Alaskans are no strangers to change. We’ve seen our state change immensely in the past 59+ years, from limited dirt roads and camps to a bustling network of thriving communities. However, despite the amazing growth and development that many of us have witnessed, we’re also not immune to slumps in the economy, unemployment, and other “unknowns” that can affect one’s personal ability to make ends meet. Fortunately, when unexpected circumstances strike, we have tips on hand to help you face financial change!
Read, reflect, and share with someone in need.
Map Your Money
If you don’t already have a written list/chart/graph/napkin note of your monthly bills, make one today. This will help you visualize how your money is spent and areas that could be trimmed. For instance, if you know you currently spend X amount on heat for your home and Y amount on a deluxe cable package each month, visualizing these expenses can help you come to terms with what needs to go during times when money is tight.
Polish Your Resume
If job uncertainty has you up at night, make sure your resume is polished and ready to deploy as needed. This means adding in the experience from your current (or most recent) employment, ensuring that your training and education are up-to-date, and knowing what online resources can help maximize your professional path.
Assess Your Emergency Fund
Although we’ve all heard that your “emergency fund” should hold 3-6+ months of financial padding, this is easier said than done. If your emergency fund is not quite there yet (or non-existent), don’t despair! There are affordable financing options for people in need; however, “payday loans” are not one of them. Stay far away from predatory lending that can cost you an arm and leg, and instead talk to a trusted financial institution about funding options that keep your personal well-being at heart.
Don’t Sacrifice Your Credit
One common mistake during tough financial times is to avoid your existing debt. Don’t go this route! Your credit score will suffer if you don’t proactively reach out to creditors, and this will cost you even more money in the long run. Instead, if you’re not able to make certain payments due to hardship, contact your financial institution immediately. They can often help by extending your payment due date, allowing you to take a month off from payment, consolidating or refinancing your debt to a more affordable payment, and more. The sooner your contact your creditor, the more options they’ll have available to help.
Despite periodic changes in local and national economy, you have the power at hand to protect your personal circumstances. Use the advice above to help you overcome obstacles, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!