It's called inflation, and you better get used to it.
The cost of fuel is already affecting the price for groceries, airfare, school lunches, and pretty much everything else in our lives, but our incomes aren't keeping up. So Dave Mancl, Director of the state Office of Financial Literacy , says it's important to manage one's money very carefully. We should have a spending plan so we know exactly where our dollars are being spent.
“Because, I don't know, it sounds like they are going to have higher gas prices even this summer and so it's harder and harder to make ends meet.”
To make up for the increasing cost of living, what will consumers give up? Medication? Healthcare? Entertainment? Charity donations? What if there's nothing to cut? How will the bills get paid? Mancl says whatever you do; don't rack-up your credit card balance, because accumulated interest and late fees will just compound your debt. Mancl says to cope with inflation, save money without sacrificing lifestyle by making coffee at home, packing a lunch, or checking out movies from the public library. His best advise?
“Well, I think money is one of those topics that we don't like to talk about too much and it's scary for a lot of people. But it's never too late to start. It's never too late to start an emergency fund; it's not too late to save for retirement and to take a look at how you're spending your money. That's the first step.”
Mancl, who was recently appointed to the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy , suggests you start that emergency fund when you get your economic stimulus check from the government.
Mancl says credit is readily available; one-third of high school seniors have a credit card in their own name. That's why he says it's important to bring financial literacy into the classrooms, after all, he says, we don't let kids get into a car and drive, but we do give them credit cards and allow them to spend. Mancl says Wisconsin is a pioneer in financial literacy.