Money Matters Program Recap

Thank you to everyone who attend our kick-off event for Money Smart Week 2019, entitled Money Matters.  One of the first steps to financial security is planning and following through on a personal spending plan or budget.  Budgeting in about choices; choosing how to make money and choosing how to spend money.  Money Matters, a financial workshop created by the FDIC, teaches how to do just that.

The first step in the planning process is to set financial goals, which include:

  • Identify and write down your financial goals, such as retirement, buying a house, or sending children to college
  • Organize your financial goals based on the time frame you would like to complete them in
    • Short-term (less than 1 year), medium-term (1 – 3 years, and long-term (5 years or more)
  • Educate yourself by talking with a financial representative or by reading books or magazines.  Then you can identify small, measurable steps to achieve your goals.
  • Evaluate your progress monthly, quarterly, or yearly to see if you have met your goals or can identify ways to improve reaching your goals

A great way to help understand your current financial situation and what goals are reasonable, is to create a spending plan.  A spending plan is a step-by-step plan for meeting expenses in a given time period and determining what extra money you have at the end of each month.  A spending plan should include:

  • All sources of income, including the dates income is received
    • income includes wages, social security, retirement, government assistance, and child support
  • All of your expenses including due dates, which generally fall into two categories:
    • If you were to cast a glance at this debt collector directory fixed expenses by most moneylenders do not change from month to month, car loans, student loans, child support payments
    • Flexible expenses can vary from month to month, such as utilities, credit card payments, food, gas, and other personal expenses
  • The total amount of income and expenses subtracted from each other to see how much money is left over, that can be put away in savings account, a rainy day fund, or pay off outstanding debt
  • You can create a spending plan using a spreadsheet software or by listing all of the information on a calendar
  • If the traditional ways of creating a spending plan don’t work for you, you can try these options:
    • Expense Envelop System – useful if you pay bills in cash
      • Make an envelope with for each monthly expense by writing the name of the expense, the amount due, and the due date
      • Pay the bills right away so you are not tempted to spend the money
    • Budget Box System
      • A box or folder with dividers, with one divider for each day of the month
      • Whenever you receive a bill or know of an expense, but the bill or a reminder behind the divider of the due date
      • As you receive income, pay your bills in order as soon as possible to ensure all of your bills are paid

While we would like to always have a surplus of money, that might not always be the case.  Should you run into a situation where your expenses are greater than your income, consider the following:

  • Pay your necessary household expenses first, such as rent, mortgage, food, and utilities
    • Some utility companies have programs to lower your bill if you qualify
  • Prioritize your bills by thinking about the health and safety of your family
  • Seek assistance to help cover other expenses, such as credit counseling, government assistance programs, or loan deferments

For more information about personal finances and goal setting, you can talk to a representative from your bank or credit union, or visit  For a copy of the presentation, CLICK HERE.  You can find a spending plan template HERE.

About Andrew Dauphinee

Education and learning are passions of mine. Lifelong learning is a core part of who I am and I strive to pass that desire for information on to everyone I meet. As the Instruction and Outreach Librarian, it is my goal to provide quality, informative, and relevant programming to meet the diverse needs of our patrons. Please contact me regarding programming at