Nancy Lottridge Anderson knows a thing or two about finance. She is a financial adviser, professor of finance at Mississippi College and author of the book, "Tough Talk for Tough Times." Having owned her business for 18 years, she's helped a lot of people along the way. Here is some of the advice she had to give about budgets:
• "You don't really want to make more money. What you want to do is increase your standard of living, and you can do that by not making a penny more," she says. "You do that by learning to manage the pennies that you have. So if you are wise with your money, you can do all kinds of things. You can live a really good life, and it's not just about, ‘I need to make more money.'"
• As soon as you can, Nancy Anderson advises, start saving for retirement. Look into company retirement plans. Many of them match what you put in.
• Low-income families can and do save money. Even if it's only $25 a month in a savings account, you need an emergency fund.
• Budgeting so that you can contribute part of your income to a worthy cause often makes people more satisfied with their budget. Also, make absolutely sure you budget for your "crazy" (the impulsive spending).
• "If you have $100 budgeted for impulsive spending, and you spend $200 in one month, you've got to say, ‘OK. Next month I can't do any crazy,'" she says.
• Pay credit-card balances in full each month. If you have significant credit-card debt, any money left over each month after basic living expenses need to go toward the credit-card debt until it is completely paid off. This means no "crazy" for a while.
• If you get a raise or a bonus, try not to spend it. Instead, add it to your savings.
How To Build A Budget
1. Look at your bank statements for a whole year.
Figure out what you spend money on every month. Come up with averages of your basic living expenses: utilities, rent/mortgage, car note, personal insurance, car and house insurance, property taxes, food and miscellaneous.
2 Figure out how much money you make each month.
(Not what you want to make. What you bring home.)
3 Subtract your average monthly expenses from your salary.
Is there money left over?
4 If not, you need to change your standard of living.
Cut living expenses like cable, subscriptions and gym membership; move to smaller place or back in with parents.
5 If money is left over, force yourself to save.
Try to take at least 10 percent of your income and budget it into a savings category in your expenses. This will help with different long-term or emergency expenses that you'll have later.
6 Budget for your impulsive spending.
Set aside money for it (clothes, shoes, beer, eating out, etc.) It's OK to use your money for pleasure—as long as it's in moderation.
7 Create an ideal monthly expenses chart.
Start filling in a monthly expense chart. Save at least 10 percent of your income; prioritize other monthly expenses. Spread the rest among emergency savings, entertainment, clothing and ancillary things.
8 Keep tracking income and expenses!
Don't forget to keep tracking your income and expenses to see where you can improve. Your budget can change, depending on your needs. Just make sure you're not spending more money than you have.
Credit Card Timeline
1928 – National City Bank of New York offers loans with 12 percent interest rates to working-class customers.
1950 – Frank McNamara of New York comes up with Diners Club Card. Businessmen could use the card at 27 restaurants listed on the back.
1955 – Plastic Diners Club Cards are available.
1958 – American Express begins issuing credit cards, followed by Bank of America's BankAmericard.
1966 – Interbank Card Association releases the Master Charge card.
1967 – City Bank of New York issues the Everything Card.
1969 – The Everything Card merges with Master Charge.
1977 – Bank Americard undergoes name change to Visa.
1978 – Supreme Court decision ends consumer interest-rate limits, which increases the availability of credit for consumers.
1996 – Supreme Court rules to end state-regulated limits on credit card fees.
2007 – 73 percent of Americans own a credit card, and national credit debt peaks at $915 billion.
2008 – The average American household has $9,659 in credit-card debt.
2009 – President Barack Obama signs the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, banning retroactive rate increases and requiring full disclosure from credit-card companies.
Jackson-Area Non-Profits to Help
Clinton Community Christian Corp.
2001 W. Northside Drive, 601-924-9436
The 4C's provides emergency financial assistance, food, clothing, furniture and other items to families facing financial crisis. These include utility, rent and prescription assistance.
The Good Samaritan Center
114 Millsaps Ave., 601-355-6276
The Good Samaritan Center has programs that are designed to assist individuals and families who have had a "short-term" financial emergency that has caused them to need assistance.
Hinds County Human Resource Agency
258 Maddox Road, 601-923-3930,
The Hinds County Human Resource Agency serves eligible disadvantaged residents of Hinds County through programs and services that foster economic empowerment and self-reliance.
Jackson State University Center for Business Development and Economic Research
1230 Raymond Road, 601-979-2028
The Center for Business Development and Economic Research provides basic and applied research in business, economics, business management and related public policy areas.
Minority Capital Fund
2530 Bailey Ave., 601-713-3322
The Minority Capital Fund of Mississippi Inc. provides financing and technical assistance to minority and women business owners.
Mississippi Business Finance Corp.
735 Riverside Drive, Suite 300, 601-355-6232
The Mississippi Business Finance Corp.'s financing programs assist in establishing new facilities and expanding existing businesses.
Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America
4300 Robinson Road, Suite C, 601-922-4008
The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America offers financial counseling and works with homebuyers to develop a realistic financial analysis that determines an affordable purchase price.
Small Business Development Center at Jackson State University
1230 Raymond Road, 601-979-2795
The Small Business Development Center brings expert business knowledge to small businesses at little or no cost to the business owner.
West Jackson Community Development Corp.
1060 John R. Lynch St., 601-352-6993
The West Jackson CDC Economic Development program provides opportunities for under and unemployed adults; job and employability skills-training for area adults and youths; and summer employment for students.