While a friend babysits our four cats, Kris and I are enjoying a short vacation in northwest Washington. All around this small town, people are buzzing about the economy. Nobody’s panicking. Instead, they’re talking about all the things they plan to do this winter to cut back and save money.

I’ve found a lot of articles on similar topics around the web recently.

For example, USA Today has a piece about how average Americans are beginning to cut back. The $700 billion bailout for the financial system hasn’t trickled down to Main Street. Small businesses have been hit hard, but there’s no rescue in sight for them. Meanwhile, Americans seem to be embracing frugality.

On a similar note, Craig pointed me to an article at The Tacoma News Tribune. Susan Tompor writes that to create your own personal bailout plan, start by living within your means: Cut back on your use of credit, build up a cash reserve, cut unnecessary household expenses, and begin to track your spending. You can create your own financial rescue plan, and you don’t need the government’s help to do it.

I love “mind games” people use to encourage themselves to save more money. I’ve mentioned many of these in the past (the 30-day rule, the spending tax). Now Ron at The Wisdom Journal has compiled a list of 17 sneaky savings strategies, a collection of money games you can use to boost your savings. I like this article.

Finally, the current economy has a lot of folks worried. Some who though they could manage their money alone are now wondering if they should find help. AskMen.com has some advice for how to find a financial advisor if you do decide to go that route. I still believe most of us can learn to manage our own money, though; all it takes is a little time, and a willingness to read some of the excellent books on personal finance available at the public library.

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