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Top 10 Recession Tips

By Christopher Schonberger

There is a silver-lining to the news that the US has been in a recession since last year: it means that if you’re reading this, you’re already surviving a recession, so keep up the good work. But with no immediate end in sight, you may need to back up those Darwinian instincts with some practical steps for staying afloat in these trying times. Here’s Gradspot.com’s Top 10 Recession Tips.

Good luck!

  1. Stiff upper lip, young (wo)man! Look on the bright side—at least you didn’t just see half your 401(k) wiped out right before you retired. You’re young and probably don’t have the huge sum of money tied up in the stock market. The job market might be tough, but the world is not ending, and while it might seem weird to say, these are interesting times. Pay attention to what’s going on in the news and think about how the industries that appeal to you are responding and adapting.
  2. Boost your job-hunting stock. This is no time to be casually sending typo-riddled resumes to 100 employers on Monster.com and praying for the best. You need to customize yourself for each position, create a story, and work on your personal brand if you want to stand out.
  3. Start an under-$5 fund. If you’re not willing to give up little luxuries like morning coffee, at least be frugal about it—start a “grown-up piggy bank” that you only use for purchases under $5.
  4. Consider grad school. No jobs on offer? Maybe now is the best time to go back to school, and hopefully you’ll come out on the tail end of the downturn with another degree under your belt. Of course, you shouldn’t go to grad school just because you can’t find a job. But if it was in the cards anyway, now might be a smart time to stick with academics.
  5. Don’t give up on investing. The stock market is in shambles now, but it has historically grown significantly over any 40-year period. Saying you don’t think it will bounce back is basically like saying America won’t bounce back. If you think this marks the end of an empire, then fair enough. If not, keep investing in that 401(k).
  6. Earn some extra income. Selling off your roommate’s baseball card collection is easy. And there are tons of others ways make a little extra cash without being a huge jerk.
  7. Listen to The Recession. No, that doesn’t mean having CNBC on in the background all day and listening to people argue about coupons at CVS. We’re talking about the Young Jeezy album. It will get you hyped up and ready to tackle the day!
  8. Assess your job security. Hopefully you have a mentor or someone you trust in the office who can give you a warning about upcoming layoffs. Be realistic and keep your options open—stay in touch with networking contacts and try to, you know, work hard and make your indispensable.
  9. Don’t buy anyone holiday gifts. This year, Scrooge-like behavior is in style. Take advantage of a time when frugality is considered commendable.
  10. Turn down the thermostat. It’s sort of like that argument your dad may or may not have made about driving: if you’ve got a 150 miles drive ahead of you and you go 70 instead of 65, the time saving is pretty much negligible, but you might get nabbed for speeding. If you turn the thermostat down one or two degrees, you probably won’t notice the difference, but the gas and electric bill will be more manageable. See how it’s the same?! Frugal Zeitgeist has some tips for saving money on heating.

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