When Financial Times Turn Tough Unexpectedly

by Tammy Taylor

 

I know several people that are struggling financially right now.  Some because they went a little overboard during the holidays but some are struggling due to circumstances completely unforeseen & out of their control.  Sometimes people find themselves with a large unexpected bill or maybe laid off either temporarily or permanently and BOOM – financial adjustments must be made sooner rather than later.

Of course families are varied and the journey to a more secure financial future will be different for each family’s circumstances.  Some have very young children or teens living at home, some are single while yet others are empty nesters.  Some families must work extended hours or deal with long commutes & some are stay-at-home parents. But there are some aspects of financial wellness that often remain the same no matter where you are in life – you find that by just cutting your waste that your finances are much more positively aligned.  I certainly found that to be the case when we were adjusting our finances due to shortfalls.

People are struggling financially due to circumstances unforeseen & out of their control. I'm reflecting on our own financial journey. #TaylorMadeHomestead

When RancherMan & I were pouring over our finances trying to see if we could make the leap from cushy secure corporate-career employment with regularly-scheduled paychecks and bonuses to make-your-own-way self employment it was a scary time indeed.  So believe me when I say I understand how at first it seems completely overwhelming but if you take a deep breath and look at things with a new more-frugal perspective you keep a clearer head & have a better chance to react.  And surprise of surprises, many times the result ends up being not near as bad as you had feared. Stay with me now…

Adjust Lifestyle To Income

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve discovered that we often just live according to the income received. I noticed that when there was a hearty increase in our monthly income we never really saw it. I guess it just got gobbled up in extra fast food, shopping trips and convenience items or the money-hiding boogy man – I have no idea, it just vanished. There was more money coming in but no more money in the coffers at the end of the month.

But I was pleasantly surprised to discover likewise when income was slashed (hard) that the same principle materialized – we simply lived according to our income and although adjustments had to be made I never really noticed a severe hardship because of it. 

Helpful Financial Tips For Saving Money

Here are some things I’ve written about dealing with crunched finances:

* How To Make It Without A Corporate Paycheck – Some of these ideas take advance planning but some can be incorporated right now.  In our case since I was now moving to self-employment so I was able to act on a great many money-saving features since I found myself with more time than money.  If you’re looking for ideas of various ways to cut back expenses check it out.

* Grow a Veggie Garden – I already loved to garden but when our finances began to pinch I learned ways to make our garden even more productive.  It now provides us with healthy nutrition for pennies on the dollar.

* Edible Landscape – I love to use the edible landscaping principle because it uses beds and spaces you already have.  Some edible plants are actually quite lovely to look at and can be easily incorporated into your landscape.

* Learn to Preserve From Your Garden – This includes freezing, dehydrating or canning.  That garden goodness can be preserved and enjoyed weeks or even months later.

* Reduce Non-Food Needs In Your Kitchen – This would include eliminating paper towels, napkins and plates as well as using repurposed rags for cleaning, repurposing glass jars for food storage & using cloth napkins. I quit buying things meant to be thrown away and instead came up with ways to make do (very well) with what we already had.

* Reduce Food Waste In Your Kitchen – Ideas such as planned leftovers and Cook-once Eat-Twice cooking mean that home-cooked meals can be as close as your freezer no matter how busy your day is. I also learned to make for myself those things I used to buy without a second  thought such as mayonnaise, spice mixes  and yogurt.

* Reduce Electrical Waste – When times got tough we became mindful of the electricity not only used but electrical usage that was just plain wasted energy.  No we’re not sitting in the cold and dark to save electricity, we just cut the wasted usage and learned to use passive solar principles as well.

MYO Powdered Laundry Detergent – I’ve learned to make many of the household basics like powdered laundry detergent and a more environmentally-friendly fabric softener using scented vinegar (no, you can’t smell the vinegar when the clothes dry).  And household cleaners are way too complicated nowadays and they shouldn’t be – different chemicals for different surfaces, really?  Simplify your cleaning process – What Do YOU Use To Clean?

* Save On Television – OK I know you’ve heard the ole “cut the cable” argument but you say you just can’t do without your shows?  There may still be hope – see how RancherMan & I have survived comfortably without cable.

