Do's and Don'ts for Tough Times
The Dollar Stretcher Blog
by Gary Foreman
For many, this is the first time that they've faced a tough
economy. They find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Fighting an unfamiliar
They're instincts are right. Some rules are different now. How the game is
played has been altered. So it's important to know what tools are likely to
work. And, which ones are likely to fail. So let's study some of the do's and
don'ts for surviving tough times.
Do plan for the future. In tough times it's more important than ever to
make plans. If you think that you could lose your job in six months, you'll want
to implement a plan that will allow you to have some savings ready six months
Don't worry about the future. Worry will not change the future. Nor will
it give you an advantage in handling it. In fact, by adding to your stress level
worrying will probably make you less able to handle any future crisis.
Do consider your partner's feelings. Their job may be in jeopardy or
already lost. Along with the job went some of their self esteem. Right now they
can use some encouragement from you. In fact, you are in the best place to help
them overcome the crisis. Because you're close to them your opinion is more
valuable. So if you believe in them, it's easier for them to believe in
Don't blame your partner for financial difficulties. Even if you really
think that the problem is their fault. There will be plenty of time to determine
what went wrong later. In a cooler environment. Pointing your finger at your
partner now will only cause them to become defensive. It's very hard, if not
impossible, to understand the problem and possible solutions when you are both
lobbing verbals missiles across a no man's land.
Do avoid unnecessary expenses. Even if you're sure your job is not in
jeopardy, it's still a good idea to cut expenses. It's healthy for everyone to
look carefully at how they spend money on a regular basis. Few of us do it. Most
of us just assume that money will take care of itself. It doesn't. Use this time
to eliminate expenses that are not necessities. Even if you don't need to cut
expenses. When you re-start that cable TV (or whatever the luxury is) in six
months, you'll appreciate it that much more.
Don't kid yourself about what's really necessary. It's easy to assume
that just because you've always had two cars that they're both necessary. Maybe
not. When you think necessities, think of food, shelter and the things you need
to make a living. Everything that is not essential to your survival is really a
luxury, not a necessity. Yes, you can allow yourself some latitude, but don't
kid yourself. If you pretend that many luxuries are necessary, you could end up
in serious financial trouble.
Do let others know that you're struggling financially. We all need help
sometime in our lives. And, most of us are glad to help others when they need an
assist. So ask for help. You'll be surprised at what opportunities are presented
to you. When people know your situation their imaginations are put to work
thinking of ways to help you. That's a powerful tool.
Don't hide your challenges. Losing your job in this economy is nothing to
be ashamed of. The stigma is largely in your mind. Many good, hard-working
people are unemployed. Your friends and acquaintances know this. Give them a
chance to payback what they received in their time of need.
Do expect to survive the tough times. You'll handle hardships better if
you expect to get through them. Even if you don't know how long they'll last, a
belief in your ultimate success makes it easier to face today's challenges.
Don't give up. There is nothing to be gained by quitting. It will not
make things any easier. In fact, quitting will only focus your thoughts on how
it feels to be overcome by your situation. That will make it seem worse.
There's no doubt that times are tough for many people. There's not much you can
do about that.
But how you react to these times is under your control. And, those reactions
will make it easier or harder for you to survive them.
So being aware of your perspective and taking control of it could be the most
important step to surviving these tough times.
Keep on Stretching those Dollars!
Gary Foreman is the editor of The Dollar Stretcher.com
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