5 Tips for Tough Times!

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Times are tough for a lot of people. With layoffs, less available jobs, a slow economy, and mounting debt, this is a good time to cut expenses, save, and start spending less money. Even when it appears as if there is no more room to save, there is always something you can eliminate, cutback on or find an alternative for. Keep reading -- Below are five tips that can help you scale back to find extra money in your budget to pay bills, pay off debt, and start saving.

Cut your phone bill
Get rid of your landline if necessary, use your cell phone for your long distance calls, get rid of the add-on phone features that you never use such as three-way, speed dialing, and call forwarding. Have only the phone and features that you absolutely need not just want. Do you really need a cell phone? If so, do you need all those minutes? If not, get a cheaper cell phone plan.

Lower your energy cost
Turn off lights and the TV when you leave a room. Run the dishwasher, dryer, and washer only when you have a full load. Turn down your hot water heater a few degrees, and save gas money by making fewer trips to run errands by doing more each time you’re out.

Raise insurance deductibles
Raise the deductible on your auto collision insurance to at least $1000 if you can. If your car is older and paid for consider dropping collision insurance all together. Raise your deductible on your home and medical insurance to reduce your monthly cost, and stash the difference in a higher interest money market account.

Practice preventative maintenance
Get health and dental checkups regularly. If you own your own home change your furnace filter once a month, keep your gutters clean, and fix any minor problems before they become major problems. Do you own a car? Get your oil changed regularly to prevent repairs from taking place. If you rent, consider buying renter’s insurance. Anything can happen, so take preventative measures now to avoid future loss.

Downscale your life
Look at the "things" in your life. Is your home too big? Get something smaller and less expensive or get a roommate. Is your car too expensive? Sell it and get a less expensive car with less maintenance and insurance. Are premium cable, multiple cell phones, and hundreds of movies and CD’s stealing your cash? Prioritize, eliminate or cut back things in your life that are not necessary. Is eating out putting you in the poor house? Cook more, eat better, and save on food by buying groceries.

The bottom line, in order the get through tough times now and in the future, you have to determine what are real needs and wants. Then decide that your priority is to make sure your needs are taken care of for you and your family.

Try the above tips to trim down your spending. You will be amazed at how little adjustments and changes will free up extra money to get through tough times.

Sharman G. Lawson is the author of the e-book 12 Steps to Eliminate Debt Forever!  Sharman is a personal finance coach and business consultant in the care home industry.  Sharman has appeared on television, radio and in print media.  For more information visit:


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