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Weathering The Storm: Life Hacks To Prepare For An Economic Recession

Darren RydingJanuary 10, 2023

Nearly everyone dreads the words ‘ economic recession’ because it means a financial struggle is ahead. A recession is a prolonged economic downturn that can threaten people’s income streams. However, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world because a little bit of preparation can save everyday people a lot of stress.

Let’s look at some reasonable ways that everyday people can help to prepare for a recession. It’s all about cutting costs while still maintaining a high quality of life. There will be some sacrifice but a responsible attitude toward personal finances can create more freedom in the future, so let’s get started right here.

Switch Service Providers

One of the easiest ways to save money without losing any benefits is to change service providers. This could be anything from internet providers to mortgage lenders. These other companies want to entice new customers, so it’s a win-win for everybody. It puts more money in the consumer’s pockets with just a small amount of research.

Cosmos Magazine

Use price comparison websites to look at the different options and potentially save hundreds of dollars per year. Some people may want to maintain their relationship with the original provider. If this is the case, they can potentially show the business their competitor’s prices and renegotiate (via Buzz.ie).

Time To Stop Splurging

Everybody occasionally splurges on something indulgent and expensive. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as it doesn’t affect other aspects of life. Most people try to live within their means because they don’t want to deal with crippling debt. But this also doubles as one of the best ways to prepare for a recession.

First Citizens Bank

Some people can’t cover their lifestyle and general expenses with their after-tax income. This means that they’re not living within their means and may face many problems during a recession. It’s also advisable to have a savings fund too but this isn’t always possible during a recession (via Nationwide).

Lower Water Temperature

Here is the first easy life hack on this list. It feels like energy costs are always going up, but there’s a way to counter this. Simply lower the water temperature to 120 degrees. Every 10-degree drop can save up to five percent on an electricity bill. This may not be appealing to Alaska natives but there are many benefits for people in more temperate areas (via Filtrete).

Teen Vogue

Washing clothes with cold water is better for them because it’s softer on them. Showering in cold water can have many excellent health effects like better skin and increased metabolism. It’s also a great way to wake up in the morning. Meanwhile, don’t leave the water running because that’s like throwing nickels down the sink.

Have a Backup Plan

Nobody knows what’s around the corner in life. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan. Sometimes massive expenses arrive or people find themselves in precarious financial positions. Maybe they lose their job during a recession or face sudden healthcare costs (via Medium).

Extreme Compute

A backup plan will help if everything goes wrong. What happens if a landlord decides not to renew their lease? This can leave tenants stranded in a crowded and expensive market. Another common situation is when someone finds themselves unemployed. These are big issues but things that we can try to prepare for by having a financial nest egg to help cover these costs.

Tighten Up Your Monthly Budget

A monthly budget is a simple and effective way to control personal spending. Most people know that it makes sense but they don’t understand how to do it. We recommend the 50-30-20 rule because it covers every base. Dedicate 50% of an income to needs like utilities and rent.

The Times

Many spenders keep about 30% of the things that they want. These include nonessential purchases like new clothes or dining out with friends. Finally, try to save and repay debts with the last 20%. It’s a simple system but one that works well as long as people use it consistently (via Nerdwallet).

Count Coins and Bills

During a recession, it’s important to keep track of your coins and bills. Why withdraw more cash when there’s already some sitting around the house? It may not seem like much, but it can add up if you put all of the small coin denominations in a jar and cash them in.

Freepik

It won’t change your life but every little bit counts during a recession. For some people, this could be the difference between them taking the bus to work or walking in the rain. According to Waste Dive, U.S. citizens throw away a staggering $60 million per year in loose coins by dropping them. That’s a staggering amount and not something you should contribute to when finances are tight.

Use Natural Cleaning Products

In the good old days, people washed everything with the same bar of soap. We’re talking about their clothes, their dishes, and themselves. But now we think that we need a special cleaning solution for all of our needs. One way to cut costs ahead of a recession is to make your own natural cleaning products (via Finance Buzz).

The Maids

Vinegar and baking soda are two of the most common household ingredients in homemade cleaning solutions. There are also many recipes online to make detergent and natural shampoo. Furthermore, they’re often healthier than big-brand products because they don’t contain harsh chemicals.

