Lately I’ve been writing a lot about personal finance, especially topics related to budgeting. Lots of people think we’re on the verge of a recession, but my eyes have been set solely on the NFL, where my favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, are gearing up for a run at another Lombardi. I love football, and the idea of a players’ strike is entirely disconcerting to me. So while the finance world is worrying about a recession, I’m worried about whether or not the 2021 season will get played.

CBS Sports posted an article this week citing communication from the NFL Players Association (via ESPN) and in it were ten recommendations for the players as they budget for a strike. At first I laughed, but then I thought hey these are actually pretty good (even the outlandish ones). Here are the ten items from that post on CBS Sports:

  1. Save at least half of each paycheck, if not more. If your current expenses are too high to save this much, you should look at ways to change your spending habits and reduce financial commitments.
  2. Try cooking at home instead of eating out as much.
  3. Designate one day a week as “no spending day.”
  4. Take care of major home repairs now.
  5. If you’re in the market for a new home, consider renting instead of buying for now.
  6. Find renters for your unoccupied homes or bedrooms.
  7. Consider selling a car you have not driven in the past six months.
  8. Avoid signing a long-term lease on any rental property that you rarely use.
  9. Learn to say “no” – or at least, “not now” – to friends and family asking for money.
  10. Consider selling clothes you have not worn in a year on Poshmark, Thredup or Tradesy.

Some of these seem ridiculous to the average Joe, like “Consider selling a car you have not driven in the past six months.”. Do normal people just have extra cars lying around? I think we might be surprised how many do!

Here’s the gist of these talking points: Consider having less stuff, but whatever you do, don’t spend all of your money!

This seems like it would be really hard to do for an NFL player with a deal yielding several million dollars a year, but NFL players are no more immune to the urge to spend what we have than the blue collar factory worker or the software engineer with a blog.

There’s wisdom here amongst the absurdity. Eating out, buying more clothes than you can wear, over mortgaging yourself, these are all normal people problems. We need to plan for the good times as well as the bad. Not everyone can set aside half of their monthly paycheck, but they can set aside something. As the economy’s future becomes less and less certain I find this advice from the NFLPA very timely and much more widely applicable.

That said, I hope there’s a 2021 Steelers season!