How to make wise financial decisions during tough times

How the current economic turmoil will play out is still very unclear. Even under "new management", we don’t expect a return to the status quo. And by most pundits’ forecasts it could be long and deep before the recovery gets a green light.

People generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful conditions. They notice a silver lining through the pain and heartache they are experiencing.

 Uncertain economic times intensify the importance of wise personal financial decisions. We prioritise. We choose better. We spend our money on essential things. We are mindful.

Could it be that people are realising there are financial habits in their lives that have been destructive and need to change?

I know people are financially struggling. I have had gut wrenching conversations with families who are hurting financially and relationally as a result of financial challenges. I have learned a great deal from those who have used their painful experiences to create a better future for themselves. More than anything I've learned that as women we are profoundly resources.

The lessons they have taught me are both powerful and insightful and are certainly worth sharing. Here is how to make wise financial decisions during tough times

- Protect yourself. I mean mind, body and soul. Now is not the time to read the front page of every newspaper and watch every newscast. What you should be doing is feeding your mind with a lot of good ideas. Pick up anything that is positive and inspirational to stay focused. In addition, surround yourself with positive people and stay away from negative people. I liked what our Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba said at the National Assembly last year, "even at our bleakest moments we must not drown ourselves in our own message of doom and gloom. The difficult decisions are being taken now, but our economy will turn around. A brighter day beckons.”Be alert and don’t get caught up in the hype.

-  Decision making is an ongoing part of your personal and financial situation. Tough financial decisions are part of life. Sometimes we have to make some sacrifices to build a strong financial foundation. If you have to downsize your lifestyle so that you can become more financially strong, do it! Understand the importance of a firm financial foundation is empowering.

-  Michael J. Fox once said: “Family isn't an important thing. It is everything. " We tend to take our loved ones for granted. We get too busy with our trying to make it and we start sacrificing on the family time. While of course you need money to take care of your bills and to provide entertaining experiences for your family, you simply cannot buy love and affection. Ultimately most things in your life will end. However, your family is going to have a permanent position in your life, and you want to nourish those relationships. Keep appropriate work-life balance.

- Have a strategy. You don’t need luck to make things happen; you need a strategy. It's very difficult to "win" if you don't have this game plan in place. Simply stated, strategy is a realistic plan to move forward by taking advantage of the opportunities that suit your unique abilities. Your strategy should identify your unique capabilities, and help you to understand how to use these to your advantage while minimizing threats.

- Look for opportunities. Most of us are so focused on our own journey that we sleepwalk through life happening around us. Make a habit of interacting with your environment.Notice things that happen around you. By becoming more aware of your surroundings, you will begin to see connections between seemingly unrelated events. Connecting these dots will be a key to you creating your luck. When it comes to opportunities, it’s often who you know and not what you know. So if you know more people, more opportunities will follow. Nobody can do anything alone. We all need other people to support us toward our goals and dreams.

- Take a chance. By definition, taking a chance means not being in control. There are chances that we have to take in order to get what we want. When you see a connection that could enable you to take a chance, go for it. Have faith in the unproven, in things that that may seem risky. Remember this, even if you make a mistake when you take a chance, if you handle yourself professionally and with high integrity, no decision is a bad one.  Make bold moves and know that even if the road doesn't take you exactly where you planned it can still lead yo to other great places. Like Lewis Carolls said, "in the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take."

While you may not be able to control what happens with the economy, you can control your own mental focus. Your ability to make wise money decisions is a the basis for your current and long-term well-being.

I wanna hear your thoughts, share with me how you make wise financial decisions during tough times.