Tips for handling rising costs from an Operation HOPE Financial Wellbeing coach

May 10, 2023

Anyone can struggle in an economy where the cost of everyday items keeps going up, that’s why it’s not about how much money you make but how you balance the money coming in with the money going out. We’ve got tips to help. 

Laura Garcia-Villalpando is a Financial Wellbeing coach for Operation HOPE, an organization whose mission is to help people realize financial opportunity by providing the tools they need to reach their goals. It’s this hands-on educational approach that sparked Laura to join the organization. 

“I had been a banker for 16 years and I loved helping people with their finances. But I always felt that there was something more I could do.” 

Lessons learned

Laura says one of the biggest lessons she shares with people is “to be nicer to yourself” when it comes to your finances. Anyone can struggle. It doesn’t matter whether you have $1 in your bank account or $1,000, if you can’t pay your bills, you need help.  

“We put a stigma on asking for help. But there are lots of reasons why people can't make their budget work. Maybe they just lost their job or they’re dealing with the loss of a loved one.”  

She says that people have always struggled, but the pandemic, and now the current economy, is causing people to be more focused on their finances than ever before. And that’s adding stress to people’s lives. 

Laura says as you sort out your spending habits, “give yourself some grace. If you fall down, it’s not the end of the world. Stop, breathe, think about what you can do better.”

Tip 1: Understand your behavior

Her first tip is that it’s critical to understand what’s causing you to make unnecessary purchases. One trend is people who use their credit card to pay for everything without having a plan to pay it off. “It's about having self-control,” she says. “If you know it's something you don't need, can you put it aside? Some people can't.”

Tip 2: Start saving

Another tip is to create good financial habits. “I always recommend, regardless of capability or income, that everyone should save. How much you save is not as important as just doing it.” She says to consider saving $1 dollar a week or $1 day. Something small, that helps you build a habit.  

But she cautions that while creating habits is important it’s also valuable to be flexible. Especially in the process of learning about finances. “If you're writing your budget and you want it to be the same every month, that’s not realistic,” Laura says. “Energy bills can fluctuate, holiday spending isn’t monthly, and surprises can pop up like unexpected health issues.” 

Tip 3: Reach out

Her final tip. If you need reassurance, whether it’s good or bad, reach out. It’s important for people to know that everyone’s views and thoughts are different and what works for one person might not work for someone else. “We can go over a plan that’s specific for you,” she says. 


U.S. Bank partners with Operation HOPE to provide critical financial education coaching and counseling with a focus on individuals, families and small businesses in low to moderate-income communities. Visit Operation HOPE to schedule an appointment today. 

Related content

Loud budgeting explained: Amplify your money talk

What to do with your tax refund or bonus

5 tips for parents opening a bank account for kids

How to save more money in 2024

Short- and Long-Term Financial Goals for Every Life Stage

Get back on track with your New Year’s financial resolutions

Financial goals for 2024 a 12-month planning guide

How your taxes can change after a major life event

How I saved $10,000 in just one year

Live your money values in 2024

3 financial tools to help automate your finances

Tips on how couples can learn to agree about money

How to financially prepare for pet costs

What is a Certificate of Deposit? And what to know before opening an account

How to set financial goals you will keep

How to Adult: 5 ways to track your spending

How to Adult: 7 tax terms and concepts you should know

When your spouse has passed away: A three-month financial checklist

What documents do you need after a loved one dies?

How to plan and save for adoption and in vitro fertility treatment costs

Webinar: Uncover the cost: Starting a family

3 tips for saving money when moving to a new home

5 ways to maximize your garage sale profits 

Building confidence in your finances and career

Pros and cons of a personal line credit

Tips for handling rising costs from an Operation HOPE Financial Wellbeing coach

Mindset Matters: How to practice mindful spending

Mobile banking tips for smarter and safer online banking

Uncover the cost: International trip

Uncover the cost: Wedding

A who’s who at your local bank

How to save for a dream vacation

Discovering your money personality can help you save

Does your side business need a separate bank account?

Managing your finances in the military

How to save money while helping the environment

Planning self-care moments that matter (and how to finance them)

Is raising backyard chickens a good idea financially?

By the numbers: The gig economy

Working with an accountability partner can help you reach your goals

5 things to deinfluence in your finances

7 steps to prepare for the high cost of child care

How to decide when to shop local and when to shop online

5 myths about emergency funds

How to save for a wedding

What does FDIC mean?  

