First South Africans received the shocking blow – a downgrade to junk status, and now consumers are trying to make sense of the latest curse word – ‘recession’

Recent news about the technical recession is leaving some individuals feeling a bit topsy-turvy at this stage. Just to be clear, a technical recession is not yet a full-on recession.

And while consumers may be pondering about the future financial implications of a recession on the country, DebtSafe highlights that consumers should rather stick to managing their own finances to avoid a personal financial slump.

But how can consumers manage their finances effectively when many fear they won’t be able to handle the latest financial crunch?

Wikus Olivier, debt management expert at DebtSafe, says: “Consumers need to get their own mini-economy going rather than obsessing about the negative technical recession announcement. The recent changes in the economy have happened before and although it is out of their control, it is time to get a grip on their own situation.”

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Olivier furthermore encourages consumers to put certain measures and processes in place to manage their mini-economy and to be able to duck their own recession.

When you have a positive attitude with a realistic mindset, it can definitely be the slight push to kick-start your way to sunnier finances.

It is all in the attitude

Without a positive attitude, improving and stabilising your own finances may be quite difficult to accomplish. Negativity has never helped anyone. Economic hardship, like a technical recession, can change your mindset for the better and not in the way that you tend to think. As hard as you think it might be, stop living above your means and get realistic about what you can and cannot afford. When you have a positive attitude with a realistic mindset, it can definitely be the slight push to kick-start your way to sunnier finances.

Plan what you can control

You are the captain of your own financial ship, so don’t let it sink. Planning makes things easier to control and that includes your own finances. When last have you taken a look at your finances? Scan your bank statement and figure out where your spending leaks are. Take your budget template and indicate your short- (birthday present), medium- (car payments) and long-term goals (retirement fund). Add a time frame and regularly check if you are on track with what you want to achieve.

Closely manage expenses

Keeping your financial management ‘real’ can only happen if you keep your finances ‘close’. By being involved in every aspect of your finances and expenditures helps you to make better financial decisions. Keep track of your day-to-day expenses when buying groceries or when filling up the car, for example. Write down every expense, large or small, or make use of a financial phone app. It may sound silly now, but when you compare your expenditures with the previous months, you will be able to see what you did better and what you can still improve on in the coming months.

What is your fiscal policy?

Perhaps you have never thought of your own policy regarding your finances. What about this one? Don’t overspend – your expenses should not be more than your income.

What about a good brainstorming session to think about ways to generate extra bucks?

Creativity leads to more income

Keep your mini-economy going by strutting your creativity and by creating extra income for yourself. You have friends and family members around you. What about a good brainstorming session to think about ways to generate extra bucks? You could do something at the farmers market or online. Start using that sewing machine that has been left in the closet for far too long, or what about those interesting lamp designs that you drew years ago?

Save more and ‘debt’ less

If you are a good saver you are a good steward of the future economy. But if you do not get your debt out of the way first, you are less likely to save the way you want to. Get rid of your ‘smaller’ debt first and then tackle the ‘big guns’. As soon as you pay some debt off, put the same amount(s) into a savings account and get those bucks rolling in.

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Don’t let the word recession disgruntle you. Yes, economic times are ever changing, but you can be proactive with your own mini-economy and withstand the financial storm. If, however, you are finding it really tough at this stage and there is no way to get your personal finances going, why don’t you contact the DebtSafe team? DebtSafe is a registered debt counsellor and assists over-indebted South Africans to get rid of their unwanted debt. SMS your name and INFO to 30898 (at no cost) and get a free debt assessment.