MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Unexpected expenses can erode personal goals for paying down debt, adding to savings or building an emergency fund, yet consumers often can still find ways to trim expenses and build financial security, said Carol young, Kansas University Research and Extension financial management specialist.
Young offered 10 commonsense tips for individuals and families:
1) Take an inventory of your financial accounts, including regularly scheduled payments such as home mortgage or car payment), balance(s) due on credit cards or other loans, and basic living expenses, such as food, utilities, insurance, and health care.
2) Track spending to assess average expenses and identify unnecessary expenses.
3) Categorize expenses, and add categories for a) building an emergency fund; b) saving for short-term goal; and c) saving for long- term goals.
4) Compare money coming in and money going out. How does your take-home pay compare to expenses?
5) Eliminate extras, but allow an occasional, moderately-priced reward for striving to improve personal money management skills.
6) Practice separating needs from wants, and make fulfilling needs the priority.
7) Use credit cards strategically or sparingly, if at all.
8) If an emergency requires spending, use emergency funds from savings or explore a low-interest, short-term loan to cover the cost, rather than using a credit card that will have a higher interest rate.
9) Strive to pay down and retire a mortgage, rather than adding debt with one or more home equity loans.
10) No light at the end of the tunnel? If struggling with money management and debt, consider a reputable credit counselor who can help prioritize and/or consolidate payments to retire debt, and move toward building financial security. Look for a counselor who is National Foundation for Credit Counseling-affiliated at www.NFCC.org.
More information about basic money management is available at county and district K-State Research and Extension offices and online: www.ksre.ksu.edu. Choose Publications and search for "Basic Money Management" (MF- 5134G) and www.ksre.ksu.edu/financialmanagement/.
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.
Story by: Nancy Petersonnancyp@ksu.eduK-State Research & Extension News
Carol Young is at 785-532-1943.