Posts Tagged ‘fixed expenses’

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I am reminded of the challenges families face as we pay our monthly costs for living today. During the first week of every month, I go through the process of paying for regular fixed monthly expenses. Fixed expenses have a specific due date with an amount set by signing a contractual agreement such as rent/mortgage, a student loan, internet, cellphone, or car payment.  Other types of regular expenses may have a variable amount due each month based on monthly purchases or usage rate such a credit cards and utilities.  We receive paper or electronic statements monthly to advise us of payments due. Other spending categories that are fixed with variable costs are food, gasoline, clothing, personal care, and health expenses.  Paying bills today seems to take more time and energy than before the pandemic. Director Chopra at the April 2023 Financial Literacy and Education Commission meeting stated the pandemic turbocharged a transition to banking and digital payments. These changes include:

  • An uptick in trading individual stocks and crypto assets
  • A marked increase in the number of banked individuals, as illustrated through a recent FDIC Ohio survey
  • A jump in consumer reliance on digital payments platforms.
  • The pandemic, Economic Impact Payments and social changes propel banks to increase Junk Fees
  • Further adoption and increased use of apps like Google Pay, Apple Pay, Venmo, and Cash App.

These banking transitions have increased risk and added additional time and effort to paying our bills.  We are constantly challenged to navigate the sea of emergent digital products and services being marketed to us. 

Revisit Ohio State University Extension’s Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest to “help people help themselves” as families work to achieve financial wellness during this time of rapid social and economic change. Managing and controlling our spending and saving is needed to build hope and manage emergent financial stress.

The purpose of the Hope Chest is for individuals and families to –

•          Prioritize spending by separating needs from wants

•          Identify realistic/SMARTER goals

•          Gather current financial saving and spending information

•          Locate emergency resources

•          Analyze their current budget

•          Develop a “sustainable” Accounting for Your Money calendar

•          Take control of spending resulting in increased saving for family goals.

Work through the steps of the Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest with your family members and/or co-spenders as you and your family adjust to changing basic needs and wants. Determine how to best spend your money during this period of rapid social and economic change. Your family will be empowered to meet the new challenges brought about by the change, reducing financial emergencies, and easing future financial stress.

Written by: Margaret Jenkins, Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Clermont County

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Mahoning County


1. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/prepared-remarks-director-rohit-chopra-april-2023-financial-literacy-education-commission/

2. 2021 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households

3. COVID-19 Drives Global Surge in use of Digital Payments (worldbank.org)

4. How did the pandemic change the way we bank? (clevelandfed.org) and Trends in the Noninterest Income of Banks (clevelandfed.org)

5. Comparing Overdraft Fees and Policies across Banks (CFPB Blog)

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