Back to basics

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If you’re having money problems, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends creating a budget as the first step toward understanding and taking control of your finances.

To ensure you can afford the things you need and want, you should write down your budget and come up with a long-term plan. Studies show one-third of Americans use financial programs or advisors to prepare their budgets.

Your budget should include two major components: income and expenses. Income represents the money you make, while expenses tally the amount you spend.

To determine where you stand at the end of each month, write down your income and subtract your expenses. If your total is less than zero, you’re spending too much on your expenses.

Cutting back on your expenses can help you avoid debt.

The Financial Wellness LiteBlue page has information and resources to help you create a budget.