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4 Ways Every American Family Can Stay on Their Financial Feet

Money is a resource that certainly can’t be lived without. Under control, money can be a useful tool that increases peace-of-mind and overall quality-of-life. Out-of-control, however, money becomes a major source of worry and a constant burden upon its host. For the American family, gaining and maintaining control of money is a challenging but important process. At the end of the process, you gain the security of knowing that you will be stable on your financial feet for the foreseeable future. Here are a few ways to navigate this process successfully.

Have an Accountable Budget

Though the first true step to financial stability is creating a spreadsheet to track exactly how your money is spent, the next step is just as important: creating a budget. However, just creating a budget won’t do you much good as you seek to maintain control over your money. You need to follow that budget, of course. For some, this may be a task that’s difficult or next-to impossible. If that’s the case for you, enlist the services of a very close friend to hold you accountable as you seek to stick to your budget. They can ask the hard questions to ensure that how much you have to spend and how much you say you’re going to spend are actually lining up with the reality of how much you’re spending. As you learn better spending habits, you will find it’s easier to make these good decisions on your own, without someone looking over your shoulder.

Avoid Bankruptcy

No matter how difficult your financial situation may be, it’s important to avoid declaring bankruptcy, if at all possible. While your debts may be reduced, taking this step will ultimately make it more difficult to be financially fit in the long run. With lower credit scores, fewer assets, and increased scrutiny, any other financial moves you make will be even more risky. Especially without the cushion that a bankruptcy-free history provides. By following other tips on this list, bankruptcy can be less of a concern.

Multiply, Don’t Divide

Monthly payments are dangerous enemies to financial independence. It’s easy to be lured in with “a low monthly payment of $9.95” or a subscription that costs “less than a dollar a day.” Whenever you’re confronted with a claim like this, always multiply that cost to cover an entire year. In the case of the $9.95 monthly payment, that works out to almost $120 a year. For many families, that’s an entire week’s worth of groceries (or more, depending on where you shop). Consider whether you want to be buying 53 weeks worth of groceries every year just to make a monthly payment on an item. In other words, consider whether you really need that item, or if it’s something you could do without. By understanding the long-term cost, you will ensure you commit to far fewer ongoing costs that always seem to hit your bank account at just the wrong time.

Find New Solutions to Old Problems

Technology is constantly changing and people are constantly coming up with new ways to solve age-old problems. Many times, these new solutions can save you major money, ensuring you have enough of a buffer to keep you financially secure. For example, new pre-paid phone plans are coming online all the time. It’s a good idea to check into these new plans periodically to see if there’s one that can meet your needs more effectively for a lower cost. If you just stayed with the same plan, while you might not end up paying more, you’re definitely never going to have a chance to save money.

In addition to taking care of the money you’ve already got, there are countless creative ways to make a few extra bucks as the need arises. Whether it’s raking leaves for your neighbors or selling unwanted items around your house, there is always some way to make money with the resources you currently have. Paired with smart spending, this extra income could be just the key to ensuring your family has a strong financial future.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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