With the economy in the doldrums, you might be concerned about losing your job, getting a pay cut or not making ends meet. However, you can take steps right now to brighten your financial future. Here are some ideas for recession-proofing your finances.
1. Be The Hardest Worker At Your Jobsite
If your company is having problems, you don’t want to be the first person that they let go. While some companies will let people go based on seniority, many will lay off the people that perform poorly first. If you are making money for your company, it makes no financial sense to fire you. Be the best worker at your job, and they’ll keep you around. While you may have to use the internet to do your job, NEVER let them catch you surfing the internet..
2. Do A Little Freelancing
Don’t do this at work, of course. By doing a little work on the side and diversifying your sources of income, losing your job won’t be as disastrous to your finances. Some ideas for making a little extra money are babysitting, writing for Associated Content, Ebay, or being a consultant for a company like Pampered Chef or Tupperware. If you are creative, you might come up with something else. An added bonus to earning a little money on the side is that if you do lose your main job, you can step up your efforts on your side job while you’re looking for another one. A second job also gives you a little extra money.
3. Get Out Of Debt
If you’re in debt, you have a lot less wiggle room if you lose your job or your hours are cut at work. The trick to this is to put all your extra money towards paying off your debts, starting with the smallest. Once you pay off your smallest debt, work towards paying the next smallest. Stop charging any money on credit cards. The fewer bills you have, the more money you will have if problems come up.
4. Start An Emergency Fund
If you lose your job or your car breaks down, you’ll want to have a cash reserve on hand. While Dave Ramsey suggests that you have $1000 saved, in today’s economy, you might want to shoot for a little more. If you lose your job, you don’t want to end up homeless, do you? $1000 is a good start, but I’d go for a little more if your company is doing poorly and you think you might have to look for a new job soon.
5. Don’t Waste Money
It takes money to get out of debt and put together an emergency fund, and if you’re already struggling, how are you going to do that? Do whatever you can to save money. Can you save money on your grocery bill? Can you change options on your phone bill? Are there less expensive cable television packages that you can live with? Can you avoid eating out? Every little bit helps.
It pays to know people. Do you have friends that need a helping hand moving into a cheaper apartment? Help them out. Can you help them in their job search? Do you know people in your chosen line of work? Being on good terms with people around you could help if you ever need to look for another job.
7. Learn New Skills
The more you know, the more employable you are, and the more money you make. If you are in the computer industry, make sure that you keep up on the new technology. If you are in sales, make sure that you keep abreast of all the latest products. If you are in a dead-end career field that doesn’t pay well or is shedding jobs at a high rate, learn how to do something else. You could even think about going back to school. Community college is not that expensive in most areas, and many schools also offer online classes. If you don’t make much money and don’t think that you can afford college, be sure to apply for financial aid. January and early February, after you get your W-2s back, is the best time to apply for federal financial aid.
You can survive an economy in turmoil. It might take a little more work and struggle, but the opportunities exist. We always think of bread lines and starving families when we think back on the Great Depression, but it was also a time period when many millionaires were made. Now is not the time to sit back and cry like a victim, it is the time to roll up your sleeves and work hard. That is the best way to get through a troubled economy. Everybody can always use a hard worker.