ST. CLOUD -- With the inflation rate at 8.6%, the highest since 1981, financial counselors have seen more families worried about their household budgets.

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Emily Bezdicek is a HUD-certified Financial and Housing Counselor with Catholic Charities in St. Cloud. She says the best thing to do now is compare how much your family spends versus last year.

One of my recommendations is to compare your spending during the first five months of last year, so 2021. Compare it to January through May of 2022. Pull those credit card statements, pull those bank statements, see how much you actually spent on things and see what that difference is. Everyone's going to feel this inflation a little bit differently.

Food prices are reported up more than 10% from last year, energy is up 30% and used vehicles are up over 15%. Bezdicek says it’s a brave thing to step up and admit you need help.

We really commend people for reaching out because finances are a really personal thing. And for someone to be brave, to reach out is always great. But we always start by looking back to those basics: budget, budget, budget budget. There's really only three things that can be done differently, and it's reduce your expenses, increase your income, or sell your assets.


Bezdicek suggests the best way to combat inflation is a complete understanding of the family budget, and how it compares to spending. For more information, click here.

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