Today is Frugal Friday over at Hearts In Service and I am joining the link up once more. Stop by and see how others are being good stewards with their blessings.
To some, preparing for life's sudden changes doesn't seem like it fits into the "frugal" category. Truth is however, being prepared is at the heart and soul of being frugally minded.
Today's post comes directly from what is happening in my family's lives this week. With the economy and job market and such being what it is, I felt that perhaps others might be able in a similar boat or even will be in the future.
This week has been really hard.
Earlier this week my husband came home with some potentially bad news. Without going into details, I will just say this...my husband is upper management and often they are the first to go when there are issues within the company. As of right now, the future of his current job position is unknown. Unknowns are scary, especially when it involves your livelihood. For hubby to find another job it will mean relocating to who knows where too.
Also this week we got word that cost associated with the treatment of our oldest is going to be much higher than expected and we would need to start paying for that in a few weeks time. Still trying to figure out how we will make those cost as well. Either way, things started looking grim in our household this week.
Our family was in a similar situation some years ago and thankfully we learned some valuable lessons then that can help us now. Preparing for sudden change was one of those things. Had we had been more repaired then, we would have saved ourselves a boat load of money and warehouse full of stress and grief.
So, what are some ways to prepare for life's suddens turns and changes?
1. Be thankful! Just because things in your life are not going exactly how you had planned or would like them to doesn't mean there are not lots of things to be thankful. Having a good attitude and thankful heart and not only required for those who are happily frugal but also essential for living a balanced and healthy life, both emotionally and spiritually.
So even though I can see all the challenges we may or may not face in the very near future I still know we have soooo much to be thankful for. This week when the worry and sadness started to slip its way into my heart and threatened to suck the life right out of me, I focused on all the blessings we have and how very grateful I am.
2. Get rid of life's clutter. Many of us have lives that are filled with different kinds of clutter. There can be the obvious physical clutter of having too many things but there can also be emotional and spiritual clutter and time clutter, the type that takes up all your precious time because you have too many things on your plate.
Start by really looking within and identifying those internal and spiritual issues that have your heart all cluttered up and choking for air. We have to address these most important matters before tackling other obstacles in our lives, so for myself this is always first on my list and honestly its an on going process, but thats ok because it is suppose to be.
Next, look at what all you have on your plate. Is it keeping you over scheduled and stress? Look at these things and compare them to your top priorities in life, dump the rest for the time being. You can't handle your most important duties in life effectively if your time is spread to thin on things of lesser importance.
Last of all, get rid of all that physical clutter. If your sudden life change involves a move or even having someone new come to stay with you, having to deal with physical clutter is going to make either one more stressful and complicated. Personally I have been in a situation where we needed to move fairly quickly and I was faced with packing a home with too much stuff. It was a nightmare to say the least. This was also costly as we had to pay extra for more moving boxes to move soooo much unneeded items. I highly recommend stream lining your things now to not only make your present life more enjoyable but also to be prepared for whatever life brings you in the future.
3. Get organized. Having to make a sudden change is sooooo much easier if you know where everything is and have all your important resources lined out. Organize your belongings in a way that would make it easy to pack up if needed. Get your important paperwork and documents together in one place if possible. This makes it easier to grab and go if needed as well just keeps you sane during any type of life change. Update your address book and get your important contacts lined out as well. Once we had to move on the fly, I forgot about this and it took me months to try and recover some addresses and phone numbers I needed. It is amazing how much money being organized can save you, trust me!
4. Try to make some extra money. This kinda goes without saying for those of us who are thrifty but some people don't make the connection. Having extra cash stashed away for a rainy day is essential!!! You really never know when your family might need it for an emergency. There may be a case when someone you know has hit a tough situation and also needs a little help from you and having something set aside could be a great blessing to someone in need. Thankfully during our sudden move some years ago, we had just sold one of our vehicles and had a little extra dough in our savings. Moving is expensive and without that extra we had on hand I don't know how we could have afforded to cove the cost we had associated with uprooting ourselves and moving to hubby's new job opportunity.
Having a garage sale(we had no idea our recent job issue was on the brink when we planned our garage sale lol) is a great way to tackle decluttering, getting organized and making extra money. Even just placing some items on craigslist can bring in a bit of money. Depending on your situation you could maybe make things to sell, babysit, clean others homes, mow lawns, run errands, etc.... Finding ways to make extra money isn't always easy, but I believe it is essential to at least give it a go and see if there are any dollars to made.
5. Be realistic. When my husband first told me about the potential job issue this week I will admit I fell apart momentarily. I had built how things should be in my mind and when it seemed it might not be so, I was shattered. One particular thing that kept nagging me was preparing for the baby. If we had to move and/or we found ourselves in dire financial strain, how would I buy all the things a new baby "needs". In my head I was thinking about how my plans for making and preparing the new nursery would not be able to happen and that that would be a disaster. Realistically, a newborn doesn't need it's own room and it certainly doesn't care if its a perfectly decorated one at that. Realistically if we had to move and didn't have a space for baby right off, we could just share. We were planning on using a co-sleeper beside our bed anyway. If by the time the baby is too big for the co sleeper and we are still not in a situation where we can give the baby its own room, we can just do a trundle under mine and hubby's bed, Little House on the Prairie style. I really had to force myself to be realistic and see that I didn't need all this stuff I previously thought.
Sometimes we don't look at things realistically and we are caught off guard too. Not looking realistically at what your families needs are can cause some needs to go unfulfilled if your not careful as well.
Whenever have to do something in haste or are forced into a situation we are not prepared, it can wreck havoc on our finances and well being. Stay ahead of the game by preparing for whatever life may bring your way.