SOURCE: Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta

October 16, 2008 12:30 ET

Wall Street Worries: Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta Explains How the Headlines Affect You

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - October 16, 2008) - For months, experts have weighed in on whether the economy has entered a recession. Regardless, most Americans agree that these are challenging financial times. Even if your money isn't heavily invested in financial markets, the panic surrounding the recent government "bailouts" isn't a confidence booster. Higher energy prices and unemployment rates, and housing market woes have already broken the confidence of many American consumers.

Whether the economy directly hits your wallet or you are simply nervous because of what you see in the news, here are some tips from CredAbilityU on-demand classes that you can employ to prevent your own personal recession while the experts sort out the big picture.

Save -- Start or add to your emergency fund. Having three to six months of living expenses in savings will ease the burden if an emergency arises.

Pay Down Your Debts -- Start with unsecured debts like credit cards, medical debt and student loans. Once those are paid, tackle secured debts like car loans and mortgages.

Consider Refinancing -- Worried that the rates on your adjustable rate mortgage will skyrocket? Contact your lender and refinance to a fixed rate or ask if you qualify for a modification to your current loan term. If you don't qualify for a fixed-rate loan, focus on paying down debt.

Control Spending -- Prices are rising faster than your income. Here are a few tips to help you control spending:

--  Use coupons at the grocery store, but only on items you would buy
    anyway.
--  Save on gas by planning your errands so you only need one trip and
    consider alternate modes of transportation, including the subway, walking
    or biking.
--  Buy in bulk and bring your lunch to work.
--  Don't buy lottery tickets. Your money is better spent on food, paying
    down debt and savings.
--  Call your utilities providers to ensure you are paying their lowest
    rates. Get on their budget plans.
    

Taking these steps will help you stay afloat in a challenging economy. To learn more about how to secure a solid financial foundation, access our collection of listen-on-demand classes and live webinars at CredAbilityU.org, a program of Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Greater Atlanta.

WIN $100 OF FREE GAS

Register on our new CredAbilityU Web site and qualify for a chance to win a $100 gas gift certificate. Then, use the resources on the site to learn how to best use that extra money in your pocket. Two winners will be randomly selected on Oct. 31.

FINANCIAL QUESTIONS?

Ask CCCS Director of Education Mechel Glass your personal finance questions every week on the CredAbilityU podcast. Click here to subscribe using iTunes or visit the podcast directly online here.

About the Household CFO Campaign

CCCS launched the Household CFO social campaign in summer 2008. The campaign was developed after a national survey of 1,000 Household CFOs commissioned by CCCS found a serious deficit in financial proficiency and preparations, putting Americans at risk in the event of a family emergency. The campaign utilizes a multi-faceted marketing effort to promote the use of free, online resources that empower Household CFOs -- or those in charge of managing the family finances -- to take control, build confidence and become more knowledgeable about managing their finances.

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