Memphis has approved a new budget. Again.

In general, every major city works off a fiscal year, meaning they have to update their budget annually. Memphis begins working from their new version on July 1, but with the city in bad financial shape and no real consensus on how to deal with taxes or social programs, the approval process isn’t always an easy one.

If you’re struggling with your own finances, there are certain lessons to be learned from the way cities handle their budgets, and mistakes to avoid as well.

  • First, have a budget in the first place. If you aren’t already working from a budget, set one up ASAP.
  • Unlike many cities do, make sure your budget is within your income. In other words, don’t budget money you don’t have.
  • Just like Memphis requires council approval for its budget, make sure everyone in your household approves of the new budget, too. Each person living on the budget needs to believe in it for the plan to work.
  • Get approval from elsewhere, too. Have someone experienced in finances take a look at your budget to see if there’s anything you may have overlooked. Our lawyers help clients with things like this all the time, because financial stability is the best goal to have when in debt.
  • Don’t give yourself ways out of the budget, like so many cities do. Don’t borrow money or use credit. (This is why setting up the budget well at the beginning is so important – it needs to be doable from day 1.)
  • Revisit your budget every year, or more if you have a change in income.

If you find that creating a budget is impossible because you simply don’t make enough money to pay your bills or cover your basic needs, you may want to speak with a bankruptcy attorney about your options. We’d be glad to talk over your situation at no charge.

Contact us today or give us a call at 901-327-2100.

(Photo by Sanja Gjenero)