Posted by Flora Maudsley-Barton | January 14, 2009
10 Tips (for earners) to get stronger through a Recession
Hi, welcome to today’s post. These tips aren’t “rocket science”. But they do work.
If you don’t have surplus income, you really need to work hard – because you might suffer even more than most if your income suddenly stopped or reduced a lot.
Try to shave a little off all your spending, buy a brand or two down, cut back anywhere you can…pretend your income has already stopped. It will work. All that effort will create a small surplus…
If you have a surplus at the end of the month, first use it to reduce your debts.
Store cards and credit cards are usually the most expensive, if so – start with those. Loans and finance agreements often don’t accommodate being paid off in small chunks, request a “settlement figure” from them, so that you know exactly how much you owe.
Then, target them – one at a time – to pay them off.
BUT! Think carefully before you use your only emergency fund to reduce a mortgage. That could leave you with no emergency money, and a lender unwilling to lend it back to you!
I haven’t mentioned getting a cheaper mortgage?
It can still work, if you owe a fairly small percentage of what your house is worth now, if your mortgage is less than roughly four times your income and if you have few “other” debts. There are still mortgage deals to be done for you (watch the fees!).
But – for many mortals, the “fairly small percentage” might be tricky.
If your house value has dropped by 10%, that means that the 75% of the value that you owed this time last year, is now 85% (alright, 83.3%).
Set aside an evening or an afternoon to have a look at your spending on gas/electric/phones/internet.
Try the Money Saving Expert website for some extensive guidance about those.
Look at your outgoings, and decide what would have to be paid, even if your income stopped. See what that adds up to each month.
Use your monthly surplus to aim for at least three months worth of those essential spends, ideally six months or more.
Once you’ve done all that, perhaps the time is right to spend some money, even while you stick with the economy drive (and the cheap tea bags!).
Remember that you’re commissioning building work, or getting some training, or a new car, house, TV, at a time when your suppliers are likely to welcome the work. You may be well looked after, and you may strike a better deal than doing any of those things when the economy is booming.
I think that this is a good objective to bear in mind during the recession, but only after you’ve cleared debts and made provision for emergencies.
Think about the risks of your job during the recession. Can you do anything about those risks?.
Think about your work goals, too. Many people work without a plan. Even if you do have a plan, make sure it’s your work plan, not your employer’s.
Sure you have to do theirs, too, but now IS a good time to think about what you want from your work, even if you can ONLY plan at the moment.
Also, if you lose your job, it will help you to have thought about what you want beforehand.