(Natural News) The financial, social and political instability of the modern world makes it seem like a collapse could happen at any time. While nobody can predict the future, there is one way to reduce feelings of fear about a possible future financial collapse: taking control by being well prepared for such an eventuality.
Erin Foster, writing for The Survival Mom, recently posted an article that provides some excellent and practical tips for surviving and thriving – even when times are tough financially.
Take control of your finances
The first step to preparing for and surviving a financial disaster is to get your current financial affairs in order and keep them that way, says Foster:
Take out all your bills and put them in order by due date. The bills that are due now, are on top. If you don’t already have a budget or a list of what your expenses are, now is a good time to list every expense you have, including that daily cup of Starbucks coffee and the kids’ school supplies.
On a piece of paper, list your bills with the most important and with the earliest due dates on the top of the list. Rent/mortgage should be first, followed by insurance, utilities, then any revolving debt.
This list must include all expenses, even subscriptions paid automatically by the bank or small costs you might tend to overlook. The best way to capture every expense is to go through several months’ bank statements and record every recurring expense and then to add costs to your list that do not always reflect on your statements, like groceries, medical bills, fuel costs, etc.
Every expense that is not absolutely necessary should be cancelled immediately.
In difficult times the most important expenses must be prioritized, with the most important of all being paying the bills associated with maintaining your home. This is followed in importance by buying food, taking care of transportation costs and finally purchasing clothing.
These four basic necessities are referred to by experts as the “four walls” of financial stability and are the most important needs that must be met no matter the financial situation. All other expenses can be dealt with when you’re back on your feet financially. (Related: If you’ve stopped prepping, it could be the biggest mistake of your life.)
The next important step is to contact every company to which you owe money. This would include credit card providers, utility companies, insurers, mortgage companies, etc. Explain that you have suffered a financial setback – a fact which they will likely be aware of in the case of a large-scale economic collapse – and find out how they can help you.
Some companies will suspend payments for several months until your financial position changes, while others might provide relief in a different way. Irrespective, as soon as a financial disaster hits it is imperative to let these companies know as soon as possible.
Those who have ongoing medical conditions that require doctor visits or medication should call their healthcare providers to determine what discounts or payment plans they might offer. Remember, too, that generic medications are often far cheaper and generally offer similar results.
Money may be lurking in unexpected places, so Foster suggests going on a money hunt by searching places you may have hidden cash long ago, as well as seeing which assets and stocks could be sold or policies cashed in. Some people might also feel comfortable turning to family members for financial help. A word of caution though: Do not, under any circumstances, make more debt to try to cope financially, for example by running up your credit cards.
Other suggestions that may be worth considering include:
- Cut back on non-essentials and on the use of utilities like water and power to save money;
- Consider taking the bus or getting a ride to work with a co-worker;
- File for unemployment benefits if you qualify;
- Try to turn a hobby or interest into a way to generate some income; and
- Stretch your budget by reducing the cost of food. This means cooking instead of buying takeout, and focusing on low-cost, high nutrient foods like beans, eggs, fruit, wholegrain rice and pasta, chicken, veggies and potatoes.
Above all, Foster recommends, keep living and enjoying life to the best of your ability. Given time, dedication and hard work the situation is sure to improve for the better.
Read more how-to guides on preparing for a potential economic collapse at Preparedness.news.