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Everyday Cheapskate: 8 Things You Can Do to Survive Tough Times

Mary Hunt on

Current headlines and world events serve as a grim reminder of how quickly one's personal economy can change. If the rain of an economic downturn were to fall on you tomorrow, would you know how to find shelter from the storm?

Troubles come and troubles go. Economic recovery is sure, eventually. In the meantime, knowing how to survive will help you stave off potential disaster.


Your attitude -- the way you respond to life and all of its circumstances -- is more important than anything. It is more important than the past, than struggle or success, than education or experience. It is more important than how much money you have, how much you owe, what you would like to do or where you would like to go. When you face tough times, your attitude will be either your greatest asset or worst liability. The key to changing your attitude is reprogramming your mind. Whatever you choose to focus on is what you will move toward.


Figure out exactly what you earn, what you own and what you owe. What insurance do you have? How long would it take your unemployment benefits to kick in? Do you have enough cash to bridge the gap?



It's a simple strategy: Spend less than you earn. Stop living paycheck to paycheck. Start swimming against the tide of the consumer credit culture that says you can have it all while making it possible for you to spend consistently more than you earn. A good rule of thumb: Adjust your lifestyle so that it fits within 80% of your income. Start NOW to cut a little from every area of your spending. Take it a step at a time. You will be amazed how quickly your financial picture will change for the better.


Is your money being sucked into a compounding interest sinkhole? If you're not paying off your credit cards every month, that's just what can happen. The minimum payment on credit card debt is calculated as a percentage of your current balance. The minimum payment drops as your balance is paid, but thanks to the magic of compounding interest you'll end up paying for a long, long time if you allow the credit card company to determine the way you pay off the balance.


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