Beware Of ‘Boredom Shopping’

There are other important changes that will help stretch your dollars.  Be aware of shopping for shopping’s sake, and before you plunk down your cash on that item ask yourself if you really need it or do you have something that would work just as well?  If it’s a necessity as yourself if you can buy it cheaper elsewhere?

For us thrift stores are a great place for sturdy work jeans and various housewares and I love that I can obtain those items very inexpensively and without a new whatsit needing to be manufactured for my use.  That makes my environmental heart sing.   I guess what I’m saying is that if you’ll just stop & review things that may not be necessity or that you pay others to do for you (convenience foods, haircuts, services, etc) and figure out how many of those things you can instead provide for yourself, you may be very pleasantly surprised at how easy it is.  And how inexpensive the alternative is & how empowered you begin to feel.

So don’t fret, meet those financial challenges head-on. Yes you’ll have to tighten your belt but you’ll probably find it wasn’t as bad as you had feared.  So you’ll give up ordering that home-delivered pizza or learn to cook healthier meals from scratch.  Maybe you’ll learn to cut leftover-food waste or to be creative making delicious meals with less expensive ingredients.  I’d like to offer this comfort – things will probably work out just fine.  Take a deep breath and look at this opportunity to improve your finances, it’ll benefit you now when your budget is crunched, but the lessons you learn now will serve you well down the road too.

I share lots of fun stories & recipes on our facebook page, so c’mon by & follow us on Facebook.

~TMH~

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53 thoughts on “When Financial Times Turn Tough Unexpectedly

  1. Mrs Shoes

    We’ve had times when things were tight as could be, & times when we could breath easy. We found a lot of living on less was prioritizing what has true meaning for us (our family) & never forgetting why we do what we do. I came to visit you from Chicken Chick’s Bloghop – I hope you’ll take time to visit the 4Shoes & let me know you’ve stopped by – we’ve got a Give Away on this week!

    Reply
  2. Bill

    Great post. We went through the same sort of adjustments and now live comfortably (and more happily) on a very small fraction of our city-life incomes. We went through every expense and asked ourselves whether we really needed it and whether it brought happiness or improvement to our lives. It’s amazing how much expense you can eliminate with that process. We started by getting rid of cable and eventually we got rid of television altogether. We started by getting rid of things like caller-id and ended up eventually eliminating our land line altogether. Etc. Of course the biggest benefit was to start producing our own food instead of buying it. Our conclusion is that it’s possible to live a very nice and comfortable life without much income. Of course being out of debt is a necessity!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      This are all great points Bill. Being out of debt is the only way we’re able to make it work here too. And like you said, you can in fact live more comfortably and even more HAPPILY by eliminating extraneous stuff in our lives. It does take a leap of faith to clear that extraneous stuff away but the result has been amazing. I find I experience so much more joy in the everyday things than I ever did before. My days are much more meaninful, much happier than they ever were before… ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Janet Vinyard

    Great tips, especially for those of us in retirement! It’s amazing how you can cut down if you need to or have to do so! Thanks for the information and inspiration! Blessings, Janet

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      A family member recently left the corporate workplace and was anxious about the potential monetary effect. I reassured her that it’s oftentimes true that you adjust your lifestyle to the money you bring in. She’s been very pleasantly surprised to find out it’s true and they’re able to make it comfortably on one income. Yea! ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. Laura Lane of Harvest Lane Cottage

    Thank you for the ideas and encouragement. My husband closed his business before Christmas and is looking for work. ஐღLauraღஐ …doing what I can with what I’ve got where I am on a short shoestring budget! ~~~~~

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Oh no, Laura – so sorry to hear that. I’m sure y’all will tighten the belts and cruise through this financial pinch just fine. Here’s hoping there are new and exciting adventures on your horizon. (MUAH!) ~TMH~

      Reply
  5. Jamie @ Medium Sized Family

    Fast food is totally my downfall! I’ve decided to look it in the eye and actually deal with it. It’s such a giant waste of money and does no good for the waistline, either. 🙂 What a difference intentional living makes on the budget.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      We had to take a long hard look at our frequency of dining out too Jamie. If you’re not mindful of it, you really don’t realize how often it’s happening. We went on a 30-day no-spend challenge last year which included dining out and we were made painfully aware of how often we typically grab a bite while we’re out & about. ~TMH~

