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Do's and Don'ts for Tough Times - The Dollar Stretcher
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Do's and Don'ts for Tough Times

For many, this is the first time that they've faced a tough economy. They find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Fighting an unfamiliar foe.

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 from now.

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 themself.

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 missles 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

Comments

 

juju_mommy said:

Amen!

I would add that those of us still blessed with employment, that we should be very thankful to have it. I am constantly thanking God for blessing me with a good job. It isn't my dream job, by far (in fact, I cant' stand it LOL), but it pays well, has great benefits and about as much job stability as I can get. I do my best to NEVER take that for granted.

I think it's very important that you mentioned dealing with a spouse who has lost a job. I haven't had to deal with this situation personally, but I know of many friends and even several on the Dollar Stretcher forums who are going through very tough times in their marriage due to current financial stress.

Have a blessed day,

Julie

June 23, 2009 1:10 PM
 

Millers Grain House said:

So nicely stated Gary!

We have been without a regular paycheck since 2003! Since Aug of 2005, only 4 checks total to date! Now that could be a stressor for some marriages....but....

I've got to say that our marriage is actually stronger than EVER because we've adhered to many of the things you mentioned....so financial woes don't have mean a marital split and stress.

Once determination to not 'bail out' on each other is established...With Faith, Love and Hope, people can get through the toughest of money times!

Great practical advice Gary!

June 23, 2009 2:00 PM
 

cheapChic said:

Hmmm didn't even know some of the tips cool great information...

June 28, 2009 3:02 PM
 

redw4552 said:

WOW! Such a great post.  These are things that I have been doing, but it's great to see someone else write it out.

Have a great day, Gary.

Shawn

June 28, 2009 3:08 PM
 

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Juneflower said:

Do make your health, and your family's health, your #1 priority.  If you have health, you can straighten everything else out.  Without it, your troubles will be overwhelming.

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About Gary

For more than 25 years, Gary Foreman has worked to manage money effectively. Prior to starting The Dollar Stretcher, he was a financial planner and purchasing manager. While helping clients manage their hard earned money as a financial planner, he applied commonsense, time-tested techniques during the turbulent 1980’s. The experience convinced him that you didn’t need to hit the lottery to accumulate significant wealth. Following that, Gary had an opportunity to learn more about how to get the best value for a dollar spent in the corporate world. As the Purchasing Manager for a computer manufacturer, he was responsible for supervising over $10 million in annual purchases. Gary began The Dollar Stretcher website <www.TheDollarStretcher.com> and newsletters in April 1996. Over 300,000 readers benefit from the time and money saving ideas presented in The Dollar Stretcher newsletters each week. His mission is to help people "Live Better for Less". He also provides private label newsletters for companies wishing to provide money saving information for their clients and/or prospects. Gary lives in Florida along with his wife of thirty years and their two children. Much of his time is spent working with the men's ministry of his church. One of their ongoing projects is the "Holy Smoke BBQ" which sells bbq on Friday nights with the profits going to support local foster kids and orphans. When he has a free moment you’ll find him restoring a Checker station wagon nicknamed “Two Ton” or cruising in a '65 Impala SS Convertible with doo-wops playing in the background.

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Gary is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who edits The Dollar Stretcher website <www.stretcher.com> and newsletters. You can follow Gary on Twitter.com/gary_foreman
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