Tightening your belt during tough times

During this current time of economic turmoil, Long Islanders may have to take a step back and look in the financial mirror. Debt counselors say people who have had their finances beaten up during the

News 12 Staff

Mar 4, 2009, 6:30 PM

Updated 5,611 days ago

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During this current time of economic turmoil, Long Islanders may have to take a step back and look in the financial mirror.
Debt counselors say people who have had their finances beaten up during the economic downturn may need to start looking at their budget, and cutting back on things they really don't need.
"Spend 10-15 minutes with your spouse and say 'let's go over the budget. Let's lay out everything and see how we are doing,'" says debt counselor Jonathan Gordon.
Gordon says by skipping a $3 cup of coffee in the morning, residents could save about $60 a month. By not going out to dinner just once a week, cash-strapped residents could save $200-$300 a month.
Gordon suggests putting those savings toward something that's charging interest.
Many Long Islanders are also refinancing their mortgages to help bounce back from financial trouble. Gary and Marsha Riveles, of Oceanside, say they?ve cut back but that refinancing really helped their situation.
Gary Riveles is unemployed, but says he was able to refinance because he has excellent credit history and his wife works part time. Also, the couple has equity left in their home. Bankers say that's a key factor that works in favor of many Long Island homeowners.
?We are very fortunate in Long Island because our housing prices have held up better than most places in the country,? Kirk Kordeleski, from Bethpage Federal Credit Union, says. ?So most everyone can get approved.?
Kordeleski says mortgage applications are up 400 percent from last year.
Watch: Realities of refinancing
HandlingHard Times: A Long Island Survival Guide
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