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7 Savvy Money Moves in a Scary Economy

You can still create financial security for your family -- now and in the future.

The day-to-day demands of life with little kids don't leave us with much time for things like budgeting, plotting saving strategies, and making long-term financial plans. How much should you save? When is it safe to spend? Does putting money in the stock market still make sense?

No easy answers here, but if there's one thing the Great Recession has taught us, it's the critical importance of being a smart consumer. "People who are in a strong financial position can use rough times to their advantage and possibly even come out in better shape than they were in before this difficult stretch," says Bill Galvin, a certified financial planner with the Capital Management Group, in New York City. And even people who've lost a job or their home can take steps to avoid further problems. These seven strategies can get you moving in the right direction.