Extension financial programs for February and beyond

February is a great time to think about money — holiday expenses are not far past, and tax season is on the horizon. It’s no wonder that the last week of February has been designated as America Saves Week, a national campaign which encourages individuals and families to save money in order to build wealth or reduce debt.

Linda Beech is Ellis County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences with Kansas State Research and Extension.

Linda Beech is Ellis County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences with Kansas State Research and Extension.

In the next few weeks, K-State Research and Extension will offer several educational opportunities which focus on smart money management to help participants build financial stability and security. You may find just the right topic of interest to you and your family. Please save the date for these programs and call the Ellis County Extension office at (785) 628-9430 to register or for more information.

• Know Your Credit: The Ellis County Extension Office will host a noon-hour program on “Know Your Credit” on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at noon at the Ellis County Extension Office Meeting Room, 601 Main, Hays. Enter the rear door from the north parking lot.

This free program will explain the difference between a credit report and credit score, provide tips to manage credit behavior and understand the costs involved with using credit. Jamie Rathbun, Midway District Extension Agent, will be the guest speaker.Bring a lunch to enjoy during the program if desired. Beverages will be provided.

• Preserving the Family with Estate Planning: A team of Extension agents in northwest Kansas has planned the workshop “Preserving the Family with Estate Planning,” to aid families in beginning the process of transitioning assets from one generation to another. Attorneys and Extension experts will speak on estate planning basics, family communication, transfer of non-titled assets, charitable estate planning and farm transition planning. The goal of the workshop is to help families use estate planning to preserve the most valuable asset of all: the family itself.

The workshop will be held in two locations: Thursday, March 13, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hoxie, and Friday, March 14, at Thirsty’s Banquet Room in Hays. The cost for the all-day workshop is $15, due by March 7, and includes program handouts, refreshments and lunch. Late registration (after March 7) or walk-in cost is $20, however, the meal cannot be guaranteed for those who register late. Space is limited, so early registration is advised.

The workshop registration brochure is available on the Ellis County Extension Office website at www.ellis.ksu.edu, or your can contact us for more information at (785) 628-9430.

• America Saves Financial Challenge: To coincide with America Saves Week, the Cooperative Extension system is launching a free five-week online challenge. The program begins Sunday, February 23 and continues through Saturday, March 29.

The “America Saves Financial Challenge” is based on ten daily recommended financial practices. Points are given for performing personal actions such as tracking money spent, saving change and reading articles about financial issues. Paper tracking forms can be downloaded to keep track of daily activities until they are entered online, at least once a week. Participants can compare their progress to others across the country. Weekly and grand prizes will be awarded.

Doing even a few of the 10 recommended daily financial practices is a great way to get started on the path to financial security. To participate, visit http://goo.gl/Lsqb7A, create an account and enroll in the “2014 America Saves Challenge.”

If you need more information about any of these financial learning opportunities, contact us at the Ellis County Extension Office, (785) 628-9430. Remember, February is a great time to think about managing your money.

Linda Beech is Ellis County agent for Family and Consumer Sciences with K-State Research and Extension.