Survival in a difficult economy

TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
Let's face it, the world is going through quite a lot of change right now. Personally I think it will settle down because all nations are interlinked in terms of investments and want to make money which requires a 'healthy business climate'. Meanwhile costs continue to rise, food, gas, energy, credit becomes harder to obtain, more kids not going to college because they cant get the loans, housing problems..layoffs..

Clearly some problems right now and for some time ahead.

What are your strategies to ride it out? I don't think it's all bad. We can still eat.
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Comments

  • gojericho0gojericho0 Member Posts: 1,059 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Have a good rainy day fun built up in a money market that i'm continuing to add to in case of a layoff or emergency. Also been carpooling to combat with gas prices
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    gojericho0 wrote:
    Have a good rainy day fun built up in a money market that i'm continuing to add to in case of a layoff or emergency. Also been carpooling to combat with gas prices

    Sounds like a good plan there. I think a few years ago crude oil prices were $10 per barrel and peaked recently at $130per barrel. Word from the British Prime Minister is that oil prices are up and staying up. In other words deal with it.
  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure / Core Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016 Bay Area, CaliforniaMod Posts: 5,161 Mod
    My plan? I'm working on establishing myself as a sysadmin with a combination of certs, experience, and an A.S. degree in Computer Information Systems. I plan on using that as not only my part-time gig while I go back to school for my Bachelor's, and eventually grad-work, but also as my fall-back in case money gets too tight for school.

    So, basically: I'm going to school, probably gunning for a PhD. If that doesn't work out, I'll have a career in IT to fall back on. Hopefully, by the time school is done, we've all come out the other side of this long, dark recession-tunnel, and things will be a little easier-going. And even if they aren't, I'll still have enough credentials and experience to keep from starving.

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  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    Build and maintain a 1k emergency fund. Budget rest of money as necessary and put as much as possible towards paying off all debt. Don't increase debt. Once debt is paid off then build up emergency fund to survive 3 months of no pay. Put money to work for myself after that than for others.

    That's the gist of the plan. Emergency fund took a big whack last week but it will be built back up in about a month. Then we'll just continue paying down the debt. It is amazing how even having $10k less debt than a year ago makes a huge difference in stress levels.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    It all sounds like good plans. From a US perspective I expect the US dollar to continue to fall and more layoffs to arise and prices to continue to climb for everything for sometime.

    How about grow your own food? My mother in law is a Doctor in Russia and she's been planting in the kitchen garden, but they have always done that over there. In fact, when I go on holiday soon Im looking forward to turning a spade over!
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    Turgon wrote:
    How about grow your own food? My mother in law is a Doctor in Russia and she's been planting in the kitchen garden, but they have always done that over there. In fact, when I go on holiday soon Im looking forward to turning a spade over!

    This right here is something my wife would love to do. She just can't get the time to actually plan out how to execute it. The cats would probably destroy everything without proper planning.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    undomiel wrote:
    Turgon wrote:
    How about grow your own food? My mother in law is a Doctor in Russia and she's been planting in the kitchen garden, but they have always done that over there. In fact, when I go on holiday soon Im looking forward to turning a spade over!

    This right here is something my wife would love to do. She just can't get the time to actually plan out how to execute it. The cats would probably destroy everything without proper planning.

    I wish we had a garden in England, I would do the same myself. Food prices here are crazy. Go to the supermarket (mart) and every item is nearly 2 dollars! World food prices are going up!
  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    Good times or bad, my plan is:

    1) Be more qualified than my competitors
    2) Achieve results (for customers and me)
    3) See #2, and be able to demonstrate it through examples and connections.

    MS
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    eMeS wrote:
    Good times or bad, my plan is:

    1) Be more qualified than my competitors
    2) Achieve results (for customers and me)
    3) See #2, and be able to demonstrate it through examples and connections.

    MS

    Echo. Do all that and things are good for me and you. But what about the rest? They disqualify because we are better than them. Any advice for those struggling? Incidently some very capable people are getting waxed right now and will continue to get waxed.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    About 4 years ago (while things were still pretty good economically) I took a hard look at my family's outlay of money each month and established a budget that fit within my income, which at the time was $46K or so, which needed to stretch to support myself and my wife, who at the time was pregnant with our son. Twin daughters came into the picture a little over a year later.

