If you’re looking at all the Christmas boxes in your recycling and wondering how you’ll make the bills for 2020, it starts with making a budget.
“You just want to look at what your income is, start with that,” said Chris Burk with Housing and Credit Counseling in Topeka. “Then, plan out what your expenses are going to be, the priorities. You’ve got a house payment or rent. You’ve got utilities, maybe a car payment, a student loan payment, groceries, things like that. Plan this out, whether its day by day or week by week.”
Getting out of a cash-flow crunch must become a habit.
“We want people to get away from that living paycheck to paycheck mentality,” said Burk. “The idea is, you want to build up that surplus in your bank account to where, when a bill comes in, you don’t have to wait until the paycheck comes in next week. You can pay it right then and there.”
It’s also important to save for emergencies.
“Two-thirds of America right now doesn’t have that cushion or that savings and could not handle a $500 bill,” said Burk. “That means, it’s going to go on to a credit card or, heaven forbid, they go look into those payday loan places. Stay away from those. Usually it goes on the credit card and then the balance gets bigger and bigger and now that’s just adding to your overall debt load. It’s a struggle to get out from under that.”
HCCI is here to help you learn how to budget, if you want to. For more information, go to hcci-ks.org.