In this time of uncertainty many people are searching for better ways to keep more money and survive the current recession. Spending less money for jewelry, travel and entertainment are the first items most people think about doing when the economy sours. And while those luxuries do need to be toned down, there are many other methods that can help you live more frugally and even help you salt away more for savings despite how bad the economy gets.
Planning means more than just slapping down some figures on paper. It requires a careful scrutiny of every dollar spent and how it impacts income. In good times, few people even consider developing a budget, but in a recession, a budget is absolutely necessary. Finding yourself losing money as the debts increase can be devastating for you if you have no idea where your money is going.
But financial planning does not have to be difficult. It just requires gather up all expenses and deducting them from your income. Once you know that, you can take steps to insure that you’ll survive the current recession
* Keep more of your money. With a good, you’ll be able to save far more than you thought you could. To survive an economic downturn, you should have between 3 to 6 month’s worth of income for those unexpected events like job loss and medical emergencies. Unfortunately, most Americans are a mere two months away from bankruptcy. That makes creating an emergency fund more necessary and put as much as possible into it.
* Spend less. Media advertising is extremely effective in parting you from your money. But often you can save far more on what you now spend on entertainment and dining out. Just ask yourself whether you can live without the item you are thinking of buying. If it does not impact your standard of living significantly, skip it and keep the money.
* Shop smarter. A shopping list will help you buy only those items you need. It enforces discipline and keeps you from buying on impulse. Search those fliers for bargains and use coupons. But only buy what you can use. Buy at dollar stores. Scour the flea markets and yard sales for unique items. Consider buying non-food items at dollar stores. There’s lots to find at lower prices than at major department stores.
* Learn to Barter. It’s the oldest economic system in the world. Everyone has something they don’t need and are looking for items they could use. Join a bartering club, then search and list those unused items you’ve got in your basement, attic and garage.
* Pay off your debts first. Credit cards are one of the greatest drains on the pocketbook. Interest rates have not gone down since the start of the recession. While saving is necessary, particularly for an emergency fund, any other money you make should go toward paying down your debt as quickly as possible. Any raise in pay or windfall should be applied to reducing debt. It hurts, but it would hurt more in paying the interest rates by keeping a revolving balance.
*Use what you have. You don’t always need to prepare new dishes for every meal when you can create leftovers. Find ways to use those items you’re prepared to throw out to see if they can be reused. Be creative. If you have old Christmas decoration and last year’s Halloween, they can be used again. If you have a talent, use it to create hand-made gifts for the members of your family instead of searching the stores because you feel you must buy something new or the children will be disappointed.
* Stock up on necessary items. Buy in bulk instead of individual packaging. Non-perishable items like rice and canned goods last a good long while and makes for several meals. If there are items that could make unique gifts for a special holiday or event, but the events are in the future, buy when they are on sale.
* Generate more income. Everyone has some skill or talent that could be used to bring in extra income. Exhibit and sell your crafts at craft shows or sell them through Ebay, Triple Clicks, Click Bank and other online auction sites. Consider holding a garage and yard sale to sell the junk in your basement, garage and attic. Go online and make extra money by being a Mystery Shopper or fill out surveys for cash. Start a small business with an affiliate program promoting items you feel comfortable marketing.
* Look for bargains. Furniture and appliances do not need to be purchased new. You can always bargain with the store manager over a small knick or dent in an appliance. Look for close-out and liquidation sales. Consider buying used. You don’t have to buy a new car just to pay for the fresh smell. Leasing can help you save money. If you’re only going to do occasional renovations, renting tools are a better alternative to buying new.
* Extend the life of what you have. There’s no need to buy a new car every three years when just simple maintenance like changing the oil and filter and rotating the tires can save you a lot. Learn to do general repairs around the home. Change the furnace air filter and use energy efficient lighting. Clothing can often be recycled. Very likely you already have a number of clothes you haven’t worn in awhile. You can mix and match them to create a new style.
A recession is an ideal time for using imagination and creativity. Finding better ways to save and spend becomes a regular habit that will not only weather the economic recession but help you increase your wealth and standard of living once the recession is history.