Tips to keep your finances in check

July 7, 2009 9:50:53 AM PDT
Unemployment is at a 26-year high. But there are things you can do to keep your finances in check without a paycheck.

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Cutting back on eating out and text messages are the easy cuts to make. But in this recession, Good Housekeeping says it may not be enough.

"If it doesn't keep a roof over your head, if it doesn't feed you or keep you insured, you can probably cut back on it," said Good Houskeeping's Janet Siroto.

Think about replacing your home phone with your cell phone and drop cable altogether. Websites like hulu.com stream thousands of TV shows and movies for free.

"You really need to go into almost a financial hibernation to stretch your money out for as long as it will possibly last," said Dylan Ross, Swan Financial Planning.

That means searching out zero interest credit cards and using them responsibly. Check out bankrate.com for the best rates.

"So finding a credit card with zero percent interest for as long a period as possible will help you should an emergency happen, a pipe bursts in your basement or even if you're having a hard time just week to week," said Siroto.

Watch out for when those introductory interest rates run out, because after that you'll be paying a lot more for your credit.

If you need cash right now, cashing out those IRA accounts should be your absolutely last resort. That's because you'll pay a huge penalty.

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