Pretend that you have just crash landed on some remote place. You have survived the crash and it is now apparent that you need to somehow survive this situation. The first thing to do is not to panic. Any idiot can run around crying, “Woe is me!” but that doesn’t accomplish a thing.
Take stock of what you have as assets. What do you actually own and is it worthy of being kept rather than gotten rid of? For instance, do you have several vehicles and only one or two drivers that really need a vehicle? Consider what is excess baggage and get rid of things that are not needed for normal functioning of the family or just yourself, if single.
Assuming you’re still employed, what normal expenditures could be eliminated without too much effort? Is that latte from some coffee shop really necessary? It might not be too good for the coffee shop that you choose to stop purchasing that latte, but it will put more money in your coffers if you don’t buy it.
There are plenty of places to get groceries at reduced prices. Various bread outlet stores have all kinds of products at tremendously reduced prices over retail prices at your favorite grocery store. There are grocery outlet stores where bargains can be had, as well.
Plan your trips around town. You’ll save on gas costs as well as savings on your time if you coordinate trips to the same area of town for dissimilar reasons. The old kill-two-birds-with- one-shot type of a deal. Work smarter rather than harder.
Above all, don’t panic. In a true survival situation you are taught that if you are in a panic you should hug a tree. Now, I don’t expect to see you in your front yard embracing your favorite elm, but the concept is very simple. Take stock of yourself, know who you are, know what assets you not only own, but what personal qualities do you have. What expertise or life experience do you have that will enhance your survivability in bad times? Everyone should be diversified in what they are able to do in terms of an occupation. If you are unemployed, don’t hold out for the job of CEO when a job you are capable of doing becomes available to you. A job and a paycheck are the important thing. You may have to re-climb the corporate ladder to get to where you were, but at least you are somewhere on the ladder to attempt to climb up once again.
A downturn in our economic lives could really be a blessing in disguise. Maybe you’ve ramped up your lifestyle so much that you have lost all ability to take time to smell the roses. In other words, you have totally lost the ability to just enjoy life. That is why sometimes less is more. When was the last time you laid in the yard at night and looked at the stars? When was the last time you watched the leaves on the branches of a tree flutter in the breeze? It doesn’t cost a thing to watch nature, but it does take focus and that focus might just lead you to something better.
Above all, when the chips are down and everything seems real scary, I always tell myself what I used to in Vietnam when it got real scary: This too shall pass. The sun will come up tomorrow.
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.