An eco friendly debit card with roots in Haiti

Stay on budget — and on the go — with a mobile banking app

Multiple accounts can make it easier to follow a monthly budget

5 things to consider when deciding to take an unplanned trip

Stay committed to your goals by creating positive habits

How new parents can prepare for the costs of a new child

Tips for talking about money when friends earn more

5 tips for creating (and sticking to) a holiday budget

Money Moments: 3 tips for planning an extended leave of absence

The banking app you need as a new parent

How can I help my student manage money?

How to increase your savings

Bank from home with these digital features

How I did it: Transitioned from the military to a private sector career

Don’t underestimate the importance of balancing your checking account

6 questions students should ask about checking accounts

What you need to know as the executor of an estate

What applying for store credit card on impulse could mean

How to manage money in the military: A veteran weighs in

First-time homebuyer’s guide to getting a mortgage

Overcoming high interest rates: Getting your homeownership goals back on track

Travel for less: Smart (not cheap) ways to spend less on your next trip

Things to know about the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Should you buy now, pay later?

Steer clear of overdrafts to your checking account

U.S. Bank asks: Do you know what an overdraft is?

Tips and resources to help in the aftermath of a natural disaster

Tips for working in the gig economy

Which is better: Combining bank accounts before marriage — or after?

Tips to overcome three common savings hurdles

Money Moments: 8 dos and don’ts for saving money in your 30s

Save time and money with automatic bill pay

A passion for fashion: How this student works the gig economy

Money Moments: 3 smart financial strategies when caring for aging parents

Helpful tips for safe and smart charitable giving

Growing your savings by going on a ‘money hunt’

Why a mobile banking app is a ‘must have’ for your next vacation

Tips to raise financially healthy kids at every age

How compound interest works

Is it time to get a shared bank account with your partner?

How I kicked my online shopping habit and got my spending under control

How to financially prepare for a military PCS

Friction: How it can help achieve money goals

It's possible: 7 tips for breaking the spending cycle

Earning in the gig economy: Gladys shares her story

Financial checklist: Preparing for military deployment

Here’s how to create a budget for yourself

Common unexpected expenses and three ways to pay for them

Webinar: Common budget mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Checking and savings smarts: Make your accounts work harder for you

Are savings bonds still a thing?

3 awkward situations Zelle can help avoid

Allowance basics for parents and kids

9 simple ways to save

Do you and your fiancé have compatible financial goals?

3 ways to keep costs down at the grocery store (and make meal planning fun)

What military service taught me about money management

6 pandemic money habits to keep for the long term

College budgeting: When to save and splurge

Overdrafts happen: Steps to get you back on track

Adulting 101: How to make a budget plan

You can take these 18 budgeting tips straight to the bank

How I did it: Learned to budget as a single mom

Your 4-step guide to financial planning

Personal loans first-timer's guide: 7 questions to ask

Should I itemize my taxes?

Dear Money Mentor: How do I set and track financial goals?

Lost job finance tips: What to do when you lose your job

LGBTQ+ financial planning tips

Understanding guardianship and power of attorney in banking

What I learned from my mom about money

6 ways to spring clean your finances and save money year-round

Military finance: How to create a family budget after military service

Managing money as a military spouse during deployment

How to cut mindless spending: real tips from real people

Financial gifts can be a valuable – and fun – choice for the holidays

Real world advice: How parents are teaching their kids about money

What financial advice would you give your younger self?

Essential financial resources and protections for military families

How to stop living paycheck to paycheck post-pay increase

Practical money tips we've learned from our dads

P2P payments make it easier to split the tab

What you need to know about renting

What’s in your emergency fund?

Certificates of deposit: How they work to grow your money

Dear Money Mentor: How do I pick a savings or checking account?

How and when to ask for a raise

Money management guide to financial independence

Money Moments: How to manage your finances after a divorce

Personal finance for teens can empower your child

5 reasons why couples may have separate bank accounts

U.S. Bank asks: Transitioning out of college life? What’s next?

5 tips to use your credit card wisely and steer clear of debt

What’s your financial IQ? Game-night edition

How having savings gives you peace of mind

30-day adulting challenge: Financial wellness tasks to complete in a month

Make holiday gift giving easier in a digital world

First-timer’s guide to savings account alternatives

Does your savings plan match your lifestyle?

3 tips for saving money easily

Four ways to make a strong resume for your first real job

Myths vs. facts about savings account interest rates

U.S. Bank asks: Do you know your finances?

Booming in the gig economy: A new chapter leveraging 45 years of experience

Your guide to starting a job: Resources to help along the way

7 financial questions to consider when changing jobs

Webinar: 5 myths about emergency funds

How to best handle unexpected expenses

Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rates and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.