Shit hits the Fan

Here are some of the first steps we took when we realized we were in a really bad place financially or when “Shit hits the Fan”:

  1. We assessed what money we did have and made a plan for it
  2. Budgeting is SUPER easy when there is almost no money!
  3. We allocated money for food and utilities and watched every penny. Since we didn’t have enough for the mortgage, we did not pay it. Harsh but real.
  4. We went down to one car and got used to waiting to be picked up or picking someone up. Graciously. Selling that car freed up some moola. We did NOT use it to pay the mortgage.  
  5. We just stopped spending on anything, but food, utilities, and enough gas to get to store/jobs. We just went without and got used to it.
  6. We played games with money. “Let’s see how many days we can go without spending a single penny!” or “let’s see if we can find some change on this 30 minute walk.”
  7. Ask friends to trade for something, “I’ll make and bring you lunch 2 days this week at work if you will give me that $15 gas card you got for your birthday.”
  8. Made it a work-out to walk instead of drive. This could also be “date night” if the weather was lovely.
  9. Graciously accepted offers of free anything and make arrangements to pick it up. We got some good stuff! Some was very useful, some can be sold on craigslist, ebay, etc.
  10. When we did get some money in from low paying jobs we’d picked up, we would each get $5 “walking around money” for the week. This was for sanity’s sake. I remember getting Taco Bell for lunch and that was the highlight of my week. It has been 11 years and I still remember the thrill!
  11. We were excellent employees at our low paying jobs. I mean excellent. We needed that shit. DH got laid off three times and hired back each time at Lowes home improvement.
  12. When we borrowed something, we made a goal of returning it better than we found it. Example, borrowing a car. It came back with at least as much as gas as started AND it was washed and vacuumed. My mom’s car would get dirty and she’d ask when I needed to borrow it again because she wanted it cleaned!  
  13. We spent $40 a week at the grocery store for groceries for 3 adults. Luckily we had a good stocked pantry when this began.
  14. When we went through all of stocked pantry, we only bought “ingredients”. You know how you look in the pantry/fridge and say, “There is nothing to eat.” But there are lots of ingredients? Yep, ya gotta make the recipe, not buy frozen dinners, snacks, etc.
  15. Made just about all food homemade unless we found a really good sale. In our area, frozen pizza brands took turns having big sales. We could usually get them for about $3 a piece and 2 would feed 3 adults. Or went without frozen pizza. We can make a good pizza from scratch now!  
  16. We asked for really practical gifts for Xmas and birthdays. Things like grocery store gift cards, hotel rooms to visit family, practical clothes.
  17. When we hit any store, we had a Calculator in hand while shopping.
  18. Practiced contentment. Sit with what we do have and enjoy it.
  19. When boredom struck: Took the time to care for what we owned instead of looking for the next new thing. Getting out that paint set, finally reading that book I bought, organizing the closet and assessing what I do own instead of what I want. Deep cleaning the car would make me appreciate it a lot more. Taking care of our rental apartment reminded me of how lucky we were to have it. Cleaning, organizing, mending, re-arranging. All those helped deal with “stuff” that was very satisfying.
  20. Went to the library. Checking out 15 books at one time satisfied a sense of wanting new things. Best part? If I don’t like it, it cost me nothing. 


Share with us what steps you have taken when shit hit the fan.



Comments 5

  • Absolutely! I think we all have those “Oh shiz” moments that make us really think about what we need to be doing. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  • My feeling is that the financial shit is going to hit the fan for many in the coming years. I know that DH, myself and my immediate family are going to have to start cutting back on expenses and get into serious money accumulating and penny pinching. I hope that others in our age bracket, the 40’s-60’s, also get the same picture. Best wishes, baby boomer mama…

    • Hey Lavonnadonna! I too wonder if we are going to see more shit hitting fan in coming years. If all predictions are correct, the answer is yes. REgardless, if we practice these skills before it gets bad, we will be ahead of the game! Best wishes to YOU! Thanks for commenting.

  • Sometimes the ” bad ‘ol days can be the “good ‘ol days” if you have a plan and a sense of amusement. Remembering that your financial situation doesn’t have to gobble up all of your physic energy is helpful in these times stress.

    • Hey Marty, a sense of amusement can go WAY far at any time, especially the “bad ol’ days”. Thanks for the reminder.

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