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10 Ways to Make Sure You Never Have to Face Financial Crisis

10 Ways to Make Sure You Never Have to Face Financial Crisis

Samuel Johnson once said, “A man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments.” He couldn’t have been more right. It’s not enough to earn money. It’s equally important to spend and save money wisely. On one hand, we need to spend money to fulfill our needs. On the other hand, if money runs through our hands as soon as we get it, we are in the state of perpetual deprivation and are unable to save anything for the future.

Many of us have to face a point in life at which we are in a terrible financial condition. Your savings could be low, you may have recently (or not-so-recently) lost a job, or you could lose your savings due to battling illness. There are so many possible paths to arrive at that dreadful situation, but we can surely avoid it with proper planning and forethoughts. Below are 10 ways to help you make sure you never have to face a financial crisis.

1. Maximize your liquid savings.

Liquid assets such as cash in hand, cash in currents, saving and money market accounts, and certificates of deposit are our most important financial assets to ensure financial safety. The value of these assets doesn’t fluctuate with market conditions, unlike stocks and index funds, and we can have them at our disposal any time we want, without any financial loss. Maximize your liquid savings. It’s very important to not invest in stocks or other higher-risk investments until you possess several months’ worth of liquid cash.

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2. Keep record of all your earnings and expenses.

The principal reason people face a personal financial crisis isn’t that they do not earn enough but that they don’t save enough. It’s easy to advise someone to save, but equally difficult to actually save something on your own. However, much of the trouble can be spared by keeping a record of all of your earnings as well as expenses. Keeping track of money coming in and going out will help you know if you are overspending or living within limited means. This will help adjust your expenses to align with your income.

3. Prepare your monthly budget and live by it.

When there is no bar set for tour expenses, you are more likely to end up overspending. Monthly budgets prepared at the end of the previous month can help you balance your finances. Prepare a well-organized monthly budget clearly specifying the budget for food, rent, recreation and so on. But remember, there’s no point in making rules if you can’t live by them. You also need to live by your monthly budget allocation if you want to ensure sound financial health besides setting it.

4. Keep your possessions in good condition.

Keeping your possessions in good condition is another effective way to avoid financial crisis. Keep everything you possess, from your car and household utensils to electrical and electronic appliances, in proper working condition. It costs much less for routine maintenance compared to the price you have to pay when they stop working completely, either to replace them or while repairing them. Investing small amounts to keep your possessions working will reap greater rewards in the long run, as money not spent is also money earned.

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5. Stay healthy.

Just as routine maintenance of household appliances helps to save significant amounts of money, maintaining your body also helps the cause. Most often we visit doctors only when the problems we’re facing have become severe. This traumatizes the body and requires significantly higher medical costs. With regular exercises and healthy habits, along with frequent medical checkups, you can pretty much avoid the possibility of major financial setback on the back of substantial illness.

6. Pay off your debts on time.

The best advice would be to never take any debt. But it doesn’t mean that your financial condition is doomed forever if you have taken debts. The first concern of any debtor should be to pay off all debts in full. Having existing debts doesn’t only distress our brains continuously, but also means that we can’t afford further debts, which would be necessary in the face of the adversities. So plan wisely and allocate a portion of your monthly budget to pay off the debts.

7. Safeguard against job loss.

Losing a job is the major event that leads a person to financial crisis. With the loss of job, a person doesn’t have any money to use, particularly if the person has never spared any thoughts for saving before. Safeguarding oneself against potential job loss is a chief way to avoid financial crisis. This could be done via unemployment insurance from your office or the purchase of a private unemployment insurance on your own. You can also find an alternative source of income besides your primary job.

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8. Save a portion of your earnings every month.

