To survive financially in the midst of crisis is one of the toughest times a family can face. As someone who has been through financial hardships, we have to hold back buying what we want, and sometimes, what we also need.
We had to tighten our belts, make sacrifices, work double or even triple jobs.
And you know what’s even more difficult?
Feeling so helpless, just because you’re too young to help.
Or… can you?
As a young person, I believe we can.
Ways to Help Your Family Survive Financially Hard Times
Our family rides a financial roller coaster and it has been a challenge of faith. I remember my dad saying he prayed to have just enough, not too much, and not too little. True enough, sometimes, we had more than enough or just enough, but also had too little income.
Despite this wild ride, I was still able to receive quality education. Actually, in the middle of my college years, we felt the effects of the USA financial crisis. It forced my father’s organization to cease operations in Southeast Asia and retain only its American employees.
But by God’s grace, I was able to finish college!
And you know what comes next? Of course!
We’re expected to find a job to help ourselves survive financially.
I worked in a bank for almost two years that somehow helped us live within our means. But after leaving the industry and deciding to become a freelancer, I felt like one of those helpless children who needed to depend on their parents’ support.
There came a time when the flow of income started to tighten up. Although we’re thrifty by nature, we just have to spend less and save more.
When I was still navigating the loops and holes of freelancing, I have thought and tried these ways to help my family survive financially.
Work Wisely and Hard
This is the obvious answer. There are tons of ways to earn, but most of them don’t fit our skills and preferences.
That’s why we call it work. It’s never easy.
It’s even toil, but work shouldn’t be a curse.
Instead, it’s a means to sustain life by making sacrifices. We must work to live, not to kill ourselves.
It should be a gift. Its beauty shows that we should receive something in return for what we labored for.
It’s an act of selflessness and an expression of love. If we don’t work out of love, it becomes punishment and death for us.
However, the world somehow distorted the views on work. We think that pushing ourselves and other people to OVERwork is a favor to make a living, but real problems start to branch out.
Even if we turn the world upside-down, doing meaningful work is still the best way to help our families survive financially.
Save… and Invest
The main reason we’re saving is for our future survival, which means meeting our basic and everyday needs like food, shelter, and health. This requires us a steady stream of income or a large amount of savings to support us for a specific period.
Thankfully, we eventually depended on our savings for our basic needs when there was no income.
Hearing how much we need to allocate for our future can be already intimidating, right? Well, the good news shows that setting aside for the future doesn’t mean we should deprive ourselves of our present needs.
I learned that savings is not only applicable in money.
Let me break this into more practical applications.
First, we use our stuff to the max and take extremely good care of them.
These are clothes, equipment, and furniture, so that we could use them for a longer time and lessen our expenses. Most of our appliances are more than ten to twenty years old and counting, but still functioning. We only buy when repairs would cost more than a brand new unit.
Second, we eat home-cooked meals most of the time.
We usually bring our packed lunches instead of eating at restaurants or fast food chains. And saving doesn’t mean starving. In reality, home-cooked meals gives us the “luxury” to eat healthier food greater in quantity and quality.
But we can be hassle-free if we don’t bring too much stuff when we go out, such as packed lunches! I KNOW. But we need to save ourselves from financial debt. So… choose.
Third, we care for our health because it’s truly our wealth.
Getting sick is costly because we have to pay professional fees and buy expensive medicines, which could instead have gone to our groceries.
There’s nothing wrong with building our wealth for our future. But what good could our future wealth give us if we can’t enjoy our present time with our families with good health?
Fourth, we strictly practice saving energy, electricity, and water.
Using too much gadgets contribute to higher bills. It’s a struggle to limit surfing hours, but if we can do more things and stuff without consuming too much energy, we can survive financially.
Fifth, we take public transportation or even walk short distances.
Aside from exercising our bodies, we use our extra transportation budget for utilities, food, or education.
Sixth, we should also be willing to do chores on our own than hiring someone to do it for us.
Maybe, we just need to prioritize our time and energies to do some extra chores! This can also be our way to bond with our family members.
Give Generously and Cheerfully
Does this mean we have to pledge an amount to our family to survive financially? Well, partly, but that’s not my whole point.
This advice is might be radical, foolish, and senseless. I won’t sugarcoat, but we have to give to others.
But how can we save our lives if we choose to give our last cent to live?
This is the miracle. I still believe in goodness, grace, and mercy.
In my experience, giving was most difficult to do when we’re running out of resources, but it’s the most fulfilling step to remove burdens off our shoulders.
Some of us are needy, broke, and in a tight budget, but there are more needier people than us. They are people practically becoming skin and bones, but still breathing.
This isn’t an advice to be a martyr and give everything mindlessly, but to show that our something is already everything to another person.
What would happen if we share a part of our something to give that person something?
We still don’t end up losing everything.
But how is it possible to do this? What can motivate us?
When we give, when we share with the burdens and pains of others, they reciprocate and also help us with ours. This provides us consolation that we’re not alone in our journey. We don’t see this naturally, but it happens.
But there’s no assurance that whenever I give, I will ALWAYS get back a hundredfold.
Instead, consider that each one of us as a channel of blessings. God’s perfect love provides what we truly need, and when these blessings flow through us unselfishly, others receive these blessings as well.
Through giving, we grow to realize that we don’t only need food to live, but a generous and gracious soul that cares. Generosity and faith always go together.
Thus, giving is a beautiful expression of working, saving, and investing, which will help us survive financially.
So, if we feel something’s bothering you to give that last piece of bread, give it. It’s not to show off we’re saints, but a way to depend and believe God won’t forsake us.
Worrying Won’t Help You Survive Financially
The birds still live even if they don’t toil, nor the lilies of the valley. How much more we, who are working?
God doesn’t forget the needy. Sometimes, he takes away what we THINK we need to give us something we REALLY need.
There was a child in a dark room holding a small lighted candle. That’s what all he has.
The child suddenly heard another child asking if he could give some light to his candle. The first child worried and refused for fear that he might lose his own light.
But a voice of an older man said not to worry because he won’t lose his light. When he shared his light, the room became brighter. Soon, everyone’s candle was lighted and the room was so bright.
We shouldn’t worry about tomorrow, later, or the next second, because worrying only robs our time to work, save, invest, and give freely. Worrying can’t add another moment in our lives.
Now, start to work wisely and hard, save, invest, give your light, brighten the room, and survive financially.