2 October 2008

20 ways to survive tough times

One of the many things I love about the way I live is that I never feel helpless. I feel I'm in control of what I'm doing and where my life is headed. Gone are the days when I got swept along with recessions, credit squeezes or fashion trends. However, we do live in troubled times and I know a lot of people are losing their jobs, their investments and their money because of the current circumstances. It's not just the problems facing our international financial institutions that is worrying, it's also rising prices for food, rent, petrol/gas, and most of the consumer items we buy.

While there is a part of me that realises we need to slow down our rate of spending, I don't like to see what is happening now, because along with the many banks and businesses that are failing, many ordinary folk are too. I wonder what you're all doing to weather this storm. I have a feeling that we are in for a tough time and it will be protracted. The boost of Christmas sales won't be there this year, that will flow on to job losses and more small businesses going broke.

So what can we do to make sure our own boats don't sink?

It's really just continuing on the road many of us are already on - being prudent with our purchases, continuing to pay off debt and doing all those day to day things in our homes that conserve the resources we do have. We are all in different parts of the world, some have large families, some are couples, some singles but we all have things in common - we all have to have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and money in our pockets. We are not helpless! We can plan for what is coming so we're better able to cope with it. So let's go over those home-based activities that will help us get through this.
  1. Spend only on needs, not wants.
  2. Stockpile food and groceries - this is the single best thing you can do to prepare for tough times.
  3. Track your money - make sure you know what you're spending money on.
  4. Redo your budget to stop money leaks.
  5. Pay off debt. Make a plan today to do it.
  6. Do all your tasks in one outing - plan what you have to do so you get everything done in one day - shopping, doctors visits, post office etc.
  7. Try to stay home a few times a week.
  8. Try to cut out unnecessary expenses - cut down on your internet, phone, cable TV etc.
  9. Plan your menu for a week.
  10. Cook from scratch.
  11. Eat your leftovers, never waste food.
  12. Have a couple of meatless meals every week.
  13. Stop eating out, stop buying takeaway food.
  14. Take lunch to work and school.
  15. Stop buying magazines, newspapers, coffees and drinks when you're out.
  16. Make your Christmas gifts this year.
  17. Stop listening to advertising. Now is not the time to spend.
  18. Explain to your children about the current tough times and ask them how they can work with the family to cut back.
  19. Learn to read your electricity and water meters so you can cut down on your consumption of both those resources.
  20. Get involved in your life - this is the perfect time to step up and become more independent by doing more things for yourself at home.
I bet many of you have some excellent ideas for cutting back and for surviving this crisis. Tell me what your plans are to get through these tough times.

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