Extension Office offering course on financial literacy

Published 10:11 am Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Butler County Extension Office is offering a bit of advice to residents on how to save money for a rainy day during the month of April showers.

April is National Financial Literacy Month, and according to a recent Career Builder study, it’s needed now more than ever —77 percent of American consumers are living from paycheck to paycheck.

The month marks an opportunity to educate households on various financial matters, such as creating and managing a budget, paying down debt while saving for emergencies and setting realistic financial goals.

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Butler County Extension Coordinator Anthony Pinkston said that the largest roadblocks on the road to financial responsibility are always the little things.

“I think what trips people up the most is just not keeping a track of what they’re spending,” Pinkston said. “When they stop by the store, they could even have a grocery list, and they will get the things on their list and then they’ll pick up extra things that they don’t need, and sometimes that gets them in trouble over time.

“People see a sign that says ‘sale’ and it’s something that they don’t even need.  Just because it’s a sale, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you or it’s financially responsible to pick it up.  That’s shopping for clothes, furniture and other things.”

The extension office has laid out a five-step plan for helping those on the path toward financial wellness.

The first step involves making a strong commitment to change one’s relationship with money.

Secondly, the office recommends taking a simple quiz to help understand one’s financial position.

Getting organized, setting priorities — or understanding the difference between needs and wants — and learning to spend less than what is earned round out the list, and a solid budget is considered the most important element of any successful financial plan.

Pinkston added that following the plan and budgeting correctly could not only lead to more money in an individual’s bank account, but it could have an effect on the county as a whole.

“We have to stop being a microwave society that wants everything at once,” Pinkston said. “There are some things that you just have to wait on.  And when you find yourself in a better financial situation, then it makes the economy better because you won’t find yourself in a tight, robbing Peter to pay Paul, because you always have your rolling reserves in case anything comes up.  It’s important to budget and just spend wisely, and I think that if you do that, more money will go into the economy.”

For more information, visit financialliteracymonth.com or contact the Butler County Extension Office at (334) 382-3111.