Consider Renting Options

Renters may find themselves in a very vulnerable position during a recession. One of their worst nightmares is that a landlord will try to sell the house they rent to meet other debts. This is a legal minefield but it’s not a position they want to deal with. It’s crucial to be aware of a market and to consider different options.

Avail

If someone is trying to save for a house, they may choose to live at home with their parents. Another option is to move out of the city center to a less expensive area. But then they must think about travel costs and if it’s worthwhile. There are no easy answers for this one, but examine all of your options to get ahead of the game (via Oasis-Living).

Pay Yourself First

It’s easy to focus on the here and now because life comes very quickly. But one of the most important ways to prepare for a recession is to pay yourself first. This means putting money aside for savings and investing in long-term needs. These may include pension plans and healthcare.

Quality Company Formations

If you’re in a difficult financial position, this may not be possible. That’s fine because there’s nothing you can do about it at that point. However, if someone has a healthy income it’s smart to think about the ways to make the most of their money. It will definitely help them in a time of need (via The Balance Money).

Buy an Affordable Home

Some readers may look at this and think it’s a stupid statement. After all, how can they buy a house if they don’t have enough money for a downpayment? But this also applies to mortgages and interest rates. Recessions and mortgage repayments go together like water and sulfur.

The Hill

Remember shared ownership is easier than one person trying to buy a house. It also eases the burden if one party loses an income stream. Banks don’t want to hand mortgages out to people who can’t repay them. However, the biggest house might not be the best option when it comes to value (via Which).

Passive Income Streams

Many people like to create passive income streams because these ensure that money will trickle into their accounts without having to do a ton of work. Leasing a house to renters is a great example but it’s not an option for everybody. However, it may be possible to invest in businesses or bonds. Even a pension fund is a form of passive income.

Dollar Spout

Some professionals may be able to take their experiences and monetize them through blogs or YouTube content. It’s all about being creative and trying to think of different ways to make the world work. Then when the recession hits there’s still some positive cash flow (via Sofi).

Preventative Healthcare

Healthcare is the bane of many people’s existence because it costs a fortune. This is an example of when it’s a good plan to spend money to save money. Visit a dentist or a doctor for regular consultations so that they check everything is fine. They may be able to nip smaller problems in the bud before they become serious.

Adobe

Another example of preventative healthcare is using contraception. Nobody wants the burden of a newborn child during a recession if they’ve lost their job. They may love their baby but it’s not the easiest time to take this responsibility on. That’s why a little bit of planning can make a big difference (via The Balance Money).

Student Loan Deferment

College degrees should help qualify people for good jobs and help them to make more money. But loan repayments may have a crippling effect during a recession. Sometimes all of these bills stack up and become too much. That’s when loan deferment or forbearance may be a wise option.

KSLA

The former allows people to freeze their repayments while the government pays interest on the loan. Forbearance is similar but accumulates interest and can cause problems if people misuse it. Nonetheless, these options will ease the burden in a dire financial situation (via US News).

Choose Water

This may seem like a very boring point but it can save a lot of money in the long run. Restaurants make most of their revenue from beverages. They inflate the price of drinks exponentially, more than anything else on the menu. That’s why sometimes house water is the best option.

Shutterstock

We’re not talking about during a romantic date. But during a business lunch or a quick bite, it’s an easy way to save a few bucks. Everybody knows how much something costs in the store so bear this in mind before spending on overpriced beverages. That glass of water is much healthier as well (via Funding Circle).

Upskill

A recession isn’t the best time for somebody to try to change their life. That’s why it’s smart to continue upskilling when things are going well. There’s never a bad time to learn a language or to take a computer course. It may open new opportunities that you never expected.

Robert Half

Plenty of people found a random hobby and fell in love with it. A pottery class could become a full-time business if somebody loves it enough. Nobody knows what’s around the corner for them in terms of employment. But gaining new skills ensures there will always be an option (via Forbes).

Packed Lunches

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a packed lunch is cheaper than eating out every day. A homemade sandwich may have a total value of a couple of dollars. But people will pay more than 10 dollars for something that doesn’t even taste that great. If they’re doing this every day they’re spending hundreds more than necessary over a year.

