No matter how you look at the present, times are tough, stress levels are soaring and worry is reaching places never before imagined.
Those who call themselves "The Economic Experts" say this thing we are experiencing is cyclical; what goes up must go down and vice versa.
Here are seven ways to STAY STRONG NO MATTER WHAT! Taken from a poster in Sharla Ries' classroom at Estherville Lincoln Central High School, I decided to share them with you. While it may not be a quick fix for the national problem, these seven tidbits of advice just may bring you some peace of mind, make sense and save cents.
Insight: Ask tough questions. Do not be afraid to speak up and ask what is on your mind, be it your spouse, friend, boss, neighbor, banker, car mechanic, realtor, butcher, elected official, hair stylist, child's teacher or your own children no matter their age. If you don't have all of the information, you won't be able to make right decisions. Remember always, there is no such thing as a dumb question. The only dumb question is the one not asked.
Independence: Be your own person. Quit trying to keep up with the Joneses. Adopt an individualized style all your own, on your own budget and preferences. While it may appear the Joneses have it all, they just might have sky-high debt that no one needs right now. Do what you can within your means. Not only will this bring you much comfort in knowing you did the right thing, your bills will not catch you off-guard next month and thereafter as interest rates and late fees do mount.
Relationships: Connect with the people who matter. Spending quality time with family and friends doesn't have to cost any money. Getting together for a meal where everyone brings a dish is a relatively inexpensive way. Plan a night of cards or to watch a rented movie. If the weather is nasty and you can't get together, pick up the phone and spend time catching up. If all else fails, send an email, text a message, or do it the old-fashioned way write a card or letter and send it in the mail. Nothing brightens the day better except when the mail has something other than bills and credit card offers.
Initiative: Take charge of the situation. Try to not make those purchases that are just out of your reach at the moment. By using common sense and sticking to it, you can reduce personal debt by choosing to not use credit cards. Refrain from spending money you do not have. If creditors are calling, don't ignore their calls. Most of the time they have some advice on how to pay off those staggering amounts and avoid the risk of being taken to small claims court. Ask yourself this: If you already have bills you cannot pay, how do you think you are going to pay court costs too?
Creativity: Use imagination. There are many free activities to do that don't cost any money. Visit the library to get a book or two to read. Take a walk. Write poetry. Create a meal with ingredients already in your refrigerator and in the cupboard. Play solitaire. Work a puzzle. Visit a neighbor who has no family nearby. Listen to the radio or watch TV. Attend a governmental meeting to listen and watch your elected officials take action. They don't charge admission (yet). Remember they are the ones who are spending our tax dollars. Volunteer at a hospital, nursing home, Sunday school class, or somewhere else you can think of where you can do something good and make someone smile. It just make you happy too!
Humor: Find What's Funny. Granted, there is not too much in the financial news to smile about these days. But it's been said laughter is the best medicine. Try to get a good laugh in at least once a day. The laugh that comes from deep inside is always best. And force yourself to smile a lot. It's contagious. It also just might be what the person you pass needs right at that moment to see a happy face. If you need some places to go to be happy and grateful, attend the church of your choice, go to a school performance, whether fine arts or sports and appreciate all of the healthy children who live in our city. Look out your window and taken in the view of God's goodness, From sun-up to sunset, there's beauty to behold in every season. Just smile, it will do you a world of good.
Morality: Do the Right Thing. Do you still have that inner voice that speaks volumes of wisdom? Usually it is what Moms and Dads have taught us on the subject of right and wrong. No one has ever gone wrong by always doing the right thing and that means sticking with the truth. While the truth can hurt, it can never trip you up.