We are half-way through the year. Did you know that as of today, July 13, 2016, there are only 164 days until Christmas? Crazy how time flies!

Gift-buying by the Billions

The holiday season is the most significant spending time of the year. Last year, Americans spent an average $830 on gifts and goodies, for a total of more than $465 billion. According to CreditDonkey.com, some people who put gift purchases on credit cards will continue paying for those four or more years later, racking up $200+ in interest rates.

But, there’s a better way – budget for those holiday expenditures early, starting now even when Christmas is still six months away. Other advice includes buying gifts throughout the year, spreading the purchases around a bit, as well as buying when the items are on sale.

Wyoming’s Economic Downturn

There is no doubt Wyoming is in a financial slump with job layoffs, major cuts to governmental and school district budgets, and people leaving the state in pursuit of better opportunities. Such a downturn in our state’s economic situation also reflects individuals’ financial woes, with job loss, lack of employment (or at least fulltime employment), and concerns for what may lie ahead. This is a good time to take inventory of one’s financial situation and plan for the future.

Finances and Abortion

Finances play a major role for some women considering abortion. According to one study of more than 950 women who sought an abortion, 40% cited finances as a major reason for their decision. The majority of those in the study were unmarried. The researchers stated, “…women seek abortion for reasons related to their circumstances, including their socioeconomic status, age, health, parity and marital status.”

There are many community resources available to help people facing financial hardship. In Casper and throughout the nation, there are housing resources, employment/job training programs (most of which are free), online educational opportunities in addition to attending college or high school in a physical building, rent and utility assistance programs, and food banks, to name just a few. At True Care, we provide a list of community referrals to our patients, helping to meet their needs through education on what is available to assist them in Natrona County. Whether that’s housing through the Central Wyoming Rescue Mission, job training programs through Climb Wyoming and Empower, Train, Employ (ETE) at Casper College, clothing at the various thrift stores, and food through the many community food banks, we inform our patients about these organizations which can help alleviate financial concerns they may have.

Help is Available

Budgeting programs are available through many sources and can be electronic or done on paper. Classes are offered through several community agencies, including Central Wyoming Rescue Mission, TRIO at Casper College, the Self Help Center. Contact these organizations for more information (and you don’t have to be homeless, a students, or someone in need of safe housing to participate in them). There is also the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University program available through local churches, and a free online budget program available through Mr. Ramsey’s website: http://www.daveramsey.com/everydollar/?ictid=92C3K1743).

Here’s a link for creating a budget, including a holiday expense plan: http://www.clearpoint.org/blog/how-much-should-you-spend-during-the-holiday-season/.

Unplanned Pregnancy? Financial Concerns? Call True Care!

For women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, finances can be, and often are, a major concern. True Care offers its services for free, including pregnancy testing, STD testing for Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, ultrasound for patients with a positive pregnancy test at our clinic who are far enough along for a fetal heartbeat to be detected, and parenting classes for our positive pregnancy test patients. Free services by professional medical providers go a long way to help an already stretched-thin budget. True Care patients receive a listing of community resources that can also mediate income concerns, including those organizations that provide job programs, housing resources, food banks and other materials assistance organizations, and sliding-fee-scale OBGYN medical providers. Knowing the resources available to them helps our patients breathe a bit easier and guides them toward making wiser choices, in finances and in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, contact True Care for a pregnancy appointment. Not only can we verify if you are truly pregnant, but we can provide that listing of community resources that may be able to help you budget and meet your financial and other needs. Call or text our Scheduling Line at 307-215-9684 for your free pregnancy appointment today.