Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thursday Money Tips: Fear Factor Edition

Each Thursday, Ms. Moneypenny publishes 5 money-related tips. If you have tips, please leave them in the comments, and I will collect them for later use in my blog.

This week, I'm focusing the tips on how to address the concerns we all have about the state of the economy, our jobs, and our financial well-being. Here's a few things you can do to help you get through a scary time.

1. Take a step back and focus on something else
If you are in a constant panic about how the economy will affect your income, job and future, it's time to calm down, and do something else. Liz Pulliam Weston offers some tips in her article on when your money makes you crazy:

2. Start a small "Under the Mattress Fund", in cash
While I'm a fan of my money earning money, my husband and I always keep some cash on hand. In an emergency, it comes in handy. Many times you can't get the cash exactly when you need it, like when your alternator dies, and the AAA guy comes to tow you. A bit of cash - no more than $300-$500.00 - on hand can go a long way.

3. Stock your pantry
The next few shopping trips, add some pantry and freezer items to your list. Don't try to buy all at once, just add a few cans or jars or packages to your usual shopping trip. For a truly good approach, do this by checking what products you use are on sale, or that you have a coupon for. This way, you are slowly working your way up to having a supply of food and paper goods and other supplies that you can rely on when times get tough.

4. Look for places you can cut back - now
The hardest part of an uncertain economy is not knowing what will happen next. But by minimizing your outgo, you can affect that uncertainty in a positive way- the less income you need, the easier it is to replace. That said, most of us cannot affect the terms of our mortgage or rent. So look in other places. Hang clothes to dry. Turn off lights when you leave a room. Shop the sales flyers rather than throwing whatever looks good into the cart. Skip the first run movie, get rid of HBO and get Netflix instead. In short, cut now, and it will be less painful.

5. Brush up your resume and network
I'm known amongst friends and collegues as someone who is very good with resume help, and well networked. I've put executives in touch with resources to help them implement systems, helped link up former coworkers with new job opportunities, and helped friends and family put together resumes and find jobs. I don't do this because I want something in return, I do it because I want to help. But in the meantime, I am also building a network of people who would help me if and when I needed it. So if you have a successful person in your life, ask them to edit your resume. Or if they know anyone looking for person with your skills. Or if you can do anything to help them.

What comes around goes around.

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