance to a 0% interest card? Can you pay off that car loan quickly to free up hundreds of dollars each month that you don't have to pay someone else? The goal is to see where you can hang onto more of your money instead of it all being spoken for by someone else before you even get paid.

Sometimes, though, you just can't cut anymore and that is when you need to start thinking about how to earn more money. Work overtime if you can, try to find a part-time job (now is the season for stores needing extra temporary workers), or do some online surveys to bring in some extra cash. Anything you can do to increase the amount of money that you have will help you handle any financial problems that might arise. With the tough economy, financial problems are more likely to arise, so you need to work harder to be prepared.

Speaking of being prepared, having an edible emergency fund is a great way to reduce your stress level regarding hard financial times. Having a large stockpile of food and toiletries (bought on sale with coupons, of course) will ensure that no matter what happens, that at least for a few months you will have food to feed your family.

If you can payoff any debt that you may have, that will do a lot towards improving your financial situation. I know it isn't money in the bank, but by reducing the amount of minimum payments you have to make each month you will be better prepared to handle the things I mentioned in the first sentence.

Times are tough right now, there is no doubt. Being prepared and being proactive will help you and your family in the long run. Make the tough choices now and not when you are forced to down the road. It will only help you.


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    • profile image

      justathought 8 years ago

      Cant eat money

    • Yvonne McDonough profile image

      Yvonne McDonough 9 years ago from ENGLAND

      agreat tips its nice we can gather together to talk about it , its a growing concern.

    • profile image

      sherlynavia 9 years ago from United States

      Excellent tips! Thanks for the information.

    • dynn profile image

      dynn 9 years ago from

      In my country we can't negotiate on the credit card interest rate.The best that we can do is to make a balance transfer to other credit card to which normally lower interest rate.

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

      You are always here Jennifer writing to help us through these difficult times. So many great tips, thank you.

    • cindyschulson profile image

      cindyschulson 9 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Excellent advice Jennifer. I so agree that we have to be responsible with our money and make sure we're living within our means vs. borrowing and going into debt. That's what happened to the country and look where things are now. Thank you!

    • 02SmithA profile image

      02SmithA 9 years ago from Ohio

      These are certainly difficult times, and they will likely get worse before they ever get better. Nice tips!

    • RyanRE profile image

      RyanRE 9 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Jennifer ~ It is ironic that the best thing that we can do for ourselves is the worst thing that we can do for the economy. If everybody stopped spending money on goods and services other than the necessities our economy would come to a halt. However, if everyone spent money well beyond their budget, the result would be that same outcome. I think that we need to find a medium and continue living our lives, while staying conservative to a certain degree.