NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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How Can I Afford This?

How Can I Afford This?


Call it a double whammy or a one-two punch.  Either way, the super cold weather coupled with the recent jump in propane prices is painful!  It may be a traumatic event for people.   It could be a budget-buster.  “How can I afford this?” is an obvious and legitimate question.


Prompt action is important.  Ask the questions, and consider all the options.  What could be done to cut expenses?  Perhaps lowering the thermostat would save on your usage.  The trade-off is that family members might need to wear sweaters, sweatshirts or extra layers of clothing. Could you heat less space or fewer rooms in your home?  What could be done to increase the family income?    Could you apply for energy assistance through North Dakota Department of Human Services (LIHEAP)? 

Communicate honestly with the people and businesses that you rely on for goods and services.  Let your creditors know you are having trouble before you miss making any payments, and ask them to set up a payment plan with you.  This will be much easier if you have a good reputation and history with them. 


If you have been using a budget and you have an awareness of how you spend your money, congratulations are in order!  That is very valuable because it will help you know about how much and when you can make payments.  Once the payment plan is in place, follow through with it and make payments as you promised. 


Communicate honestly with your family.  Discuss spending decisions with them.  These kinds of conversations may not be easy, but they will help everyone realize what changes and sacrifices need to be made so that your plans can be successful.  


If you do not have a budget, times like these can provide the motivation to create your first budget.   Don’t let the “B” word scare you; a budget is simply a tool to help you manage your money.  It is not a ball and chain, and it is meant to be adjusted or revised as circumstances change.  Designing a budget takes self-discipline, and it can be a confidence builder!  For more information and specific helps, or visit these websites:



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