The Guardian

Prepare for oncoming recessions by making packed lunches. Meal prep by cooking a batch of pasta for the week. Use a refillable water bottle to avoid wasting cash on drinks. These are some of the easiest ways to save money but people are too lazy to do it and it’s a massive mistake (via Wealth Fit).

Apply for a HELOC

A HELOC effectively turns your house into a line of credit. This may seem very risky but it can be a lifesaver if people don’t abuse it. In short, homeowners must have equity in their house and owe less than the property’s value. The application is similar to a mortgage because the banks will look at everything.

Blackhawk Bank

The best part of a HELOC is that it allows people to withdraw money over many years. There may even be a tax reduction and borrowers may use the money for whatever they want. This is fantastic during a recession when potential emergencies arise. But it will put the house at risk if it’s not used properly (via Insider).

Avoid Risky Investments

These days, many people think they can become a crypto billionaire or make millions from Wall Street. However, the reality is that some folks spend years studying finance and markets at school but still don’t make a fortune because investing is a difficult business (via FCA).

Forbes

There’s nothing wrong with putting some money into a few safe investments as a form of passive income. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say that cryptocurrencies and NFTs don’t fit into this category. Nobody wants to lose all of their investment ahead of a recession, so don’t risk it.

Manage Online Shopping

Everything is available online so it’s easy to spend money frivolously without thinking about it. But these purchases add up if shoppers don’t think about what they’re doing. It’s wise to make a budget for non-essential items to prevent spending beyond someone’s needs (via Healthline).

ABC 17

Another tip is to wait 48 hours before buying it. Some shoppers will worry that the product will be gone but if so, it’s not meant to be. It’s not easy to wait but it can save people from buying a dress that will sit in their wardrobe forever. Managing online shopping is a very effective way of preparing for a recession.

Visit The Library

Libraries are a brilliant asset to every community. Books are the most obvious service that they offer but there is so much more. However, this alone is great because books aren’t cheap. Meanwhile, authors also receive a commission every time somebody withdraws their novel from the library.

CUNY

Furthermore, many libraries offer digital services. Some of them host night classes for adults and teach them how to use computers. This makes them a great center for upskilling. The inter-library loan service means that borrowers will always find what they want (via Book Riot).

Take a Staycation

Vacations are important for mental health but there’s no denying that long-distance flights cost a fortune. Sometimes it may still be cheaper to go abroad because other countries have cheaper hotels. But it’s also worth considering a staycation because it can help to save a lot of money (via Pacific Prime).

Traveloka

Land transport is usually much cheaper than flying. Taking a train or a bus to a destination can even add to the experience because travelers see beautiful views. It may not seem as exciting to stay in a local area but it will help people appreciate what’s around them. It also helps everybody before a recession because the money stays in the community.

Career Opportunities

It’s never a bad idea to check out different career opportunities. Somebody might have their dream job but sadly the markets don’t care. Many people lose their jobs during a recession so it’s not a bad plan to see what’s available. This is especially true for those who aren’t passionate about their work.

Smarter Manager

Older people often say tell young folks not to take risks and enter a safe industry. The trouble is that there’s no such thing in the modern world. If a business starts losing money it doesn’t take long for everything to fall apart. Avoid settling if a current situation isn’t fulfilling or financially satisfying (via Live About).

Quit Smoking

According to lung.org, smokers spend an average of $1,380 to $2,500 per year on cigarettes. That’s a massive sum of money that could go toward something more productive. It could be a family vacation or even an emergency fund for a rainy day. Smoking is a massive waste of money.

Verywell Mind

This is only the base figure because the true cost will come later in life if medical treatments are required. However, anybody who smokes a pack a day should try to quit. It could be a huge help before a recession because it immediately adds a chunk of money to a bank balance.

Refinance Mortgages

Many people opt to refinance their mortgage if they have a good credit rating. This can help to reduce monthly payments and interest so it may seem like a no-brainer. It may be a great idea if a young couple is planning to have a family. Furthermore, it’s useful before a recession to lower financial burdens.

Loan Pronto

It’s important to negotiate with the bank and compare different options before committing to a deal. Remember it may take time to make a real saving so don’t rush into a decision. But it’s something that everybody should think about if they have a high mortgage (via CNBC).

