A woman's guide to surviving recession

Wow, we are in recession!  The fear mongers are having a field day and everybody is in a panic mode.

According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, a recession is a period of reduced economic activity. The reduced economic activity, known as less spending, affects consumers and businesses.

Did you know that our economy experienced recession in late 2008 and early 2009, and 2014? And yet we survived.

Funny thing is the economists were caught off guard like the rest of us.

And yes this feels like a final nail to our "coffin" considering all the things we've been going through but it's not or rather we shouldn't view it like that.

Like I said on Twitter, life is not easy. And some days you just have to put your big girl panties and handle it. And you can.

This is the time for all of us to reevaluate our financial situation, look for new ways to cut costs and spending; and find those business opportunities that we've been dreaming about. Although it may be temporarily unpleasant, the important thing is not to panic but try to make the best of any situation we find ourselves in.

We just need to be smart about it.

So what I would encourage you to do is to take a hard look at your current debt obligations, as well as any anticipated large expenses. I promise you won't ever regret being prepared, and it is never too soon to address riding out a recession.

Here are tips to get you through: 

Save money. I've been preaching to you to save money. If you haven't done it yet, this is the time.  Follow the philosophy of "paying yourself first," or there will never be enough cash to make it through a recession without going further into debt.

Be familiar with your financial situation. There’s nothing like seeing your financial picture in black and white. Write down all sources of income from each wage-earner in the household. Next, subtract all of your monthly living expenses, things such as rent or mortgage, utilities, food, insurance, etc., followed by secured debt payments and then other credit obligations. When times are tough, it’s critical to pay priorities in this order. If your creditor is happy, but your electricity has been turned off, you’ve paid backwards.

Make yourself invaluable at work. It is never a good time to lose a job, but when jobs are scarce, you want to make a special effort to hang onto the one you have. Be willing to take on extra tasks, and complete projects on time. Now is the time to begin networking to discover what opportunities are out there. If you fear unemployment, start thinking what you might do as an alternative. Is it viable to consider working on a second income, such as using your gifts and talents.  And also keep in mind that unemployment may not occur; and of course there is nothing to be gained by worrying over what we have no control other.

Pay your existing debt. Being debt free is the best gift you can give yourself. The first step to successfully paying down your debts is establishing a budget. Having a budget will help you identify spending areas you can cut back on so more of your money can go towards paying down your debt. From then on devote any extra money to freeing yourself from the bondage of debt. And make sure that you don't take on any new debt. The debts you have try to reduce and consolidate into a lower interest rates if you can.

Start or add to a rainy day fund. Life happens and without it, you’re one trip away from financial distress. Understand that it’s not “if” the emergency is going to come along, but “when.”  Prepare by socking away 10-30% of each paycheck. That’s a small amount of money that you’ll never miss, but certainly will be glad you have it when you need it.

Cut down. Unless you have home or car repairs that won’t wait, delay any large expenditure until you’re on more stable ground. Be willing to forgo the luxuries like DStv. Living modestly isn’t as difficult as it sounds, and contrary to popular belief, a modest lifestyle isn’t about depriving yourself of things that bring you joy. Rather, it’s about making conscious spending choices that reduces expenses so you can be truly free.

And if the going gets tough, reach out. If you believe in prayer then pray, connect your soul to God. If meditation calms you down, then do your thang girl. Talk to your women friends and partner about things that trouble you. Don't bottle things. You are not alone in this. The entire country is going through it. And make sure to also sit down with your financial planner who can help you to weather the storm. What I am asking you to do is to balance your life and ask for help when you need it before it's too late.

Are there any benefits to recession?
Lower interest rates - good for borrowers
Lower inflation rates -good for savers
And you spend less and that is good for you.

So keep a calm and detached attitude and just make the best of the current situation. And remember, hard times won’t last forever. We will get through this.