Springfield financial counselors discuss budgeting strategies amid rising prices

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 9:54 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Record-high gas prices are just one thing making it tough to budget these days.

Financial experts say many people are starting to change their lifestyle, or they may really need to. Skyrocketing prices, like those on gas, are putting a dent in many wallets. People are now stuck deciding whether certain items are necessities or luxuries.

“Gas is the one that really drives me nuts,” said Springfield consumer Russell Abercrombie.

Grocery shoppers like Russell Abercrombie say it is becoming harder and harder to shop.

”Gosh, I don’t have that much to budget myself,” he said. “I don’t work anymore. I’m a senior citizen that gets Social Security and that’s what I live on.”

Consumer Credit Counseling Service Director Holly Wilson said more people are struggling to make ends meet.

”I was just talking to a mom today, she’s a single mom, she makes $12.50 an hour,” Wilson described. “How do you make that stretch as far as it can go?”

Many shoppers are trying to answer that question each day.

”You are paying a lot more for stuff, you know, even a year ago, my gosh,” Abercrombie said.

Wilson said many also have not recovered from the pandemic. Many Missourians lost jobs and now have less income.

”I think it’s very important for people to understand that if they haven’t fully replaced those higher paying jobs, that their lifestyle needs to make a change,” Wilson said.

Wilson said there has been a growing need for financial counseling services lately.

“Everybody can tell that what they used to pay a year ago for groceries doesn’t cover as much as it does now,” she said. “We are seeing an increase for our services with our debt management plan, and that’s trying to tackle those high interest credit card debts.

Wilson broke down the numbers with KY3 and said consumers should usually only spend 30% of their income on housing, no more than three percent on recreation, and between 10 to 15% on transportation.

”Is that going to change now that the price of gas has gone up? That’s something to consider,” she said.

She also said eight to 10% should go towards your savings.

“You have to pay attention to go to what’s going on today to make sure that you can cover those future needs,” Wilson said.

She said adapting your way of living is often key as prices climb, especially if your income has decreased.

”They do need to make some changes,” she described. “If they do that, they’ll find that the level of stress is going to be reduced.”

Gas prices took a turn for the worse over last holiday weekend. Wilson said consumers can likely expect the same around July 4, but she said she thinks they could start dipping back down after peak holiday travel.

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