First at Five, September 29, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---With the federal government trying to come up with a bailout plan, the country's financial mess has some people worried about their own financial future.
A local credit counseling service says everyone needs to be careful with their money.
Nancy Erbland wants to replace her gas-guzzling SUV with a more fuel-efficient car, which is why she's looking to buy a hybrid.
"It says it gets 45 miles per gallon and you can't beat that," Erbland says about the Toyota Prius. "That's wonderful."
Buying a car can be stressful, especially at a time when the government has to consider bailing out companies to get the credit flowing again.
Erbland isn't too worried about being approved because she's built up good credit, but she does worry about the state of the economy.
"I think that a lot of people have not been wise with their finances and so they need to be very careful," said Erbland.
Some people not being careful is partly what has the country in a sticky situation.
"Living like the Jones' next door with the brand new house and the brand new car...but people don't know those Jones', they're way in debt. They're just not telling people," said Cindy Tesch, the community outreach director with Consumer Credit Counseling Services for the CSRA.
She says it's hard to say what direct impact any bailout plan will have on consumers, but she believes it's very important to be careful with money right now.
"Live on what you make and you won't be near as stressed out about the bailout," Tesch said.
She says when times are tougher, you should lower your standard of living. Higher prices can mean you can't afford what you used to.
That also means looking at your budget. She says often people only do a budget once a year, but people need to look at their budgets as prices change, like gas. It's important to make cuts when other expenses go up.
She also says pay your bills on time because 35% of credit scores are based on payment history.
Consumer credit counseling services is a non-profit organization. To set up an appointment, call 706-736-2090