Managing Finances

Times have been getting tough, and many people are feeling the strain financially.  Gas prices climb, the cost of groceries increases, more and more people are having difficulty getting by financially, and they find themselves getting further into debt.  More and more families are living paycheck to paycheck.  Some families find themselves having to dip into their 401K savings to make ends meet which, as a result, pushes retirement further away for some people.

When we get overloaded with stress, our personal and work relationships can suffer.  When you find yourself getting overwhelmed with your financial concerns, try to follow some of these guidelines:

  • Identify those expenses that can be reduced or eliminated.  There are some things that we can do without, and that can save us money.
  • Look for ways to save money, such as clipping coupons or shopping at discount outlets or second-hand stores.
  • Create a budget.  Start with the expenses that you have to pay, such as mortgage/rent, groceries, utilities, etc., and work your way out from there.  Some expenses are just not necessary.  Reducing or eliminating cable and phone services (cell and/or landline) are some ways to reduce expenses.
  • Put away the credit cards.  The only thing the credit card does is get you further into debt.  If your balance is out of control, sometimes you can work with the creditor to be placed on a payment plan.  There are also non-profit credit counselors who can help put you on a debt consolidation plan to repay your credit cards.
  • Prioritize your future spending.  Sometimes the things you want to buy are things that you do not necessarily need.  Instead of planning a costly vacation, think about trips that are closer to home, or traveling in the off-season to save additional money.
  • Check your credit report regularly.  Know what is on your credit report and report any discrepancies immediately.  There are three major national credit bureaus: Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax.

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