Financial Planning Tips During Tough Times 

Imagine a worst-case scenario: An ugly recession hits, and you are sitting helpless in a vulnerable industry. Waves of layoffs hit your sector, and you suddenly feel the weight of your high-interest debt bearing down without an emergency fund to support you. 

Scrambling for security, you resolve to overhaul your financial habits completely but spend more time dwelling on what you should have done long ago. I hope that when you’re reading this, there’s still time. If not, some of these tips can still help you.

If you have debt, it’s time to go beyond the minimum payments. Being caught in the open with debt but without income is a recipe for financial ruin, especially if it’s high-interest debt. Pay off the high-interest first or refinance if possible. Compounding interest is the surest way to a debt trap that will lead to bankruptcy or a life of debt stress.

An emergency fund is crucial for any phase of life, boom or bust. You cannot know when the curveballs are coming, but you can be prepared. Medical emergencies, auto repairs, and legal ordeals are some of the most common emergency expenses that can drag you into a debt spiral. If your job disappears, you are even more vulnerable.

Once your high-interest debt is paid off, it’s time to set up an auto-payment for your emergency fund account. Use whatever surplus income you can spare.

When a business turns to layoffs to survive, the most expendable employees are the first to go. Make yourself an indispensable employee. Learn how to perform other aspects of the operation so you can fill in gaps when someone quits or is let go. 

Good teachers are invaluable to any company, so teach others your niche to get the attention of management. Be the first person in the building and the last one out. Don’t wait to be told what to do. Take initiative and be a great role model with a contagious attitude.

Your resume and interview skills might not be in great shape if it’s been a while since your last job hunt. Whip them into shape with interview coaching services. It’s a budding online industry that can help you gain the critical edge you need to face a competitive job market. 

Update your resume to reflect your latest accomplishments since your last job. Upgrade your resume with online classes and certifications to stand out even more. If the worst happens, you will be ready to jump back into the job hunt with confidence.

The last and most obvious strategy is to spend less, but finding those overlooked expenses and uncommon saving opportunities is the tricky part. Here’s a quick list to help you get creative.

  • Check with friends and family if there are any subscriptions you can share. Netflix comes first to mind, but we can go beyond entertainment. Do you know anyone who can share an Adobe subscription or access to the New York Times? The subscription business model is everywhere today.
  • Shop in bulk stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, or go with a friend who has a membership. Look at online sites that sell in bulk.
  • Take a look at how much you spend eating out and compare it to cooking. Consider packing a lunch and making your own lattes.
  • If you own a home and have a spare room, rent it out or put it up on Airbnb
  • Trade in your expensive car for an efficient one or use public transportation, carpooling, or biking
  • You can still have a social life while cutting your budget. Search online for “free things to do in [city].” It is an incredibly popular search term, and the results are teeming with helpful content.

Don’t wait for the worst to happen. Recessions can bring anxiety and panic into your life, clouding your mind. It’s easier to make decisions and build habits while it’s clear and calm. Use these strategies to build financial stability so that you can weather any storm.