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How to Keep Your Financial Footing During Tough Times

A major cash flow storm can have lasting impacts on your family finances. And since some costs are hard to predict, even well-prepared money managers are thrown off course by unexpected financial circumstances. Job loss, long and short-term disability leave, education, emergency repairs, medical expenses, and other concerns can make the family budget a little shaky. Fortunately, creative cost-cutting solutions can help restore balance, easing the impact of life’s unexpected financial blows.

Every dollar should have a job, and effective money management is important. But lean times call for an even more focused financial approach. When exceptional challenges arise, your dedication and commitment to reduced spending are essential  to rapid recovery and sustained financial stability. Opportunities to strengthen your financial security are limited only by your resolve, so start with these proven tactics and add your own strategies for finding financial equilibrium.

Take Advantage of Savings on Preowned Merchandise

Yep. Go used.

As the shopping public embraces the latest and greatest, models are quickly forgotten and deemed obsolete. There is a never-ending flow of lightly-used goods moving through the marketplace. That creates opportunities to save substantial sums, compared to paying full retail price for brand-new items.

It’s rare that you would buy a brand-spanking new home, so why not apply that thinking to other preowned items? Furniture, home furnishings, bikes, electronics, outdoor equipment, and even clothing can purchased for a fraction of the cost of new products, without sacrificing performance. Modern connectivity and online sales venues allow buyers and sellers to quickly come together and negotiate deals. Check out local online “garage sales” and advertisements.

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Cut Unnecessary Spending

Maintaining spending discipline is a reasonable full-time goal, but it is particularly important to reduce spending during uncertain financial times. You can cut spending on items you can live without, like cable and eating out at restaurants. Those things are not in the “necessities” list on your budget. But don’t fail to pay monthly essentials, such as:

Minimum credit card payment – I believe in paying more than the minimum on your credit card balance, but you can make an exception during difficult times. For a single month, pay the minimum on each outstanding card balance, steering the rest of your resources to more important financial demands. As the next month’s billing cycle closes, evaluate your progress and make payment decisions based upon available
funds. Understand that this is a temporary thing! As soon as you are able, resume the larger payments, so excessive finance charges don’t add to your money problems.

Mortgage or rent – Shelter is your number one priority. Default and delinquency carry long-lasting consequences, so your credit rating is at stake when these important payments lag. As a last resort, work with your landlord or creditors to soften the blow of late payments. Your history of prompt payment may buy some goodwill during hard times.

Car loan – If you commute a significant distance and need your car to bring home the bacon, make sure this is next in line. Lapsing on car payments can lead to repossession,and affect your credit rating.

Legal mandates – Alimony, child support orders and other court-ordered payments cannot be ignored. Failing to meet your legal obligations could lead to further complications, including costly legal defense, fines and fees.

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Each person’s circumstances are unique, so your mileage may vary. The goal is to keep your spending to a minimum. Once you’ve found firm footing, payments can be adjusted to restore balance.

Waste Not

Lifestyle choices often lead to waste. To start saving money today and fast-track your financial recovery, turn an eye toward reducing household waste. Look to these categories for opportunities to save painlessly:

Food – Planning a weekly menu reduces food waste. You can plan ahead and make a shopping list, allowing you to make one trip to the store instead of all those last-minute rushes to pick up butter or milk. Make a shopping list and stick to it! Shop in your own pantry before heading to the store.

Transportation – Those multiple trips to the store and other places hit hardest when gas prices are high. But maximizing efficiency is a smart money move, even when fuel is reasonably priced. Sharing rides, planning routes, and limiting travel to necessities can all make a difference.

Energy – Next to housing costs, energy ranks among the highest recurring expenses faced by consumers. Weatherize your home, manage electronic devices, and maintain household appliances.

Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon

Temporary setbacks are a natural part of personal finance. To ease the impact of these unexpected financial demands, control waste and limit spending to essential items. When you do make a purchase, consider second-hand alternatives, directing the money
you save toward your most important financial responsibilities.

**This post is brought to you by Ethan Rockford Marketing. Cash Crone has an affiliate or sponsored relationship with companies, offering links, product information or content in exchange for payment or product. This is all a part of my quest to manifest wealth, while offering ways for you to reduce debt and work toward financial freedom! **

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