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Take Charge Of Your Finances

Apr 29, 2008
More than ever before, Americans are drowning in debt. Studies show that the average American family uses up to 8 credit cards, and carries between $7,500 and $10,000 in credit card debt alone--add student loans, mortgages, equity lines and car payments to the mix, and it can be a recipe for disaster. Experts warn that as interest rates climb, and the market becomes increasingly uncertain, it is more important than ever to be in control of our finances.

Here are a few tips to help you obtain financial freedom in 2008:

1. Make a list. As painful as it may be, by making a comprehensive list of debts, complete with the attached interest rates, you can accurately measure your financial health. Remember, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

2. Stick to your goal. Post your goal in a central location, where you will be reminded of it daily. Take your credit cards out of your purse, switch to cash only, or make yourself accountable to another person for all your purchases. Find new hobbies, and if necessary, new friends. Surround yourself with people who support you in your goal. You are beginning a new lifestyle"embrace it and focus on the positive aspects of being debt free.

3. Track your spending. In addition to figuring out what you owe, it is important to understand where your money is going. Seeing your spending habits in black and white, is often enough motivation to live more frugally. You may find that you are spending much more than expected on your food bill, or that the increase in gas prices is costing you more than you thought for your commute.

4. Cut the fat. As you track your spending, watch for ways to cut out unnecessary costs from your budget. At this point, nothing is sacred--you must be willing to question every expense. If you commute, consider public transportation for a few months, or find a coworker to carpool with, and share the cost of gas. Pack your lunch instead of eating out, or read the paper online instead of buying it every day.

Even ten dollars a day spent at Starbucks, on lunch, or on snacks adds up to almost $300 a month. Every cent you waste is money that could be going toward your goal. Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference as you work to eliminate debt this year.

5. Find extra income. Depending on the severity of your financial situation, there are a number of ways to increase your income. Working overtime or even taking a second job might be necessary to achieve your financial goals. Part time or weekend jobs such as dog walking, lawn care, or snow removal can help to make a huge dent in your debt. Using websites like eBay, half.com, or Craigslist.com, is another way to turn your extra clutter into cash.
About the Author
Can debt settlement companies save you money on your debts? Find out whether they're as good as they sound on the Debtopedia website at www.Debtopedia.com website where you can get a free copy of my report Secrets Of Credit Card Debt
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