How To Survive During Tough Economic Times: Awesome Practical Tips For You

About 10 years ago, some of my teaching colleagues and I formed a group. We are seven women now living in different parts of the country. We save money monthly, then meet in December annually to reconnect and bond. Sadly, we're not meeting this year because of the tough economic times.

During our annual get-together, we carry out a fun activity such as a hiking trip, road trip, a themed party, etc. We start planning the activity as early as June of every year. We pay for the activity using the monthly savings. We're not meeting this year because we haven't saved much.

You see, some of the group's members are facing tough economic times. They're thus unable to send money to our group's account.

Interestingly, we're not the only ones facing tough economic times. According to United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, there's a global financial crisis that has led to tough economic times.

Are you experiencing the tough economic times that people worldwide are complaining about? Maybe you've lost your job because your company laid off people, or you can't get a job due to the high unemployment rate. Or the prices of everything in your country have skyrocketed while your income remains the same?

If you're experiencing tough economic times for whatever reason, don't panic or give up. Remember, nothing lasts forever. Also, tough times never last, but tough people do!

However, as you wait for your financial fortunes to change for the better, there are things you can do to survive during the tough economic times. This reminds me of the saying, "Self Help is the Best Help".

Some Awesome Practical Tips On How To Survive During Tough Economic Times

We can say that right now, the world is facing a financial storm. It's therefore important to face the financial tornado head-on just as you'd face a real storm.

Here are some awesome practical tips on how to survive during tough economic times:

Make a Bare-bones Budget and Stick To It To Survive During Tough Economic Times

One of the tips on how to survive during tough economic times is to make a a bare-bones budget. This basically means a budget that includes the bare minimum you need to survive and fulfill any pressing financial obligations.

The things to include in your bare bones budget should include the following:

Money for food: Set aside money for food as it's a basic need for survival. Include only essential food items in your list.

Money for housing: Shelter is also a basic need, so set aside money for housing. The amount you set aside depends on your living arrangements. It may include money for rent, mortgage repayment, or lease payment.

Cash for utilities: Pay only for utilities you can't do without. These include water, detergents, electricity, gas, sewer, security, trash collection, and a basic phone.

Money for transport: This includes cash to get you to work and school transport for your kids.

Money for essential family expenses: Such expenses include child support and school fees.

Money for debt repayments: Setting money aside for debt repayments is important because if you don't repay your debts you could increase your financial woes. In addition, you could ruin your credit score.

Cash for personal care: This money is for things such as toiletries, detergents, and prescription medicine.

Cash for insurance payments: This includes setting aside money for life, motor, and health insurance.

As you can see, a bare-bones budget calls for sacrifice by you and your family. However, if you stick to your bare-bones budget, it'll definitely help you survive during the tough economic times.

Do Away With Unnecessary Spending To Survive During Tough Economic Times

As I stated earlier, if you want to survive during tough economic times, try to spend money only on basic needs. That's why it's important to come up with a bare-bones budget and stick to it. In other words, do away with unnecessary spending to survive during tough economic times.

Below is some of the unnecessary spending you could do away with to survive during tough economic times:

Avoid spending on entertainment

Entertainment isn't a basic need. You can therefore do without it if your finances don't allow it. 

Here is the kind of entertainment you could stop spending on to survive during tough economic times:

  • Toys
  • Movies
  • Concerts
  • Satellite/cable TV
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Vacations
  • Visits to the zoo
  • Gym and club subscriptions
  • Visits to restaurants

Avoid spending on unnecessary clothes and shoes

One of the reasons why people buy clothes and shoes is because they have some extra money. However, if you want to survive the tough economic times, it's best to avoid spending money on unnecessary shoes and clothes.

Just buy items that are essential for you and your family.

Avoid spending on unnecessary personal care products and services

If you look carefully, you might notice that you most probably spend a large chunk of your income on personal care products and services. Some of the products you spend money on could be unnecessary. 

You can save some money to help you survive the tough economic times by cutting some of the products and services from your budget.