Saving shouldn’t be thought of as a luxury, something that you do when you feel like it. You should cultivate it as a habit. There’s no better way to save than putting away a certain amount of your earnings every month. The popular 50/20/30 rule suggests you allocate 20% of your monthly earnings for things like debt payments, retirement funds and savings. If you’re not in any debt as of now, saving 20% of your monthly income would be a wise idea. However, even if you’re in debt, save at least 10% of your earnings, as you need liquid cash in hand in case anything serious happens in future.

9. Try to minimize your monthly bills.

Just because you earn enough and are not facing any financial setback as of now doesn’t mean that the case will be the same forever. Try to minimize your monthly bills before the alarm bell rings. The focus for minimizing the monthly bills should be on cutting out unnecessary expenses as soon as possible. Look over your expenses and find out possible ways to deduct them. You could be turning on your heater or air conditioner even when you’re not home. Simply turning those appliances off when you’re not home will help reduce energy bills and thus, the monthly bills, significantly.

10. Spend wisely.

“Every penny saved is a penny earned.” You won’t be financially secure all the time, unless you are wise enough to spend wisely. Spending wisely is an art in itself. There are several techniques to spend wisely. One is to abstain from buying things you are hardly going to use. The other could be to compare prices amongst multiple vendors and go for the best deal. This could even mean spending money as an investment for the future, as the money you spend today could generate you further capitals tomorrow.

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Featured photo credit: money career upstairs/Anatoly Tiplyashin via fotolia.com

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Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Published on January 17, 2020

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

Have you ever looked at health gurus and wondered how on earth they can afford all that health food? Or maybe you’ve tried multiple times to start eating healthy only to find the $600 monthly budget overwhelming?

If you’re anything like me, you know exactly what I’m talking about! I absolutely understand the sinking feeling of looking back over a grocery budget and finding you went way over what you intended. And besides that, it can be hard to justify buying a tiny $5 bag of carrot chips while a $1 mound of potato chips is sitting right next door.

My husband and I recently ran into that struggle. We got married this past year and soon found ourselves trying to balance 12 hour work-days with keeping our relationship strong and trying to keep our personal businesses afloat. Granted, our budget was the one thing that took a hit! After we started tracking our spending, we were shocked to see we were spending over $1000 a month just on food! A little planning cleared that right up.

So, how to eat healthy on a budget?

Here’re the top tips I learned that helped us shave over $600 monthly off of our food budget so we could reinvest that in the areas that really mattered to us![1]

1. Meal Plan

You’ve probably heard the saying “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail” right? Well, this saying couldn’t be any more true than in the area of healthy budgeting! The fact is, most healthy foods don’t actually cost that much… the pre-made time saving ones do!

If you go about creating a healthy meal plan within your budget, you could easily cut costs down to around the same price you are paying for junk food.

Meal planning is as simple as working in foods you already have in your fridge/freezer, adding in several meals with simple ingredients and seasonal veggies, and breaking it down into a shopping list.

Often, finding a few meals to make in big batches will save you the most money in the long run, which leads me to my next point.

2. Cook in Bulk

Not only will cooking in bulk save you a whole lot of time, it will save you a whole lot of money too! Believe it or not, if you find meals to make with similar ingredients, you can easily save more money than when you were eating unhealthy.

Don’t believe me? Just look at a $4 frozen pasta dinner. Now, sub that with a veggie pasta dinner. 5 zuchinni ($3), Pasta sauce ($2.50), and chicken ($5) could last you a full 5 meals which adds up to a whopping total of just over $1 per meal!

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That’s not even digging in to all the money you will save from fast-food. Trust me, a little $10 spent here and there add up! You’ll be saving a whopping amount from all the meal prep you will do!

3. Cook all Your Meals in One Day

The science behind this is 2-fold.

Number one, if you have lots of meals to grab and go, you will be far less likely to binge on pricier food when you get hungry. Let’s be real, you’re not going to spend 1 hour cooking when hub-n’-grub is at your bekon-call!

Number 2, meal prepping ahead of time will help you stick to your meal plan better when you’re not in the mood. Let’s face it, we’re all going to have days when protein and veggies doesn’t exactly sound appealing. But, if you have a full meal that’s quick to grab in the fridge, it will be easier for you to fill up on the good stuff rather than spending money on what you don’t really need.

4. Cut Back on Snacks and Specialty Items

I can almost hear you from across the screen. “But, I thought snacks were good for me!” Here’s the deal: Snacks are expensive! And healthy snacks, oh my goodness, say goodbye to your paycheck!

Look, I’m definitely not saying that healthy snacks are bad. Quite frankly, I would much rather you chow down on Halo Top than a triple-butterfinger-fudge sundae. It’s just that… healthy snacks are why eating healthy gets a bad rap for being expensive.

Look at it this way: You could either buy a week’s worth of groceries full of chicken, fish, beans, veggies, and fruits for $30. Or, you can spend that $30 on six snacks that will leave you hungry for more.

What’s more, the ingredients for gluten-free baked goods, sugar free substitutes, or protein powders alone will add up to you eating a full week’s budget in one sitting. By all means, if you want to work some yummy items into your budget, do it! But don’t confuse that extra monthly $300 of delicacies as a necessity. Your body and budget will thank you!

5. Satisfy Yourself with Your Favorite Subs

We all have an emotional tie to food. Maybe pasta reminds you of home! Or maybe a fresh-baked pizza is what gives you a feeling of comfort. Whatever you favorite food, find a way to work it into your budget in the best way.

We’re only human, and depriving ourselves of what we love will never end well. More often than not actually, it ends in take-out or a pricey-premade substitute.

Instead of finding yourself in this situation, find a way to make your favorite foods fit your budget. Zuchinni noodle pasta might just give you that feeling of home without breaking the bank. Or maybe you could google a healthy pizza alternative you would like that you could make at home. Often, something similar to your craving will be enough to give you a sense of satisfaction.

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Or, just buy your cheat meal and save it for a special day. That’s okay too!

6. Stick to the Cheaper Proteins

Okay, I know we all love steak. Unfortunately, buying pre-cooked or expensive cuts of meat are one of the easiest ways to drain a budget.

Instead of purchasing those, try buying frozen chicken or eggs. A 5 lb bag of frozen chicken can be as cheap as $5, and you can buy a whole weeks worth of eggs for just over $1. You could even try going vegetarian for a few meals if you really want to cut down on costs!

7. Buy Frozen Fruits and Veggies

I know, we all love our fresh fruits and veggies! However, sometimes frozen might be the way to go if you’re looking to cut costs!

Fruits and veggies are easiest to ship when frozen, making them a much cheaper option. Contrary to popular belief, scientists have actually found that frozen might be better for you too![2]

The reason is, frozen produce is picked at its prime and shipped immediately. Fresh fruit tends to be picked much earlier so it will ripen while being shipped. Not only does this make it less nutrient dense, but sometimes the fruits are actually pumped with artificial flavors to make up for the lack of real nutrients.

While I’m all for fresh fruits and veggies, don’t feel guilty if you opt for frozen foods due to a budget.

8. Bump up the Calories with Rice and Beans

The problem some people find when trying to eat healthy is that it can be hard to get the amount of calories you need without relying on expensive “specialty” items. Instead of stocking up on pricey gluten-free breads and pasta, I say stick to simple rice and beans as the bulk of your meals.

Brown Rice is very cheap and easy to use as a base for bowls and dishes. Likewise, beans can add a bit of fiber making you feel full and satisfied without having to spend a lot of money.

If you are trying to cut on body fat, use extra veggies as the bulk of your meal and add in rice and beans as a filler.

9. Try Acai Bowls

Acai Bowls can be a really cheap and satisfying meal as long as you do it right.

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You can find cheap fruits at most stores or just freeze your fresh fruits before it goes bad.

Making your own granola can save you a lot of money as well. The total cost for this delicious meal should only add up to a few dollars compared to triple that price if you were to buy one pre-made.