      Reply
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  7. Nancy @ Little Homestead in Boise

    We also looked at our insurance, a big one. We downsized some and changed companies and saved a lot. W also looked at things listed here- http://littlehomesteadinboise.blogspot.com/2014/01/how-weve-accidently-saved-lots-of-money.html

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Insurance premiums are a good place to keep tabs on Nancy, lots of money can often be saved there. It’s a good idea to do insurance premium comparison shopping every few years. ~TMR~

      Reply
      1. Carol

        I have found that staying with a good company is the best: usually when another company wants to reel you in, they will offer a lowball price. BUT next year, the price goes WAY UP, much more than your last company. It is a ploy they all use…so…I stay with my current insurance because I don’t want to end up paying MORE….Just my thoughts. I have never found a true low price when I try to compare: they always want to know who you are with now so they can give a lower price.

        Reply
        1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

          I figure my job is to score the lowest price on a product or service I’m buying. Their job is to get me to pay the highest price. I guess there’s a balance between getting a good deal and allowing a profitable transaction and I’m fine with that, just don’t like paying more than I should. But you’re right, you can often get a lowball price to get you in & then they start raising the price each year. Thankfully by doing our research annually we’ve been able to either get them to lower their prices for us again or find lower prices elsewhere. It’s taken diligence, but that diligence has allowed us to live comfortably on our limited means here in a place that speaks to our hearts instead of being forced back into the corporate marketplace we hated. ~TMH~

          Reply
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  10. Janet Garman

    Congratulations on being this week’s Simple Saturday Blog Hop winner! well done! Hope to see you again this weekend with the next amazing post from your blog

    Reply
  11. Patti

    Boy did I read this at the right time. We were looking at getting a central air conditioner but with a $2000 price tag it gave me the shivers. I just bought a new to us car as my 12 yr old one finally bit the dust and would have been more to fix than to replace. My window units will be just fine and my asthma won’t suffer a bit. I’m so glad that my answer came from my afternoon blog read!! Have a wonderful week, Tammy! Patti

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      …and I’m so glad you’re here, Patti. I know you’ll tighten the belt a bit until the roller coaster slows down and then be able to breathe a little easier – here’s hoping that slow down happens soon for you! ~TMR~

      Reply
  12. Gina

    I love all of these money saving ideas!!! Definitely practical ways to conserve money and really stretch those dollars…. pinned and tweeted! Thank you for sharing on #ShareTheWealthSunday link up!

    Reply
  13. Elaine

    Great Tips!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday – Link Party!! Hope to see you tomorrow !! Love your stuff! Pinned!

    Reply
  14. Melissa French, The More With Less Mom

    Reducing non-food needs is a good one, we saved a lot of money by eliminating things we don’t have to spend money on every month. Thanks for posting. Hello from Farmgirl Friday.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I found for us sometimes our spending was just on autopilot Melissa. But when we stopped & examined what we were paying whom every month we found lots of ways to painlessly cut back on things we really didn’t care about in the first place. ~TMR~

      Reply
  15. Joanne T Ferguson

    A great post for all and it’s the simple things that one shells out money for every day that adds up! Pinned all and thanks for sharing at the Say G’day party and look forward to seeing you next Saturday!

    Reply
  16. Chelc | Inside the Fox Den

    These are some great tips! I’ve been trying to figure out some ways to save some pennies recently. Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday, hope to see you again tomorrow night!

    Reply
  17. Terri Presser

    Thank you so much for sharing your ideas to do this more frugally, they are great. Thanks for linking up at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    Reply
  18. jan

    Hi! I always enjoy your blog when I stumble across it on a blog hop. I would like to subscribe but don’t see the portal. Have I overlooked it?

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I’d LOVE for you to subscribe, jan! On the right hand side of the blag page you’ll see a section that says “FOLLOW US”. There you’ll be able to follow us on Facebook, twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc. The envelope icon included in that section is to subscribe via email. If you click that and enter your email information the service will send you a confirmation request email asking if it’s your intent to subscribe. Reply to that email and BOOM! ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Sometimes it’s difficult to get everyone on board Emma. Here’s wishing you success. ~TMR~

      Reply
  19. Rose @ Walnut Acre

    We have a large back yard so I had my husband put up a clothesline so I could cut back on how much I use the dryer. I love the extra time outside as well

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I love my clothesline Rose, and the marketing geniuses making the big bucks at the laundry-detergent companies can’t figure out how to get that wonderful line-dried smell into their detergents! 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  20. Silas Longshot

    “Murphy’s rules” apply to finances, among other things: Murphy’s rule of space and junk: However much space you have, it will be filled with a corresponding amount of junk. Murphy’s rule of finances: However much money you make, that’s how much you spend. Changing THAT rule makes the difference. Selling off a lot from the space and junk rule will also help.