Here are some personal care products and services you can cut from your budget:

Personal care products you can do without

  • New wigs and weaves – you'll do just fine with the ones you already have.
  • Expensive cosmetics
  • Expensive perfumes
  • Costly hair products

Personal care services you can do away with

  • Visits to hair saloons – do your hair at home as it's cheaper
  • Manicures and pedicures – you can save by doing your nails at home.
  • Visits to spas
  • Visits to massage parlors

Get Rid of Unnecessary Cell Phones To Survive During Tough Economic Times

Do you know that the cell phones in your home take a huge amount of your money? This is as a result of buying airtime, data, maintenance, etc. 

According to a recent survey, the average monthly bill for phone usage in the US is about $144 per month per person. That adds up to a staggering $1728, per person, per year.

So, to survive during tough economic times, it's best to get rid of unnecessary cell phones in your home.

Are you wondering how to do that? Well, first of all, instead of giving each of your small children a phone, let them have one phone that they can use to reach you or make emergency calls.

Alternatively, you can install a landline which they can use in case of anything.

That way, you'll save money and also challenge your kids to look for other ways of entertaining themselves instead of relying on the phone.

Save On Fuel To Survive During Tough Economic Times

I don't know about fuel prices in your country, but in mine, the prices have gone haywire. The skyrocketing fuel prices are making things tough for most people as they have to dig deeper into their pockets.

One of the things you can do to help you cope with the tough economic times is to save on fuel.

Here are some things you can do to save on fuel to survive the tough economic times:

Maintain your car well: A well-maintained car consumes less fuel than a poorly maintained one.

Avoid unnecessary car trips: If you want to save on fuel, it's better to avoid making unnecessary trips in your car. Use the car only when it's absolutely necessary.

Carpool: You can also save on fuel if you carpool. That means using one car as a family/group instead of using different cars.

Walk or cycle to nearby places: Instead of using your car to travel short distances, it's better to cycle or walk. You save on fuel and also get to exercise.

Use public transport: Taking the bus or train is sometimes cheaper than driving. So, use public transport when it's cheaper than using your car.

Shop online: Instead of driving to supermarkets or malls, it's sometimes better to shop online. Shopping online helps you to save fuel. In addition, it stops you from impulse buying.

Save On Energy To Survive The Tough Economic Times

Another great tip on how to survive during tough economic times is to save on energy in your home. By energy, I mean electricity and cooking gas. The cost of energy has continued to skyrocket worldwide due to the high fuel prices.

Things you can do to save on electricity in your home

  • Switch off lights when they're not in use.
  • Install LED bulbs in your home. These bulbs help to save on energy.
  • Switch off appliances from the plugging when they're not in use.
  • Avoid leaving appliances on standby mode as they still consume energy.
  • Avoid overfilling the kettle – only heat what you require.
  • Use cold water instead of hot water to wash clothes.
  • Use cold water instead of hot water to wash dishes.
  • Dry your clothes naturally whenever possible instead of using the tumble drier.
  • Spend less time in the shower.
  • Use a shower instead of a bathtub - heating a lot of water is costly.
  • Turn off the cooling units, heaters, and fans when leaving the house.

Things you can do to save cooking gas

  • Cook enough food to cater for dinner and the next day's lunch. You save energy by so doing.
  • Use a pressure cooker to boil things that take longer to cook, e.g. lentils and beef. A pressure cooker saves cooking time and thus energy.
  • Cover food when cooking. Doing so traps the heat thus saving on cooking time and energy.
  • Clean the exterior of your cooking pans. When a pan is coated with dirt or stuck-on food or oil, the heat doesn't reach the food quickly. This increases the cooking time leading to high consumption of energy.

Shop In Bulk To Survive During Tough Economic Times

When buying your weekly or monthly essential home supplies, it's best to shop in bulk. You can do bulk shopping from wholesalers as their prices are lower than retailers. The supplies you can purchase in bulk include the following:

  • Essential foodstuff
  • Toiletries
  • Cleaning detergents

There are several benefits of shopping in bulk as explained below:

  • You save money as the wholesalers have discounted prices.
  • You save money on fuel as you don't have to make frequent trips to the supermarkets.
  • You don't visit the shopping malls frequently and are thus not tempted to buy things on impulse.

