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How to Survive a Depression or Recession

The economy tanked, and now it's time to adjust some attitudes and expectations. Approach the downturn, whether it's called a depression or recession, with sound strategies that sustain you.


  • Step 1: Find other avenues for your talents to expand your potential and pick up extra work to get other sources of cash. In a business, explore and market multiple uses for your product.
  • TIP: Creative thinkers find ways to survive.
  • Step 2: Exercise, read, or enjoy the simple pleasures of the great outdoors instead of spending on entertainments or trips. Walk to the store instead of drive. Take the opportunity to slow down and get reconnected with the world around you.
  • FACT: From 1933 to 1934, during the Great Depression, the overall jobless rate in America was 25 percent, and another 25 percent took wage cuts or worked part-time. The gross national product had fallen by nearly 50 percent.
  • Step 3: Invest in things that meet your daily needs, like a small garden. It will save money on grocery trips and fuel used to get there.
  • Step 4: Pay less than full sticker price on everything. Do serious research and buy in bulk to save what you can.
  • TIP: Habits of excessive spending are never a good thing in any economy.
  • Step 5: Conduct an inventory of your spending habits, eliminating waste, and buy only what you need. In a business, cut costs, inventory, and energy use.
  • Step 6: Cultivate beneficial relationships during times of crisis when competitors are cutting back. Research opportunities to make acquisitions while the market is low. Buy low and sell high later -- now is the time to be aggressive.
  • Step 7: Develop ideas that cost nothing -- writing papers, speaking publicly, and networking to generate interest in a concept. When the economy begins to recover, you will already be well-received for your innovation and positioned to launch.
  • Step 8: Ignore or remove advertisements, catalogs, and other enticing e-mail when trying to survive a depression or recession. Resist window shopping or impulse buying. Purchase used things whenever you can, or learn to make your own.

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