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Posts Tagged ‘Spending plan’

Conversations about money might be uncomfortable for some people. When speaking with individuals about money I often hear comments like, “I don’t have enough money to budget” Or “it’s so overwhelming I don’t know where to start”. According to a FINRA Investor Education Foundation survey, 60% of those surveyed feel anxious when thinking of their finances and 50% felt stressed discussing their finances. If you are like many, you just want to know how to get started. One of my favorite sayings from Aristotle (and Mary Poppins) is “well begun is half done”.

Person with face in her hands near a computer

So here are three basic steps to get started.

 1. Reduce debt

 2. Increase savings

3. Make a plan

Let’s break it down.

First, know your debt. Make a list of each item you owe, the length of time until paid off, and the percentage rate. This information allows you to plan for debt reduction with the most success. The interest rate directly impacts the amount of tomorrow’s money you’re using today. Consider the types of debt you may have: credit card or revolving debt, installment debt like car payments, and student loan debt. Using an online tool like Powerpay will help you form a plan to reduce debt with the most effectiveness.

Second, begin to save or increase your savings. Establishing an emergency fund can help you avoid future credit card use by having funds available when emergencies happen. In addition, establishing a savings account can help you plan for future goals. The emergency fund is for the unexpected while the savings are for the expected. There are many ways to begin saving, choose what works best for you, and then stick to it. It could be automatic deposit from a paycheck into a savings account, saving change in a jar and taking it to the bank when full, setting aside extra funds from bonuses, overtime, or tax returns, or utilizing a savings app on the phone. Whichever you choose, resolve to start today!

Lastly, it’s time to make a plan, a spending plan that is! If you have never formed a budget (also known as a spending plan) now is a great time to start. A spending plan is an intentional look at the money you need each month to meet your obligations. Start with fixed expenses like mortgage or rent payment, loan payments, and utilities. Then, consider flexible expenses like food, entertainment, gifts, and clothing.  To get started you may choose to use a calendar or notebook to record all of your expenses and income. This allows you to track when, how much, and what you are purchasing. Using a tool like Eight Easy Exercises can help you shape your budget.

Well begun is half done. What can you begin today to improve your financial well-being tomorrow?

Written by: Melissa J. Rupp, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County.

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County.

References:

https://gflec.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Anxiety-and-Stress-Report-GFLEC-FINRA-FINAL.pdf?x85507America Saves (September 14, 2021)

https://americasaves.org/resource-center/insights/54-ways-to-save-money/ (September 14, 2021)

https://www.fdic.gov/resources/consumers/consumer-news/2021-02.html (September 14, 2021)

Photo by Pixabay

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I have been de-cluttering my home for the past three months. Rather, I have been trying to de-clutter! At the same time, I have had to manage my finances in “new” ways to meet the continuously emerging needs of the COVID-19 pandemic. I took a trip down memory lane as I opened my Hope Chest to add and subtract items.

What is a Hope Chest? Historically, the term hope chest symbolizes hope in a marriage. The hope chest itself is an important vessel that a newly married woman could one day hand down to her own daughter. Traditional cedar hope chests were also used to help protect fabrics and to give the items inside a pleasant aroma. Key words include vessel and a symbol of hope.

What would a 2020 Hope Chest need to look like and contain? In these changing times, the vessel needs to live in a virtual world and be an action of hope.

Ohio State University Extension designed a Hope Chest to “help people help themselves” amidst these uncertain times.  A temporary or transitional spending plan is needed to build hope and manage financial stress.

The purpose of the Hope Chest is for individuals and families to –

  1. Prioritize spending by separating needs from wants
  2. Identify realistic/SMART goals
  3. Gather current financial spending and saving information
  4. Evaluate COVID-19 pandemic emergency resources
  5. Develop a “new” Accounting for Your Money calendar
  6. Get through the next 6-months using Accounting for Your Money calendar
  7. Re-evaluate and adjust the transitional spending plan monthly

Directions for use of “Accounting for Your Money” Hope Chest

Begin by reviewing Steps 1 through 7 to obtain an overall picture of the components of the Hope Chest. After reviewing the components, you are ready to begin completing the steps.

Complete Steps 1 and 2 within a week. For Step 3 collect spending records before you add the information to the “Spending Tracker Tool” and “Income and Benefits Tool”.

Steps 4 and 5 include evaluating resources and developing a transitional spending plan.

Steps 6 and 7 will occur over the next 6 months. Completing all the steps will help manage your spending and saving habits.

Work on the steps with your family members/co-spenders and discuss your basic wants and needs. Determine how to best spend your money during the pandemic. Your family will be empowered to meet the new challenges brought about by the pandemic emergency and ease future financial stress.

Post evaluations of this program indicate that most individuals who complete the seven-step process reveal they have/find additional money to use for meeting personal goals.

Click here to “make money now” and start filling your Hope Chest!

Written by:  Margaret Jenkins, OSU Extension Educator, Clermont County jenkins.188@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu

References:

Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences (2020). COVID-19 – A Financial Resource Guide at fcs.osu.edu/programs/healthy-finances-0/covid-19-financial-resource-guide

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2020). Your Money Your Goals at consumerfinance.gov/practitioner-resources/your-money-your-goals


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Over the last two months, the topic of global financial reset has shown up on news feeds alongside headlines about the COVID-19 pandemic, economic shutdowns, and stay at home orders. In our households, we have experienced an unprecedented schedule shift that has changed the way we do work, school, social activities, and yes, even finances. Reload reset technology update digital

This disruption of what was previously considered normal can also provide an opportunity to reset, to review and bring back processes that work for our families.  Assessing what works and what needs adjusting might be seen more clearly in times of disruption, and a reset becomes possible. For some, it has been a slower time with the ability to save money. For others, it has been a chaotic time that may include the loss of income or increased expenses.

The wellness of the family unit can be defined in many domains, financial wellness is one of them. When life brings a new chapter: marriage, empty nest, downsizing, new job, new home and perhaps even a global pandemic; it is a good time to look at financial wellness and make decisions to stay the course, set a new course or reset a course that is not working for us.

Take time to reset:

  • Reset the spending plan. Does your family follow a spending plan? A spending plan is a basic financial process to match income to expenses to meet family goals. If your spending is more than your income adjustments must be made, sometimes temporarily, and sometimes as a new normal.
  • Reset family goals. Family goals may or may not be about money. Schedule a family meeting to check in on the thoughts, dreams, and goals of individual family members. Work together to create family goals that the family can achieve together. When built together, the whole family including children are invested in the outcome. When goals involve a financial shift, family members are more likely to support the spending plan reset to achieve the goal they helped create.save-3402476_1920
  • Reset spending patterns. One possible advantage of global disruption is that we have had an opportunity to see our daily and weekly patterns more clearly through the forced change in our routine. The drive-through coffee on the way to work, ball games, and even dinner out with a movie contribute to our spending but may not always reflect our goals or our spending plan. Depending on the situation, these may be a type of spending leaks. Consider what expenses may not be as important as you once thought, or where savings can be created.

OSU Extension provides a direct educational response to your financial well-being questions. Have you struggled to identify spending leaks or complete financial goal setting? These and many other questions can be submitted privately through our financial tip line.  An Extension Educator will respond directly to you. Follow this link to submit a question: go.osu.edu/financialadvicesurvey

Working together, you can re-establish financial wellness for your family. Starting now allows you to emerge from an uncertain time of change with a new financial perspective and goals.

Written by: Melissa J. Rupp, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Fulton County

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Lucas County

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