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How To Survive Hard Economic Times

Updated on September 9, 2012

How to Use Financial Tips in Hard Times

We've heard most of these tips ad nauseum as the economy continues in its downtrend and more and more people are finding it hard to make ends meet.

However, there are some things that bear repeating over and over until more and more folks learn how to cut the fat so to speak and start to live within their means. 

I think it's easy to grow complacent with our lifestyles and fall into patterns all too easily of spending more than we earn or thinking there are just some things we can't or simply won't live without. 

Over the past few years, having to tighten up our finances due to lost business, I've come to the conclusion that less is definitely more. 

It's all about being creative and how you can turn a bad thing into a better thing.

Here are my tips for all time - not just in hard times.

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Financial Tips in Hard Times

Buy only on sale! I'm sorry, if I can't get it on sale or don't have a coupon or a rebate, it's just not going to be in my cart - virtual or real life. On the RARE occasion that I have paid full price, I carefully watch to see if that item goes on sale and feel no qualms whatsoever taking my receipt back to the store and asking for a refund of the difference. Most reputable big chains now will do that for you.

On-line free shipping is mandatory. Everything I buy has free shipping or again, I will wait until someone else has the item and does offer free shipping. I figure if they want my business, they will have to send it to me for free. Everything is so overpriced already, it only seems fair or at least smart in the money world.

Count your pennies. There is no magical formula on how to make more money if you are making the most that you can. But there is a simple 3-word phrase that can help - DON'T SPEND IT. Spending frenzies can ruin an otherwise stellar year financially. Don't impulse buy and if an item is a high ticket item, give yourself at least 3-4 days to think it over before buying. Think about it realistically no matter what you're buying. Don't I already have 2 white tee shirts at home? Why do I need 1 more? Use up what you have and then think about buying more. Most of us have enough 'stuff' to last us at least 5 years. Try and live with what you have and keep your money where it belongs - in the bank!

Do your homework. Know the value of everything from cleaning products to meats per pound to gas prices. Refuse to spend top dollar for anything. Some people complain that it's a waste of time to store jump. I disagree. By having detailed lists and knowing how much something should cost or what the bottom price is that you can get it for, it's worth the little extra hassle of buying one thing at one store and another at a different store. I refuse to give retailers my hard earned dollars without a fight.

Budget is not a dirty word. If you don't know what you're spending your money on every month, now is the time to get at it. Without a budget, you're like a plane flying without wings. In order to have a safe flight through life, you have to know what you're carrying. You have to know where all your money is going and how best to manage it. It's like having a blueprint for your life knowing how much is coming in and how much is going out. Definitely never spend more than you earn! It's financial suicide.

Bulk up. Buying things that are nonperishable in bulk will save you money! One of your best financial friends can be buying in bulk. If you don't have the room to store large quantities of things such as items you buy at Costco, go in with a friend or family member and split the cost and the goods. Even for high priced items such as steaks, the money you can save by buying in bulk is incredible. Again, either freeze part of your purchase or divide it up with a friend. It truly does save you money! Consider buying a freezer because the money you save over time far outweighs the cost of a freezer.

Used is just as good as new! Buying a slightly used car is going to save you money! I have a friend who bought a car on Craigslist and saved an incredible amount of money. Our daughter also bought a Ford Expedition on Craigslist and paid about half what we paid for ours new. It's in spectacular shape and runs just as well! It had low miles and was in perfect condition. She also sold her car on Craigslist and made a nice little profit which she used towards the Expedition. I have a friend who scours the newspaper each and every week and hits garage sales that advertise what she's looking for. She's scored a brand new Cuisinart food processor in the box for $25, a greenhouse for $10, and numerous other brand new items. It's an incredible way to save money.

There's good debt and bad debt. Make sure that you're always aware of your debt balance and if at all possible, keep it at the bare minimum. Having debt is a necessary evil. It builds credit and makes your score go up when you prove that you can pay off debt. However, drowning in debt is no one's idea of money management. Take steps to keep yourself solvent at all times and work to save money rather than incurring more debt.

