Preparing for financial instability? 

                  
Hello Dear Reader,

I’m a planner.  I like to get ahead and do my best to stay ahead. If and when you’re up against it, the best you might be able to do is hang on.

In twenty years, DB has faced redundancy three times and was made redundant once. We have been affected by that and constantly make financial plans and don’t let down our guard. In plain speak, we don’t spend money without planning to do so and when we do make sure it’s in the budget. 

If you’ve been glued to the news, watched sterling slide to its lowest worth in a very long time and been aware of the economic jitters and like me, if you’ve seen it all before then you can feel that economic rumbling gathering out to sea and know that it’s going to be rough.

So, what can any of us do, not just now, but as a way of life that can help us along life’s bumpy way. I’m going to share what I do, it’s by now means a one size fits all, that could suit some but not for others.

So, here goes.

1. Get used to deferred gratification. I’m not saying go without but save up and go without until you can. 

2. Prioritise between what you need and what you want. I don’t go without. I have all I need. 

3. Live well beneath your means. Even though I can afford the premium brand ketchup (just as an example) I still buy Aldi’s own brand.

4. If I can buy second hand or ‘new to me’ then I do, even though I can afford new. If I need a ‘new’ pair of jeans, I buy them from eBay. 

5. If it can be fixed, fix it, make it last. Our boiler limped along, being repressured and topped up almost daily until we put enough money aside to pay for a replacement. 

6. Fill your time with hobbies and not shopping, even regular trips to charity shops will deplete your savings. Keeping busy is also really therapeutic. 

7. Get out more for a walk. If you ever shop because you’re bored or down, then you’d be amazed how regular exercise can improve your well being. If you’re happier, it might help curb any impulsive spending.

8. We gave up eating out, that means now that a coffee and bag of chips is a real treat. 

9. We switched to wood heating, that means I can pay for my heating and clothes drying in advance. I’ve now amassed wood for a year both in Cornwall and Brittany. 

10. We over pay our mortgage. The less overheads we have in the future, the better we will weather financial difficulties.

11. I keep our bills to the minimum and check my energy usage along with water usage, I keep on top of costs by paying by direct debit every month and regularly get those debit payments.

12. I don’t do this but have done it. Grow as much food as you can. It’s a great hobby, it’s healthy and saves a heap too. 

13. I don’t do this either but have done it. Have a month’s supply of long life food, pasta, rice, tinned food, UHT milk and keep that supply topped up. Likewise, build up a good supply of toiletries and household cleaning products. In difficult times, just having a month without major shopping can get you out of occasional difficulties. 

14. Save money on a regular basis. I move money as soon as I get paid. I then can’t spend what I haven’t got as it’s in a savings account.

15. If I buy anything, I always ask if I need it and if I need it, can I buy it at a discounted price or can I get cash back if I do.

Now, these are far from rules and we’re a way through our journey and now it’s just a way of life that we’re comfortable with and it’s not for everyone.

Now, over to you. What advice can you share, either as advice or something you do to prepare for a looming financial storm?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

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37 thoughts on “Preparing for financial instability? 

  1. Just as you do I keep a. good store of everything, I also keep a box of socks and underwear and ,tights.My first aid box is full, I always have a good stock of basic medicines especially coming up to winter, also I keep daft things like shoe laces,house hold soap,candals,matches, scrubbing brushes, nail brushes and the like.
    Living without makes you stock up and Its like having a survival kit, knowing that the house is prepared for not only emergencies but lean times.

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  2. Kid….you do your best for us all. May the Force be with you & the Light shine on you.
    Where is that superb photo taken ?

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  3. Great post and you’ve echoed my thoughts exactly. I was only saying to my husband last night that there is a lot of people out there who have never seen interest rates over 6%. I can remember the 12-15% rates. Yikes!

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  4. As I learnt from yourself I save evenly across the month for annual payments to enable a steady cash flow. I put these into electronic ‘pots’ on my spreadsheet. My husband all jokes about my pots!

