Never Mind A New Economic Stimulus Package – Save Yourself!

There’s been a lot of talk in the news about a new economic stimulus package.  Some are talking about a new one being approved this year while others speculate that it won’t happen until President-Elect Obama takes office.  There’s been talk that a new economic stimulus package would be more infrastructure and not checks as the last package was.  And there definitely has been a lot of talk of whether we even need a new economic stimulus package; questioning if it even makes a difference.  Here’s what I say:

Never mind a new economic stimulus package – Save yourself!

Don’t count on the government to come through with legislation to help you make ends meet.   That attitude will never get you ahead.  You need to take matters into your own hands.  If you are in a bad financial situation you need take control and ownership of the problem and fix it yourself.

Here are 12 ways you can take matters in your own hands and save yourself:

  • Get your finances in order.  If you haven’t done so get all of your monthly bills and expenses together and figure out what you are really spending.  Put together a realistic budget that you will follow.
  • Make sure you excel at your job.  Unemployment is the highest it’s been in quite a while and I’m sure there will be many more layoffs to come.  Don’t be the robot at work that does just enough to get by.  Get yourself interested and make yourself valuable to your company.  Don’t just get your job done – get it done well!  If layoffs are coming you may be able to save yourself from the chopping block.  Hey, maybe you could even get a promotion?
  • Build networking relationships with friends and co-workers.  Sometimes, as unfair as it seems, it’s not what you know but who you know.  Keep up with co-workers when they move to other jobs.  They can be your foot in the door if you leave your current job.  Stay in contact with friends as well.  Even if they don’t work in your industry they could prove to be a valuable contact.  Network!
  • Pay your bills on time.  Lenders are getting shy about giving out their money these days.  If you pay late you may find your interest skyrocketing.  Universal default allows one credit company to raise your interest rate if you’re late on a different company’s card.  A late payment can make all of your credit cards have high rates.  If you aren’t paying off your balances every month you can find yourself sinking faster into debt.
  • Put money away for emergency savings.  Really you don’t know what the future holds and as the saying goes: “when it rains it pours!”  What happens if you find yourself out of a job?  Then the car breaks?  Then you need a doctor’s appointment?  Hopefully you don’t need your savings but put yourself in good shape by having savings in place.
  • Make sure your credit report is clean.  Errors on your credit report can be costing you in higher interest rates on your credit cards and loans.  Make sure your credit report is accurate.
  • Check you credit score.  Your credit score is like your code of honor among credit agencies.  A low score means higher interest rates and could also mean you won’t get a needed loan or credit.  Credit scores are also used in housing and in job hunting.  Get that score up!
  • Cut costs.  Remember that emergency savings?  A way to help build that up is to cut costs.  Cut a few corners here and there and you can find yourself with significant savings!
  • Analyze your tax withholding.  Are you paying too much?  Pay what you need to and no more.  Many like to get a big tax refund but you’re better off having that money in each of your paychecks instead.  You don’t earn any interest when the government is holding your money!  Adjust your tax withholding so you maximize your paycheck.
  • Re-evaluate your holiday spending.  The holiday spending frenzy is starting.  Don’t get caught up in the current!  You don’t need to spend exorbitant amounts on every person you know this holiday season (here’s a challenge: see if you can keep a $100 holiday).  What really the point in spending so much if it puts you in a bad financial situation?  Budget what you can spend on gifts and don’t go over.  Make sure your budget is within reason of your financial situation (don’t spend more than you have!).
  • Go to school.  Yes, school is an expense.  But taking some extra courses or pursuing/finishing up a degree can help make yourself more marketable to employers.  This can be as simple as taking an advanced Excel course to working on a higher degree.
  • Work on building alternate sources of income.  Try your hand at blogging.  Work on developing a hobby that could earn money such as photography.  Other streams of income are a good thing, especially when money is tight.  And you never know, what you start could develop into something bigger.

It always sounds nice when the government offers to give us money back but we have to remember there’s a price to this.  It could mean less services somewhere else or more taxes down the line.  Remember the money has to come from somewhere!

Don’t hope the government will do something to ease your situation.  Get a hold of your finances and take care of it yourself!

What other ways could we take financial matters in our own hands?

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Published or updated August 21, 2016.


  1. @ Craig – Yes, if you’re in a good way financially then a stimulus check is a bonus that can be spent which could help some companies. Many put the last check into savings or paid bills which defeated the purpose of it anyway. Of course if our finances are all set then maybe we wouldn’t need a stimulus check either.

  2. @ Beatriz – Great idea on a second language!

  3. Nice tips, I agree that people should not hope that the government gives some type of stimulus package. I personally think the way they currently go about doing it is very ineffective. They need to change the system for the package to work. People need to take matters into their own hand. A stimulus package should be thought of as the same thing as if you put on an old pair of jeans and realize there’s $5 in it. Just a nice added bonus.


  4. Beatriz/Mindful Money says:

    I like this photo even better than the nature scene–it’s a close up of graffiti , isn’t it? Shows how you can find beauty in unlikely places!

