While the overall economy may be improving, many families just aren't feeling it.
But what if you could do better with what you have? We're hoping to show you how.
Today, we're starting out on a project to give one family a money makeover. On each of the next few Mondays, we'll check out a different money topic. It could be saving for retirement or paying for college. We want to give them and you the tools needed to get ahead in the next year.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Deanna Smith of Fort Worth has a typical family - two teenagers and a third son already grown. She and her husband work hard, but say they can't seem to get ahead.
"We constantly feel like we're trying to rob Peter to pay Paul or move money around or not be able to do the things we know we should be doing at our age," she said.
The couple is in their 40s and both work, but Smith estimated she works 60-70 hours per week with an 90-minute commute each way. Her husband works about 40 hours per week.
"I do have a lot of responsibility, but it's not any more than the next person." she said. "Everybody has something in their own lives that they have and maybe theirs is just as much as mine, just in a different way."
The Smiths have dreams. They're renting now, but someday they'd like to buy. They'd also like to afford to send their kids to college, but right now they don't see much money left over as they've paid bills.
"You worry sometimes at night," Smith said. "Where's the grocery money going to come from? You know, there's been times that we've been in those situations. I feel for people. I've been that mom that went hungry so that my kids could eat."
Deanna and her husband smoke, but they're trying to quit. They've had health problems in the family. They've experienced bad times, but they are opening their lives to us and financial experts in hopes that we can help. Hopefully, we can help other families too.
"One of the reasons that I wanted to do this with you is that there are so many people out there like me and like my family that have struggles, that have things that are going on, that may not have a lot of money," Smith said. "I want things that they can use to make their lives better too."
Over the next few Mondays, we'll tackle topics like budgeting, saving for retirement, paying for college and teaching your kids about money.