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Facing a furlough? Six ways to prepare.

Many Americans are starting to feel the pinch of reduced federal spending.Government and even nongovernment workers face furloughs or even layoffs as the budget purse strings tighten. Here are six ways to get ready for a furlough or unexpected layoff:

- Wayne von BorstelContributor

Phil Lindsay, who wears a suit while commuting to work on his bicycle, meets with other cyclists at City Hall Plaza to celebrate the end of Boston's Bike Week in May. If it's feasible, biking to work can save hundreds of dollars in commuting costs. (Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor/File)

2. Take a careful look at your expenses

Some are necessary, and some are not. Determine the areas where you cut spending. Cut back on the optional areas like dining out, and delay purchasing big-ticket items, if possible. Watch the basics. Plan your meals ahead of time and take a shopping list with you when you go to the grocery store. Be careful not to overdraft your checking account or incur needless banking or ATM fees. Bike, walk or take public transportation when you can. 

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