ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A local credit counseling organization expects to see an additional 1,000 people come into their offices over the first quarter of this year, looking for help with their finances.

Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions says the finances may worsen for many because of the pending tax increases. Spokesman Thomas Nitzsche says many people may fall into the bad habit of using their credit cards as an extension of their income.

He says you first have to know what you have coming in and what you’re spending your money on before you take a look at what you can cut. He says now is the time to actually look at your paycheck and understand what’s being taken out and how much you are taking home.

Nitzsche says when he tracked his spending, he found that eating out was eating up a large part of his budget, between 400 and 500 dollars a month in casual eating out. He says he knows budgeting is the, “Big bad B word,” but it’s the best way for many St. Louisans to handle the loss of income.

He says among the questions to ask yourself are, “Am I using all of my flexible spending account every year, should I adjust my deductions especially if you get a big tax return?” Adjusting your deductions can mean more take-home pay each week so you don’t have that big tax return.

Nitzsche says this is also the time to determine if you can cut your cell phone bill, cable bill or grocery bill and look into your energy usage. “There’s no reason for your house to be 75 degrees when you aren’t home,” as he puts it. And he says you should consider a digital, programmable thermostat to save money.


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