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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.

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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