Hard times come for everyone, whether it’s a personal setback or a global crisis. Learning how to get through hard times is a skill that everyone needs. Let’s look at ways to stay positive and find happiness when things just aren’t going your way.
Think of this as your toolkit for weathering life’s storms with grace and positivity. Even if times are good right now, there is good practical frugal living advice to follow.
Note: This post is written mostly for moms and homemakers, but I think it can apply to anyone. I want to support and inspire you with useful advice for challenging times.
About resilience (The silver lining)
Resilience is one of those words that is so over-used that it has come to mean nothing.
You’re managing a household, caring for children, and often putting your own needs last. It’s a juggling act that becomes even more complex during tough times. Knowing and recognizing these challenges is the first step to overcoming them. Knowing that your role is important can change how you handle these challenges.
Keep that in mind.
1. managing household expenses during hardship
When things become tough, it seems like there’s hardly anything left to cut from your budget. This is when it becomes even more crucial to manage your finances. This isn’t about regular budgeting; it’s about survival.
During tough times, every penny matters. We focus on meeting our basic needs and get creative with stretching our resources.
When you’ve already cut back on the obvious expenses, it’s time to dig deeper.
Can you barter skills or items with neighbors or friends? For instance, if you’re good at sewing, you could offer to mend clothes in exchange for something you need.
Check your utility bills. Small actions such as using less water, unplugging electronics, and using natural light can save money in the long run. You can make your own cleaning supplies using simple ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. They’re effective and much cheaper. Do not go crazy buying scents and oils. Keep it simple.
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Other money-saving household swaps:
- Use dishcloths instead of paper towels or sponges
- Microfiber mop pads instead of disposable ones: Attach to your mop and wash after each use.
- Bee’s Wax Wraps are a good alternative to cling film. You can use them to wrap and cover food, and you can use them multiple times.
- Choose cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. You can reuse cloth napkins before washing, which helps them last longer.
- Instead of using disposable soap dispensers, opt for refillable ones. Buy soap in larger quantities and refill the dispenser as necessary.
- Instead of using plastic bags, you can use glass or stainless steel food containers. You can use these containers again and again to store leftovers.
2. Stretching Your Food Budget in High-Price Times
When food prices soar, feeding your family becomes a significant concern. First, focus on nutrition over variety. To save money, you can stick to simple, healthy foods like beans, rice, and veggies. Buying in bulk can also lead to savings, but only buy what you can consume.
Stop buying overpriced convenience foods like the following:
- Instant oatmeal
- Canned beans
- Prepared snacks
Instead, buy flour, oats, and dry beans in bulk. You can make your own versions of these things for a fraction of the price.
Another strategy is meal planning… with purpose. Plan your meals around sales and what’s already in your pantry.
Waste not, want not is TRUE.
Also, consider home gardening, even if it’s herbs on a windowsill, to save a bit on fresh produce. Sometimes this can waste money, but if done well, you can save money growing your own food.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to use food banks and community resources. That is what they’re there for. You’ll give back when you can ❤️.
3. Lean on others
Tap into the power of community. You can join or create a local swapping/ bartering group. In the group, members can share things like clothes, tools, or babysitting services.
In hard times, community support can be a lifeline.
- Organize clothes swapping events. Everyone brings gently used clothes. Keep it simple: everyone takes what they can use and donate the rest.
- Tool Sharing. Develop a system to borrow or trade tools for home improvement, gardening, or DIY projects.
- Gardening Supplies and Produce Sharing. Share excess seeds, plants, or harvest from your garden with others
- Skill-Based Bartering. You can trade skills, such as tutoring, haircuts, and car repairs, with other people who have something to offer.
Above all, don’t wait for someone else to organize it and think it sounds great. Take the initiative to do it yourself.
4. Self-Care: The Non-Negotiable for Hard Times
In tough times, self-care often takes a back seat, but for stay-at-home moms, it’s more crucial than ever. If you have few resources, feel stressed, and are unsure about the future, prioritize your well-being.
It’s not about pampering yourself. It’s about being strong enough to handle stress. In these times, self-care is about finding peace in chaos and saving energy for daily challenges.
Easy and Affordable Self-Care Practices for Challenging Times
Self-care during hard times needs to be practical and accessible. Start by ensuring you get enough rest. Sleep can be your best ally against stress. Enjoy little things like going for a stroll, deep breathing, or music. These activities are free but can uplift your mood.
During hard times, setting boundaries becomes even more important. It’s better to limit time on news or social media if it’s adding to your stress.
Communicate with your family about the need for quiet or alone time, even if it’s a few minutes a day.
Staying Physically Health in a Bad Situation.
During tough times, it’s more important than ever to stay physically healthy.
When we’re stressed or struggling with money, we often forget about our health. But ignoring it can make things worse. When you get sick, it’s not just the physical discomfort and recovery time that you have to deal with. It also brings financial burdens like medical bills and potential lost income. This can cause extra stress for both you and your family.
So investing in your health becomes a crucial strategy for minimizing these risks. To avoid getting sick, it’s important to take care of your body. This includes exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating well. I know it sounds boring and obvious, but it’s so important.
Getting sick is way more disruptive, expensive, and stressful than staying well.
5. Learn something new + useful
It’s empowering to learn new skills during hard times. This means something, it’s not filler words. When you’re stressed and don’t have a lot of money, you feel so out of control. But you aren’t!
New skills mean personal growth. And as a side benefit, they often save you money.
Use free resources. like Youtube, blogs, and the library. Some ideas:
- Baking: Learn to bake bread, cakes, and other treats at home.
- Gardening: Grow your own vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
- Sewing and Mending: Repair clothes or create new garments.
- Basic Carpentry: Handle simple home repairs and furniture making.
- Cooking: Master budget-friendly and nutritious meals.
- Knitting or Crocheting: Create clothing, blankets, and gifts.
- Basic Auto Maintenance: Learn to change oil, replace filters, and perform simple car repairs. This is very valuable for bartering.
- Canning and Preserving: Preserve fruits and vegetables for long-term storage.
- DIY Home Decor: Create your own home decorations and accents.
- Financial Management: Improve budgeting and money-saving strategies.
- First Aid and Basic Healthcare: Learn basic first aid skills and home remedies.
- Computer and Tech Skills: Enhance computer literacy and learn to troubleshoot basic tech issues.
More resources to help you
Tip: Always start local, if you can. Do a Facebook search for the name of your town or country and start exploring.
- Mental Health America – Free Resources. A comprehensive list of mental health resources, including tools for screening and finding help. Mental Health America Resources
- Khan Academy – Free Online Course. Offers a wide range of free courses for all ages, covering subjects from math to arts and humanities. Khan Academy
- Money Crashers – Bartering & Swapping Websites. You can find websites where you can trade goods and services by bartering and swapping items. These websites can help you find local groups or platforms for trading. Money Crashers Bartering & Swapping
- SignUpGenius – Fun Family Activities. Provides ideas for family activities that are fun and engaging. SignUpGenius Family Activities
- The Muse – Financial Management Resources. A list of the best free sites for managing your finances effectively. The Muse Financial Management
- The Penny Hoarder. Budget-Friendly Food Blogs: Features budget-friendly food bloggers with easy, money-saving recipes. The Penny Hoarder Food Blogs
The strategies and resources we talked about aren’t just tips. They’re like lifelines that can help you through tough times. Being supported by your community, cooking affordable meals, and learning new skills are practical steps. But even more, they can make you more resilient and happy.
Here’s to not just surviving, but thriving, no matter what life throws your way.