The agent who mentored me over 30 years ago developed a worksheet titled “Does Your Money Have Wings?” Whenever I pull it out to share with an individual or group I think about the many choices we make every day that cost money. Paying closer attention to whether the item is a want or a need could be helpful as families in today’s world are challenged to make ends meet.
So many news stories these days are centered on the difficulty families across the country are having that are related to money. From home foreclosures to longer than usual lines waiting for public assistance, it is easy to see that the effects of economic problems are everywhere you turn. The good news is K-State Research and Extension has many publications that can guide people through some hard times.
The “Does Your Money Have Wings?” worksheet has around 25 items listed that money could be spent on. Things like eating out, cell phone charges, snacks and soda, or magazine subscriptions are among the choices. After the participants mark the ones they use they determine how much money is spent each year for each item. Many times, I will hear a gasp from a participant. Then I know that the activity is working; raising their awareness about how money is being spent. My goal is to help participants see the amount of money that is spent on “extras” each year. I like to ask them about what needs they have in their life that they could use the money spent on “extras” for.
Feel free to call me or drop by the Extension office to pick up your copy of the worksheet. Some of the budgeting materials are available in Spanish as well. Other publications which are also helpful in the area of money management include a four-part series titled, “Making Ends Meet.” If you have children ages 3 – 14 the publication “Helping Children Learn to Manage Money” is well done. All of the publications I have listed are available free of charge. Get your year off to a great start by getting your spending under control.
Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or email@example.com.