So, shopping in bulk is a great strategy to help you survive during the tough economic times.

Look Out For Offers To Survive The Tough Economic Times

Before you purchase any of your essential supplies, it's best to look for offers. Look for major retailers/supermarkets that have offers on the things you plan to purchase. You could end up saving cash that would help you survive the tough economic times.

Some of the offers you could look out for include the following items:

  • Foodstuff
  • Toiletries
  • Stationery for your children

Avoid Impulse Buying During Hard Economic Times

The temptation to buy something on impulse is high, especially with all the enticing items you see in physical or online shops. It's best to avoid impulse buying at all costs as it can put a dent in your finances.

Whenever you feel tempted to buy something on impulse ask yourself whether it's in your budget and whether you need that item. Remember we said you should stick to your budget to survive during tough economic times.

Avoid Buying Ready Food During Tough Economic Times

When you go out for lunch or dinner, you spend more than when you eat at home. Eating out can therefore put a dent in your pocket.

In addition, ordering ready food is also more expensive than eating homemade meals.

So, if you want to survive the tough economic times, it's best to avoid buying ready food. You save money. Also, homemade food is more nutritious than ready food.

Carry Packed Meals To School Or Work

Another thing you can do to survive during tough economic times is to carry packed meals to school or work. You can pack meals for the whole family. I know this can be challenging but you can do it if you're determined.

You see, when you carry packed meals, you save money as you don't have to purchase anything. As you know, buying meals out there can be expensive.

You also benefit from eating healthy, homemade food rather than the unhealthy food out there.

Skip Meals Or Reduce Food Portions To Survive During Tough Economic Times

I know you might be thinking that this tip is extreme. However,   sometimes you may have no choice but to skip meals to cope with the hard economic times.

Interestingly, this idea is not far-fetched. According to a recent report, people are cutting portion sizes or skipping meals to survive the tough economic times.

For instance, if you normally eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can skip lunch to save money. Or you could do away with some of the snacks you take.

If you don't want to skip meals, then cut the portion sizes you serve.

Suppose you follow this tip. In that case, you'll spend less on food and thus save money.

Do Away With Hired Help To Survive During Tough Economic Times

Another thing you can do to survive during tough economic times is to do away with hired help in your home. I know this is a sensitive issue because it means denying somebody a job.

But let's face it. Sometimes when you face a financial crisis you've to make tough decisions, and this could be one of them.

Doing away with hired help is tough because it makes someone jobless. In addition, it means that you and your family have to do the work done by the hired help. That can be quite challenging.

When you do away with hired help, you can save a big chunk of your income. That could go a long way in helping you to survive during the tough economic times.

Do Away With Pets To Survive The Tough Economic Times

I know this could be a thorny tip, especially for pet lovers. However, as I stated above, sometimes you have to make tough decisions when you face financial challenges. Doing away with your pets is one of the tough decisions you might have to make to survive the tough economic times.

Look at it this way. It's better to do away with your pets instead of making them suffer from hunger and diseases because of your financial woes.

In addition, by doing away with the pets, you'll save the money you spend on their food and care. This money would go a long way in helping you survive during the tough economic times.

NB: I'm not suggesting that you abandon your pets. NO! The best you can do for them is to sell or give them to someone capable of taking care of them.

Alternatively, you can take them to animal shelters in your area.

Sell Unused Stuff In Your Home to Survive During The Tough Economic Times

Are you one of those people with loads of stuff you don't use in your home? You could sell the unused stuff to survive during the tough economic times. If you look around your home right now, you could be amazed by the amount of unused stuff you have.

Suppose you sell the unused stuff. In that case, you could get a good amount of cash to help you pull through the harsh economic times.

In addition, selling unused stuff is a great way of decluttering your home.

Here is a list of unused stuff you could sell:

  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Bedding
  • Upholstery
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Bags – handbags, school bags, carrier bags, backpacks, briefcases, suitcases
  • Electronics – fridges, cookers, laptops, desktop computers, phones
  • Outdoor equipment
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Artwork
  • Antiques
  • Toys
  • Bicycles
  • Cars
  • Crockery

As you can see, the list of unused items in a home is endless. So, look around. You could be sitting on a goldmine!

