How to Survive the Economic Downturn Without Generating More Debt!
Living without credit used to be a lifestyle choice. Now it’s something we’re all going to have to get used to.
Because the days of cheap and easy credit are gone. If you’ve got this far without racking up a huge pile of debt on credit cards, store cards or personal loans then well done – your frugal habits in the good times will stand you in good stead in the coming lean years. For the rest of us, well – it’s going to be a bit of a culture shock!
Here are just a few tips on how to adapt to a credit-free lifestyle:
- Pay for things you want in cash
As obvious as it might sound, this is the most important one of the lot. Make it your number one rule to not put things on your credit cards or otherwise borry money to pay for them. If not having it isn’t a matter of life or death then wait until you have the cash to pay for it. It’s amazing how expensive certain ‘small’ luxuries seem when you part with greenbacks to get them, rather than put them on a card.
- Pay for the things you need in cash
There are going to be things that you don’t want to pay for at all. Repairs, school fees, dental work and so on. You know they’re going to come along when you least want them so try and be prepared as much as possible. Start by putting a few dollars every month into an emergency fund. $1,000 is a good starting point, but you really need about 3-6 months worth of living expenses put by to be able to take whatever life throws at you comfortably.
- Make savings wherever possible
Go through your household expenses with a fine tooth comb and look for places to make savings. Check out different telephone, gas and electricity companies. See if you can save a few dollars by switching to cheaper brands. Even the most frugal household can usually save upwards of $100 every month by clever budgeting. That $100 may feed your emergency fund until you’ve built it up to a comfortable level and then you can divert it to something else that you need or want – like saving for a new car or a holiday.
- Travel without your credit card
If you’ve got credit available, you’ll spend it. But it’s sometimes difficult to travel without Mastercard , Visa or Amex. So ask your bank for a Debit Card instead. This will only let you spend as much as you have in your accout, so you won’t come back from a fantastic break to a whole pile of worry!
- Consider your housing situation
As the credit crunch bites in, are you living in a place you’ll be able to afford? Would it make sense to rent somewhere cheaper while house values are tumbling and save money for a deposit so you can buy a new home cheaply a bit later? Don’t make these decisions lightly – be sure to get some proper advice, but do consider this: Do you really want to be tied into a massive mortgage on a home that’s worth less than you borrowed to pay for it? The way things are going, this is a real possibility.
Experts are predicting the most severe recession that most of us have ever seen, or ever will see. If you want to come out the other end in good financial shape then now is the time to make changes. You’ll learn habits that will help you manage money properly for the rest of your life and pave the way to early financial freedom.