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A penny for your thoughts?

Money may make the world go round, but it’s the volatile economy that has it spinning out of control. Even if you have a job it’s important to stay one step ahead in case tomorrow you don’t. Some preventative measures you can do now include making extra money, cutting back your spending, and saving a little more. So how do you do that without feeling that you’re sacrificing?

Change your attitude.

Make more Making extra money can be as simple as looking around your home. When my sister redid her kitchen she posted her old appliances on Craig’s List. A day later the old fridge, stove and microwave were gone and she had extra cash in her pocket. The same goes for clothes, china, jewelry, and more. While it can be hard to let go of things, you need to ask yourself are you really using/wearing/needing this item? Of course, this question is better asked BEFORE you buy it in the first place.

Spend less Okay, raise your hand if you think you’re entitled to a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee every day or having a gazillion cable channels or getting that shirt “because, well, it’s only $12.99 and I deserve it.” Madison Avenue has done a swell job convincing us we deserve vacations, cars and spending more on make-up because we’re worth it. And we are, but that’s not the point. During this recession, our job is to stay afloat and that may mean cutting back on things. That doesn’t mean our life has to suck. Far from it. Ask yourself what really makes you happy. Is it having more stuff or having more time doing the things you love?

Save more My first job out of college a friend told me to save $25 a week (more if I could, less if I couldn’t) by having it directly go into a savings account from my paycheck. That way I never missed it. And she was right. After a few years, there was a solid chunk of change I would have otherwise spent on stuff. When I was eleven I remember wishing I had all the money I had ever spent on candy. Many of us can say that now about things a lot more expensive than candy, but while we can’t go back, we can start planning today. ING direct is a great and easy way to start.

My grandfather Murray, who’s going to be 90 this week, worked hard his entire life. He didn’t have gym memberships or drink designer lattes, instead his money went into savings. My Nana Banana, who lived to 90, worked three jobs in order to put her kids through college. What they had in common was their work ethic, their determination to give their children a better life, and most importantly the right attitude. They never complained, but just saved their pennies. And sure enough, those pennies added up.

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