10 Stress Busters for Family Finance

How to manage your money worries and achieve your financial goals.
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Getting Started

When it comes to stress, there's nothing quite like finances to get the nerves jangling. Whether you've got too little, spend too much, or you end up in a spat with your partner every time it comes up, money can ratchet up the tension.

If your solution to your financial stress is to take a long, hot soak to drown out those pesky calls from creditors, or go on a budget-busting online shopping trip, you may need to rethink your approach. Here are 10 stress-busting tips to help you get your financial life on track.

1. Chant a money mantra.

You see it, you want it. Now, how do you keep from buying it? Chant "I'm saving to buy a house," or whatever mantra works for you as you force yourself to keep on walking.

2. Start saving early.

Whether you're saving for your kids' education, a new home, or a special vacation, start saving early. It's easy to put off saving until next month, but you never know what will come up that will change your plans -- again. Instead of putting it off, start by making a small, automated contribution to your savings account just after each paycheck -- even as little as $10 a paycheck can add up fast. Then, gradually increase the amount each month.

And if it's your child's education you're saving for, you'll need to bite the bullet and start a little bigger than that now: Assume you'll need to save between $115 and $284 a month, starting when your baby is born.

3. Schedule fun family time -- that's free.

Whether it's a bike ride in the park, a trip to the local library, or even a walk in your neighborhood, explore fun, low-cost activities for your family.

4. Get smart about online shopping.

Shopping online can be easy and reliable. But posting personal information, shopping by credit card, and browsing without seeing the actual merchandise can make anyone nervous.

5. Ignore the Joneses.

In this consumer culture, you may break out in a sweat when you see the neighbors' fancy new car, or hear about their ski trip to Switzerland. Know your goals and stick with them. The Joneses may be up to their eyes in debt.

Continued on page 2:  Real Solutions


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