5 Tips for Surviving Tough Times
1. Don’t Buy What You Can’t Afford
We all want that designer sweater, leather handbag, or cute sports car, but most of us just can’t afford to make the purchases. There’s a simple solution to this dilemma. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. This is often the easiest point to understand, but it is one of the hardest to implement when all those goodies are staring you in the face and all your credit companies are telling you it’s OK.
2. If You Can’t Pay Cash, You Probably Can’t Afford It
In our credit crazy world, amassing debt no longer carries a social stigma. Everybody has a car payment, a house payment and credit card payments. Well, remember what your mother said about everybody jumping off of a bridge? Just because “everybody” is doing it, doesn’t make it a good idea.
Buying something you can’t afford now, especially when the economy is unsettled, can double the pain of paying later. For example, if you purchase a $450,000 home today and the market goes into a slump and devalues your home by $200,000, you will be paying the bank twice what the home has come to be worth. Just because it was easy to get the credit to buy that home, doesn’t mean it was the right time for you to buy in.
3. Paying Interest on Anything Makes Somebody Else Rich
When you pay interest on a purchase, you are overpaying for that item for the luxury of getting to use it now. The simple act of paying interest means that the price you are paying to make the purchase is greater than the sale price of the item. You are giving away even more of your hard-earned money in order to own that item than the manufacturer thought the item was worth.
For example, if you buy a car for $25,000 with a loan at 7% interest for five years, in the end, you will pay almost $30,000 for the car. Once you factor in depreciation, you’re left with a very cheap car that cost you thousands more than it should have.
4. If You Are in Debt, stop Spending Money
Sometimes, such as when purchasing a home, the cost of the item is so great that you simply cannot afford to pay cash. This should be the exception rather than the rule. When it cannot be avoided, you need to close your purse and stop spending.
Getting yourself further it debt doesn’t help your financial situation. Making a realistic budget in this case is the key to success. Once you know how much you’re actually spending on those daily trips to the grocery store and coffee shop, you’ll be able to find room to cut costs realistically.
5. Don’t Count on Somebody Else to Save You
In times of economic uncertainty, people often think the government will be able to help them, but unfortunately this is often the time when the government has the least amount of money and freedom to help its own citizens. In most cases, the government won’t save you, so you’ll have to save yourself.
When the economy is in a downturn, you can’t just look at what you are spending, you also need to look at where the money is coming from. Your employer is facing the same difficulties you are: trying to make bill payments, balancing the flow of capital, all while sales are slowing. Just like you, your employer will be looking to reduce its costs, which could be in the form of layoffs.
You could be in big trouble if you haven’t planned for this possibility. The plan here is to start saving now for that eventual rainy day, and prepare an emergency fund for yourself. If it is too late to start saving and you already need the money, many financial institutions will let you defer a payment or two if you prove you have a smart financial plan to eventually pull through.
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5 Tips for Surviving Tough Times
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