Keeping Up or Cutting Back Financially

Sometimes, life and the cost of living may seem to overtake our paychecks, or income has dropped, or there are unexpected expenses.  Getting a handle on finances and financial stress can feel daunting, or even embarrassing.  But financial stress is a common stress, and many people find themselves needing assistance at one point or another.

Financial stress can make us feel like we need to keep it a secret or hide it from friends or family.  Talking about our stress to the people who care about us can help us feel better (financial stress is normal and more common than we think!), give us a sounding board, and can help us come up with some creative solutions.

Steps to deal with finances:

1.Figure out how much you can spend.

  • Make a monthly spending plan that includes income and expenses and determine if you are satisfied with where your money is going

2. Track how much you are spending.

  • Knowing where our money goes each month gives a big picture of how we a
    re truly spending. Budgets can fail because our expenses change week to week or month to month.

3. Figure out where you can cut back.

  • Looking at our habits is a good way to figure out how we might do something less often, buy it cheaper, or cut it out altogether.

4. Explore ways to increase your income.

  • Second jobs are an option, but are you using deductions and tax credits to your benefit?

5. Make a plan to keep up with bills.

  • If you find yourself unable to keep up with bills and payments, take action right away by contacting:

For more information or worksheets to do the steps, visit:

Local agencies to assist:

Financial/Debt Counseling Programs Phone
Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) 608-784-8380
Catholic Charities 608-782-0710
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (855) 411-2372

For more information about Money Smart Week: