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 …

Stretch Your Food Dollars at Home

Prevent Food Waste

• Cut down on the amount of food you throw away; freeze leftovers or use them in recipes like soups or casseroles. aInstead of thinking “leftovers” – think “planned overs.” Have a plan to use excess food from one meal, whether by using it within a few days or freezing it for the future.

• Take leftovers for lunch instead of eating out. Store properly to keep foods safe to eat.

• Before buying an unfamiliar food, …

Building an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is money set aside in a readily accessible savings account for unanticipated events such as unemployment, medical bills, and car repairs. A sum of money to cover basic living costs for three to six months is recommended.




Accumulating Liquid Assets

• These are assets that can be easily converted to cash.

• The majority of these funds should be in accounts that have easy access, like checking accounts.

• Regular or passbook savings and money market accounts …

Freeing Up Money from Services

Worried man and woman.

Utility Budget Plans

You can work with your service provider so that your monthly bill is based on an average of the previous year’s monthly bills. This is usually called “level billing.”

However, if you exceed the budgeted amount, you could end up owing money at the end of the current year or your fixed payment will increase next year. In some cases, a utility company may make an adjustment during the year, if useage is greatly exceeding the estimated …

Accepting Your Feelings


People respond to a personal crisis with many feelings: anger, anxiety, outrage, self doubt. They may be hostile – lashing out at those closest to them. Or, they may become moody and depressed. Their tension may show up as restlessness, loss of appetite, loss of interest in sex, insomnia, and feelings of apathy and exhaustion. While some of these symptoms may be unpleasant, they are normal, predictable reactions of people experiencing a loss or critical change in their lives.…

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 …