The first month of 2017 is winding down — how are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions?

If you’re like one-third of Americans, you’ve made a financial goal for 2017. Roughly 36 percent of people across the nation made money-related resolutions this year. After all, money doesn’t just grow on trees. (Can’t you hear your grandmother’s voice ringing in your ears right now?)

While money isn’t the most important thing in life, it’s still pretty significant. It’s how you support yourself and your family, it’s how you feed them, and it’s how you get the medical care you need.

So, you’ve talked the talk, now it’s time to walk the walk.

The best way to manage your finances, meet fiscal goals, and prepare for the future is to make a budget. You may be surprised to find where your dollars are going or how you can pinch a penny or two (we’ve got some suggestions about that!) You also never know what life may throw your way, and as a Boy Scout would advise, you should “always be prepared.”

Family Budget How-Tos:

  • Start by calculating your monthly income.
  • The first items added to your budget should be inflexible that have fixed prices each month; items, like rent and health insurance.
  • Account for monthly bills (like phone, electric, and water bills), as well as variable expenses like gas and other incidentals.
  • Next, add in non-rigid (but necessary!) items like groceries and savings, deciding how much of your monthly income you want to allocate to these expenses.
  • Tally up all your expenses and subtract the total from your monthly income — hopefully you’re doing more than “breaking even” and the surplus exceeds 10 percent of your earnings. (Financial experts say you should be putting away 10 percent of your annual income in savings each year.)

Mock Budget for a NC Family of Four

Monthly Income: $3,066 (based on a 2015 North Carolina gross median household income of $48,000. After taxes, net pay is roughly $36,800 annually.)

DESCRIPTIONAMOUNTSOURCERent/Monthly Mortgage$1,120LINKHealth Insurance$253LINKCar Insurance
$175Based on 2 cars - LINKPhone Bill
$50Based on two lines, with a T-Mobile plan - LINK Gas, Electricity, & Water$150LINKGas for the Car$150Based on two cars (each holding 15 gallons of gas at 25 MPG) going a total of 1,600 miles a month. - LINKGroceries/Food$585LINKIncidentals$100Prescriptions, toiletries, etc.Savings/401K$153Approximately 5% of monthly income.Total Amount:$2,736

So this means that an unexpected $500 bill would put most Americans in debt, while an unexpected medical bill would be enough to put some people on the street. Fifty-nine percent of Americans don’t have enough available cash to pay for a $1,000 emergency room bill.

We’re committed to fighting the continuous rise of healthcare prices in North Carolina so families like yours don’t have to decide whether to eat or go to the doctor, because we believe you shouldn’t have to choose.

One reason for skyrocketing healthcare prices? State-based legislation called mandates that drive-up costs. If you believe in pushing back against ordinances like these in order to give North Carolina families financial peace of mind, join us.

How to Take Action

Our Coalition is only as strong as our advocates. Grassroots support is how we effect change. Take Action for lower healthcare costs.

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