The economic meltdown has turned American savings dollars into ash. Now more than ever, people are seeking sound advice on how to recover, rebuild and get through these tough times.
New York Times bestselling author Pamela Yellen suggests three simple steps that you can take right now.
First, the six-letter word that makes people cringe – budget – but as Yellen says, it doesn’t have to feel like a straightjacket.
“Spending is emotional and automatic for many,” she said. “The solution is to become a conscious spender by using these tips and tricks to combat the games Madison Avenue and your mind play on you.”
Some suggestions for slashing bulging budgets: Skip the coffee shop and save $100 or more a month. Stay healthier and save money by buying groceries and cooking instead of hitting the drive-thru window.
Second, downsize. Look for monthly money-zappers such as premium cable TV, with hundreds of channels you don’t watch anyway. Borrow books, DVDs, CDs and favorite magazines at your local library instead of shelling out more money.
“Ask yourself if a purchase you’re considering is really a want or a need,” said Yellen. “Will buying it move you closer to your long-term financial goals, or give you short-term pleasure that will soon be forgotten? Focusing on relationships and creating memorable experiences is often free or low-cost and bring pleasure that lasts far longer than stuff.”
Third, become your own best advocate by renegotiating your bills. Yellen suggests you stop ducking creditors and instead tell them what you can afford to pay.
“Banks, finance companies, credit card companies, the IRS – they all would rather have you paying something than nothing,” she said.
Everyone knows financial woes lead to stress; taking the reins on your own financial situation can ease the burden.
“The best way to gain control over your finances and reduce stress is to focus on growing your emergency cash reserve fund to equal at least one year – and preferably two years – of your income,” said Yellen.
For more information about Pamela and her tips visit her website at BankOnYourself.com.