Become a do-it-yourselfer. If you can do it yourself and save it! It's a no brainer that you will save money. My husband painted our house last summer after he received an estimate to the tune of $3000. He ended up spending at max $500 to paint the entire thing. He did it over several months but the result was a beautifully repainted house and no drain on our savings or more debt. Realizing the high price of window treatments, I bought a simple balloon curtain that would fit one of my windows, then took it apart, saw how it was made and proceeded to make curtains for the entire house with a few exceptions where I needed longer curtains. I bought all the material on sale and the total cost per curtain was at max $5.

Live frugally. You don't have to live like a pauper though some folks do this quite well. Instead, live as if you didn't have as much money as you truly do and sock the rest away. Turn off things that are not in use. Curb your appetite for eating out or expensive trips. Quit smoking or drinking if those are areas where you throw money away. Shop wisely, plan meals, make things from scratch, and avoid snacks and prepared foods like they were poison. You will save money and you will be healthier for it as well. Give up things that are not essential or that are huge money drains. You will be happier for it when you look at your budget and see how well you're doing!

How to Use Financial Tips in Hard Times

In short, saving money or learning about finances is an ongoing process.  There is nothing complicated about it.  It's a matter of x + y = z.  If you spend too much, you will always have debt.  If you have too much debt, you will be unhappy and feel like a failure. 

The road to successful financial management is knowing how to budget but most of all being able to make some "sacrifices" or looking at other ways to get what you want for less. 

Most people that are a success at managing their money are creative in their financial outlook on life.  They decide that they just aren't going to pay more than they should and that they will live well in spite of economical trends. 

By seeing how much you can save or how much you can trim the fat from your budget, you'll find that it indeed brings a great deal of satisfaction to look at your budget and say to yourself "we saved THIS much". 

Wishing you every success in your financial plan for the future.  Keep searching for ways to save money and stay financially healthy!

If you have tips and tricks that you use in these trying financial times, please add to the quality of my hub by leaving me your comments!

Tips on How to Save Money In Hard Times


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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      MyAtm: Thanks so much for stopping by and glad you agree...I think that is the most salient tip - if you can't afford it you should not be buying it - no matter what 'it' is!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I love everything you have said here.Most important thing to do especially in these rough times is to learn to save money,if you can't afford it then don't buy it.Thank you for sharing this wonderful tips.Bless you!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Hanna! I guess Google Adsense will have to do!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Audrey you deserve a medal for this brilliantly written hub.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Pamela - Thanks so much for stopping by! I agree we all have to be on our financial toes these days.

      Simone - Thanks so much for stopping by, too - I know there are many theories but I think conscious spending, frugality and anything we can do to get ahead these days are all different ways of saying the same thing!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      These are great tips! It's funny how there are so many floating around in tough times - and the frustrating thing is how so many of them are conflicting in nature. These are all fabulous though, and so conveniently organized! Thanks for writing.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Audry, I agree with your wonderful suggestions. It is a time we all have to be careful and wise with our money. Rated up.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Pugmarks 123 - Thanks for stopping by!

      Thanks Susan for stopping by - and I agree - nothing like a real wake up call to get us on the bandwagon for saving money. Now it's become a kind of science for us and we're always trying to refine and move onward and upward.

      Many thanks again for stopping by and wishing you financial success!!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I agree with everything you have said here and I too follow many of the same ways of life that you do. I used to take money for granted in a better economy but have had to tighten the belt for the past few years. It's not as hard as some people might think. Once you get used to budgeting and see how much you can save you wonder why you never did it before. Great Hub!

    • pugmarks123 profile image


      9 years ago from INDIA

      Thanks for sharing with us your useful tips

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Lilibees - thanks for thinking the same way!! I love it and that's just the way I've learned to do 'business', which is what being a consumer is all about.

    • lilibees profile image


      9 years ago

      I totally agree in this economy if I can not get something on sale more so for big items I just don't get it. It will be on sale eventually and if I want it that bad I will wait!


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