Survival Tips for Getting Through the Economic Minefield

Personal Finance December 12, 2008|Print
An extension agent with the University of Arkansas offers tips to survive tough economic times.

Released May 16, 2008

SEARCY, Ark. - The mortgage is due, your paycheck is stretched and food and fuel prices are soaring. Do money problems have you down?

"If your income has not kept up with inflation, rising prices may be the reason you have trouble making ends meet. Rather than increase your use of credit to pay for a lifestyle you can’t afford, take some time to look at your spending," says Katie Cobb, White County extension agent with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

She offers these tips to help people survive tough economic times:

  • Get a handle on what you spend by tracking your expenses for two or three months. While this may be tedious, it’s the only true way to understand your spending habits.
  • Take a hard look at compulsive and unnecessary expenses as a first step to cutting expenses. One unnecessary expense may be late charges you incurred because you failed to pay your bills on time.
  • Take a look at eliminating whole categories of expenses to save money. Financial counselors find that clients are more likely to meet new spending goals when they cut out expenses rather than adjust expenses. You can eliminate telephone features, cut back or eliminate cable services, drop memberships and subscriptions, or limit restaurant meals to once a week or once a month.
  • Finally, be proactive. Make enough spending adjustments to build an emergency fund so you don’t have to rely on credit during a financial crisis.

For more money saving tips, contact your county extension agent. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the U of A Division of Agriculture.


Contact: Lamar James, (501) 671-2187,