Making the Most of What You Have


When your family income drops suddenly or
expenses unexpectedly increase, your first concern
may be how to pay your bills and meet your day-today
expenses. It is also important to look at your
total financial picture and determine which assets
you might use to meet family obligations.

man at table

Determining Your Net Worth

A net worth statement is a financial balance sheet.
It is a calculation of your assets (what you own)
minus your liabilities (what you owe). Preparing a
net …

Debt Management in Tough Times

Debt management involves developing one or more strategies to help a debtor get that debt under control.


Should you shop for a lower interest rate on your debt?

• This can be a good option, if it substantially reduces your monthly payments and the refinancing is not too costly. Inquire whether other higher cost debts can be rolled into the lower cost loan.

What if you can’t pay your bills

• Prioritize your debt. Keeping a roof over your head …

Stretch Your Grocery Dollars

sunset shopping cart

Planning Shopping Trips

• Keep a pad and pencil handy for jotting down foods as they run low. Encourage all family members to add to the list.

• Don’t shop with a hungry or tired child, or when you are hungry.

At the Store

• Stick to your shopping list; avoid impulse purchases. However, watch for “in store” specials that you know you can use.

• When buying a food for the first time, buy a small amount in case …

Keep Lines of Communication Open

Importance of Communication

• When the family is facing tough times, family
members need to lean on each other more
than usual. Talk to each other respectfully and listen to
each other’s concerns.

• Conflict and disagreements are normal, especially when family members are stressed. Give each person a chance to share his or her view of things, without interrupting or judging. Keep an open mind and listen for new information and good ideas.

• In tough times, family schedules …

Doing Things Together as a Family for Less

Doing Things Together as a Family
…for LE$$

Man and boy

Take advantage of local public resources:

• Spend time together at the park or local community festival.

• Go for hikes or bike rides.

• Go for a family picnic.

• Go swimming at the local pool, lake, ocean, or

• Take advantage of free programs offered by
the library, museums, and community bands
or orchestras, or other free community events.

• Check out books, music, and videos for free
from …

Adult Children Moving Home

Adult children move in with their parents for a number of reasons, including economic hardship. As this move will change the parents’ household expenses, adult children have a responsibility to contribute to the upkeep of the household. It is important to talk openly and honestly about money arrangements before the adult child moves home. Be as specific as possible and put the arrangement in writing for all parties involved.





Costs of Maintaining Household

What is the current monthly cost for …

Working Teens as Contributors to the Family

Many teens work for extra money but rarely are
their earnings used as a contribution to the
family’s economic wellbeing. Research of teen
employment reveals that costs for
transportation, clothing, and food away from
home actually increase with teen employment.
Involving teens in family problem?solving helps
teach them the reality of managing money and
distinguishing between needs and wants. Asking
teens to help with household expenses will need
to begin with an open sharing of a family budget,
income, and …

Having a Spending Plan is Critical

A spending plan or budget is a plan for spending and saving family resources to meet identified goals.

money and records

What is the type of expense?

• Fixed expenses occur on a predetermined
schedule and are for a set amount (such as a car
payment or rent).

• Variable or flexible expenses usually occur on a
predetermined schedule, but may change in
amount (such as a cell phone or utility bill).

• Discretionary expenses are ones that are
totally up to you …

When Prices Rise: Living on Your Income

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An increase in the price of goods and services can be traumatic. When you have to pay more for things like gasoline, food and health care, other difficulties may arise, especially if you are retired and/or are living on a fixed income. Realizing that your income does not go as far as it used to, even in covering the basics, can be alarming.

An increase in the price of one essential product may trigger an increase in the price of …