10. Make Your Own Meal Kits

Do you like your meals freshly cooked? Sending meal kits to your doorstep is an easy way to drain your budget. Instead, try making your meal kit at home! Not only is it fun, you will easily get a delicious taste.

Simply find a few simple meal cards or print some out and fill a ziplock with the ingredients for each specific day. Don’t know what recipe to make? Another option is to order one month of meal kits and recycle the recipe into ingredients for the upcoming months with ingredients you picked up from the store.

11. Don’t Drink Your Calories

A few dollars spent here and there can really add up! Just as with specialty items, healthy drinks can be a blackhole for you. An energy drink and kombucha and coffee each day could easily have you spending and extra $300 each month!

I you really need a special drink fix, try making your favorites at home. Bring a coffee in, make kombucha, or even try making lemonade with stevia or a healthy soda. You’ll be surprised w hat a big difference such a small change can make on your budget!

12. Buy Cheap Online

Just like anything else, it pays to be prepared. Buying foods from online retailers can be a really affordable way to save money as long as you’re prepared.

Plan ahead for those more expensive specialty items you can’t live without. It will save you tons of money compared to having to buy food from a specialty store.

13. Don’t Fret about the Clean Fifteen

One of the huge things that can mess with a person’s budget is eating organic. For the record, I am 110% all for eating organic whenever you can. However, for some people, it can be hard to make organic food fit into a budget.

Instead of scratching healthy eating for a smaller budget, try to buy meat and the dirty dozen organic, and don’t go crazy about the rest. The clean fifteen are the fifteen safest foods to buy that aren’t organic! Meanwhile, the dirty dozen is the most worthwhile avoiding. According to Produce Retailer, these are the dirty dozens:[3]

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

14. Pay Attention to Storage

Keeping the food you have is just as important as how much food is in the first place. Try to stay on top of how much produce you can actually use before it goes bad. It might not be a bad idea to pencil an extra shopping trip in the middle of the week to keep food fresh.

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Investing in good food storage containers could go a long way in saving you in the long run as well.

15. Freeze Food Before it Goes Bad

Instead of getting mad at yourself at the end of the week for all the wilted produce you need to throw out, try freezing it before you get to that point.

Most frozen veggies will taste delicious in stir fries and soups. You can freeze fruits to make sorbet or smoothies. Frozen greens can be chopped up and tossed into just about anything for a nutrient boost!

16. Consider Ditching Most Supplements and Powders

I have nothing against superfood powders and supplements. However, if your budget is tight, it can be hard to fit supplements and powders in.

Instead of adding in powders, add extra nutrients to you food. Add lots of greens and veggies to all your meals to meet your nutrient needs. If you need a specific supplement, you can find great deals online as well!

17. Use Budget App

There are so many great apps you can download for free. One of my current favorite is HoneyDue because you can track your budget easily with your spouse. There are many options available, just find the one that you’re most likely to use. The ones that download your spendings automatically are often the easiest and will give you a more accurate number.

My husband and I use the same app, but have a separate budget for each of our weekly food plan and for our additional snacks. Keeping things separate can often be helpful to know exactly where your money is going. Plus, it can help hold you accountable if you have a significant other you are sharing money with.

18. Use What you Have

Most people have unused protein powders lying around in their cabinets. Instead of letting that go to waste, work them into your meal plan. Protein powders can make amazing doughnuts, pastries, or pancakes!

19. Enjoy the Process!

Finding ways to enjoy your new lifestyle will be helpful in sticking to it long term. Find fun in seeing how much you can save each month. Make a competition with someone to see who can stick to the lowest budget and create something fun to do for the winner with some of the money saved! Blast some music in the kitchen while cooking your new recipes.

Budgeting and health doesn’t have to be a drag. Make it fun and you’ll enjoy your new lifestyle long-term!

Featured photo credit: kevin laminto via unsplash.com

Reference

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