    Today, my income is a bit higher, and monthly expenses have risen (but not quite to the level of the increase in income) because of the sudden need for a larger home for the unplanned double addition the family, medical expenses, etc. However, I haven't increased my monthly expense budget for non-necessity things at all since I started keeping track. I'm not going to have payment for big extravagant cars or homes, not going to blow a wad of money on hobbies, gambling, and things like that. Mortgage payment and gas has gone up, but everything else I can control and can keep down.

    My goal is to have 3-4 months of my monthly budget put away in a money market or spread out across short term CD's to discourage me tapping into it on a whim. I'm almost there despite a bunch of unexpected expenses over the past year. After that is done, I'll save up cash to replace one of our cars (with another gently pre-owned model, of course).

    One of my secrets is that I was able to get all of my budget covered by what I was making in my full time job without any additional income. My wife has worked a night or two a week off and one since she had the kids but isn't really able to work full time. So I don't count that in my budget at all. Any extra income goes into savings, or to unexpected expenses, or if there happens to be a credit card balance or debt to pay off.

    I also have my budget structured around getting 2 paychecks a month. I get paid every two weeks, and USUALLY there's only two checks in a month, but a time or two per year there's a third check in a month. Guess where that money goes?

    The only debt I'm going to have in another year or so is going to be my mortgage. Both cars are paid off (though I'm going to need another one before very long), and there isn't much left of my wife's college loan. If I get laid off for a while, we should be able to survive for a while without going into the hole.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
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    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I think your approach is very wise.
  • jbaellojbaello Member Posts: 1,191 ■■■□□□□□□□
    blargoe wrote:
    About 4 years ago (while things were still pretty good economically) I took a hard look at my family's outlay of money each month and established a budget that fit within my income, which at the time was $46K or so, which needed to stretch to support myself and my wife, who at the time was pregnant with our son. Twin daughters came into the picture a little over a year later.

    Today, my income is a bit higher, and monthly expenses have risen (but not quite to the level of the increase in income) because of the sudden need for a larger home for the unplanned double addition the family, medical expenses, etc. However, I haven't increased my monthly expense budget for non-necessity things at all since I started keeping track. I'm not going to have payment for big extravagant cars or homes, not going to blow a wad of money on hobbies, gambling, and things like that. Mortgage payment and gas has gone up, but everything else I can control and can keep down.

    My goal is to have 3-4 months of my monthly budget put away in a money market or spread out across short term CD's to discourage me tapping into it on a whim. I'm almost there despite a bunch of unexpected expenses over the past year. After that is done, I'll save up cash to replace one of our cars (with another gently pre-owned model, of course).

    One of my secrets is that I was able to get all of my budget covered by what I was making in my full time job without any additional income. My wife has worked a night or two a week off and one since she had the kids but isn't really able to work full time. So I don't count that in my budget at all. Any extra income goes into savings, or to unexpected expenses, or if there happens to be a credit card balance or debt to pay off.

    I also have my budget structured around getting 2 paychecks a month. I get paid every two weeks, and USUALLY there's only two checks in a month, but a time or two per year there's a third check in a month. Guess where that money goes?

    The only debt I'm going to have in another year or so is going to be my mortgage. Both cars are paid off (though I'm going to need another one before very long), and there isn't much left of my wife's college loan. If I get laid off for a while, we should be able to survive for a while without going into the hole.

    A job well done Blargoe!!!

    Your running the drivers seat very wisely indeed!!!
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    While we can all compete..any advice for those being passed over for good jobs right now and really struggling in terms of spending and what to do with any surplus money? With the best will in the world, some competitors will not get the jobs. I do, but I love the little guy having been there. Present conditions are hostile for those folks.

    Any good advice for them people?
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Turgon wrote:
    While we can all compete..any advice for those being passed over for good jobs right now and really struggling in terms of spending and what to do with any surplus money? With the best will in the world, some competitors will not get the jobs. I do, but I love the little guy having been there. Present conditions are hostile for those folks.

    Any good advice for them people?

