Feb. 14, 2013 | By kentuckyguard
Advice by Regina Harris, Kentucky National Guard Personal Financial Counselor burden of moneyFRANKFORT, Ky. -- It’s February! The champagne is all gone, the holiday bills are rolling in and the resolutions are made. Did you make one, a resolution that is, right?  No?  Well, let’s tackle one of the big ones, the one that's on most people's list -- “GET OUT of DEBT!” Too hard, you say?  Not true.  Sure, the process of getting out from under the ball takes sheer will, determination and an iron-clad resolve.  But it can be done. Designate this year to get your financial life in order. No, I didn’t lose my focus; we will also be cranking down that debt. Settle in and relax -- it will be okay. We will focus on fairly simple ‘life in order’ steps that will make a big difference in stability. The first step, right now, we’ll set-up a financial safety net. Savings, ta-dah! I heard the collective groan. This can’t be a surprise. Most everyone loves to have some money stashed away for a rainy day. Almost no one wants to sacrifice creditor bill collector holds debt statementthe time, mental energy and yes, the nixing of some stuff to accomplish the savings. What am I talking about here? I’m saying let’s have a "Murphy’s fund." You know Murphy’s Law, which says "anything that can go wrong will go wrong."  You will never believe in Murphy’s Law more than when you experience it right when you are doing the right thing; getting a financial clue. Our first step is to save some money (for our "Murphy fund").  This money is to pay for small unexpected occurrences that would be an emergency, if we did not have this money saved. 1. How much to save? $500, if you earn $20,000 per year or less. Save $1000, if you earn more than $20,000 per year. 2. This money will be in a savings account that is not at our regular bank. It will not earn a ton of interest and it will be     fee-free to retrieve. Ha-ha I rhymed! I hear you. “I don’t make enough money to save”. I contend that you don’t make enough money to not save. Let’s spend the remainder of our time here finding money. It is easier to not spend the money than it is to make more money. To that end, try to trim your expenses. Check that Cable bill. Are you paying for services that are not used or little used? What about those roll over minutes on your cell phone plan? Can you lower that plan and not lose your services, lose only the capability to use more minutes than usual? Check your electricity and water usage. Can you unplug items seldom used to prevent the energy drain? Think about unplugging those items that have a light on all the time.  They are the amber light on the Wii or stereo or the time display on the Blue Ray/DVD/VCR. What about turning off the water while brushing your teeth and not leave it running while cooking, washing dishes or washing you? More ways to save: take your lunch, bottle your own water, pack your snacks, bundle your car errands, make the gifts you give. What about making more money? Can you get a second job? Can you turn a hobby into a money making venture? Do you have some items to sell? Do it all for the purpose of saving money for your "Murphy fund." The message is: Look through your life and find the money to save for an emergency fund. It may be a bit of a hassle, but you will feel enormous peace and confidence to know that a small mishap will NOT ruin your month, week, day or even an hour of your life. You will have it covered! erase debtGet it?  Got it?  Good. Now, let's get READY, SET, SAVE!!! For more information email Regina at or give her a call at 502-548-4836.  You'll be glad you did!

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