INDIANAPOLIS – It’s tough to balance rising prices along with the debt you already owe. With all of the uncertainty around finances right now, it’s important to ask the experts the steps you should take to avoid getting into trouble.

“The current situation sucks,” said Phil Schuman, the executive director of Financial Wellness and Education at Indiana University.

Many people are having to weigh paying for groceries or gas or pay off their credit card debt. So, we spoke with a financial expert for some advice that you can use today.

Schuman recommends continuing to pay down debt, but if you can’t pay as much reach out to the company. Most will work with you on finding a payment that is livable.

Also, be sure to communicate your financial situation to your partner or family to come up with a plan and combat inflation in your household.

We asked Schuman if it is a good idea to get a credit card to keep up with other debt payments? That’s a reality for many people. He says, it’s hard to say whether that’s a good idea or not — it depends on interest rates. 

“I think the big thing, regardless of what you choose to do, is just to sort of stay disciplined and just keep going. And you know this will at some point this will pass, and things will get better. Just for right now, keep doing what you’re able to do, and then hopefully you’ll come out better as a result of it,” said Schuman.

He added, “Just do what you can, at least to tread water to keep yourself going and keep yourself happy during all these times because it’s really stressful, and the last thing we want to see people do is sort of overly stress.”

Speaking of credit card debt, we’ve been reporting that this inflation could grant some Americans help in their finances. The Consumer Financial Bureau is hinting it could crack down on late fees, charged by credit card companies. More than 175 million Americans have at least one credit card, and companies collected a total of $12 billion in late fees in 2020.

With inflation at an all-time high and increasing interest rates, you’ll want to keep an eye on higher monthly house and car payments.

Again, Schumer’s advice is you’re not alone. Reach out for help if you need it.

Here’s a list of some helpful financial resources in Indianapolis:

  • By going to the Indiana Department of Workforce link, there’s a list of financial help available from learning more about the Food Stamp Program, to Homeowner Assistance, WIC, and school food programs.
  • If you need help with your utility bills, you can click here to learn more about resources available to you.
  • Also, Indiana 211 is a free and confidential service that helps Hoosiers find local resources they need. Dial 211 to connect with a navigator 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.