    I think compete, compete,compete is something people here live by. But many people have A+ and an MCP at best and can't compete due to lack of experience, cut backs and loads of people out there with experience.

    Has anyone any advice for those at the shallow end in terms of managing their money/prospects right now?
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    No certs? A+? MCP? Can't get a job?

    Move.

    If jobs are hard to find there then move to where the jobs are. A quick search of monster, careerbuilder and craigslist should give you a good idea on where you can look. It is just a matter of searching. Some places here are working so hard at staffing level 1 tech support that they look like they'll take an warm body off the street that can at the very least recognize a computer on sight. Sure the job will suck, but it will be income. Then use that income wisely. Improve your skills and your certifications and you'll eventually be able to move on to the next great step. And always make sure you keep your emergency fund full. Priority one. Never dip into it unless it is a genuine emergency.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    undomiel wrote:
    No certs? A+? MCP? Can't get a job?

    Move.

    If jobs are hard to find there then move to where the jobs are. A quick search of monster, careerbuilder and craigslist should give you a good idea on where you can look. It is just a matter of searching. Some places here are working so hard at staffing level 1 tech support that they look like they'll take an warm body off the street that can at the very least recognize a computer on sight. Sure the job will suck, but it will be income. Then use that income wisely. Improve your skills and your certifications and you'll eventually be able to move on to the next great step. And always make sure you keep your emergency fund full. Priority one. Never dip into it unless it is a genuine emergency.

    We cant all be a migrant population. What about those with property or dependants where they live?
  • slinuxuzerslinuxuzer Member Posts: 665 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Stop driving and tell exxon to stick where the sun don't shine, 85% of the problem solved.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    If your income doesn't meet your expenditures, you either have to raise your income or lower your expenditures.

    Take a second job to pay down your high-interest debt, and/or decrease your expenses by downsizing your automobile, housing, or whatever you can.

    Carpool.

    If you can, take your lunch to work. If you can't, order water every time instead of a 2$ soda.

    Take a look at what are "bare necessities" that you must have to survive, and find out how much that costs you. Take the rest, and cut it back to make the ends meet.

    Try to have some kind of saving buffer for emergencies. Anything is better than nothing.

    A lifestyle change may be required at least temporarily to get things set for the present and future.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • eMeSeMeS Member Posts: 1,875
    Turgon wrote:
    eMeS wrote:
    Good times or bad, my plan is:

    1) Be more qualified than my competitors
    2) Achieve results (for customers and me)
    3) See #2, and be able to demonstrate it through examples and connections.

    MS

    Echo. Do all that and things are good for me and you. But what about the rest? They disqualify because we are better than them. Any advice for those struggling? Incidently some very capable people are getting waxed right now and will continue to get waxed.

    My viewpoint is that everything in life is a choice. At least in the US, layoffs tend to be planned events. Typically some signs of pending layoffs include hiring freezes, reductions in profits, losses of contracts, and decisions to abandon planned growth areas. Generally, most companies have healthy rumor mills that communicate when the firm is in trouble as well.

    If you are employed at a company, and you start to see warning signs that layoffs could be in the near future, you have several actions that you could take. Among other choices, you could do nothing, you could begin looking immediately for new employment, or you could initiate a plan to increase your value in the marketplace. All of these things are choices, and they entail some amount of cost and some benefit.

    Because layoffs are typically some of the worst kept secrets in any organization, the choice to do nothing if you are not guaranteed a postion is a bad one. Almost no one is guaranteed a position.

    To borrow your term, capable people are waxed everyday, whether the economy is good or bad. There are many reasons for this (bad corporate decision making, someone didn't like the person, the person's skillset was no longer needed, etc...). No one is entitled to a job in any economy, regardless of their capabilities.

    My specific advice then is to learn to heed the signs of pending layoffs. Once you've done that, take action to mitigate the impact of the risk that you might not always have your job (much good advice has been given already in this thread about saving, etc..), and then, realize that your actions are your choice and take action to mitigate the impact of risk (actually complete that degree, the certs, or really begin that savings/debt redution plan).

