When bills are piling up, it’s important to remember that you’re still in control. The small steps you choose to take can lead to significant changes. We created this set of tools to fit your needs, whether short-term financial help, longer-term financial health, or something in between. To help you handle money emergencies, we will provide the tools to reduce stress from mounting bills and build your finances to where you want them to be. You can fix this; we can help. Start with one step.

Track Your Income

Begin with this question. How many sources of income do you have, and how much money comes from all sources?

Here is what you’ll need to answer this question: 

  1. All your pay stubs  
  2.  Benefits statements
  3.  Records of electronic payments from the month 

Some examples of income:

  1.  Some examples of government program benefits: Disability insurance (SSI, SSDI), Social Security, TANF, and SNAP. 
  2. Any jobs, self-employment, seasonal work (shoveling, harvesting).
  3.  Other types of income: Child support, gifts, tax refunds, and help from family or friends.

What is the difference between net and gross income? 

You earn gross income before taxes or other deductions are subtracted from your pay. Net income is your gross income minus taxes and other deductions.

A Step Further

Once you have determined how much money you receive each month, then you have to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is your income more or less than you thought it was? 
  2.  Does this feel like a typical month for you? 
  3.  Does seeing your income week by week change how you think about your spending?

Use the form Income Tracker to record your income for at least one month (4-5 weeks) to determine the source of your money.

Income Tracking Form

Just follow this link to download the Income Tracking form.


What’s next?

Please see part 3 of our series titled “Your Money, Your Goals.”

Larry Marvin


LifeCrafter Money $ense


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) www.cfpb.gov/your-money-your-goals