I hate to even write this because I look like Debbie Downer. And I have NEVER been a fan of hers. But, some topics aren't easy to talk about but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't...
Sometimes you MUST prepare for the worst.
What if you lost your job tomorrow? Or, your spouse did? what would happen? Would you go into panic mode? Into a major stress/anxiety attack? Would you begin fearing that you would lose your house, or car, or that you would go without food?
If you answered yes to ANY of those, then you need to STOP THE MADNESS NOW!! I understand that NO one wants to purposely stress out by just thinking about what would happen if your family lost one (or maybe the ONLY) source of income. But you NEED to.
Without even realizing it (or maybe you do) you have an escape plan in mind if your house were to catch fire. you know where you would go if a bad storm was headed your way. You probably even run by the grocery store to grab bread and milk if you hear it MAY snow. So why not be thinking ahead on what would happen if suddenly your household income plumeted.
Here's a few steps that I came up with to help prepare for the "worst case scenario."
1. START SAVING TODAY! There is never a better time to start saving. It's NOT going to get easier tomorrow. Do it today.
2. This would be a GREAT time to learn how to coupon.
3. Do your homework. While you can AFFORD to burn the gas running from store to store, do an inventory of the items you buy most frequently and go to each store so that you know where the deals are.
4. invest in a deep freeze. If you do this then you are ready to stock up when you find a great deal on meat or veggies.
5. Take a look around--what can you sell? I'm not saying you need to sell it TODAY, but have a list of things you already know that you would be willing to part with in the "Worst case scenarios" of life.
6. Take a look at your bills. Cell phone, cable, internet... what changes are you willing to make to get those bills down?
7. Might not be a good idea to look up unemployment rates in your area. Arkansas has a site that allows you to calculate your approximate amount of unemployment. That would be a handy thing to know.
8. Stay in the network! Just because you landed a great job does NOT mean that you need to severe ties with former bosses, or other business people. You MAY need them one day to help you GET a job.
9. Start now living on less. Start getting in the habit of NOT running to the mall to kill time (aka blow money). Start making your coffee at home. If you lose an income in your household, those Starbucks trips will HAVE to end. Get in the habit NOW of living on less.
10. Pay off what you can. Obviously I believe a savings is MORE important, but having debt won't help. Get diligent NOW!
Make the changes today to prepare for the worst.