Find Add-On Plans

There are ways to enjoy different streaming services without paying for them. Many retailers offer deals when customers buy new TVs or cell phones. They may include one-year Netflix or Spotify subscriptions at no extra cost. This can help them find substantial savings.

Tech Crunch

It doesn’t make sense to buy a new TV every year for this purpose but it’s something to think about. Anybody who is in a position where they need a new device or appliance should look at warranties and add-ons. There’s a chance that they’ll make a great deal if they’re lucky (via CNet).

Dive Further Into A Meal Plan

A meal plan is a great way to control food spending every week. We’ve spoken about bringing a packed lunch to work but this is slightly different and more detailed. This is about the weekly grocery shop and preparing for the days ahead. Making a list and sticking to it is a fantastic way to find savings (via Ramsey Solutions).

Whole Foods Market

This will also ensure more disposable income ahead of a recession. It’s very easy to impulse snacks when we’re hungry but it’s not good for our budgets. Furthermore, it’s also healthier to buy good groceries and make food at home. We can treat ourselves occasionally but not every day during a recession.

Above All, Don’t Panic

While it’s a bad idea to pour money into risky enterprises, there’s nothing wrong with investing. It’s potentially a great way to create a passive income. But sometimes factors outside of our control can influence stocks and shares. There are few things more frightening than seeing the value of an investment drop because of a recession.

The Motley Fool

It may feel as though money is vanishing into thin air in front of your eyes, but it’s crucial to say calm. Don’t pull all of your money out immediately because this means it’s gone. Instead, consult a financial expert and see what direction the market is going. Everything comes back eventually (via Nasdaq).

Make Coffee at Home

It’s easy to grab a coffee on a commute or after lunch on the way back to the office. But it’s also not the best way to save money. People casually drop five bucks on a cup of joe every day without thinking about it. Sometimes they’ll have a couple of their favorite barista-made coffees.

Good Housekeeping

A homemade cup of coffee can save consumers between one and two thousand dollars per year. It’s a remarkable amount of money but shows how much they are. It’s possible to buy a bag of decent beans for under 10 bucks and this can make a ton of coffee while saving money (via Time).

Maintain Your Contributions

It may seem scary during a time of financial turmoil but it’s wise to maintain ongoing contributions. Try not to mess up pension payments and other schemes that may be advantageous in later life. Also, continue to put money into an emergency fund because this will be crucial if everything goes wrong.

Making of a Millionaire

Everybody focuses on the here and now because they’re worried their landlord will evict them or they’ll lose electricity. These are natural concerns and sometimes we’re not in a position to continue contributions. But if it’s possible try not to stop because the payoff will be worth it (via The National Review).

High-Quality Groceries

This may seem counterintuitive but buying high-quality groceries can be cheaper in the long run. Some readers will scoff at this but there are two main reasons why. Firstly, organic and wholegrain foods are more nutritious and filling than their refined and processed counterparts.

Unsplash

They also provide more health benefits while cheaper food is full of chemicals and sugars. It’s also more likely that consumers will suffer from obesity if they continue buying cheaper foods. That’s because they’re usually less healthy and full of fats as well as sugar (via Just Be Well).

Flight Comparisons

There are a couple of tricks that will help people to save money if they fly regularly. First, check a flight comparison website because this will show the cheapest routes available. Frequent flyers can also benefit from this but they should consider booking through the individual airline’s website instead of the comparison page.

Adobe

Join a frequent flyer program to gain points and make future savings. If a flight is a codeshare between two airlines it’s also worth checking both of their ticket sites. Sometimes one of them may offer the same flight at a lower cost. The money is better in the customer’s pocket (via Upgraded Points).

New Loan Repayment Plan

Most people will try to take out a loan at some point in their lives. Perhaps they want to start up a new business or buy a car. Whatever the reason, they need the capital to pull it off. However, a loan can feel like a heavy weight during a recession. That’s when a new loan repayment plan comes into play.

DNA Loan

Never be afraid to renegotiate with a bank and discuss different options. It might not make sense to change anything but sometimes financial circumstances change. Banks want people to pay back the money they lent with interest because that’s how they profit. It’s in their interest to ensure this happens (via Brookings).

