Traditional and Non-Traditional Banking

[Author: Karen Poff – Extension Agent]

Sometimes I hear people say that they would rather not put their money in a bank or credit union. Some of the reasons they give include trouble managing a checking account in the past, low interest rates, fear that creditors will take the funds, and problems with identity theft. Continue reading

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February is heart month – what does being heart healthy mean to you?

[Author: Theresa Gilson, DTR, VDH Dietetic Intern]

Do you, or does someone in your family, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes? These are all risk factors that can be reduced, controlled, or eliminated which can help prevent heart disease. With heart disease being the #1 cause of death worldwide, a heart healthy lifestyle is essential for everyone. Continue reading

Of love and money…

[Author: Karen Poff – Extension Agent]

During February, everyone’s mind turns to hearts and flowers (and chocolate!) as we celebrate Valentine’s Day. My son recently mentioned a new title for the holiday, “Single’s Awareness Day.” Singles may wish they had someone to share the flowers and chocolate with, but they do have one advantage over couples in the area of money management. Singles don’t have to argue with a partner over how to spend their money. Continue reading

Developing a spendings and savings plan

[Author: Karen Poff – Extension Agent]

Many people have a negative feeling about the word “budget.” The word brings to mind a straight jacket or perhaps chains — something that holds you back or keeps you in check. But the purpose behind a budget is exactly the opposite. It is supposed to set you free to accomplish the things you want and to spend your money on the things that are important to you. Continue reading

Use credit wisely, instead of not at all

[Author: Karen Poff – Extension Agent]

From time to time I hear people say that because of their bad experiences with credit, they want to pay cash for everything and never borrow again. This may seem like an admirable goal. but in reality, a life totally without credit can actually reduce your financial stability. Even if you never plan to borrow again, a poor credit history can: Continue reading

Personal finance foundations

[Author: Karen Poff – Extension Agent]

If you want to build stability into your personal finances, you have to start with a firm foundation. The first step is to get organized. You’ll need a simple home filing system, a way to keep track of which bills are due when, and one place to store everything. You can use large envelopes, file folders, notebooks, or calendars to organize. Continue reading

A financial checkup for the new year

[Author: Karen Poff – Extension Agent]

The beginning of a new year is a great time to evaluate your family’s financial health. The results might seem discouraging during an economic downturn, but knowing where you stand now can help you take steps to improve your family’s financial future. Continue reading

Clearing the holiday clutter

[Author: Karen Poff – Extension Agent]

During the time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, we create an extra 5 million tons of garbage. The extra waste is generated because the average American household increases its trash output by 25 percent during the holidays. To keep all of that extra trash from filling up our landfills, we need to think twice before tossing it into the garbage can. So as you are clearing the holiday clutter this year, try some of these tips for reducing your family’s contribution to the mountain of trash. Continue reading

Are you ready for a winter storm?

[Author: Karen Poff – Extension Agent]

I remember my first winter in the Shenandoah Valley. I was just out of college and moved here from Virginia Beach in October, unaware of the things I needed to be prepared for the winter ahead. When with the first snow storm the power went out, my thought was, “It will be back on in a few minutes (as was normally the case in Virginia Beach). Continue reading