Times are tough right now. The economy is in the dumps. But that does not mean that you should sit idle. There are things you can be doing right now to save money or make your financial situation better. Here are our 5 ideas for making it through a tough economy.
Go Back to School: If you’re in a job where you’re unsure just how secure your position might be, or if you’re not making enough money to keep afloat, now might be a seriously good time to head back to school. Professions to think about are ones that are in high demand with high wages. Nurses, pharmacy tech, and health-care fields take center stage as more people continue to age and need health services. Whatever you choose to study, do a little research on emerging fields like alternative energy and water desalination and you may just find a new career with security.
Spec a Garden Plot in Your Yard: Food prices are only going to continue to climb. Spend this winter reading up on how to plant and grow food your climate area. Then once you grow it, be smart about preserving it.
Learn to Barter: Got a skill? Swap it out. If you can cook, clean, knit, give massages, fix pipes, or you’re handy in some tangible way, you might be a part of a growing group of people who’d rather chop firewood in exchange for dental care. You’ll keep needed cash in your pocket, but you’ll also get some vital services you need.
Consolidate Households: It’s a little more of an Eastern philosophy, the notion of living in consolidated households. But if you’ve got space in your house, it might be worthwhile consolidating your household with a sibling, parent, or friend in order to split expenses and bank some money. Or do a room/board swap with someone in exchange for babysitting, or other household services like housekeeping or gardening – services you might be paying cash for right anyway.
Invest: As crazy as it sounds, there is something to the notion that investing over time, slowly and steadily, wins the race. Investing doesn’t have to be the crazy excess that we’ve seen in New York and what precipitated where we are now as a country. Sound investment tools still exist. And even if all you do is utilize a pre-tax account and keep the money the cash part of the fund until you’re ready to dip your toe back in the water, you’re still capturing the tax savings. If you were invested and lost a chunk of change this past week, buying additional investments at today’s lower prices will help you dollar-cost average over the long haul.
Being strategic about how you navigate through the coming months will be an integral part of your family’s financial health. And of course, keep on couponing and stockpiling, which gives you a huge leg up over many people right now when the average US grocery bill is about $800 a month!
What strategies are you using to survive these tough economic times?