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What a Financial Meltdown Means for Moms

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Continued from What a Financial Meltdown Means for Moms.

HAVE CASH ON HAND. You need some. Get some. Keep it in a safe place at home. You should have immediate access to at least enough money to live for a week. A month is better.

I say always plan for the worst -- whether that's an earthquake, terrorist attack, a power outage or even a bank "holiday." If this thing gets too crazy, they could declare a bank holiday. I don't want to panic anyone, but if that happens, no one will be taking credit -- and debit cards and ATM machines will not work. So we need to have some cash. It's just good to be prepared.

STOCK UP. Now's the time to stock up on canned goods, to be prepared for all of life's unknowns. The best way to do that is to get serious about grocery coupons. Use them to reduce the price of sale items even further. It's called stockpiling -- and no one does it better than TheGroceryGame. If you follow Teri Gault's program, you'll soon have the equivalent of a small grocery store in your home from which you can shop when you need to get something for dinner. That's an "emergency fund" you can eat.

GET YOUR OWN ECONOMY IN CHECK. Face it, there's not a lot either one of us can do about what's going on nationally in this country's economy. But we can do something about our personal economies. Stop depending on credit. Start thinking CASH when you grocery shop, buy gas, and make that quick run through Target. Track your spending -- every nickel. Discover easy ways to reduce each of your expenses from food to electricity to clothes and entertainment. Find ways to become more self-sufficient. Plant a garden, learn to bake bread, walk or ride your bikes more often. Leave the car at home for a change.
 
In just 12 weeks, Christmas will be upon us. The best gift you will ever give yourself is an all-cash Christmas. It's not too late. But you need to get started right away.

When the going gets tough, we find out what we're made of. Tenacity, courage and faith are great character qualities that get a good workout when times are tough. I'll say it again: Tough times don't last, but tough people do. It's time to get tough.

Mary Hunt is the creator of the Debt-Free Living newsletter and is also the author of 13 books on money management that have sold more than 1.3 million copies. She's the mother of two sons, Josh and Jeremy.

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