I woke up the following headlines this morning:
- * DHL to cut 9500 jobs and close US service centers
- * Government provides record aid package to AIG ($150 billion to date and aren't these the same folks who spent $23K of that money at a spa???)
- * Circuit City files bankruptcy
- * Fannie Mae posts $29 billion loss in 3rd quarter
- * Wall Street falls, unable to shake economic woes
Let’s keep it real. Things aren't looking too kosher in regards to the state of our economy at the moment. More and more of our tax dollars are being shelled into companies. Companies who seem unable to get their shit together long enough to get themselves out of the hole they dug themselves into. Well, I'm tired of worrying. I haven't really felt the sting from this economic crisis. Yet anyways. I have lost a few thousand dollars in my 401K account and I have had a couple of credit card companies try my patience by skyrocketing my APR or lowering my credit limit. Aside from that everything has been okay. I've even been enjoying the falling gas prices (REALLY enjoying it). But I don't want to be a sitting duck. So, I am instead choosing to be prepared. I decided to create my own personal bail out plan.
The purpose of my plan is to improve the health of the following key areas of my life: financial health, physical health, and emotional health. I brainstormed ways to get myself in the best possible shape in these areas. I want to be able to handle and conquer whatever crisis/recession/craziness that awaits us in the near future. Here is the break down:
- * Debt - Pay off all my credit card debt. Get rid of as much debt as I can.
- - Tips
- - If you can’t pay it all off then work at getting your balance to limit ratio below 40% on all cards.
- - Call the credit card companies and ask to have your APRs lowered or limits increased (no credit pull of course).
- - Lower the interest rate on car loan once credit score reaches 700. If you have a loan through a credit union, usually your APR is based on a credit score tier. Re-evaluate loan each time your score reaches new tier. My monthly payment may be the same but i'll have the loan paid off around 3-5 months earlier.
- * Budget – Lower my Vonage plan from $25/month to $15/month.
- - Trim the fat off of your budget. Here are some ways how:
- - Get rid of the cable. Majority of shows are free online.
- - Always “shop” for the best deal.
- - Trim the excess fat from your cell phone package (unused features, excessive data plans).
- - Chuck the land line and opt for a VoIP internet phone (I pay $30/ month for Vonage…..unlimited everything).
- - Utilities – Conserve, conserve, converse. Your pockets will thank you.
- - Rent – Roommate? Or move to a less expensive place if your lease is up soon.
- - Childcare – Share babysitters with your fellow mommies.
- - Prescriptions – Price compare your Rx. Who says you can’t shop for the best deals for your meds. I have United Health Care and they offer a service online which allows me to find the lowest priced option for my Rx. Here is a site for uninsured Floridians.
- - Groceries – Grow a garden. Shop at your local farmer’s market. Buy generic. The crockpot is your friend.
- - Auto – Keep up the maintenance on your auto. A huge repair bill in this economy is not cute. Save money by doing some of the car maintenance yourself.
- * Savings – Save up at least 3 months worth of expenses in E-Fund.
- - Tips:
- - 3 months to cover basic necessities (food, gas, toiletries, etc) and expenses (electric, water, sewer, shelter). Key word here is BASIC.
- - Reallocate the fat you trimmed off your budget to your savings account.
- - After you have paid off your cc debt, reallocate excess money to your savings.
- - If you are bogged down by cc debt and an obese budget, look at bringing in some extra money.
- * Home Purchase – If you are financially ready then this is the best time to buy a home.
- - Tips:
- - Get yourself in the best financial picture.
- - Research 1st time home buyer programs and down payment assistance programs.
- - Shop for the best mortgage deal.
- - Shop for a great home.
- * Get Healthy – Get my health in check. The last thing I want to deal with are health issues during a time like this.
- - Tips:
- - Eat healthier – Eliminate processed foods. Grow a garden. You’ll have fresh and wonderful veggies and fruit at your finger tips (I can’t wait to get my 1st home). Find a local farmer’s market in your area.
- - Try home remedies or natural approaches before resorting to drugs.
- - Know what to put in your body and what not to.
- - Cleanse your body. There is different ways to do it. Find the one the works best for you.
- - Research. You’ll be surprised by the new “old” information that you find. Like MSM. This guy is pretty on point.
- * Get in shape – No one is trying to be a size 2 but I should be able to climb 2 flights of stairs without losing my breath.
- * Strengthen my bond with HIM – As long as I have faith in God and know that he won’t give me more than I can handle, I’ll make it through anything.
- * Tap into some relaxation methods – Relax, relate, release!
- - Tips:
- *One on one time with the family – VERY important.
We should always aim to be our best in every aspect of our lives. I think we owe it to ourselves and our families to be as best prepared as we can; especially during this time of economic uncertainty. We rely too much on others and not enough on ourselves. While these multi-billion dollar companies and their millionaire CEOs get flooded with our tax dollars, average Americans all around us are losing their jobs, their homes, and their dignity. Some may think I am overreacting while others will understand exactly where I am coming from. I am not one to sit, wait, and see. I am not big on taking risks (reason why I moved all the money I have in my 401K accounts to stable income/mutual funds).
I am not an expert on finances, health, or even spirituality. But I am an expert on me. My advice: Do what’s best for you.