Photo by penguincakes

Make the most of the economic downturn. Let it be your impetus to follow through with some of these brave life-enhancing changes.

1. Turn Off the TV

CANCEL YOUR CABLE and Netflix memberships. Consider offering up your TV on Craigslist. Save some cash and use your extra time to finally read the complete works of John McPhee or organize a potluck to reconnect with old friends.

2. Head Overseas

If you’ve been itching to see the world, now is the time to cash in on your car or bid adieu to your pricey apartment. Earn your keep as an English teacher, or live off the government’s dime as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Live green, ride a bike. Photo by TimothyJ

3. Live green.

You’ve been meaning to go green since watching An Inconvenient Truth, but it just wasn’t, well, convenient before.

Stretch your salary and help the planet by riding your bike, setting up a carpool or working from home. Buy less bottled water and reuse the bottles you already have.

4. Learn to cook.

Instead of paying for take-out, take a cooking class. Perfect your
grandmother’s hearty signature dish for comfort when times get tough, but also learn to whip up a few new, healthier options.

5. Balance your budget.

Every month you tell yourself you’re going to track your expenditures, and now is the perfect time to actually start. Evaluate where you’re overspending and change your habits.

Put the money you save toward retirement or open a high-yield savings account reserved for emergencies.

Photo by lotusutol

6. Get a degree at a University abroad.

If you’re planning to go back to school, apply for a graduate program at a foreign university. Not only will getting your degree abroad offer you a chance to make global career contacts, the tuition is cheaper or — like the public universities in Argentina — free.

7. Volunteer.

When you start to worry about your financial outlook, volunteer. By spending time with an adopted “sibling” or helping build a home, you will not only reassess your own situation but also help someone in need.

Volunteer, head overseas, or both. Photo by Mira (on the wall)

8. Turn your passion into a paycheck.

Tutor a kid in Spanish, work part time as a bartender, sell you stuff on Esty.com, write for Matador!

How are YOU planning to weather the financial crisis? Share your tips in the comments below!