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11 Tips To Recession Proof Your Personal Finances

With the rising cost of living, interest rates sky high, and no end in sight to inflation, reaching your financial freedom goals might seem out of, well... reach. But it doesn't have to be.

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I've managed to pay off $30k of debt in 9 months during the GFC, when interest rates were higher than they are now and cost of living was a mounting pressure too. Here are my top tips to recession-proof your finances.

1. Create a budget.

Hands down this is the single most important step to saving money, paying off debt and recession-proofing your personal finances. And the reason why I managed to pay off a mountain of debt in under a year.

Budgeting allows you to see EXACTLY how much money you have coming in, and how much money you have going out. Tracking income and expenses each month is the first step to take when trying to reduce costs and recession-proof your personal finances.


To create a budget, start by listing all of your income sources, such as your salary or any freelance, bonuses or side income. Then, list all of your monthly expenses, and when I say all I mean EVERYTHING. This is how you can really find savings.

Make sure your list of expenses, includes rent, mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, transportation costs, and all other bills. But also make sure to include any coffee, eating out, drinks, and "miscallenous" spend categories.

By tracking your income to your expenses, you can identify areas where you can cut costs, tilt your money from or make changes to your spending habits.

2. Try reducing your housing costs - renting

Housing is often the largest expense in a household budget.

If you're facing financial hardship during a recession or simply want to save money, consider downsizing to a smaller apartment or house. Or even a less aesthetic accommodation. This is exactly what I am doing now - renting an older house with an 80s timber kitchen which saves me $150-$200 a week compared to a newer / renovated house.

You can also consider house sharing or subletting a room in your current accommodation (seek landlord's permission to do so).

When I decided to tackle my $30k debt head on I moved into a 3-person shared terrace in the inner city Woolloomooloo where I was paying $127 a week in rent as opposed to $400+ for my own unit. I shared a bathroom with one other. Plus I walked to work saving money on public transport and driving.

3. Try reducing your housing costs - mortgage

If you have a mortgage, call your bank ASAP and ask for a discount off your variable interest rate. I did this in January and saved 0.5% off my interest rate instantly.

The other trick is to look at what other banks are offering when you move over to them in terms of a sign up bonus. This can range from $1,000 - $5,000 rebate/refund.

Call your bank and tell them you are looking at refinancing your mortgage elsewhere to take advantage of the offer. Their retention team will often counter the offer and you won't even have to go through the headache of getting all your paperwork together, especially when your borrowing capacity might currently be reduced.

Again, you can also consider subletting a room or garage.

4. Shop smart for groceries

Groceries can also be a major expense, but there are many ways to save money on food costs.

Make a grocery list before you go shopping - keep an inventory and supplementary shop only - and stick to the list to avoid impulse purchases. Switch the bulk of your shopping to generic brands.

Compare prices at different stores to find the best deals. Aldi is often cheaper but that's not always the case. When major supermarkets have markdowns like this or run 1/2 specials on comparable items get them there. Also, don't forget your grocer. They often have amazing specials.

You can also save money by cooking at home instead of eating out, and planning meals around items that are on sale.

5. Trim utility bills

Utilities, such as electricity, water, and gas, can also add up.

To reduce these costs, turn off lights and electronics when not in use, use energy-efficient light bulbs, and take advantage of any utility company rebates or incentives. Shop around and switch often for the best deals - check usage rates.

You can also look into alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, to lower your energy bills if you own your home.

6. Cut back on transportation costs

Transportation costs, such as fuel and car maintenance, can also be expensive.

To reduce these costs, consider using public transportation, carpooling, or biking to work instead of driving.

If you must drive, try to consolidate trips and maintain your vehicle to increase fuel efficiency. Make use of fuel discounts and fuel price check apps that will show you the cheapest prices aroun