The United States is in a recession. People are getting laid off in all employment sectors. Wages are stagnant. Credit cards are harder to get. Loans are almost non-existent, and if you are able to find one, the rates you receive would make a loan shark envious. How can you possibly get your financial life into order?

Additional Income

Although getting additional income is more difficult in our current economic environment, you can still do things to make money. Some ways to generate additional income are selling items on eBay, advertising your household skills (e.g. house sitting, babysitting, day care, mow lawns, paint rooms, etc) in local stores, picking up loose coins on the side of the road, and if you’re not afraid of needles, donating plasma.

Additional Income

There are unlimited ways to generate additional income, so don’t focus all of your efforts on the usual, “tried-and-true” methods. At times such as these when everyone is looking for additional income, it is imperative to be creative. Look at how you can fill needs and wants in an economical fashion. Just remember that people won’t want to pay much for anything because they don’t have much.

Save

With the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates, banks and credit unions aren’t offering very enticing savings interest rates. So, why should you save, if you’re not making any real interest off of the money? It is because you should be in the habit of saving! When you are in the habit of saving money, you will not have to worry if there is another recession. You will have the money needed to ride out the difficulties.

It is best if you have a full year’s worth of income saved away so that you can live off of your savings for at least one year. Although most of us cannot save that amount, we should strive to put aside around 10% of our monthly income into savings. This will provide some cushion against recessions and unforeseen difficulties. Remember that every penny saved will be one less that you have to find when everyone else is looking for the same one.

Save

Prioritize Debts

Credit cards, mortgages, car loans, personal loans, delinquent taxes, fines, traffic tickets, child support, and student loans. Find all of your debts and put them on a put them on a spreadsheet listing the company, the amount due, the interest rate charged monthly, and the minimum monthly payment. List them with the highest interest rate charged first. The one with the highest interest rate should be the first one that you should pay off.

Do not neglect paying off any debts. You should pay the minimum monthly payment for each of the debts, and any additional money that would have been paid to the debts should all go to the debt with the highest interest rate. This will allow you to pay it off quickly, and then focus on the next highest interest rate.

Although paying off the smallest debts may appeal to you, you will save more money in the long run by paying off the debts with the highest interest rates first.

Prioritize Debts

Cut Expenses

At this time, you will need to turn off your emotions and turn on your logic. Are you ready? Look over your monthly expenses. How much of it goes towards unnecessary things? Unnecessary things include eating out, purchasing a new wardrobe, getting a cell phone, buying a new car, and getting additional furniture and other household niceties. You will find that quite a bit of money is spent on them.

There are many other ways to cut expenses, such as not cooling you home as much in the summer, and not heating it as much in the winter, getting rid of cable and satellite television, switching from cell and land line phones to a VOIP phone, and not taking long and steamy showers. By cutting your expenses, even by a little, will allow you to be able to be financially secure.

These suggestions might not make your life exceptionally easier, however, if you follow them, you should be able to acquire and maintain your long-term financial health.

1st Step to get Your Finances in Order. No it's not Your Budget

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