Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ABC's of Surviving a Recession

Assess your situation: Every one is different and has different needs. You have to decide what is most important to you to get by.

Build a Budget: Knowing where your money is going will help you PLUG any financial holes that may be leaking your funds away.

Consider all your options: Need to start building your nest egg. You should have enough money to get by for at least 6 months. Do what you have to and get it built up. Can you get a second job, cut out on luxuries?

Don’t buy something unless it is absolutely necessary. Now is the time for saving. Even though we keep getting the message to spend spend spend to save the economy we need to think of our families first and get our savings under control.

Eat at Home: Eating out is eating your cash. You can make more affordable food at home and you don’t have to pay for gas and a tip. Don’t have a lot of time consider investing in a crock pot. You throw the ingredients in first thing in the morning and have a nice hot meal when you get home.

Fight the urge to splurge: Sure that candy bar is only .50 .75 $1.00 but for most people these little purchase add up fast. One .50 candy bar a day adds up to about $130.50 a year. What could you do with that extra cash.

Get More Know How: To Quote Francis Bacon “Knowledge is Power” . Learn how to fix that leak in your sink instead of calling the plumber or change your own oil instead of paying 40 bucks. Learning general home maintenance, how to sew and other skills can help you save money.

Hoard food: Now is the time to keep an eye on sale ads and stock up on food with a long shelf life. Beans and Rice is a great combo that is inexpensive and nutritious. Don’t forget to rotate your stock oldest to the front newest to the back so nothing is wasted due to expiration.

Invest in quality over quantity: The unfortunate fact is that the things we have available to us is going down in quality. I will give you an example: We purchased an old style Barbie Dream house on E-bay. We paid $50 and it came with some furniture. She also has received one of the new Barbie Houses that they put out now a days…. Price $120!
The old one we bought on E-Bay is extremely sturdy we will be able to pass this thing on to her children and her children’s children. The New Barbie House started breaking a week after we opened it. When it is time to buy something do some research check with Consumer Reports which does independent research. Check online to see what others have to say about it. Don’t spend a dime till you do the time.

Just what’s on the list: You’ve heard this one before. Make a list before you go shopping to save money. But how many of us hit the store and leave with a cart full of stuff that wasn’t on the list? If its not on your list don’t buy it! If its something you really need then put it on the next list! This may sound counter productive but if its something you really need it will make it to the list if its an impulse purchase then you will talk yourself out of it before you go shopping again.

Keep on trying: Ok you gave in and bought those stylish jeans you feel terrible OH WHAT’S THE POINT I BLEW IT. Don’t give up like a good diet plan there will be time when you give in you have to jump right back in and keep going. You only Blow it if you give up.

Live Local: Help your community to survive by making your purchases from local businesses and farmers. This money stays in your community instead of lining the pockets of some rich fat cat living in another state or even country. (Did you know the top 3 American Beers are no longer American Owned where is your money going?)

Make the time: A lot of things we buy because they are convenient and save us time. Unfortunately the cost us our hard earned money. So now is the time to start making time to do things the hard way. You may find they are not as hard as you thought and start to wonder why you were wasting you money.

Never buy coffee, soda, other drinks or snacks out. If you want these convenient foods ad them to your list watch for sales and buy them at the store. Then bring them with you to work the zoo where ever.

Open windows on summer nights to cool down the house. Open your curtains on sunny winter days to let the sun heat your house.

Pass to get savings: In other words if there is some place you love to go buy a Season Pass. Often season passes from one place can get you into other places for free or at a discount.

Quit smoking: Yeah I know its hard but its one of the biggest money saving things you can do and I’m not just talking about the cost of your smokes, but health care and insurance costs are lower too.

Ride your bike: This will not only save you money on gas and car maintenance but body maintenance too. If you can’t ride your bike consider car pooling and at least you’ll save some of the car costs. If you live in a bike unfriendly community then maybe its time to start voting for some changes.

Save Money on Medicine: Ask your doctor to prescribe generic medication which is the same stuff with out the overprice brand name. Then shop around! Check at Wal-Mart and Target. They have a lot of different medications available for $4.

Turn off the Power: Whether its your computer, TV, vcr, microwave ….what ever they are still draining your power even when your not using them. Plug them into a power strip for a quick way to shut them off completely when not in use.

Use the library: They have books, magazines, movies and music. They may also have many other services such as computers, classes, ect. Ours has a notary service, family passes to local entertainment, and show movies that have been newly released to DVD so you can watch it theater style. Ask your Librarian what service they have available that you might not know about.

Visit local Thrift Stores and Yard Sales for some great finds: You might just find some great Trash to Treasure items and save a bundle.

Watch less TV. Not only are the commercials designed to create want and desire in there viewer but many of the shows give people unreachable desires that leave them feeling frustrated and unhappy with their lives. For example I love watching HGTV. Mostly to find new ideas the before and after type shows are great for thinking up new ways to look at your home. But at the same time you can look at the beautiful remake and find yourself wondering why your home doesn’t have the giant whirlpool bathtub with the heated towel rack and the beautiful hand crafted tiles. If you don’t know that stuff is out there you will never want them, don’t have to think about how you can’t afford it and thus be happier.

Xerophytic plants: I’ll bet you were wondering what I would come up with for X. Xerophytic plants are plants that are adapted to survive in an environment with little available water or moisture. If you live someplace where water is expensive or lacking, using these types of plants will save you money without leaving your yard lacking in beauty.

Your Family and Friends: In tough time this is your most important resource. By sticking together we can make it through. Swap skills and services to help save money. If your sister is a stay at home mom while both you and your spouse work. Consider giving her the some or all of the cash you spend on child care and you both win. You sister would have a little extra income to make ends meet and you have family with your kids instead of strangers. You may be an excellent gardener while your friend has mad canning skills. You could trade some of those fresh tomatoes for some long term storage of those tasty treats. Get together and assess your skills and how you can help each other.

Zero Debt: This should be your goal. Pay off those high interest credit cards first then the lower ones. Put them away and stop using them. Start paying off any other debt you have. If you don’t own anybody that’s a lot less stress to deal with when things get tight.


Barry said...

Wow! That is sensational advice! Much of it we are trying to do already but I've picked up a lot of new ideas.


April said...

Your Welcome Barry Glad I could help you Linda and Lindsay :D

Michelle said...

Great advice. Perfect post for those of us that are struggling lately. Thanks for stopping by today.

April said...

your welcome Michelle have a good day :D and get well soon

~Billie~ said...

Great info! Especially the "Quit smoking". LOL!