This is a guest post from Patti at Poverty with Style
There was recently a public transit strike where I live. I was one of the many people affected by it.
During the 6 week strike, finding affordable rides to work was problematic and there were some days that I was unable to get to work at all.
All of this added up to lots of hassles, plenty of inconvenience and financial hardship for me.
But there were also valuable financial lessons to be learned from it.
While I have always lived a frugal lifestyle, the loss of income I suffered during the strike made me realize that there is still room for improvement.
Here is what I learned:
Saving money should always be a priority.
When the strike got underway I thought it would last a week or 2. It didn’t. As the weeks went on, I was so thankful that I had money in my savings account – because I needed that money to sustain me.
I remained afloat because I had saved money for a rainy day. Now that the strike is over I have turned into a saving machine!
Even if you can only save a bit of money at a time, do save.
Yes it would be wonderful if we could all set aside a huge chunk of money every month for our savings, but for many families this is just not possible.
Saving money is never in vain so even if you start with just a few dollars a month – start saving.
You never know what circumstances are waiting around the corner.
Nobody knows what will happen to derail their finances in the future. I had heard rumours about the strike 2 weeks before it took place, but I was not as financially ready for it as I could have been.
I had a credit card that I was carrying a balance on, and before long – not enough money to pay it off in full.
Interest charges plagued me. This was a lesson learned. If you have at least one credit card then you should not charge more on it than you can pay off in full each month.
I should have known better. Now I do.
Simplifying your life does not have to cost a lot.
During the weeks of the strike I dropped my spending down to practically zero. I had to in order to keep up with my bills.
At first I thought that having no money to spend would be horrendous, but it wasn’t. I simplified my life and I took the time to walk more, read more and meditate more. It was nice and it did not cost me a cent.
There are always financial lessons to be learned from life’s problems. Just as there are growing pains in life in general so must there be growing pains to contend with in regards to money.
The bright spot in all of this is that if you can be as prepared as possible for financial downturns (and you can see these hurdles as opportunities to grow and improve), then you will come out on the winning end of things and not the losing end.
Hopefully, though, you can learn these lessons without suffering through a bus strike like I did!
Patti Illsley shares her tips for saving money and living well on a lower income on her blog Poverty with Style. Her money saving advice is geared at keeping more of your money in your pocket.