Want to know some interesting facts about today’s economy? Inflation is here to stay, which means more debt and palpable fear of financial difficulties spread around the world. According to the latest stats, Canadians, as an example, have a debt of $1.82 per every $1 they make. In other words, many people in Canada have to borrow from tomorrow to have enough money today.
It’s fascinating how global post-pandemic issues seem to keep us all feeling stuck, in one way or another. But are these issues new, or do they circle back once in a while to help us focus and shift things in our lives? Truth be told, most of us could cut on things that are not necessary and make us spend more money. It’s true about me, and most people I know, regardless of their family status or income level. We feel more secure when we have some tangible comfort in our life, and many of us are willing to borrow to ensure we have it.
While single mothers are deeply affected by any economic downturn, in many ways they are also better prepared to handle an economic inflation. Why? Because single mothers are used to stretching their already tight budgets and dealing with financial difficulties on an ongoing basis. Having to deal with financial challenges makes single mothers more prepared for changes in the overal economy. Most single moms have at one point or another hit their financial rock bottom and were able to spring back and sustain their family. This experience prepares us to transition into a survival mode whenever necessary. Dealing with inflation like a pro means adapting quickly, while staying calm and composed knowing that you will get through this.
Many past generations have already dealt with some of the brutal inflations and economic downturns in history. Who is better to learn from than those who survived famine, wartime, plagues, and destitution?
Here are a few tested ways used by past generations to help us handle inflation we are dealing with today:
- Micro-budgeting: when inflation hits, our financial abiities decrease. Goods become more expensive, while our income typically remains the same. This calls for micro-budgeting, which means you take an extra close look at your regular monthly budget to discover ways to cover all your essential expenses. Look for small “leaks” in your budget, like eating out, salon services, etc. Yes, those are not bad expenses to have when things are good, but during an inflation you need to stick to essentials like groceries, home, and health (if you are interested to read more a discussion on micro-budgeting, this reddit thread might help).
- Boost your health: perhaps one of the most important things you can do when things get hard is to improve your immune system. Stress and worry has a direct impact on our health, and one thing that a single mother can’t afford during an economic crisis or high inflation is to be sick, not able to work, or take care of herself and kids. Good news is that some of the most effective ways to improve health are free. Begin walking daily for at least 30-45min, incorporate onions and garlic into your meals, drink herbal teas, smile, and spend some time doing things that bring you joy. Your immune system will thank you for this, and you will be happier, healthier, and save money by minimizing the need for drugs and doctor visits.
- Ask if a raise is possible: if you have been employed with the same company for at least a year, you can gently inquire about a possibility of getting a raise to your salary. While businesses are also negatively impacted by inflation, some companies would be still open to raising your salary at least by some percentage to account for a national inflation. Something is better than nothing, so if you get even some raise that will help you to stay afloat.
- Consider a side-gig: if there is anything you can do well that can earn you extra money, consider trying it now. If you are a great baker, dog walker, cat sitter, gardener, organizer, etc., there are likely some people who might need your help and are able to pay for it (see more side job ideas here). I always keep my eyes open on help wanted posts and offer my help to those who mention they need it.
- Eliminate food waste: food waste happens to all of us. Having grown up in a large family, food waste is not something I witnessed. Yet, as a single mother on a budget, I have committed the crime of wasting food unreasonably. Typically, it happens when I forget to note the expiry date on groceries, keeping it my fridge until they go bad. I have been making improvements this year, both to reduce waste in general and stop wasting finances on the groceries that end up in garbage. In 2023, I want to achieve zero food waste in my household, which means mindful grocery shopping and better planning.
Do you want to share you strategies on dealing with inflation? Post below in the comments, I would love to hear them!