How to Get Through the Tough Financial Times



We all have to go through the tough financial times at one point or another. And the better prepared you are, the less painful it will be to endure. However, this doesn’t make it any easier when you feel like you’re being crushed by financial problems.

Here are tips for getting through the tough times with your financial life, and sanity, intact.

Believe it will get better

It’s important to stay positive and keep believing things will get better, because hope is a motivating force that will help you take the necessary steps to move forward. In order to keep a positive attitude you’ve got to surround yourself with financially positive people.

When you don’t think you’re making much progress, your community of supporters can remind you to keep an upbeat attitude so you’ll keep believing that each day is a new opportunity for things to get better.

Know who you can trust

If you have a few people in your life you can trust no matter what, they will be a tremendous help during the tough times. Your friends and family can remind you to focus on what’s important and they won’t distract you into feeling sorry for yourself.

The people you trust can be your greatest collaborators to keep you on track, and will give you the motivation you need during the tough times. You also have to trust yourself, and give yourself credit for how far you’ve come — even when you feel you still have a long way to go.

Have a plan ahead of time

Since you know tough times happen to all of us, it’s important to have a plan for when things go bad, and even rehearse it (like a fire drill). What would you do if your car had major mechanical problems that needed to be repaired?

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What would you do if you had a sudden injury or illness that required long-term medical care? What if a family member or friend needs help, or you lose your job?

Preparing for the unexpected ahead of time will enable you to get through the financial ups-and-downs much more smoothly. Instead of making decisions on the fly, you and your family will be prepared to handle all the issues with confidence — and a level head.

Don’t stress over what you can’t control

Just as you can’t control whether it’s going to rain tomorrow, you can’t control the economy or the job market. The financial situation within the media and government changes daily, and that’s not something you can control.

So instead of stressing over the things you can’t control, focus on what you can control. Your personal finances and goals are easily within your realm of control and they can answer to you if you know how to keep things in perspective. This strategy will enable you to build confidence while reducing stress.

Make things easier for yourself

A little organization can go a long way when times are tough. Things like using a budget spreadsheet, an online debt payment tool like ReadyForZero, or simply using cash for your purchases, can make things a lot easier on yourself.

Your finances don’t need to be overly complicated. Make use of other tools and tactics to keep your finances on track and running smoothly when you don’t have time or energy to think about them.

Place a priority on saving

If you’ve been living paycheck to paycheck and maxing out your credit cards, you know how stressful that feels. But when you have a small emergency savings build up — even if it’s only a few hundred dollars — you feel more at ease and are able to tackle any financial emergencies that pop up.

Saving a $5 here and $10 there will do wonders for your bank balance, and it will help you start living within your means. You have to place a priority on saving for the future, and making sacrifices wherever you can. This will give you a headstart when tough times come knocking on your door.

With a little forethought and a little effort now, you can prepare yourself for the tough financial times. If you’re already in the midst of tough times, follow the tips above and use our in-depth financial resource centers to help you overcome these obstacles.

Image Credit Kate Tegtmeyer

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  • Cait Flanders

    These are all great points, Carrie. I also love that you linked to Tonya’s post about finding people who are financially positive – that was one of my faves on her blog this year. I know I stopped hanging out w/ some of my friends who encouraged me to spend, put things on credit, etc. when I was paying down my debt… it wasn’t easy at first, but finding people who are like-minded and who will motivate you to succeed will only further help you along.

    • Glad you liked the article, Cait! Finding good influences can be so crucial.

    • Thank you Cait!! And thank you Carrie for featuring that link. I really enjoyed this article and you make a lot of great points. I think a lot of times we get into panic mode and everything becomes chaotic, but having solid plans helps you regain some sense of control. It’s a good first start anyway!

  • Great advice Carrie. I would add having an action plan is critical to getting out of debt. A step-by-step action plan for people who need a little hand holding.

    • Yes, having an action plan makes a big difference! That’s something we recommend wholeheartedly. Thanks for the comment, Brenda.

  • These points are pretty universal. I’ve found that developing specific goals, acknowledging small achievements, and maintaining a positive frame of mind are the most important things in getting me through the tough times- budget related and not.

    • I agree! These are the cornerstones, so to speak. Glad they’ve helped you in the past!