Tuesday, December 30

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Treasurer Dean Martin's Guide for a Financially Fit 2009

(STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX) - State Treasurer Dean Martin offers tips on financial management for staying financially fit in 2009.

"Know your limits and don't spend more money than you have. It's good advice for individuals, for businesses and for government," said Treasurer Dean Martin. "In fact, if the State of Arizona had been following this advice for the last couple years, they would not be in the budget crisis they are in now."

Top 10 New Year's Financially Fit Resolutions

1. Spend less than you make: Spend less than you earn to improve your financial situation. Just because you have checks left in your check book, or room on your card, does not mean you should spend it.

2. Write out your goals and track your spending: Use financial software or even a little notebook.

3. Start or increase your emergency fund: Have a minimum of 3 months worth of expenses for job loss, emergency medical or home/car repair.

4. Reduce your debts: Make a list and check it twice. Prioritize by interest rate (pay down highest first).

5. Reduce spending leaks: Most budgets are constantly leaking small dollar amounts that really add up each month or year.

6. Re-examine your "essentials": Is that "must have" daily Starbucks really needed this year? Can you brew your own coffee? Cook more, eat out less. Small daily changes can add up to big savings in your budget.

7. If you're in trouble, ask for help: Contact your lender or credit card company to arrange a payment plan. They don't want you to default any more than you do. Get free financial education resources by .

8. Don't ignore your bills: When you miss just one payment, regardless of the dollar amount, it takes 24 months to restore your credit. If you are late on payments, your interest rate - and future payments - might go up.

9. Diversify your investments: The best way to ride out any financial storm is to have a very broadly diversified portfolio.

10. Get a FREE credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com by. Just as you would get an annual health physical, this is like a fiscal checkup! The information on this report determines the interest rates that credit card companies will charge. You can get a FREE credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Make sure you haven't been a victim of identity theft and that your credit information is correct.

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