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Recession-Proof Your Finances


Let’s face it. Times are tough. Last month, the country lost over 500,000 jobs! Every day another big name company announces big number job cuts. How can you protect your family? Check out these seven smart moves to recession-proof your family finances



First, the good news. We’ve got a long history of getting through tough times. We had a 400 year recession, where we were economically repressed and financially stifled. Still, we survived. In fact, making a way out of no way and dollar out of 15 cents are cultural truisms that need not be forgotten. Of course, modern day lifestyles and our “movin’ on up” put more financial demands on us than our ancestors ever had to bear. So along, with having the right mindset about your ability to survive this downturn you need a few practical steps to get you there. 
Consider these seven smart moves and road-tested strategies:  
1. Dine for Less Dollars  
Food prices are through the roof. Dairy products jumped nearly 11 percent over the past year; coffee costs almost 9 percent more, and a dozen eggs are up 43 cents. To keep my family shopping budget on track, I always go with a list. I also plan my meals and snacks for myself and the kids so that I buy exactly what I need with only a few extras. Last month this saved me $125. 
Eating out is another money stealer. We’ve cut back our eating out to once every two weeks. We do more quick snacks for a treat, so the kids don’t feel the pain, but full restaurant meals are definitely less often. This saved me $200 last month. 
2. Redefine Home Entertainment
Instead of going out, I recently purchased some great board games and starting renting DVDs from the library for free. The kids to go to the library and pick their own and we’ve having some real quality time together playing Twister, Monopoly and more. 
3. Cut the Cable
I also recently reduced my cable package down to basic cable. 
You may want to prune some entertainment expenses as well. Drop the premium movie channels to save from $30-$40 per month. 
4. Write it down
Keep a spending journal for one week to track your spending. I mean every penny. Sometimes the cost of your morning bagel and java habit really adds up to more than you thought. Once you track your spending for a week, you can begin to plug those spending holes. Try brown bagging your lunch a few days every week. 
5. Vet Your Debt
Owing money is rarely a good thing, but it can be especially dangerous in uncertain economic times like today. Lose your job, and you can suddenly find yourself unable to make your monthly credit card and loan payments. And that can lead to serious financial trouble. Attack high interest credit cards first, trying to hammer down those balances. If your FICO credit score is 720 or above and your credit card’s rate is 10 percent or higher, get on the telephone with your card issuer and negotiate to try to bring down your interest rate.
6. Get An Emergency Stash of Cash 
A rainy-day emergency savings fund becomes even more important in times like this. Aim to have three months of living expenses on hand. Check out a federally insured, high interest savings account like the ones offered online at websites like emigrantdirect.com or ingdirect.com. 
7. Make Your Job Safer
If things are looking shakey where you work, you may want to start networking for another job on the down low. Quietly, let friends and associates know that you could be available, watch the newspaper want ads, and consider joining online networking groups such as linkedin.com. to boost your employment skills and help buffer you from a future layoff. 
Even if things seem pretty solid at your company or organization, it’s not a bad idea to dust off and update your résumé, so you’ll be ready to job hunt quickly if necessary. Emphasize a variety of skills; the more things that you show you can do, the more attractive you will be to potential employers. 

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