    I’m enjoying paying off my student loan at £350 a month (£6500 to go). Despite this I maintain a £500 buffer savings pots each month.

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  5. I too am concerned about the worrying times ahead. We have just had three years of rounds of redundancies and am sure there will be more. I am trying to save to weather the storm. I am fighting a losing battle as my friends always eat out. I hate doing this now. Please let don’t let there be any more redundancies at work. Scary times. I buy lovely clothes but on ebay and just don’t buy anything new. Fingers crossed. Thank you for inspiring us.

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  6. Use the snowball method to clear debts. It’s more beneficial than having large savings. We took out a loan to fund our youngest’s 4th year at Uni for a 5 year term just a year ago at 19.9% interest. We snowballed varying amounts weekly in addition to the normal payment and now it’s gone 4 years early. Also, if you can, pay off your mortgage asap. The secure feeling that no-one can take your house away from you is priceless. Basically make hay while the sun shines!

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  7. I love these posts as it boosts the feeling that the like minded are all in this together. I so agree with these points an feel they should be applied even in more secure times.

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  8. Live simply and stop wanting more stuff, the latest car, bigger house etc.
    Make an effort and make your community a nicer and cleaner place to live so you don’t feel the need to get away all the time. Litter blights areas and attracts more litter so organise community clean ups.
    Learn to cook and make things . Check out Jack Monroe’s blog – lots of free budget recipes there.
    Grow your own herbs on the window sill.
    Forage for free food. My area has lots of wild apple trees but most of the fruit falls to the ground.
    Look after the stuff you’ve got.

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  9. This is very sage advice. Hubby and I paid off a lot extra on our house over the years because I never felt comfortable having a large debt. The suddenly we had some big life surprises come up such as unexpectedly expecting twins, children having a disability due to rare genetic condition and me losing my very “safe”, 16 year, well paid government job (long story but due to a corrupt supervisors vendetta against me). I was so grateful that we had focused on our mortgage and bills during the good times (owned our vehicles, had no bills outstanding etc) when is all occurred because it was terribly upsetting and stressful, let alone having to worry about finances. Although it all worked out for me – I walked into another job that was much better for our circumstances (but not as well paid but part time, still govt and lovely work environment) – we are still very careful with our finances because “you just never know what’s around the corner”. I never thought any of what happened to me ever would in a million years – I am wiser now 🙂

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  10. Growing any little bit does seem to help. I have a serious tomato addiction and can pick a handful every morning. So nice to skip buying even at Aldi prices.

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  11. I pay all our bills weekly and i am always in credit when those bills come around. I’ve even had the utility company call me and ask would i like to stop paying for a while? Every few months i do a review and if there is excess (more than one bills payment) i transfer onto any credit cards before putting in a savings account.

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  12. What a timely post! Something I would add would be to get any additional training or education possible done. Having more skills/training/education can be very helpful when the job market is tough.

    Don’t move to a new job right unless you have to. Often, those most recently hired are the first to be let go when a company has to cut jobs.

    Build up a sense of community in advance of things getting tough: join a church, spiritual group, the WI, help out at a food bank, etc.

    When things get tough, property crimes (burglary, robberies, car theft, etc.) often go up. Not having “flash” (expensive cars, jewelry, clothes, handbags, etc.) can make you less of a target for crime. Make sure valuables can’t be seen from the street through your windows. Teach your children not to brag at school about the family’s computers, video games, etc., as these sorts of easily grabbed items are often the first things grabbed in a break-in. Make sure your home is secure – working door and window locks, strong door frames (these are often the weak point when a door is kicked in). Lock your doors/windows! Don’t leave anything in your car out in plain sight. I know people whose cars have been broken into for a pair of cheap sunglasses (nothing else was taken).

