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The state of the economy is forcing many families to take a long, hard, look at their wallets. Focusing on spending and saving may feel frustrating, but taking good care of your personal finances will only benefit you in the long run. Here are some great personal finance tips to help get you started.

A great personal finance tip is to make sure you buy appliances that will help you save energy. Appliances that can help you save energy usually have an Energy Star sticker on them. Purchasing these appliances can go a long way in helping you save money by reducing energy.

One personal finance tip which has stood the test of time is diversification or not putting all your eggs in one basket. The reason for this is simple. You may have some poorly performing investments in your portfolio at any given time, but diversification should also have you invested in some well performing assets as well.

Try using cash to pay for all of your purchases next week. When you buy goods with cash instead of plastic credits cards, it is easier to see exactly how much money you are parting with. Also, if you don’t have a credit card on your person you can avoid impulse buys.

Have more than one bank account. You have many things that you need your money for, including your daily expenses, long term savings and any investments. You should have a different bank account for each purpose. This creates order in your financial life and it makes it easier to get an idea of how your finances are doing overall.

Start building your investment portfolio early in life! Even if you have to start small, research shows that the length of time you are investing matters more than the amount of money you start with. Starting early also allows you to take advantage of compounding interest, a process by which your money grows over time.

Shop thrift stores to accumulate a professional wardrobe. Business clothing can be expensive. It is something we all need, however, if we are to convey the appropriate image at work. Thrift stores offer an affordable option for all of our wardrobe needs. You don’t have to tell anyone where you bought it or how much you paid!

If you make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or want to retain your assets, file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. This type of bankruptcy allows you draw up a payment plan in which you pay the trustee a specified amount each month, which is then disbursed to your creditors. If you make timely payments over the life of the 3-5 year plan, the rest of your debt is wiped out.

While no one wants to cut back on their spending, this is a great opportunity to develop healthy spending habits. Even when your financial situation improves, these tips will help you take care of your money and keep your finances stable. It’s tough to change the way you deal with money, but it’s worth the extra effort.