When times are tough, it’s time to examine the choices you make about the financial resources you have available to you. Here are 5 tips to help you ride out the recession a little easier.
1. Compare rates for everything.
In a recession, you need to examine where your money is going. Get out your bills for services that you are paying for, including phone, cable, electricity, gas, and car insurance, and contact other companies for quotes. See if you are getting the best possible rates from the companies you are currently dealing with.
You will also want to consider the features you are currently paying for from your phone and cable providers and whether these are things you really need. If you don’t really need Call Display and other “extras,” cancel them. Paying for premium cable channels only makes sense if you are watching them regularly, and these can also be considered “frills” that you can do without.
2. Take your lunch to work with you.
Going out to eat at lunch time adds up in a hurry. If you were to track how much you are spending in restaurants during the work day for a month, the figure may surprise you. Not only is brown bagging your lunch cheaper, it’s a healthier choice, since you can choose foods that are higher in fiber and lower in fat than restaurant offerings. Bringing your own lunch also lets you avoid the large portions that many eateries are famous for giving their patrons.
3. Approach your employer about telecommuting.
If your job involves duties that can be done off site, prepare a pitch to your employer to allow you to work from home, at least part of the time. Start off by pointing out the benefits the employer will get from the arrangement, such as lower operating costs and higher productivity due to fewer interruptions. Ask if you can start working from home one day a week on a trial basis for a few months to see if the arrangement is working out well for both parties. Working from home means less time spent commuting to and from work, as well as lower fuel costs.
4. Drive your vehicle less often.
Consider taking public transit to and from work to save on the price of gas, as well as wear and tear on your vehicle. Another option is to arrange a car pool with people who work with or near you. When you reduce the number of miles you put on your vehicle each year, you may qualify for a reduction in your car insurance rates. Check with your insurance company or agent to find out whether you can get a discount.
5. Look at upgrading your skills through continuing your education.
If you are concerned about your current job or your prospects for finding another one if you get laid off, consider taking courses to further your education. You may want to focus on something related to your current position or start preparing for your next career move. Not being able to physically go to a classroom doesn’t have to be a barrier to getting the education you want. Many schools offer online courses that you can complete on your own schedule.