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Get Your Financial Life Back in Control

If your financial life is a mess, it may seem impossible to get it under control. But the most important thing to do is just start. Every journey begins with one step. So start now!

Here are some things you can do to get the ball rolling:

Take Control of Your Credit Cards

Credit debt is one of the biggest problems facing Americans. Some people have an astounding amount of debt, and that makes it very hard to get back on track.

These credit card tips will help:

  1. Use credit cards for convenience, not for credit. If you don't have the cash in the bank to pay for it, don't put it on your credit card. Better yet, use your banks debit card instead of credit card. However you do it, don't add anything to your existing credit card balances.
  2. Pay down your balances -- starting with the highest rate.There is no escaping your credit card balances. Make a plan to start paying them down each month. And look carefully at your statements and start with the ones that have the highest interest rate -- which are not necessarily the ones with the highest balances.

Start Saving

Set a goal to put some money in a savings account every month. $50 is a good place to start. But make if more if you can. As you see your savings grow, you'll find that you are very motivated to save even more.

To help reach this goal, use Suze Orman's "Can I Afford It?" trick. Every time you go to buy something, ask yourself "Do I really need this or can I live without out." Sometimes you need it, but you'll be amazed at how often you'll decide you don't really need it.

And your savings will start adding up fast.

Take the Free Money

Does your employer offer matching money for your 401(k) or other retirement plan? If so, make sure to contribute so that you can get the free matching funds.

Free is good, right?