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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to survive a recession: A guide for parents

This is a guest post.

It looks as though the economic hard times are going to be with us for a while yet. Jobs are becoming harder to come by, and even families with a regular income have found themselves squeezed by rising prices and stagnant wages. However, if you take the necessary steps, then you can help to shield your family finances from the worst effects of the recession. One positive step that you can take is to get a free credit report from creditexpert.co.uk. This enables you to identify and repair any problems with your credit record, so that if you need to take out a loan at any point, you will be more likely to get approved.

Image:FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As well as ensuring that your credit rating is as good as possible, it can also pay to build up some savings to cover expenses during periods of unemployment. As a rule of thumb, you should have at least enough to cover your basic living expenses such as rent, bills, and food for three months saved up, and preferably more.
In order to build up savings, you may need to cut some costs. Go through all your monthly outgoings, and try to assess where you can save money on each one. For example, you may be able to save money on your insurance by switching suppliers, or save on your mobile phone bill by changing to a different tariff. Cutting back on luxuries such as foreign holidays and takeaways can also make a dramatic difference to your budget.

It’s very important to ensure that you avoid any late payment charges, as this can affect your credit rating as well as costing you money. Staying out of debt will help greatly in this regard, but this is not always possible. However, if you are in debt, your highest priority should be to clear it as soon as possible, as interest payments can be a significant drag on your family finances. Setting a budget is crucial in this regard. You can do this with a number of helpful online tools, such as this budget planner from the Guardian.

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