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Strategies to Beat the Economic Slump

With high gas prices and unemployment rates soaring, we can all agree that the economy is struggling. Even in tough economic times, there are some simple things each of us can do to make a difference in our lives. Especially if questions like these are being asked:

When will prices change? Why doesn't my job pay me more? Who is responsible for the current economic slump?

"There are many things that happen in life that are out of our control. Instead of falling into the trap of victim thinking or playing the blame game, why not focus on the action we can take to make a difference?" says John G. Miller, an expert on personal accountability and author of the books "QBQ! The Question Behind the Question" and "Flipping the Switch."

Our attitude and the questions we ask ourselves during difficult times can make all the difference and will help us take actions that can improve any situation. Miller says the best way for each of us to practice personal accountability and change our outlook is to ask QBQs, or the 'question behind the question.' QBQs are questions that begin with "What" or "How," contain the word "I," and focus on action. By asking questions that focus on ourselves and the action we personally can take, we are able to eliminate whining and complaining and move toward positive change.

"None of us can change the high gas prices, cost of food, or potential layoffs at work. But asking the right questions can make a positive impact," adds Miller.

For example, many people are stressed financially because of the rising cost of living. Here's how the right question can lead to a positive action:

Incorrect Question: Why do gas and groceries cost so much?
Correct Question: What can I do to better manage my finances?

"After asking this question of myself, I would be able to examine my personal situation and make changes to my budget," says Miller. "I would then ask questions like: Do I have a cell phone plan that's too big for my income? Do I have a premium cable package with 150 channels when I could do with a basic plan or a good book? Do I always have to have a morning latte or drink bottled water? What can I do differently to save money?"

Making positive changes by practicing personal accountability, in light of the current economy, can seem overwhelming. Instead of trying to change everything at once, start with these small steps. These options help us take action in our own lives, instead of focusing on uncontrollable circumstances. Try combining errands to save on gas, buying generic brands, buying in bulk, and conserving energy in the home by turning off lights and only running the dishwasher when full. Little changes can add up -- over time -- to big savings.

And, of course, sometimes there can be big savings in single decisions.

Incorrect Question:  When will we be able to move to a bigger house?
Correct Question:  How can I be more content with the home I have?

Incorrect Question:  Why can't I buy a brand new car?
Correct Question:  What can I do to better care for the car I have and extend its life?

Incorrect Question:  When will we be able to afford a trip to Disney World?
Correct Question:  How can I create fun experiences for my family at home?

When we ask the right question we can then work to find a solution. For example with our entertainment activities, we can search our hometown for free museums and other activities that might get overlooked. Or, bring the entertainment home. For example, if your family usually goes to the movies, opt instead to rent and create the theater experience with popcorn and treats. Like to eat out? Instead choose a special recipe that the whole family enjoys and work together to cook it.

"Although times are tight for everyone, I can always make the best of a difficult situation," says Miller. "By asking the right questions and practicing personal accountability rather than blaming others or complaining, we can make a dramatic impact and be a lot happier."

To learn more about QBQ! visit www.QBQ.com.

Categories: Just for me, Money & Work,

Tags: , , ,
New FeatureRelated Articles: Americans Lack Adequate Economic & Financial Knowledge, Summer Project: Your Family's Finances,

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