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Special report

7 steps for building financial fitness

Would you be able to financially survive a job loss or a medical emergency? When life deals those unexpected hurdles, you want to be as prepared as possible. Check out these strategies for curbing debts and building savings.

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Get financially buff
1. Dumping your debts
Fees are the big moneymaker for credit card companies. Get rid of this debt -- starting today.
PLUS: Debt-repayment worksheet
 
2. Cut credit card fees and rates
Ask for a lower rate -- you'll probably get it.
PLUS: Tips to avoid late fees
 
3. Chuck those checking account fees
With lower fees and more free checking accounts available, why are you still paying for your checking account?
PLUS: 7 ways to keep your bank account in check
 
4. Slash your mortgage costs: refinance
Whenever rates are low, many borrowers will find that refinancing their first mortgages makes sense.
PLUS: Capitalize on your home equity the right way
 
5. Take control of your spending
It's easier to find spots to save when you make a plan.
PLUS: A budget worksheet
 
6. Build an emergency fund
10 ways to stash cash, even on a tight income.
PLUS: Where do I stash my emergency fund?
 
7. Grow healthy and hefty savings
Once you've collected some cash, there's no shortage of ways to keep it and make it grow.
 
-- Updated: Nov. 20, 2002
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See Also
How to create a budget
Which debts to pay off first
Assertive consumer's guide to savings
Surviving a personal financial meltdown

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BASICS SERIES
Begin with personal finance fundamentals:
Auto Loans
Checking
Credit Cards
Debt Consolidation
Insurance
Investing
Home Equity
Mortgages
Student Loans
Taxes
Retirement

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