Making Ends Meet
Set a Budget
When you’re unemployed or underemployed, the most pressing thought is how you’re going to pay the bills. Here are some practical things you can do to keep you head above water and make ends meet.
Begin by developing a realistic budget. This will help you set spending limits, establish financial priorities, and get the clearest possible picture of find just how much money you have coming in per month, how much you pay out (and to whom), and where you will have to make cutbacks and adjustments.
Before you get started, click here to print out this budget worksheet to guide you.
Now, gather all your bills. Go through each of them and record the name of the creditor, the total amount you owe and the amount of any monthly payments on the worksheet.
List any bills that aren't due monthly, such as car insurance or water bills. Looking through your checkbook or bank statements will help you to remember these bills.
Consider all the items you purchase with checks, debit cards, or credit cards (food, rent, entertainment, gas, medication, etc.). Review your bank and card statements for common expenses. Write all these down.
When you've listed all your bills, compare the amount you owe each month with the amount of income you'll have.
Don't be discouraged if you have more in the expense column than in the income column. We'll provide you with some suggestions about how to pay these bills.