SURVIVAL TACTICS FOR JUNK STATUS
Category General News
We’re being bombarded with negativity and scare stories, and although nobody’s suggesting you avoid all news sites and visual and vocal scandal mongering, develop a filter. And spend time away from social media. It’s impossible to think clearly when it feels as if everybody is, essentially, shouting at you all day, all night, all the time.
Realistically, it won’t be long before the knock-on effect of junk status is felt by each one of us. No, the world is not going to implode, but chances are, costs will rise. Much like a rise in the petrol price takes a little time to show its true face, so too junk status.
This is not a time to panic, it’s a time for frugality, creativity and entrepreneurship – great time to teach your children these skills too, because in some instances, you’re going to need their co-operation. They can learn about water and electricity wastage, and how they need to pull their weight.
Don’t wait until tomorrow, or until any of the possible scenarios being touted come true. Be one step ahead.
- GET RID OF DEBT. As Wakefields, we’ve always advocated conservatism when it comes to matters of finance, particularly around your bond repayments. There’s a fair chance that interest rates will rise, and if you haven’t created a safety net for yourself, you need to start now. That’s not simply because of the current uncertainty, it’s advice we always give homeowners. Get rid of debt, particularly get rid of expensive debt first – your credit cards and store cards. Sounds easy of course, but if you cut back on a few other items, you’ll be able to whittle away that debt, bit by bit. And make sure those cards are locked away – there’s nothing more disheartening than sacrificing to save…then piling the debt back on. And when you’ve achieved your goal, have a ritual cutting up of the card!
- REDUCE YOUR SPENDING. Another easier-said-than-done activity…but possible. The only way to do this is to know precisely what you spend your money on, look hard at that list, and see where you can reduce consumption. Some items might jump out at you from the list as able to be eliminated – others to be reduced. Whether you’re eliminating extra karate or judo, downgrading that platinum gym membership for your own DIY version, or buying food in bulk or on line so you only buy what you need…do it. Look at the list, mark every fluctuating item, and examine how you can reduce that item – from electricity and water, to the size of your cellphone contract, to luxury items on the shopping list, to the insurance you’re paying on items you never use. You’ll be amazed how small amounts cut from everything, really add up.
- INCREASE YOUR INCOME. Or perhaps, more accurately, find a few alternate income streams. If you’re a stay-at-home mom or even if not, and you bake, cook, arrange flowers, do it commercially for friends and family. Frozen meals, birthday cakes, weddings. This is where social media really works, and it’s free. If you have a hobby which you can convert into a paying one, do it. You’re a woodworker? Make jungle gyms, doll’s houses and go carts. Artist? Go solo or join up with other artists - create a Facebook page, check out what’s trending décor wise, and put up your art for sale. If you’re a teacher or ex- or retired teacher, consider giving extra lessons. Everybody can do something. And get rid of everything in your house which you don’t use, or haven’t used for at least 6 months. Have a garage sale or put it up on a community Facebook page for sale. One man’s junk…
- DON’T WEAKEN. Forget about ‘We’ve been so frugal, we deserve a holiday.’ Your holiday is going to be the stress-free nights when you know you can cope with that home loan rate increase or car repayment hike; the relief of knowing you can meet that monthly medical aid bill for the family; the joy of knowing your home is safely yours, no matter what. Enjoy the feeling.
Author: Anne Schauffer