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Coping During These Hard Economic Times

Updated on December 26, 2011

Coping is an art unto itself. You have to learn to do without. You have to learn to settle for less. It's almost like you're going back to school to learn a new trade and through that whole experience, you learn to be humbe and gracious. Trust me, you shed a lot of tears when life doesn't go your way, but if you're lucky, your faith will grow when you learn to cope effectively with the cards you've been dealt. If you're not, you're going to have a hard time making sense of it all which will leave you vulnerable to depression and all sorts of other illnesses out there.

I'm going to give you a few tips that I've learned by going from an income that sustained me very well to one that I barely get by on. Being poor stinks, don't get me wrong. I'm going to be quite honest with you, but it could be worse.

Background

First, I'm going to share with you a little bit about myself so you know where I'm coming from. I've been praying a lot lately. Basically, I've been telling God that I'm sick and tired of being poor. I've asked him to help me find some way to make an honest living, pay off my debt and to find something I'm good at. So far, I haven't found anything in life that I'm very good at, but I'm not giving up hope. After college, I went from being an Adminstrative Assistant to a Legal Secretary and then from there I went back to school to become a Medical Transcriptionist where I'm barely making it living wise.

So what's a girl to do? I'll tell you what I did. I prayed about it and writing came to my mind. Last week, I was going to pursue being a writer and then I scratched that idea because it would take too long to make a viable income and my mother said the field was just too competitive and you can't count on it. She and others said very few people make it in that business. At first, I thought she was wrong, but then I read a lot of negative articles out there that said that writing would be a waste of time. My dream was squashed just like that. As weird as it may sound, the following week, I had a change of heart. I came across another article when I was researching on Google, "Creative ways to make a living" and they suggested this website. I thought "I could at least try, right?" and I understand it's going to be slow going at first, but even if I fall flat on my face, I'll just try something else.

My best piece of advice to you is to pray to God to help you find a skill you're good at. Trust me, he will come through for you with some sign or idea. Just trust him. It may take a long time with trial and error, but it'll be worth it. Now, I will proceed to share with you some ways to cut corners and cope during these hard economic times.

Faith

First and foremost, acquire faith if you don't already have some. Faith will help you get through these hard times. It will give you a firm foundation to build your life on that is currently feeling like it's been torn into a million pieces. Attend a local church. Find a small one you feel comfortable with. Be careful with the mega churches. Sometimes, they are just too big for your own good and you feel like another number. Find a smaller church where you can get to know the people who congregate there. Don't go it alone. If your family isn't there for you, try your local church. There are people that care out there, they just aren't going to come to your door.

Exercise

Keep in shape! It's bad enough these hard economic times are here, but you don't need added health bills on top of all the madness. Obesity is the number one factor that puts people in the hospital. Go for a simple half hour walk every day, or if you can afford it, join your local gym. I joined Planet Fitness. It's a real bargain for only $10 a month. I go there a few days a week and nothing beats a runner's high. It will boost your self-esteem when everything else looks like it's going to hell in a handbasket if you know what I mean.

The Dollar Tree

Nothing beats this store where everything inside is only a dollar. It really is a bargain when you're flat broke. You can buy all kinds of things for your house and save a bundle. Cards that would normally cost a pretty penny are just a dollar a piece here. Shampoo, conditioner and body wash all for just a dollar. Do you really need to spend more for such basic items? I don't. I used to, but I'm getting along just fine with these basic items. I got over needing expensive salon shampoo a long time ago. Maybe if I was rich, I'd spluge, but not during these hard economic times.

Rabbit Ears

Get rid of the expensive cable and get an antenna. Yes, you can still use antennas in this day and age where everything is going digital. They now have these great digital HD antennas that you simply plug into the back of your tv. They sell them at DD's Discounts for under $10. I use one and I get a few good channels. I don't really watch that much tv though. I only watch the morning news and I get ABC so I'm all set. I don't need one hundred plus channels either. There are times where I think I do, but I really don't.

Thrift Stores

I never thought I'd see the day where I'd go to one of these places. I always wanted everything new. I just had to have it new. Even back when I had money, I wanted a bargain so I'd shop at Ross, Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Sears, but my good friend introduced me to Good Will. I said "Never! No way." I always felt there was a stigma attached to thrift stores. I don't feel that way anymore. I feel it's very practical now. I've gotten over my "Princess Attitude" and I go there all the time looking for bargains. I recently found a nice Talbots shirt for $2. That's not bad at all. They have a lot of clothing in good condition with classic names. Yes, you do have to weed through a lot of junk, but that's part of the process. You can find great deals on furniture here too. You just have to learn to be thrifty!

Volunteer

The best way to forget your troubles is to help somebody out with theirs and you'll feel good about helping others too. Your local church has many opportunities to lend a hand. You could also try your local soup kitchen or maybe even your library, and don't forget to check the United Way website, because they have plenty of opportunities as well.

Perserverance

My last bit of advice is to persevere when times are tough. Never give up. Keep trying. Learn a new skill. Keep your faith strong. Keep your body healthy. Don't give in to stinky thinking. Stay positive. If something isn't working after a fair amount of time then try something different. Everybody is good at something. It's just a matter of finding what your niche is.

I hope these tips will help you and remember, be grateful for all that you do have, because it could always be worse. I might end up being poor for the rest of my life, but let me tell you something very important before I close. As long as I have God's love in my heart and abide by him, I know I'll be just fine.

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    • MissMelissaK profile image
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      MissMelissaK 5 years ago from Stuart, Florida

      Thank you Vegas Elias. You are very kind. I trust in the Lord and I know deep down, that's all I need. Some days are better than others but that can be said of us all. :)

      Thanks again. God bless.

    • Vegas Elias profile image

      Vegas Elias 5 years ago from Mumbai

      Hi Melissa,

      This is a very nice article indeed. While I was reading I really felt like dropping it at your place and saying hi to you. I stay in Mumbai, India so I can't do that. But my prayers are definitely with you.

      I have very similar thoughts and it is only God who has been by my side in the most difficult of times.

      Keep going and you will definitely make it.

    • MissMelissaK profile image
      Author

      MissMelissaK 5 years ago from Stuart, Florida

      Thank you daleamy. Even with all those things, it's still hard to cope at times, but it's a necessary part of life I guess.

    • daleamy profile image

      daleamy 5 years ago from Spring Hill, TN

      I like the way you combine faith, giving of yourself and your time, and exercise along with pieces of advice about how to cut back on expenditures during tough times. You're right--all of those things are necessary to effectively cope during tough times!