BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Inflation has risen by more than eight percent and people in the community are having hard times making ends meet.
With the price of gas, food, and everyday needs constantly going up, people in the community are having a hard time keeping their heads above water.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the average single-family household spends $61,000 on everyday needs. In Louisiana, the average household income is $51,000.
“There are things we are having to do right now to make ends meet and there are things we are having to cut back on,” said Jessica Adams, a community member.
Experts say though prices are rising and salaries aren’t changing, the key thing to making it is budgeting.
“Most people don’t have what we call a budget. Budget is really putting pen to paper on the income that’s coming in and the expenses,” said Chad Olivier, a financial planner.
Another expert stated, “If you can live within your means.”
Financial planner Bailey McNamara says there are a few tips that will help make budgeting easier.
“Just because you are trying to come up with a budget, live within your means doesn’t mean you have to cut out everything you enjoy,” said McNamara. “You create a budget, you get to pick out what’s important to you, you get to pick where your money goes.”
McNamara said though things like Afterpay and other credit building apps are available, you shouldn’t use them.
“It’s really easy to do and just say, ‘Oh, I will pay this off as we go,’ but it becomes harder and harder. You know that debt just kind of slowly racks up. So, I think if at all possible try to avoid those,” said McNamara.
She said if you do not have the whole amount at the time of buying it, then more than likely you will not have it later on. Though companies say it will help your credit to make payments on something, McNamara believes it will only hurt your credit in the end if you do not have the funds at the moment of purchase.
Experts Olivier and McNamara gave other advice as well. They stated that people say if you just cut out your everyday trip to coffee and instead add the money to your savings, you will be doing great, but the truth is that is not completely how it works. Write down everything you spend no matter how big or small it is to get an average on how much you are spending. You have to pay attention to every dollar.
McNamara and Olivier also said most people say if they make more money then it would help their finances, but if you do not know how to budget, you will end up being where you are now. There should be a budget for shelter, food, transportation, and your other priorities, whatever is left should be put away as savings.
They said to consider yourself as a bill, meaning your savings, retirement, and goals are a bill.
The two financial planners suggested websites like mymoney.gov, which is a great tool to start, as well as Mint.com, which will help you with budgeting and managing your spending habits. The key thing to budgeting is balancing, they stated. If you chose to get your nails done, you need to take something that is not important out of your budget to pay to get your nails done but you cannot do both. You have to have discipline.
The last piece of advice they gave was when it comes to impulse buying make sure that you are adding that to your budget. If it is important to you today, it will be important to you tomorrow, so instead of just impulsively buying, add it to your budget so you won’t get behind.