Under today’s challenging economic conditions, it is understandable that many people are confused about the best way to handle their finances. Fortunately, there are simple steps that anyone can take to get their finances under control, even when the economy is experiencing a downturn. Saxton Associates shares these expert tips as well as pointing out some well-intentioned mistakes that could interfere with your economic well-being.
– Work on Your Debt
As much as possible, you will want to pay off high-interest debts. The excessive amounts of interest that you are probably paying could be put toward other causes. Experts say that paying off high-interest debt will give you a better cash flow situation and will help you gain wealth over time.
– Monitor Monthly Cash Flow
This is a piece of advice commonly given to people who want to live on a budget. A budget is an excellent idea for any family. In a budget document, lay out the money you have coming in each month and the ways in which you spend it. Take some time to look at your checking account and credit cards to see where your major expenditures lie. For example, if you are spending a lot of money on a cable subscription you don’t watch often, you could save money by switching to an Internet-only package and getting a few streaming services for a much lower price. If you spend a lot of money on clothes, consider second-hand or consignment shopping. All of these small changes can add up to more money in the bank at the end of the month.
– Don’t Stop Networking
Even if you are in a difficult economic position, such as having been furloughed or lost your job, it is still important to stay out there in terms of networking. If you stay active in the field, you will have a better chance of finding another job. Longtime contacts may find out that you are looking for work and have suggestions as to where you should apply.
– Save Toward an Emergency Fund
If you don’t already have money in the bank to use as an emergency fund, this advice may seem like too little, too late. If you are in a position to do so, try to save enough money so that you would be okay for three to six months without a paycheck. The economic reality is that many people will not be able to save when they have already experienced hardship. People who are still working full-time in their existing jobs should seriously think about increasing their savings rates.
– Shop Around
If you plan to make any purchases, be sure to research them. From groceries to household appliances, it is possible to find good deals. Lowering your expenses in this fashion is a good complement to budgeting your monthly expenses.
– Start a Side Hustle
Especially if your hours have been cut at work, it is a great time to start a side hustle. If you have a business idea that you have been wanting to try out, this may be the perfect time to fine-tune it so you will be ready to go when the economy improves. There are many sideline occupations to explore, like freelance writing or design, rideshare driving, crafts and home improvement, and retail work.
– Make Sure Investments are Diversified
This is another tip that makes more sense when the economy is doing better, but this may be a good time to make small but powerful changes to your investments. This could also be a good time to buy certain stocks, though it is always worth getting professional help to select them. If you have the financial means, look into investing now and taking advantage of the economic growth that is sure to take place at a later date.
– Do Your Own Financial Research
In addition to consulting professionals, it is a good idea to do your own due diligence before making any financial moves. If you want to refinance your home, for example, this could be a good time to do so since interest rates are so low. Look into this and other ways you can save money.
– Look into Government Programs
If you are in truly dire straits, find services within your city or state that can help you. Mortgage and rent amnesty, unemployment benefits, and food assistance may be available. There is often a temptation to avoid these services out of a sense of pride, but there is no shame in accepting help during such a severe and sudden shift in the economy.
Preserving Your Position
Today, many people are losing their financial security through no fault of their own. If you have the time to use these tips to recession-proof your finances, you will be able to anticipate future problems and plan ahead. Saxton Associates believes that saving money on your monthly expenses is one of the best ways to get your finances in order.