    As far as for those that are currently struggling, all I can really say is that hard work tends to pay off. If you are without a job, get up every morning, get dressed, etc.. as if you have a real job. Then work 8-10 hours both developing your skills and/or finding a new job. Basically, in this situation your "job" is to find a new job. Work harder than the next guy and you will succeed.

    A couple of books:

    1) Excellent, excellent book: http://www.amazon.com/Choice-Theory-Psychology-Personal-Freedom/dp/0060930144/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212108183&sr=8-1

    2) This guy always comes across to me as a little bit management/motivational cheesy, but he makes excellent points regarding how the amount one receives from the economy is equivalent to the amount contributed: http://www.amazon.com/Goals-Everything-Want-Faster-Thought-Possible/dp/1576752356/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212108228&sr=1-8

    MS
  • gojericho0gojericho0 Member Posts: 1,059 ■■■□□□□□□□
    blargoe wrote:
    If your income doesn't meet your expenditures, you either have to raise your income or lower your expenditures.

    I think a lot of the time people try so hard to work on the income, that they lose focus on the way to really improve their cashflow by cutting back on the expenditures. If you save just a couple of dollars a day, that adds up to big time savings over the next year or two. One my favorite books with good saving ideas is:

    http://www.amazon.com/Only-Investment-Guide-Youll-Ever/dp/0156029634/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212110098&sr=8-1
  • AhriakinAhriakin SupremeNetworkOverlord Member Posts: 1,799 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Live near slow yet nutritious neighbors .... icon_eek.gif ...what....it IS the other white meat you know icon_lol.gif
    We responded to the Year 2000 issue with "Y2K" solutions...isn't this the kind of thinking that got us into trouble in the first place?
  • HeroPsychoHeroPsycho Inactive Imported Users Posts: 1,940
    My father-in-law insisted on buying a new SUV a few years ago. He was gonna buy another Chevy Trailblazer. When I brought up the fact that gas prices wouldn't be that low forever, he lectured me about how he knew what he was doing with his money. I bought a RAV4, which gets I think twice as good of gas mileage, and got a lecture about how I should have bought American.

    Now all he does is complain about how expensive gas is. My wife and I are currently on vacation, drove down to Florida. My wife made the mistake of mentioning that we were taking the RAV4, to which he lectured her on how we need to be smart with our money, and that it was foolish to take the car that gets 15 MPG. I jumped in and said, "actually, we get about 28MPG on the highway." He said that's not possible.

    Denial, it's not just a river in Egypt. icon_lol.gif

    Moral of the story here is this is why it was smart to buy fuel efficient cars years ago, even when it wasn't popular to "go green". It's a lot easier to cope with the economy of today because we made smart decisions years ago.
    Good luck to all!
  • AhriakinAhriakin SupremeNetworkOverlord Member Posts: 1,799 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I'm not mocking your foresight as I know for the car market in the states it was good, but the biggest problem is that 28-30MPG is touted as efficient over here - Anywhere else it would be labelled a gas-guzzler. They want us to accept that not-quite-as-bad = good.
    40+ is the norm in Europe, not piddly little cars either they're just not overpowered (how many folks do you know with SUVs or Trucks that essentially use them for about-town driving). We have a little Toyota Echo and my friends here used to laugh at it (i'll admit it's not exactly the most impressive thing to look at ;) ) but it gets 45-50 MPG and drives beautifully, granted we won't be scaling cliffs with it but we lived in NC in the middle of the Smokey mountains for a year and a half and never hit an incline it couldn't handle.
    We responded to the Year 2000 issue with "Y2K" solutions...isn't this the kind of thinking that got us into trouble in the first place?
  • snadamsnadam Member Posts: 2,234 ■■■■□□□□□□
    HeroPsycho wrote:

    Moral of the story here is this is why it was smart to buy fuel efficient cars years ago, even when it wasn't popular to "go green". It's a lot easier to cope with the economy of today because we made smart decisions years ago.

