resoucesOnce you have made the decision to get yourself out of debt, you have to make the decision to be actively involved in the process.  Resources.  So many things that can help in so many ways:

·         Get to know the people you do business with – really get to know them.  I swore off going to the dealership for my car maintenance, that is until I ended up on a highway in a car that was about 2 years old doing 70MPH with no breaks and paying over $600.00 to fix it because when calling their warranty department I was told I was 75 miles over the warranty coverage and they could have looked beyond that if I would have had my oil changed at the dealership.  Nice.  Needless to say, I got out of that car/manufacturer immediately and with my new car went to the dealership I bought from for EVERYTHING!  Result, I love my service person there.  He looks out for me.  I call him every time I need something done with the car and he goes out of his way to find me deals and savings and always throws in extras.  He has saved me a lot of money and even better – I trust him.  He knows I am a customer for life now, and treats me like one.

·         I have 2 dogs that probably between the both of them have had every medical problem a dog could have:  bloat, chickenpox, irritable bowel, food allergies, you name it – we have gone through it.  But because I love them, I will do what is needed for them.  Pet insurance became a priority and well worth the monthly fee, especially for emergencies.  It works.  Years ago, I made a point to get to know the folks in our vet office (and, unfortunately, the after hour’s emergency vet) and now when something comes up that is a large expense –they help me work something out.  They know I am “good for it” and they understand the expense involved in raising a happy healthy pet.

·         Need to get a 2nd job?  Been there.  The decision I made was that if I was going to spend more time at work, it was not going to be doing something I dreaded.  I looked at what I love to be involved with –animals.  So, for over a year I became the weekend supervisor at the “doggie day care” that my dogs attended.  Loved it!  Made good money and got to enjoy caring for dogs – bonus…discounted doggie day care for the kids!  I also signed up for various organizations looking for people to do surveys and be involved in focus groups.  Doesn’t take much time, I can do it when I want to and the focus groups pay good money and the on-line surveys accumulate points that you can turn in for gift cards and products.

·         Your community is full of resources.  Look at the trade schools in your area.  You will find that there are places like beauty schools and dental hygienist schools that need folks to come in for service so they can earn enough hours to graduate.  X-rays, full cleanings and other dental services for $20.00!  Highlights, cut and style for $50.00!  They are good too – they have to be or they don’t pass!   Explore your non-profits.  Family services organizations have everything from budget counseling, legal counseling and medical resources at little to no cost to you.

·          Find out if your company has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  This is free of charge to the employee and offers counseling on everything from debt management to stress to couples counseling and everything in between.

·         Read the paper and stay in the know.  I was one of the folks that got a “great deal” on the house I bought in 2005.  Granted, I have and can continue to pay my mortgage every month, but didn’t know as much as I should have about ARM, Interest Only and Adjustable Rates.  Now because of the state our country is in, I had to do more research to see exactly what I got myself into.  By learning about what programs are out there, calling my mortgage company and asking questions and staying in touch, I am eligible to take advantage of some of the programs being offered and will be able to better secure myself as it relates to my home.  No one was going to call me and tell me how to save money and better my life – you have to step up and ask questions and take the lead.

·         There is always a discount.  Before you buy anything, search the web for coupons….chances are there is at least one that will fit your needs hidden on the World Wide Web.  Find out what your bank has to offer.  I recently signed up for a program that if I use my debit card and shop certain stores on-line, my bank will give me 3% - 15% back on my purchase.  So, I am buying things I normally would, but now I get money back for doing it.

·         Get yourself an Entertainment book for your area.  For $25.00 you get a book of coupons that can get you free meals, discounts at events and an outlet for trying new things in your area.

Bottom line:  A little research can go a long way.  Know what is out there and use it.