Be Prepared:  Save for Tomorrow  

Since the beginning of the year, the economy has been hard-pressed for good news.  Recently, all of the leading indicators have pointed toward a recession, or at least some hard financial times, which is something the United States has not seen since the early 1990's.  At the present time, unemployement is up, consumer confidence is low, and the stock market is especially volatile.  During unpredictable times like these, it becomes very important to save money or at least to spend wisely.  Here are some tips to consider during these turbulent times:
  • Save money every pay.  When you save money each and every time you are paid, it becomes an obligation similar to that of a loan payment.  You will learn to live with a set amount of money, and it will become less difficult over time.
  • Have enough accessible cash to pay 3-6 months of bills.  Keep enough money in your savings account to cover all of your bills, including your mortgage or rent, utilities, car loans, credit card bills, and all other living expenses for at least 3 months.  The extra cash will then be available in case of an emergency and you will not be strapped for money if your rainy day comes.
  • Limit your obligations.  Analyze your current financial obligations.  If you can comfortably rid yourself of or decrease any of these obligations, try to do just that.  For instance, if you could pay off your high-interest rate credit cards with a low-interest rate credit card (like RFCU's), you would decrease the interest you would have to pay each month.  By getting rid of excessive bills, you will have more money available to you.
  • Use credit wisely.  Although saving money is very important during these volatile times, credit can also be beneficial when it is used wisely.  During hard economic periods, interest rates are often at their absolute lowest.  Therefore, if you are secure financially, good use of credit can be helpful because it is cheap.
  • Contact your creditors.   If, for any reason, you may not be able to meet your financial obligations, contact all of your creditors immediately.  Your creditors may be able to arrange a payment plan specifically for you.  If nothing else, they will at least be more understanding of your situation.


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