    Another frugal thing you can do to improve your marketability is learn a new language via free cds/books from the public library. I’ve found that knowing a second language has helped me in almost every job situation and probably got me the job to begin with more often than not.

    Beatriz/Mindful Money’s last blog post..Gather your rewards while you may…

  5. Amen to analyzing tax withholdings! Just so you know, I’m using you as support for my argument with Columbia. We ‘corrected’ his withholdings at the beginning of the school year (instead of a singleton and a 1…) with the understanding that we’d re-evaluate this when we meet with our accountant for income taxes. I’ll be bookmarking this post for that time! =)

  6. @ JC – Haha, sounds good. I’m interested to see what we need to do with our tax with holdings. Last year we got way too big of a refund. I don’t think that will happen next year but I’d like our taxes to be as close to even as possible.

  7. @ Miranda – Agreed. Now imagine if we can take this mindset and extend it to when the economy is fine…Savings would go up and folks would actually be able to afford the things they want without using credit.

  8. Sound advice, as usual. It is very important at this time to do what we can to get our personal finances in order. Now, more than ever, it is vital to think about HOW we are spending money, and make appropriate adjustments. Before it is too late.

    Miranda’s last blog post..Car Repairs and the GM Bailout

  9. I agree with you 100% – we need to get out of this sense of entitlement mentality that seems so prevalent!
    It’s really kind of ridiculous …
    It was only a couple generations back, that people saved cash for their car purchases – and sometimes even their houses!
    People actually had pride in being financially responsible.

    I can’t remember where I saw it – but was Congress actually considering forgiving people’s credit card debt?
    That is just insane-
    What the heck is wrong with our people in authority???

  10. @ Dawn – The problem with this bailout talk is it punishes those people who did the right thing and saved and stayed frugal. We didn’t buy a house because we couldn’t afford it. Why should someone else get assistance if they bought a house they couldn’t afford? It’s like telling people they should go out and spend to their heart’s content.

  11. During this economic season, it is certainly good to have your affairs in order as you have suggested. The better prepared we are the better we are going to fare. No one knows where the bottom is in this mess. I’d certainly rather be safe than sorry! Great advice!

    Jeff@MySuperChargedLife’s last blog post..Now Is A Good Time To Be Living On A Budget

  12. @ Jeff – Amen!

  13. True True. Read the book “Something for Nothing”.

    It’s amazing how many people want the government to bail them out because they don’t want to work hard to get themselves out of trouble or be responsible enough to keep themselve out of trouble.

    Susy’s last blog post..America Recycles Day

  14. @ Susy – And isn’t that a root of the economic problem today? Securities bundled in some convoluted way to sell and make money rather than investments in real production; people wondering why they don’t have money without being more productive…what made the US strong was production and we still have it just not at the level we used to.

  15. Those are pretty nice tips! Thanks for sharing.

    I specially liked the “go to school” one more. Yea, I wish that I had completed my studies, duh! I have taken wrong financial decisions in my life. I wish I had learned more about managing my finances better when I was a little youner. But anyways. Its better late than never.

    And thanks for including the informative links within your article. I am glad I got to read so many pf blogs at one go. Thanks! You guys are doing an excellent job in providing information to the general readers seeking financial knowledge and advice.

    I just subscribed to your blog to keep myself in touch with your future posts as well.

    God bless

    Sam from Debt Consolidation Care Community’s last blog post..debt settlement

  16. @ Sam – Yeah, if I only knew then what I know know. I wish I completed my degree too. But there’s still hope and time.

  17. You’re right ffb, there is always hope and time. Education has no age. We all learn everyday. 🙂

    Sam’s last blog

  18. Great tips. Making a note of all of your income and expenditure is a really useful exercise as you can often be surprised at home much you spend each month. You can then use price comparison sites to see if you can save money in areas such as electricity, phone bills, etc. You would be amazed how much money you can save just by shopping around and looking for the best deals.

    nick’s last blog post..Whiplash Compensation Claims

  19. Talk about all the important tips to make ends meet when you are trying to get everything situated. This is like the ultimate guide to make ends meet. This has everything from short term financial reestablishment to long term go back to school and get your degree information. Very important.

  20. As always, this is a wonderful article full of sound advice. I always try to look at the positives and in this economy many people are being humbled and really evaluating what is important to them. Every penny is significant now.

    But there are always two sides to every story. Until you walk in someone else’s shoes in this economy, it’s tough to hear others condemn those in trouble.

  21. @ Julie – True. For every story of excess I’m sure there is one where a family gets into a financial situation they never saw coming. Still, the more prepared you are before any problems arise the better off you will be. You can’t wait until there’s a problem to start to make your situation better.

  22. Pull your money out of your 401k and stop investing! Will it help you out? Heck no!!! However I’ll be able to get more than my fair share. Warren Buffet said it best “Be scared when others are confident, be confident when others are scared”.

  23. @ uaw – Not sure where you are going with that. Please explain.

  24. Soul Ease says:

    Thanks for remind us to keep things realistic and not expect too much ideal life dreams.

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