    Reply
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  23. Angi @ SchneiderPeeps

    These are really great tips. Our family lives in a very oil dependent area and low gas prices are not great for our economy. We’ve seen families who have made a lot of money these last few years and thought the boom would always be there. Thanks for sharing at Simple Lives Thursday; hope to see you again this week.

    Reply
  24. Lou Lou Girls

    You always bring the best posts to our party! Thank you. Pinned and tweeted. We feel honored that you take the time to stop by our party. I hope to see you on tonight at 7 pm. We love to party with you! Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

    Reply
  25. Valerie

    Oh I so agree it’s hard to make ends meet when you are self-employed. It looks like we are doing alot of the same things. Glad you shared at Simple Saturdays. Hugs from Oklahoma, Valerie

    Reply
  26. JES

    Great ideas and ones we implement and have also lived to tell the story 🙂 It is very liberating to pass up many isles in the grocery store now! I will also verify what you mentioned, NO WiNDOW SHOPPING! That really helped us out. Out of sight, out of mind. Appreciating the little things in life like a cup of coffee on the patio instead of spending at Starbucks is also helpful… Thanks for sharing this also on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Like you JES, I get much pleasure from passing up so many isles in the grocery store these days. And appreciating what you already have is a huge step towards reducing needless spending. ~TMR~

      Reply
  27. Michelle

    Thank you for sharing your story about financial struggles. This tips are great ways to save cash! We cut off our cable a few years ago and only stream Netflix. It has opened up more time for us and saved us money at the same time. Visiting from the Treasure Box Tuesday Link Up!

    Reply
  28. Judith C

    My husband and I started our lives together back in the early 80’s learning the hard way about the what-ifs. We were not prepared for the bottom to fall out of the Oklahoma Oil business and have the first of our two kids at the same time. We had to think about the survival of our family and let go of a lot of things, land and credit to be two of them. You do it for survival and you learn from it. We learned that we didn’t need credit cards, we could make do without lots of things. Even to the point of me not working to stay home with the baby, daycare was frivolous. We managed to get the bills caught up and then kept adding to the payments until everything was paid up 3 months in advance. My hubby discovered by experience that when you get laid off, it can take up to 3 months to get another job. To this day, 32 years later, with two grown kids out of the house, we STILL keep our bills paid up 3 months in advance. This was a blessing during the year that my husband was undergoing cancer treatment (living on 1/2 his salary which was about the same a my monthly paycheck) and then the company he worked for pulling out of the US and letting all the employees go. We would not have made it if we hadn’t been prepared. Our kids even learned from this and live with their rent paid 3 months in advance. We found when you learn that you don’t need a lot, you don’t want a lot.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thank you for sharing your story Judith. I think it’s very common that those first painful lessons often catch us unprepared, but those lessons learned serve us (and often our children) well for years to come. ~TMR~

      Reply
  29. Taryn

    And don’t those “what-if’s” always happen when you really, really don’t need them to? (Not that there is ever a good time 🙂 ) A huge “what-if” happened to us last week, our 12 yr old puppy needed emergency surgery. I am proud to say that my family came through without a second thought. Everyone volunteered to do whatever it took financially to see our way through. Every time we have a “what-if” situation, the thought that goes constantly through my mind is that He always provides a way, always. Thanks for sharing such useful information.

    Reply
  30. CassieOz

    Really, it helps if, even in the best of times, you don’t fall in to the ‘it can’t happen to us’ trap. If you have some buffer, even a few dollars each paycheck, and know how to reign in the spending (even if you’re not doing it now), then you’ve taken the first steps to being prepared when fate deals you the unexpected.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      That’s a very good point CassieOz – preparing for the “what-if’s” is always a very good idea. Because yes it can (and does) happen to any of us. ~TMR~

      Reply

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