Wondering where or how to sell your unused items? Here are ways of selling your unused items to survive the tough economic times:

  • Garage sales: You can host a garage sale in your yard. Tell all and sundry about the sale.
  • Flea markets: Get a booth at your local flea market. The operator could charge you a minimal fee for the booth.
  • Local thrift stores: Find out from your local thrift stores whether they buy used items.
  • Used book stores: Check with your local used book stores whether they purchase used books.
  • Pawn shops: The best place to sell your electronics, collectibles, and jewelry is in pawn shops.
  • Online: You can sell your used items on Facebook marketplace, Amazon, Craigslist, Instagram, etc.

Move House To Survive During Tough Economic Times

Suppose your financial woes get worse. In that case, you might have to take more drastic measures to survive the tough economic times.

One of the drastic measures you could take is to move house. In this scenario, you move from your current house to a more affordable house.

For instance, you could move to a smaller and cheaper house.

Alternatively, you could move to a house in a cheaper neighborhood.

This move means that you downgrade your living standards. It's therefore not an easy thing for you and your family to do.

On the brighter side, think of the money you'd save by making this move. It could help you stay afloat during the financial crisis.

Transfer Your Children To Cheaper  Schools To Survive The Tough Economic Times

Another thing you could do to survive during tough economic times is to transfer your kids to cheaper schools. I know this is no feat, but sometimes you may have no alternative.

For instance, if your children attend costly private schools, you could move them to cheaper ones.

Alternatively, you could transfer them to government schools as they are more affordable.

As a teacher, I believe students can excel in any school if they are determined and if you give them the necessary support.

Avoid Being Too Philanthropic During Tough Economic Times

A lot of people are currently affected by the financial crunch worldwide. As a result, you might note that the number of people requesting financial help from you are increasing. These people could be your close relatives, friends, colleagues, etc.

Recently, my sister showed me a list of people who needed her help. They were all people who were very dear to her. She was thus feeling stressed as she tried to figure out how to meet her financial obligations and also help them.
 
Some of the financial help they needed included:

  • Money to help take children to school
  • Money to pay medical bills
  • Cash to cater for funeral expenses
  • Money to build churches

I advised my sister to meet her financial obligations first. I also told her to stop feeling heartbroken for not having money to help others.

As I said in my article, "6 Simple Ways You Can Show Kindness to Others", showing kindness is rewarding. However, if being kind to others means giving out money meant for your family's food or your children's school fees, you must think twice about it.

In other words, avoid being too philanthropic during tough economic times. There comes a time in life when you can say, "Everybody for himself, God for us all". You can help when your finances improve.

Ask For Help To Survive The Tough Economic Times

I know this is also a tough one for many of us. However, if the worst comes to the worst, don't be afraid, shy, or embarrassed to ask for help.

This calls for vulnerability on your part. Take the bold step for your sake and the sake of your loved ones.

You can ask for help from the following people:

  • Your grownup children
  • Siblings
  • Close relatives
  • Close friends
  • The government
  • Local charities

NB: Don't worry about what people might say about you behind your back. They could say worse things if you're thrown out of your house or your kids are chased from school.

Keep Hope Alive To Survive During Tough Economic Times

I think keeping hope alive to survive during tough economic times is the most important tip in this article. Just keep on trusting and believing that there's light at the end of the tunnel.

Never say die because nothing lasts forever, not even a financial crisis. Also, remember tough times don't last, but tough people do.

Above all else, keep on grinding. 

Conclusion

Are you facing a financial crisis for one reason or the other? I hope these tips on how to survive during tough economic times will be of help to you. Kindly share them with others.

I'd also want to hear additional tips or comments on how to survive during tough economic times. Kindly share your comments at the end of the article. 


Cheers!


Also read: 11 Tips to Help You Save Fuel During the Tough Economic Times

 

Also read: 11 Money Mistakes We Make In Our Lives; Make Wise Financial Decisions From Today Onward




enna

I'm a life coach, teacher, mother, wife, writer, and blogger. I love writing about well-being, relationships, and family.

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