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5 Tips to Overcome a Financial Crisis

5 Tips to Overcome a Financial Crisis

The fear of being hit with a miserable incident that could change your financial condition, like losing your job, impoverishment, or a sudden medical emergency, can be a nightmare for anyone. Such miserable events require you to make major changes in your life and the revitalization period is incredibly stressful. Often, it is the result of a lot of trifling constant worries building up to one huge breaking point, and then all of a sudden everything rushes through, constructing a tidal wave of anxiety and fear and stress.

However, your financial crisis can be remedied by regaining your self-control and taking solid actions. The financial benefits of dealing with financial crisis—saving more, paying down debt—will improve not just your self confidence, but your overall mood as well. The less you worry about dealing with finances issues, the more you can enjoy life. You may consider your circumstances as unique, but many people around the world have walked this path before you. The road to financial revival is shabby but the steps to return after the financial disaster are well-proven.

So let’s get started with some useful tips that will help you to get motivated to take control of your finances:

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1.  Identify the Problems

The first step to overcoming financial crisis is to identify the primary problem that is causing difficulties. Financial problems are generally an indication of a larger issue and to come up with long run solutions, you have to identify the actual cause of your financial troubles. The idea behind the importance of uncovering a specific problem is to come up with a permanent solution. Just like a leaky tap in your house; placing a bucket below it is a temporary solution. Fix the tap and the leak will stop permanently. Rather than dwelling on your stress, focus on resolving the problem that’s causing your financial problems.

2. Create a Budget

One of the best ways to deal with financial problems is creating a budget plan. A budget is a weekly, monthly or a yearly spending plan for your money that guides your spending decisions on important stuff for you. As you create your budget, it’s important to track your expenses for at least a couple of weeks (a month is best) to objectively see where and how much you are spending.

Once you are able to get realistic numbers from your budget, you can review your budget critically and seek out areas where you can save. Things like spending less on eating outside, spending less on entertainment or hobbies, taking lunch from home to work rather buying it are things that don’t make you miserly or restrict your budget. They just allow you to go after bigger things with less stress, like paying off your mortgage.

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3. Set Financial Priorities

Determining your financial priorities is essential to overcome any financial crisis. These priorities help you to make tough financial decisions such as paying off your credit card bill, paying your mortgage or saving up for house repairs for your family; setting priorities will help you solve your money troubles and get back on track. Your financial priorities should include looking into new ways to have money coming in too, like a second job, downsizing your home, or even using assets you have like a mortgage to leverage financial flexibility for yourself.

4. Address the Problem

For most people, financial problems can be addressed by reducing expenses and increasing income, or a little combination of both, but it might be not be the ideal option for everyone. For humans, changing lifestyle is the most difficult task, but given the money crisis situation, we are forced to make changes.

So to deal with it, take small steps to accomplish your goals because big changes are always much harder. For instance; if you’re running $50 short every month, then perhaps you should first pay off a small credit card debt that requires a $50 minimum payment each month. By taking small steps get the card paid off, and then permanently have $50 extra to use in your budget every month or use it for the payment of another debt, and get all of your debts paid off more quickly.

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This methodology is called the “snowball effect”; putting all extra money towards one debt to pay it off faster and then use the extra amount towards eliminating the next debt. It is very useful method for paying debts off faster.

5. Develop a Plan and Track Progress

Once you have ideas to tackle your financial difficulties, come up with a realistic plan to accomplish your financial goals with a timeline of weeks, months or years and track your progress continuously. For example, if your goal is to pay off a $2,000 debt, make a plan and create a timeline with the amount of money you will pay every month so that you can pay it off within your desired time frame. Once you are on the road to achieve it, take a few minutes to review the progress. Evaluate and assess your plan, see if you are making progress toward your goals and be open to the possibility of fine-tuning the plan.

Unforeseen financial challenges are like uninvited guests and can strike at the most unfortunate times. For example, recent findings show that 6 in 10 Canadians will face some major life events that will change their prior financial plans. The key to overcome these financial challenges is to be flexible. Make and review your budget and make necessary changes.

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Featured photo credit: Mitya Ku via flickr.com

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Tayyab Babar

Tayyab is a PR/Marketing consultant. He writes about work, productivity and tech tips at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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