Daily Dupaco

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ways to control your budget in a time of rising prices

Feeling the pinch at the pump? Paying more than usual at the grocery store checkout?

You're not alone.

In fact, the cost of living in the United States rose more than forecast in February. The consumer-price index climbed 0.5 percent, led by the highest food prices since 2008 and rising fuel costs, according to the latest figures from the Labor Department (Washington Post).

With bigger bills hammering household expenses, there are simple ways to help you in your battle against the budget bulge. Take control of your spending plan with these timely tips provided by the Home & Family Finance Resource Center:

  1. Weekly: To keep your budget in line, monitor your account balances online and use personal financial management (PFM) tools to help analyze, track and reduce your spending. Examples of free PFM tools include Dupaco Community Credit Union's Shine Online Banking or Intuit's mint.com.
  2. Monthly: Scan your checking and credit card statements to make sure transactions are accurate. Don't forget to follow up on those small charges that just don't add up.
  3. Once a year: Calculate your net worth to see how things are changing over time. Compare your assets (the things you own) against your debts. Each year, your savings balances should be growing and your total debts should be declining.
  4. Once a year: Figure your debt-to-income ratio. That's the percentage of your gross income that goes to paying debts.

By Emily Kittle

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