How To Stay Sane When You're Going Through Tough Financial Times

How to Stay Sane When You're Going Through Tough Financial Times

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.


Comments

    Probably the most important point I can recommend: Don't give in to shame or pride. I've been there, and to me, pride was the biggest hurdle I had to getting back in the black. Too proud to accept a hand, too ashamed of having got myself in a mess to let my visible spending behaviours betray my financial state. So I wasted a lot of money on those pretences.

    I KNOW I'm not the only one who's done this. Being forced into eating two meals a day of only 2min noodles is humbling enough, but people still try to downplay it in front of others.

    This can be dangerous when it means you end up going out for food (which, if you're struggling, is a horribly inefficient use of money) with friends, buying a drink and meal that is priced at about three or four days worth of groceries. Either decline the invitation, suggest somewhere cheap because you can't afford anyplace nice, or advise your friend that you'll gladly hang out, but you can't afford to actually join them in the eating/drinking part because of how tight money is. Maybe even suggest a home visit instead of going out.

    If you read any of that and were horrified or uncomfortable at the thought of telling people that, worrying about what they might think of you for it? That's the shame and pride you need to deal with.

    Don't let your budget turn you into a hermit, though. The point in the article about people you can trust? This is the biggest part. You need friends, you need social contact, and if you have GOOD friends who are doing well enough themselves, they won't mind having you around for a dinner party or a couple drinks to give you a break from ramen-life (just don't overdo it - once a fortnight is probably enough), they won't complain that you're boring because you never want to go anywhere fun, and they won't make fun of you for wanting to use public transport or catch a lift instead of spending valuable petrol.

    (And if you have friends who aren't doing so well financially themselves, you can even have fun trying to find free things to do together. Check your local council website, you'd be surprised what Australian cities have going on for free.)

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