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Tips For Saving Money in the Current Economic Climate

Updated on November 20, 2012

The grim reality laid bare.

It can’t be denied. The US is in the worse economic situation since the Great Depression of 1929. In fact many experts agree that it’s even worse because back in 1929 people were more self-sustaining in daily life whereas today hardly anyone tends to their garden anymore, or knows how to fix things around the house….and that’s not to mention the fact that the few available jobs out there don’t pay nearly as well (for the most part) as jobs did back during and after the Great Depression.

Also contributing to the difficulty of getting out of our current economic problems is the sad but true fact that, in many ways, America is a much more fractured society today. Back in 1929, in spite of some minor political differences, everybody still felt unified by the fact of being ‘an American’.

People don’t feel that way today.

So….recognizing the reality of….reality: what do we do?

The answer is that it still boils down to a mathematical problem. We’ve got to minimize our outgoings, maximize our income and minimize our upkeep.

How do we do that?

  • Minimize our outgoings:

Cut out all extraneous expenses. We’re the only ones who can decide what they are but it all starts with recognizing that we’re not in Kansas anymore (….Dorothy) and it’s not ‘business as usual’.

This means we’re going to have to take fewer and less expensive vacations….or maybe no vacations at all in the short to medium term. It means that we’re not going to be able to entertain as often or perhaps as lavishly. It means that we’re probably not going to be able to buy a new model car as soon as we wanted. It might mean that we’re going to have to continue to rent for the foreseeable future rather than buy that house we wanted.

In some cases it might mean that we won’t be able to spend as much on preventative maintenance as we perhaps planned (although preventative maintenance, depending on the item, still might be a worthwhile expense).

Another way you can make your money go further is something that’s been around for many years and you probably even know what it is. Ever heard of ‘couponing’ or ‘coupon clipping’?

The fact is that you can minimize your food budget by at least 20%, and most likely much more, by clipping the coupons that are available in the daily newspaper. Coupon clipping is a huge pastime that people have been doing for years and it’s actually lots of fun too. You can band together with some friends and make the most of the coupons you find.

Those are just a few of the idea. Now….

  • Maximize our income….how do we do that?

Well, the obvious thing is that we might just have to recognize the necessity of taking a second job….or creating one of our own.

Getting a second job probably won’t be as easy as it sounds for the simple reason that the lack of jobs is part of the problem. One way that getting a second job might happen is that you could find a job very obviously related to your present job. That fact might make it easier for you to get the job than somebody else.

The other example, creating a job of your own, is probably your most likely successful option. This could be almost anything. You might have an in demand skill or you might perhaps have a particular tool or piece of equipment that could be utilized to make extra income (e.g. a wood chipper…to make compost).

You might be able to turn a hobby into a second income….e.g. photography, tutoring, coaching of some kind, gardening (doing it for others), dog walking or writing (writing articles to generate extra or passive income on site such as Hubpages.com). Selling goods or services on Ebay or Fiverr.com also seem to have a place in today's economic situation.

One more option might be to join a network marketing company. Some network marketing companies actually have products or services that will even be in demand in economic times such as these. It’s true that network marketing (AKA: MLM) usually doesn’t pay a lot at first but this type of work does integrate very well into a full time job so…..perhaps it’s worth a try.

  • Last but not least we have ‘minimize our upkeep’.

This means that we might have to move into a smaller house, get a smaller, more economical car, roll back to a smaller cable TV plan or a smaller cell phone plan. It might mean we have to heat or cool fewer rooms of the house. It might even mean we have to move in with our kids or our parents!

The point is, this isn’t a time to be proud. It is a time for the resurrection of the American spirit - the same spirit that helped the Pilgrims survive their first few harsh winters in this new land. It’s a time when we’ve got to reach out to friends and family and find the community strength that can help us survive together. If we don’t have any friends and family….we need to make some.

Difficulty is only the flip side of opportunity. The most important thing that we have, our character and integrity, is something that nobody can take from us unless we let them. If we need to be angry at anything, it might only be that we need to carefully examine the series of decisions that allowed us to get into this predicament in the first place. If it was our decisions then we’ve only got ourselves to blame. If it was somebody else’s decision, well then ...

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