Consider Your Real Estate

It’s always useful to own real estate but sometimes it’s tricky to know what to do with it. Leasing is a great source of passive income and many people live off this. They may rent it to tenants and move overseas to a cheaper, nicer climate. This is a great way to ride out a recession (via Bank Rate).

Entrepreneur

Sometimes it may make sense to sell a property but it’s essential to watch the market. If house prices are rising, then it may be a good time to contact an estate agent. But remember that people won’t want to overpay for a property. Also, as house prices drop the market will become inflated and it’s harder to make a profit.

Update Your Resume

Job security is a misnomer in the modern world. Nobody knows what’s around the corner but everything changes when there’s a recession. Suddenly, everybody is vulnerable and could face problems. That’s why it’s smart to keep your resume up to date in case everything goes wrong.

The Balance

This means we’re ready to go if the worst happens during a recession or if an opportunity arises. Scrambling to write a new C.V. and find references isn’t the best plan. Keep resumes current and update them after achieving something professionally useful (via The Muse).

Take Cash

These days it’s very easy to use contactless payments with bank cards and cell phones. It’s convenient but it’s also too easy not to think about the sums we spend. The advantage of cash is that there’s a limit to how much we’ll spend. Everybody has spent too much on a night out because they brought their credit card.

Nerd Wallet

Bring cash instead because it makes you more conscientious about your spending. We don’t want to waste money before an imminent recession but we also want to have a good time. It’s not about stopping the things we enjoy but doing them in a more responsible way (via Go Abroad).

Reuse and Recycle

There are some basic ways to cut unnecessary household spending. One of the easiest is to cut out using paper towels and paper napkins. Instead, use washable cotton versions. These are sustainable and a one-off purchase. This makes them cheaper in the long term and is better for the environment.

Andre Danti

It’s so simple that many people won’t think about it. But it’s little things like these that add up over time and make a huge difference ahead of a recession. It’s all about changing minor habits. Throw the material towels and napkins in the laundry with the dirty clothes (via America Saves).

Unsubscribe

Nowadays it’s easy to spend lots of money on subscriptions. It’s almost impossible to sign up for everything because there are too many options. Many people pay for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Microsoft Office, and many more subscriptions. They may never see their full value, despite paying a small fortune.

Time Out

There are many apps online that help people trim down their subscription commitments. It’s easy to forget about some of them until they make an automatic annual withdrawal. These add up over time and can cost people thousands of dollars over a few years. Don’t let them go by without dealing with them (via Wired).

Check Your Bank Balance

This is such a simple tip but it’s staggering the number of people who don’t check their bank balance. It’s the first thing that consumers should do before making a withdrawal. Otherwise, they’ll get a shock when they finally glance at the ATM screen. Check it regularly for security reasons too in case there are suspicious transactions.

Housing

Credit card users also have a big responsibility because they don’t want to be in serious debt. If they have a laissez-faire attitude toward their finances they’ll face big problems one day. The simple act of monitoring a bank account can help a lot when it comes to saving money (via Fool).

Emergency Fund

Many people mix up the terms ’emergency fund’ and ‘nest egg.’ The latter is a longtime saving project for something like a college fund or a new car. Emergency funds are different because we shouldn’t touch them except in the most desperate situation. It may seem daft to save money without the intention of doing anything with it.

Jakarta Post

Dipping into an emergency fund should be a sign of dire necessity. It’s advisable to maintain about six to eight weeks of expenses in a fund. This will help to cover bills if somebody loses their job and doesn’t have a consistent income. Don’t knock the importance of an emergency fund because it may save you when you need it the most (via Wells Fargo).

Focus On Debt Repayment

Don’t neglect debt repayments during a recession because this will prevent an interest pile-up. Credit cards are one of the biggest perpetrators so try to maintain regular payments. We know that it might not be possible but this is something that should be a huge priority.

Simple Dollar

This is why it’s better to prepare for a recession instead of reacting to one after it begins. It’s easier to plan for payments in a difficult situation than to deal with the trouble in motion. Debt repayments may feel like a massive burden but they can make life easier in the long term (via Experian).

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