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My Money, Lesson 1: Where Do I Begin?

ID

354-073

Authors as Published

Heather Greenwood, Family and Community Sciences agent, Fauquier County

Money problems are common. When we manage it, we can make it last longer. It is important to:

  • Know what you want to do with your money
  • Know where your money goes
  • Know how to keep your money longer
  • Plan your spending
  • Stop using credit

What are Values?

Values are ideas that are important to you. They help you pick goals that you can work on. Some families argue about money because their values are different. Read over the list below. Put a check mark to show how important each item is to you. Use the blank space for something you value that is not on the list. Then have a spouse or child complete the second chart.

 

 Very ImportantImportantNot Important
Religion   
Education   
Trip   
Saving $   
Family   
Health   
Food   
Auto Insurance   
Health   
Insurance   
Disability   
Insurance   
Life Insurance   
Clothes   
Sports   
Job   
Money   
Jewelry   
Friends   
New Car   
Pay off debt   
Buy home   
Fun   
    

 

 Very ImportantImportantNot Important
Religion   
Education   
Trip   
Saving $   
Family   
Health   
Food   
Auto Insurance   
Health   
Insurance   
Disability   
Insurance   
Life Insurance   
Clothes   
Sports   
Job   
Money   
Jewelry   
Friends   
New Car   
Pay off debt   
Buy home   
Fun   
    

 

Talking About Money

Talking about money is hard. Take some time to talk about what your family thinks about money. Here are some tips:
  1. Clearly state the money problem. If there many problems, this step will take time.
  2. Let everyone share their feelings. It is not a time to judge. Use "I" messages rather than "You" messages. For example, "I get upset when the gas tank is always almost empty because I am worried about running out of gas." Rather than, "You never fill up the gas tank."
  3. Listen carefully to everyone. Ask questions to make sure you understand.
  4. Be willing to compromise.

Setting Family Goals

Take time to think about what you need. List your goals. Then choose the most important goal. It is better to focus on one goal and reach it than set too many and never reach any of them.

Good goals should:

  • Be real! If you have trouble paying your bills each month, it isn't realistic to save for a big trip next month. It may be realistic to cut back on expenses and pay the bills on time or put a little money away to take a less expensive trip in the future.
  • Be specific! Clearly write your goals. For example, "I will save $50 for the next 4 months" is more specific than "I will save more money."
  • Be flexible! Even the best plans can fall apart from an emergency. It may take a longer to reach your goal after an emergency. But it's better to reach them a little late than not at all.

 

GoalPriority
(high, middle, low)
Target DateTotal CostAmount
Each Month
Short Term (within 1 year):
     
     
Middle Term (1 to 5 years):
     
     
Long Term (over 5 years):
     
     

 

For more information, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office.


Reviewed by Mabel Dianna Edlow, Extension Specialist, Virginia State University

Rights


Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Publisher

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Date

May 1, 2009


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