We all have to go through the tough financial times at one point or another, and the better prepared you are the less painful it will be to endure. However, this doesn't make it any easier when you feel like you're being crushed by financial problems.
This post originally appeared on ReadyForZero.
Here are tips for getting through the tough times with your financial life and sanity intact.
Believe It Will Get Better
It's important to stay positive and keep believing things will get better, because hope is a motivating force that will help you take the necessary steps to move forward. In order to keep a positive attitude you've got to surround yourself with financially positive people. When you don't think you're making much progress, your community of supporters can remind you to keep an upbeat attitude so you'll keep believing that each day is a new opportunity for things to get better.
Know Who You Can Trust
If you have a few people in your life you can trust no matter what, they will be a tremendous help during the tough times. Your friends and family can remind you to focus on what's important and they won't distract you into feeling sorry for yourself. The people you trust can be your greatest collaborators to keep you on track, and will give you the motivation you need during the tough times. You also have to trust yourself, and give yourself credit for how far you've come — even when you feel you still have a long way to go.
Have a Plan Ahead of Time
Since you know tough times happen to all of us, it's important to have a plan for when things go bad, and even rehearse it (like a fire drill). What would you do if your car had major mechanical problems that needed to be repaired? What would you do if you had a sudden injury or illness that required long-term medical care? What if a family member or friend needs help, or you lose your job?
Preparing for the unexpected ahead of time will enable you to get through the financial ups-and-downs much more smoothly. Instead of making decisions on the fly, you and your family will be prepared to handle all the issues with confidence — and a level head.
Don't Stress Over What You Can't Control
Just as you can't control whether it's going to rain tomorrow, you can't control the economy or the job market. The financial situation within the media and government changes daily, and that's not something you can control. So instead of stressing over the things you can't control, focus on what you can control. Your personal finances and goals are easily within your realm of control and they can answer to you if you know how to keep things in perspective. This strategy will enable you to build confidence while reducing stress.
Make Things Easier for Yourself
A little organisation can go a long way when times are tough. Things like using a budget spreadsheet or simply using cash for your purchases, can make things a lot easier on yourself. Your finances don't need to be overly complicated. Make use of other tools and tactics to keep your finances on track and running smoothly when you don't have time or energy to think about them.
Place a Priority on Saving
If you've been living month to month and maxing out your credit cards, you know how stressful that feels. But when you have a small emergency savings build up — even if it's only a few hundred dollars — you feel more at ease and are able to tackle any financial emergencies that pop up. Saving a $5 here and $10 there will do wonders for your bank balance, and it will help you start living within your means. You have to place a priority on saving for the future, and making sacrifices wherever you can. This will give you a headstart when tough times come knocking on your door.
With a little forethought and a little effort now, you can prepare yourself for the tough financial times. If you're already in the midst of tough times, following the tips above will help you overcome these obstacles.
How to Get Through Tough Financial Times [ReadyForZero]
Carrie Smith is a guest blogger for ReadyForZero. She's the writer and editor behind Careful Cents, a blog aimed to help solopreneurs and full-time freelancers make valuable connections and grow their businesses.