Stay employed! If you have concerns that your employer may start downsizing, update your resume now so that you are prepared. Network with other professionals and organizations in your field, and stay current on the trends in your industry. Work on increasing your credit score, as many employers use this as a variable when selecting candidates.
Save. Start, or add to an emergency fund. Having 6 months of living expenses in a savings account will ease the financial burden if you have a sudden job loss or an unexpected expense.
Pay down your debts. Start with unsecured debts, such as credit cards, medical debt and student loans. Pay off balances with the highest interest rates first. Once your unsecured debts are paid, tackle secured debts such as car loans, mortgages, and equity lines of credit.
Consider refinancing. If you have an adjustable rate mortgage and you are worried that your payments could skyrocket, refinance to a fixed rate while rates are low. Start by contacting the bank that holds your current mortgage. If you can't qualify for a fixed rate loan, work on paying down the mortgage and try to refinance at a later time.
Control spending despite rising costs. Food and gas costs are on the rise, so save money on groceries by using coupons and shopping wisely.
- Take the following steps:
Look for buy one, get one free deals, but only on things you would normally buy.
- Compare prices and buy in bulk when it is more cost effective or when non-perishable items are on sale.
- Save on gas by planning your travel to limit driving time, carpooling to work when possible, or coordinating with neighbors to get the kids to school and share the expense.
Cut back. Reduce your daily expenses by cutting out expenses that are not necessities. You can also:
- Bring your lunch and snacks to work.
- Eliminate your land line and use just a cell phone.
- Cut out the premium channels and get back to basics when it comes to television.
- Pass on purchasing lottery tickets-that money will serve you much better in your emergency fund.
- Call all your current utility providers to make sure you are playing the lowest competitive rates for service, and ask to be placed on their budget billing plan."