    I live in a “good” area, but crime is getting worse here. I’ve had multiple friends who’ve been mugged, beaten, their homes broken into, and sexually assaulted. I took a self defense class last year and always have my head “on a swivel.” Too many people go about these days with their faces buried in their smartphones.

    Your local police can offer information and advise (check their website for articles).

    Froogs, this might have been different than what you were hoping for, but this sort of thing has my attention these days.

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  13. Bite the bullet and look at whether you can earn more now while the going’s good.
    I’m in my 50s and all around me are retiring or cutting back, but we have debts. Did I want to go from two days a week to five? Did I feel like taking a promotion which quadrupled the commitment and stress levels? Honestly? No. Did I want five times as much money? Ah.
    There are two sides to financial recovery or security – spending less and earning more.
    So my tip is – if the work’s available now – take it!

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  14. If anything is on sale, it is mine. I bought 10 sticks of deodorant for $0.50 each. It just happened this was my favorite brand. I do this with everything! I use coupons. Often, I use coupons with sales.

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  15. Agree wholeheartedly, both about trouble ahead and the excellent advice. Only point I’d add is to make whatever money you do have work harder, such as searching for the highest interest rates, even if they’re on current accounts and using a cashback credit card if you’re sure you can pay off in full each month.

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  16. Really good advice to be careful even when times are good. We’re in a good place financially and I too have a gov job. I always assume I’ll be safe but it’s good advice to plan incase things change.

    I need to look into growing veg and herbs. Always looks hard as I usually kill these type of things without meaning to!

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  17. Brilliant post Froogs 😊

    There are lots of us, your regular readers, of exactly the same mindset but there are always folk out there that can really benefit from a timely reminder or a few good tips to get them started on a journey to financial security.

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  18. All of the above, now we are retired it isn’t an option to do otherwise as we only have our state pensions, now the pound has devalued we have even less, very worrying times for us in france

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  19. brilliant post Froogs
    cook your own meals, cook 6 meals use 2,freeze the rest, look in supermarket reduced section, last week got 1kg lambs liver £1.50 ,1kg chicken bones 50p for stock

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  20. I would also add to not take on any large new expenses unless you absolutely have no choice. Don’t move to a new house/apartment/flat. Don’t buy a new car. In fact, just renting right now might be a good choice for some, depending on individual situations. I know a lot of people who bought homes just before the downturn happened. They lost their jobs within a few years and were stuck with a house they couldn’t sell which they owned too much on. Some needed to move long distance to another job and were stuck with a house they ended up renting (and having to deal with being long distance landlords was a major headache).

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  21. Love this post. You are right.The warning signs are all there now. Fab tips to help focus on not going under. I also keep an eye on an elderly neighbour to make sure he is not cutting back on food.

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  22. All of my summer wardrobe has come from charity shops. I’ve spent less than £30. Like you, I buy all my shopping at Lidl or Aldi and buy home brands. Lots of my friends are a bit snobby and look down their noses at me, but who cares. They still pop over for a cup of Lidl’s instant coffee. X

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  23. Coming over to the UK later this month…the low pound is better for us, but things are still cheaper in the US…
    Waiting for a new horse to arrive…does it count that I got one that would have ended up on a slaughter truck, and so got it at a good price?….
    I do save money in other ways…charity shop clothes, old cars, wood heat……just love my animals and it is great exercise!

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  24. Great post. Will be taking some of these tips on board. I am just in the process of going through all my finances and looking at how I spend my money so that I can make cutbacks. One of my first changes will be to switch my service provider for gas and electric. This will save me approximately £100 or more a year. I also get £30 cashback too!!
    I have also started shopping more carefully and planning meals, however this needs tweaking a lot more but I am trying to do things in baby steps so that the changes will “stick”. Once my daughter is on school holidays we will be having a lot more home cooked meals and snacks. I am looking forward to trying out lots of new recipes. Your blog is a great source of inspiration for all things frugal, so a big thank you for all you share.

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