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									Stressed about Money? Try These Tips to Get Back on Track Financially

Financial stress can really take its toll on your mental health, especially as you watch your stack of
billsever higher. Here are some ways to relieve that stress and get your personal finances back on the right

1. Stop outspending your means. The most essential thing you can do for your financial situation is to ensure
that your income is higher than your expenses. If not, you have two options: spend less, or find a way
increase your income. Consider using a talent, skill or ability to your advantage--could you mow lawns on the
weekend, teach piano lessons, or proofread papers for college students? A small side job can be a great way to
bring in extra cash to balance your budget.

2. Have savings deducted automatically. Saving money, at least enough for an emergency cushion, is very
important. To ensure that you have enough set aside, set up an automatic transfer, so that a portion of your
check is whisked away to savings on payday. Because the money doesn't sit in your checking account, you are
less likely to spend it frivolously.

3. If you must use credit cards, pay the full balance every month. Credit card interest sucks away money that
you could be saving or putting toward your bills. Unless you have a great rewards card or you can afford to
pay off the entire balance when you receive your statement each month, it's best to avoid paying with credit
altogether. Credit cards can rapidly compound an already stressful financial situation.

4. Use your benefits to your advantage. If your employer offers a 401K matching program, maximize your
contributions to take advantage of this "free" money. While it may not alleviate your financial stress in
immediate future, it can ensure a more comfortable lifestyle during your retirement years. Look out for any
other money-saving perks that your employer offers, such as free or discounted gym memberships or other

5. Examine your expenses in detail. First, track all of your expenditures for a month or two. Then, examine
your monthly spending with a fine-toothed comb to glean a complete picture of your finances; you may notice
areas in which you could definitely trim your spending.

6. Create a budget. Using a site like Mint or even a simple Excel spreadsheet, set up a budget for your
monthly income. Make sure that you factor in recurring monthly expenses as well as semi-annual or once-yearly
expenses like insurance payments, property taxes, and license plate renewals. A solid budget is one of the
most important tools for getting your finances back on track, but it only works if you stick
to it.

When your financial situation is out of control, it can feel impossible to climb out of the hole. You
alleviate financial stress, though, by budgeting your money and ensuring that your income outpaces your
spending. Use these tips to help you get started on a path to a brighter financial future.

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