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Seven Steps To Financial Success

July 21, 2012 by CreditCardsCo™

Everyone has money troubles now and then, but in a tough economy this becomes even more straining. For many people who face financial trouble simply making a plan can help alleviate some of the stress. When stress is low it allows for more creative opportunities for problem solving.

To get you started, here are 7 things you can do to stay ahead of money concerns.

Budget Your Bills

Obviously, you need to make a budget. You need to know how much money is coming in that can be leveraged against how much money needs to go out. If your income is reduced from job loss, injury, or downsizing, you will not be able to maintain the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed. Instead, you will need to examine how you spend your money and cut what you do not actually need. Don't forget to factor in job hunting and employment expenses.

Plan Your Groceries

When you are on a tight budget, groceries can become a major distraction from your plan; after all, you have to eat. With a little planning, though, and some careful thought, you will find that structured grocery shopping still provides you and your family with many meal options. Be sure to peruse the Sunday paper (as well as online) for grocery store coupons. Also, be sure that you buy food that is nutritious and shelf-stable. Thus, you are looking for:

  • Pasta and rice
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Beans and lentils

Yes, you should opt for canned foods over fresh foods but not because they are necessarily better for you: fresh foods will spoil if you do not eat them right away. Of course, you will probably still want some fresh fruit and bread here and there and you’ll also probably need things like milk and eggs. If you really need this you should consider whether or not you are eligible for aid or assistance. Welfare, food stamps, and WIC programs are designed to help anyone in need of healthy food and there is no shame in using them as your income requires.

Take An Odd Job Or Two

Ask your friends and family if they have any odd jobs around their home or neighborhood that people are willing to pay for. If you have a neighbor who has a decent job (or better) perhaps you can offer to perform some lawn care or other service that benefits their family in exchange for a little help with the bills. Consider:

  • Mowing the lawn
  • Babysitting
  • House cleaning
  • Plumbing repair
  • Auto repair

Take A Part-time Job

Similarly, you may also want to consider getting a part-time job; at least until your finances are back on track. You may have to humble yourself and take an entry level position or work at a fast food joint but you will feel better about paying your bills and having peace of mind than you will about where you are working.

Avoid Credit

When money is tight it might feel like the time is right to lean on credit to help you get through. While credit cards can be a wonderful tool in the face of certain emergencies, it is not something will help you when you are out of work. The reason for this is that using credit when you aren't working means that you will have to pay it off later, when you are working. However, how do you know how long it will take to get back to work? What if you rack up a high credit card bill and are still out of work in a month or 3 or 6?

Get Help

Your family and friends want to be there for you when are in need. That's the nature of a good relationship - that people want to take care of each other. While it is often difficult to ask your family and friends for help, it is also often the best way to find more resources. It might lead to a loan but maybe you have a friend that needs an odd job (as mentioned above).

Get Advice

Professional counselors can help you see all of the options available. They will probably know more about the tools available that can assist you in various ways.

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