herald

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Take these tips to beat new crisis. If all else fails, pray

As the IMF warns the world's leaders that they need to act quickly to avert fresh economic disaster what can ordinary people do? Here's eight tips for surviving the crisis.

1 Don't fall behind on your loan repayments: In the current turmoil there is a very strong temptation for people to lag behind on their monthly payments. Don't do it.

With cash draining out of the system the banks will become much more ruthless in their dealings with delinquent borrowers. They will be seeking to grab everything that isn't nailed down. Pay the banks what you owe them but not a cent more.

2Stay liquid: In a time of uncertainty cash is king. Try and make sure that you have enough cash on hand to meet unexpected events.

With things being the way that they are you just don't know what's going to happen. With a rainy day looking at least possible it makes sense to put something by for the proverbial spot of soft weather. Besides, a bit of spare cash never hurt anyone.

3Put off unnecessary spending: With everyone keeping their hands in their pockets retailers and service providers will be offering very good bargains in a desperate attempt to drum up some cash.

Many of these offers will be very tempting.

Before you hand over your money you need to ask yourself the question: do I really need that 42-inch plasma-screen TV/three-piece suite/holiday of a lifetime? If you ask the question hard enough for long enough then the odds are that it will eventually dawn on you that you can probably put off making a decision until circumstances improve.

4Draw up a budget and stick to it: It's amazing the number of people who continue to spend whatever money is available to them. Not good enough.

You must go through every cent you spend on day-to-day expenses such as food, drink, clothes, light, heat, transport and telecommunications with a fine tooth comb. Is that daily super-duper skinny frappuccino with ice really worth it? Be ruthless. If you are then it's absolutely amazing the amount of unnecessary and extravagant spending that you will be able to cut out.

5Change utility providers: With gas and electricity prices set to soar next month it is absolutely vital that consumers examine their utility bills, gas, electricity, cable TV, broadband, mobile etc, to see whether or not they are getting the best possible value for money.

When you go through these bills closely and compare them with what is on offer from other providers you will often find you are paying way over the odds. Quick hint: if you have been with the same provider for more than three years then the odds are that you are being ripped off.

6Switch to own-label: There's a reason why heavily advertised branded products are more expensive than supermarket own-label products, and it's usually not because they are of better quality.

Someone, usually you the consumer, has to pay for all that expensive advertising. Switch to own-label and save yourself a fortune.

7Get into the frugal zone: Think saving money the whole time. Take a bus instead of a taxi. Walk instead of getting the bus. Learn to use a needle and thread. Don't throw out perfectly good food. Turn off the light and the heating in empty rooms. Live your life as if every cent matters. It does.

8Pray: In practice what most of us can do when confronted with global forces is limited. We are now experiencing the world's worst financial crisis for at least 80 years. If the world's leaders mess it up, and up to now they have given us little cause for confidence, then we could be about to enter a 1930s-style Great Depression. If all else fails, pray.

ENDS

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