ROCHESTER, N.Y. — 2020 has been a challenging year dealing with COVID-19. As a result, some people faced financial hardships. 

"Since we had 2020 that we did, I'm recommending to all families to look back at 2020 and evaluate what happened then financially," said Ruth Elisa, a Rochester business strategist and personal finance coach.

Elisa says she has seen an increase in people reaching out for help. 

"There has been an increase with people messing up their credit, with people messing up their finances," said Elisa.  

As we enter into 2021, Elisa says it's important to have a plan. She says one mistake many people make is that they look at their income coming in, but don't look at their expenses. 

"So, what I recommend people to do is to make a list of every single bill that you have and then next to it, putting the due date beside it," said Elisa. 

When it comes to saving, putting anything aside can go a long way. 

"Once you have your monthly bills in place and you're able to pay all of those off, I would say if you could save 5 to 10%, put that aside for emergencies. The rest put back on your debt," said Elisa. 

Elisa says if you are in debt, take a deep breath. It's ok. 

"The average American right now is holding $8,000 plus in credit card debt. That is OK. Write down the specific amount of credit card debt you have now. If you took out any loans that you are approved for, write it down. Write it down and make it plain," said Elisa.