Introduction:
There are uncertain times ahead of us. The virus pandemic has triggered a stock market crash and has the potential to start a recession. While recessions are nothing new, there has never been one triggered by a pandemic, so we are all in new waters. If a cure could be discovered soon then the better the chances of everything bouncing back quickly.

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Stock market over the past 12 months.

In the meantime, all we can do to prepare, is to be aware of how it affected us in the past and consider what we can do for the future. So what did happen last time anyway?

 

Previous recession and how it affected me.
Everybody who was around for the previous which began in 2008 will have their own stories to tell. My own story was that I had been working in Spain for a few years when it started. The company I worked for had to close, and its few employees ended up without a job.

Disturbingly, I don’t remember being aware of what was happening in the world at that time- I just knew that there seemed to be less work and that the boss seemed more stressed. Then the business moved farther away from the city centre, followed by a period when we were working without the guarantee of pay. Soon after, I planned my exit from Spain as I was paying rent with no income.

I left Spain in early 2009, back to the UK to look for a new job, but didn’t get far. I was lucky that I was able to stay with my parents temporarily- although not ideal, it was the sensible thing to do given the circumstances.

shutterstock
© Shutterstock

However, learning new skills was the order of the day as I was keen to know more about working over the internet. I read about affiliate marketing, matched betting, selling stock images and similar ventures. One of these I still do to this day (a future post).

I then made a decision to take advantage the situation not working and satisfy more built up wander lust – I planned and booked a backpacking adventure to last three months travelling all around Mexico. This is something I had wanted to do for some years and was important to me, so I used a big chunk of my savings to do it (a future post will detail this adventure). Needless to say, it was amazing and it changed me, and couldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been saving prior. I returned to the UK to continue job hunting.

There were various interviews but still quiet. So I learnt more skills: I did a course in ski-boat driving, a pool life guarding course and began to learn the violin. I knew absolutely nothing about any of those things when I started.

It was another nine months before I finally started working again. Initially it was a contracting position, but I worked hard and did my best to make a difference and learn as much as I could. Nine months later, I accepted an offer for a full time position and I was set.

 

What’s different now?
So that was last time, but what about this time? Now my life situation is very different. I’m married, living in a different county with no other family near by and with a mortgage to pay. This is nothing special but there are some unusual situations many of us are finding ourselves in.

Supermarkets
Unfortunately a lot of people lose their common sense and decency when they start to panic. As many of you have no doubt been to the supermarket to find the shelves virtually stripped bare of basic goods.

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All but empty shelves in the supermarket.

 

Personally I feel the empty shelves in some supermarkets is only temporary, but what is likely to be longer lasting is the question of what to do for income if our jobs are on the line.

 

What will that mean for you and me?
I’m no economist but I’m sure to feel the effects of it, as are you. The worst part of what might be coming is job insecurity and the very real possibility that many people will lose their jobs, including myself.

Have you asked yourself what will you do in that situation? Do you have a plan? How long could you last without income? These may be uncomfortable questions to ask yourself but they are necessary.

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Growing our own capsicums. At $15/kg in the supermarket right now, every little helps…

Hopefully you know what your monthly expenses are. If not, set aside some time to work them out. You need to know what the bare essentials are; housing, food, bills and perhaps transport.

Now is the time to consider and cut out unnecessary things you spend your hard earned money on. You might be used to a particular luxury but ask yourself if you can really afford it now. Do you want to enjoy yourself now and pay for it in the future, or save it and have a bit more financial security instead.

 

Cutting out unnecessary items.
We are already pretty frugal as we wrote about in our previous post ‘Frugal Spending’. But what can you cut out? Cinema, alcohol, new clothes, new gadgets for example. Nobody is suggesting you don’t spend anything, as spending needs to happen to make the economy move forward. Just be careful to try to save some of what you earn. You never know when you might need it.

 

Stay safe, cut back and be prepared.
Looking back at the last time I was out of work, I’d say it was the right attitude 🙂 I made the most of the situation by learning a raft of new skills even if I didn’t keep all of them, all to increase the chances of earning extra income.

We could all do something similar today, and one area where it’s a easier to find opportunities today compared to over ten years ago is online. There are whole websites and You Tubers dedicated to showing what options there are for side income. Try this one for starters:

www.sidehustlenation.com