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Financial Woe Is Me By Lex Walczynski

Ideally, what comes in does not necessary all go out to creditors. Unfortunately, most of us know, that is one of our better dreams. Sometimes we find all our dreams shattered completely. Would you be prepared?

Once upon a time, I was living the ideal life. I had an excellent paying job. Who had to worry about finances or budgets? Ha! Not me. In fact, I never really paid much attention to price tags. I just knew I wanted it so I bought it. I had money in the bank, a nice car and a swell cushy condo.

But, in a blink of an eye, my dream life turned into a nightmare and I was totally unprepared. It was very frightening and intimidating to realize I had to do something drastic. Consequently, I had to learn quick, fast and in a hurry how to reduce my debts and budget my money or I would literally be out in the street.

Health problems forced me to give up my wonderful job and every luxury that went with it. My savings dwindled and I went from riches to rags faster than greased lightning. The shame of it all, what would my family and friends think? Oh poor me. What did I ever do to deserve this? This is so not fair!

Turns out, I was my own worse enemy. My family still loves and supports me and my friends are still my friends. As soon as I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I resigned myself to the fact that this is the way it was going to be, nothing in the world was going to change it and I had better learn to live with it. Dont misunderstand me, it took quite awhile to get to that point, but the point is Im there and I didnt fall off the face of the earth. I still enjoy life, my illness is not terminal, Im just on a darn ol budget. Grumble, grumble.

Sound familiar? You see my friends, you are not alone. Hopefully you will accept the fact, sooner than I; you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Many, many families find themselves in the same boat. So come on, put on your life jackets and lets row, row, row!

If youve lost your job, there is, of course, unemployment. And, depending on your circumstances, there are state and county agencies that offer additional benefits especially if you have children. It would be advantageous for you to investigate the possibilities. You may qualify for assistance such as; locating a job, temporary financial assistance, health care, food stamps, clothing banks, shelter and transportation.

Perhaps youve been spending more than you make and you find yourself in a serious financial situation. Let me share with you some of the ways you may be able to achieve some financial stability.

Obviously, you need to set up a spending plan or budget. But at this point, it will be of no value if you are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

First and foremost you need to reduce your debt and establish ways to save money. Once youve gotten your expenses inline, then develop a viable budget. You must discipline yourself to stick to it or you will find yourself without that life jacket and no boat to row, row, row.

Youll need to do two things. Find some extra cash and reduce your debts. Here are some suggestions to help you achieve both. At the same time, you will be setting the ground work for your new budget.

Ways to obtain cash:
Have a garage or yard sale. I was amazed at the amount of money I pulled in.
You might want to look for a second job. I know, I know. What a yukky idea. But look on the bright side, its just until the crisis is over.
Sell that extra car.

Ways to reduce your expenses:
Refinance your home at a lower rate to reduce your mortgage payment. But do it now because the word on the street is that the Fed is going to increase the interest rate again!
Increase your insurance deductibles. Then shop around for better rates for your homeowners, auto, life and health insurances.
Stop eating out and prepare your dinners at home.
Start taking your lunch to work instead of buying it.
Shop with a grocery list and stick to it. Make your list using your grocery flyer and prepare your meals based on the specials. Take advantage of buy one, get one free offers. Be diligent and dont buy what you really dont need. Use coupons - most stores offer double the value. Buy store brands. Hey, dont shake your head. I save plenty that way! If I, the once upon a time little princess, can do it so can you.
Cancel your memberships and magazine subscriptions. Instead of going to the gym, take walks, exercise at home. Take trips to your local library for magazines, newspapers and books.
Stay home instead of going out for entertainment. Curl up with a good book from the library and rent movies instead of going out to the movie theatre. Take trips to your local museums and free places of interest.
Cancel that cell phone or reduce your monthly bill by lowering your peak hour minutes to the minimum and only use your cell phone in an emergency.
Become a do-it yourselfer. Do your own home repair and change your own oil in your vehicles. Visit your local library for how to books.
Take a look at your utilities. Do you have any water leaks? Lower your thermostat a few degrees and inquire if your electric and gas company has a budget plan.
Shop at garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets and browse over the classified ads.
Shop at your dollar store for cleaning products, paper goods, and toiletries. Oh now, now be nice my dishes and clothes dont know the difference and my teeth and hair havent fallen out yet.

There are so many other ways to reduce your expenses. Just exercise your common sense.

Most of the time money problems originate from our lifestyle choices. Before you buy something, ask yourself if you really need it.

Establish a realistic budget and make those sacrifices to live within your limits. To me, peace of mind costs a lot less than that new car I dream of owning. Who knows tomorrow I could meet Mr. Right or Mr. Down Right Filthy Rich *wink*

Lex lives in Ohio and is originally from NJ. She has three children and four grandchildren. Her hobbies include reading, crafting and writing.

She has been inducted into the TSWBA Bowling Hall of Fame and is a two time TSWBA Bowler of the Year. She is also a NJ Doubles and Women's All Star Association Champion. Although she does not bowl now, she enjoys coaching young bowlers.

Currently, Lex is the financial advisor for a frugal living and sweepstakes group called "Our Winning Circle". http://www.ourwinningcircle.net

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