    HP, I love it when the 'older, wiser' generation is proven wrong by the 'subordinates'. :)

    Not bashing you at all HP, but I hate the term "going green". Its a major buzz word anymore that companies brag about being to look good to the public. In reality, not very many people are 'green'; more like greenish-brown (including myself). No, you're not automatically green if you drive a hybrid or use the squiggly light bulbs no matter how much you want to be. Also, most 'green' products cost more! Right now, its really difficult for the consumer to 'go green' with the cost attached to it. Now PRACTICAL would be a much better word to use, IMO. If more people were practical with their finances, necessities, and environmental decisions it probably wouldn't be too bad. But hey, it is what it is, and I cant wait to get a 4 cylinder pickup again. :)

    sorry for the tangent, just needed to get that out there.
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  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,352 ■■■■□□□□□□
    As gojericho0 stated, save up money in an emergency fund. I have about 4.5 months saved up in a very liquid savings account for mortgage, food, gas, car payments, utilities, etc.... To make it even more liquid, you can take a few thousand of it and put it in a fire proof safe. I also have other fall backs such as 401k (last resort), selling my car (which is brand new and 2/3 paid off), etc...

    Seriously, people need to stop having credit card debt, save their money, so in these types of situations, they are covered and have money to fall back on. Don't live paycheck by paycheck if you have the capability not to.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • undomielundomiel Member Posts: 2,818
    royal wrote:
    Seriously, people need to stop having credit card debt, save their money, so in these types of situations, they are covered and have money to fall back on. Don't live paycheck by paycheck if you have the capability not to.

    I just had to second this one for emphasis. Having your debt gone makes things a whole lot easier and even just putting a serious dent into it (and maintaining the downward walk, not just piling it back on) makes your breathing a whole lot easier. If everyone would get rid of their credit cards and paid in cash, you know, living within your means, the economy and the world would be a better place.
    Jumping on the IT blogging band wagon -- http://www.jefferyland.com/
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,308 ■■■■■■■■■□
    undomiel wrote:
    royal wrote:
    Seriously, people need to stop having credit card debt, save their money, so in these types of situations, they are covered and have money to fall back on. Don't live paycheck by paycheck if you have the capability not to.

    I just had to second this one for emphasis. Having your debt gone makes things a whole lot easier and even just putting a serious dent into it (and maintaining the downward walk, not just piling it back on) makes your breathing a whole lot easier. If everyone would get rid of their credit cards and paid in cash, you know, living within your means, the economy and the world would be a better place.

    Lots of good advice there. A lot of folks spent money they didn't have on things they didn't really need when credit opened up to the masses. Live a little frugally and put something aside if you can. The cost of everything seems set to rise. I understand a barrel of oil has gone from 10 dollars to 130 dollars in a few years. Food is up to.
  • royalroyal Member Posts: 3,352 ■■■■□□□□□□
    undomiel wrote:
    royal wrote:
    If everyone would get rid of their credit cards and paid in cash, you know, living within your means, the economy and the world would be a better place.

    You can go either way with this. Msyelf, I like to pay every day things with credit cards. But you know what? I pay off the credit cards every month. Because I pay everything with credit cards, I get free rewards. I make money by using my credit cards knowing that I will pay off my credit cards every month. I recently bought my Playstation 3 using some of my reward points. Pretty nice. Another reason you may want to use credit cards is so you don't waste money with the change you get back. We know a lot of people just throw change around and forget where it is, etc.. To me, why not put it on a card and you paid exactly the amount needed.

    One thing though, is your credit is based off of your your credit utilization. If you don't have a big limit, don't do this as you can hurt your credit by putting too much on a card. I forget what the general recommendation is for credit utilization, but I think it's 15% or so.
    “For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” - Harry F. Banks
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I have been doing the same as royal for a while with the credit cards. My insurance company also has a credit card that give 1% back to use toward their products (namely, insurance). Every 6 months or so, I accumulate enough to pay 1 month of auto insurance premiums for both cars. The only time it hasn't been paid off at the end of the month is when something comes up where I don't have the cash to cover a big expense. Then I look to see if one of my cards is running a 0% on balance transfers special.
    Don't live paycheck by paycheck if you have the capability not to.

    I couldn't have summed that up better.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • hypnotoadhypnotoad Banned Posts: 915
    I'm assuming a lot of TEers have student loans -- interest rates are up on some of those loans so make sure you keep an eye on them! My buddy's just jumped up to about 15%.
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