Four Ways To Regain Control of Your Finances

By Julie Mayfield

So many things that affect your financial lives are out of your control. Especially lately. Consider:

  • Congress can’t agree on debt reduction.
  • Standard & Poor’s has downgraded our country’s credit rating.
  • Unemployment remains at over 9%.
  • The stock market has spent the last two weeks tanking.

It’s frustrating. And it’s easy to feel like no one is looking out for your best interests.

But there’s still one person that has your back: you.  In unsure times like these, it’s best to focus on what you can do, and not on what is out of your hands.

Here are four things you can be doing right now to improve your financial situation amidst the chaos around you:

You can control your spending.

Washington may be spending out of control, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Look for expenses you can eliminate completely, especially if they aren’t bringing you much value. Unused gym memberships or expensive cable packages are two examples.

For necessities like food or clothing — and even splurges that you choose to keep in your budget — find ways to get them for less. There are dozens of ways to economize, so pick a few and get started. Make it a game to see how much you can lower your expenses, while still maintaining a satisfying life.

You can pay down debt.

Again, Congress can’t seem to agree on how to do this, but you should have a much easier time. Make it a priority today to begin paying down your debt, especially expensive consumer debt, like credit card balances and car loans.

The spending cuts you’re already making should free up some money to do this. Once you start to eliminate debt payments, you’ll find even more financial breathing room in your life.

You can build an emergency fund.

Nothing wrecks a budget or derails a financial plan like unexpected expenses. Whether it’s something small, like a car repair, or something major, like a job layoff, an emergency fund will provide you with something to fall back on.

Most money experts recommend 3-6 months of expenses. Depending on your personal situation, ou may want to adjust up or down from that number, Factor in things like your job security, your debt load and your insurance coverages.

You can save for your future.

Beyond an emergency fund, you’ll need long-term savings for your retirement and other goals you may have, like buying a home or putting your kids through college.

This rough economy makes it hard to know where to put your money. Interest rates are nearly zero and the stock market is volatile, to say the least. But the actual amount of return you earn is less important than your ability to save. Don’t use the things that are out of your control – like stock market returns and interest earned – to put off doing what is in your control: putting money aside in the first place.

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We empower, encourage, and assist single mothers make meaningful decisions that will help sustain and secure their families financial freedom, health and well-being.


Our goal is to increase advocacy for single mothers with focused, practical, easy-to-understand.

This project is designed to strengthen and support local programs in order to build a comprehensive campaign to support low-income families.

3 Easy Steps

Single mothers will learn how to become financially self-sufficient in three easy steps by:

01 | Taking Stock of Their Situations
02 | Regaining Control of Their Lives
03 | Improving Their Financial Health


October 2012
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