Nobody has said it yet, but the Coronavirus has turned into a TEOTWAWKI event. Not the kind of “end of the world we knew” event that we all expected, but still one nevertheless. No matter how many people end up getting sick and how many die, the current changes in the ways we do things are so severe, that many of these are likely to end up becoming a permanent part of our society.
Some of them will not necessarily be for the best. Our government, at all levels, has taken a huge amount of authority upon itself, much of which is of questionable legality. While I don’t think that there are many people who would argue the government’s right to quarantine, shutting down churches and other places of worship as “non-essential” comes directly against our First Amendment rights.
But the real question is whether or not the government is going to be willing to give up all that control that they’ve taken. Historically, governments which gain control over something are not quick to give that control up. What’s to make any of us think that they will do so in this case?
Nevertheless, for the moment, many of us are obeying various government mandates to stay home, with companies telling as many of their employees that can, to do so as well. So, as we all sit in our homes, trying to telecommute with noisy kids in the background and our spouses on the other side of the table, working on their computer, we need to start thinking ahead. There will be an end to all this and we will have to emerge from our caves to see the light of the sun once again.
But what sort of world will we emerge into? Experts are forecasting that anywhere from 20 to 34 percent of our workforce will be laid off during the course of this pandemic. If we come anywhere near the top end of those predictions, it will be huge; much worse than the Great Depression. Unfortunately, from the viewpoint of where we are today, a worldwide economic depression seems to be in all of our futures, starting even before the pandemic burns out.
So how can you and I prepare ourselves for that coming depression? There are actually many things that we can do, but the first of them is to restructure our finances. Specifically, get rid of, or at least cut down on unnecessary expenses, so that we are ready when the depression hits.
Many families are paying more for their two car payments, than they are for their mortgage payment. If you think about that for a minute, it really doesn’t make much sense.
But cars and light trucks have gone up incredibly in price, at least partially due to all the bells and whistles they put on a car these days.
In a financial collapse, the people who are hit the hardest are those which are in debt. Those car payments are some of the biggest debt you have. So, it only makes sense to attack it first.
Trading your cars in for something used, but still in good condition, can save you a lot of money from your monthly payments. If you’re fortunate to find a good deal, you might even be able to get rid of one of those payments, really saving yourself some money.
The home computer has evolved into an entertainment center, or maybe the home entertainment center has evolved into a computer. Either way, many of us are spending a fair amount on cable service, plus an assortment of different movie websites. Netflix is no longer enough, producers have decided to divide and conquer, requiring us all to have multiple subscriptions in order to see all the movies we want to.
The obvious problem with this is that it can get rather expensive. Not only that, but it’s obviously an unnecessary expense. Now, I realize you might not agree with that, especially with your kids home from school. But at least find out how to cancel your subscriptions and have the information handy, so that if you have to, you can pull the plug on them.
From mowing our lawns, through curbside pickup of our groceries, to having a mechanic repair our cars, we all pay others to do things for us. That’s fine, when you can afford it, helping others to have jobs.
But when the economy goes belly up, you’re going to need to save that money.
One of my favorite money saving techniques is that I’m a consummate do-it-yourselfer. I do everything from making gifts for my wife to making my own furniture, with car repairs somewhere in-between. The more you can do for yourself, the less you have to pay others to do. And in the midst of the next depression, you probably won’t be able to afford paying someone else to do it.
How much do you spend on coffee every month? Do you even know? How about every day? You should be able to figure that out.
That can add up to quite a bit over a month, especially if you’re buying the high-dollar made to order lattes and cappuccinos.
You can get just as good a cup of coffee, including all the assorted flavoring syrups, in your own kitchen. It might take a little experimentation to get it right, but you can probably even get a better cup of coffee than what you’re buying right now. And you can do it without paying seven bucks a cup.
Speaking of coffee, let’s expand on that idea. How much do you spend a month on eating out? If you happen to be the average American family, then that figure is somewhere between $250 and $300 per month. If you eat lunch out or from the cafeteria at work, that figure might be even higher.
There’s nothing wrong with eating out, just as long as it’s not in excess. How much is excess? That depends on how much you make. So for most of us, that figure is likely to be changing, sometime in the next few months. With that being the case, wouldn’t it be a good idea to start working on it now?
Don’t go overboard on take-out, just because you’re part of the lockdown going on. Take this time to experiment with some new recipes, so that you can keep your family happy, without having to eat out all the time.