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Rosary rally takes place in Liebenthal -10/24/2014, 8:37 AM

Pink Impact conference coming to North Oak -10/24/2014, 8:37 AM

Living by the law of love in today's society -10/24/2014, 8:37 AM

Dominican Sisters host annual mission benefit bazaar -10/24/2014, 8:37 AM

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Industry support leads to welding awards for NCK Tech -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

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Natoma group elects new officers -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

Tricks to making jams and jellies for holiday giving -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

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Business Briefcase (Oct. 19, 2014) -10/19/2014, 1:12 PM

Clubs and meetings (Oct. 19, 2014) -10/19/2014, 2:24 PM

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Stamper memorial scholarship awarded at KSU -10/17/2014, 2:24 PM

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Phillipsburg couple part of new Beach museum exhibit -10/15/2014, 4:25 PM

Medicare open enrollment begins Wednesday -10/14/2014, 3:21 PM

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Business Briefcase (Oct. 12, 2014) -10/12/2014, 11:33 AM

History, known management available in SunSup -10/12/2014, 11:33 AM

Clubs and meetings (Oct. 12, 2014) -10/12/2014, 11:33 AM

Let go of unhappiness -10/10/2014, 8:12 AM

Money personality affects life, relationships -10/10/2014, 8:12 AM

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'Gone Girl' jump starts end-of-the-year cinema -10/7/2014, 10:04 AM

Amish PTA and fried rice -10/7/2014, 8:16 AM

Palco native Romine to retire from KSHSAA -10/6/2014, 2:30 PM

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Clubs and meetings (Oct. 5, 2014) -10/5/2014, 2:51 PM

Business Briefcase (Oct. 5, 2014) -10/5/2014, 2:51 PM

BVD testing could pay off big for farmers and ranchers -10/5/2014, 2:42 PM

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Hays After 5 meeting Oct. 13 -10/3/2014, 8:49 AM

Ellis County FSA with limited staff this week -10/2/2014, 1:56 PM

Holiday instant scratch tickets now on sale -10/2/2014, 9:44 AM

Former Obama press secretary launches Sebelius Lecture Series -10/1/2014, 2:18 PM

Photographs of rural life in China on exhibit in FHSU's Memorial Union -10/1/2014, 10:32 AM

Encore Series to show Julie Fowlis -10/1/2014, 10:32 AM

The power of hedge apples stands strong through years -10/1/2014, 9:36 AM

Library to premiere short film about Hays Arts Council -9/30/2014, 12:11 PM

'The Equalizer' ends up in the green -9/30/2014, 9:18 AM

Fondue the perfect treat for party -9/30/2014, 9:08 AM

Clubs and meetings (Sept. 28, 2014) -9/28/2014, 3:37 PM

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Business Briefcase (Sept. 28, 2014) -9/28/2014, 3:37 PM

Huelskamp to host additional October town halls -9/26/2014, 4:32 PM

FHSU Theatre season premiers in October with 'Hello, Dolly!' -9/26/2014, 4:23 PM

American Democracy Project presents Ukraine series -9/26/2014, 3:46 PM

Black Madonna replica coming to Hays in October -9/26/2014, 10:10 AM

For 3rd year, FHSU makes national grouping of Lead Initiative civic engagement institutions -9/25/2014, 4:45 PM

Robots developed in France will enter curriculum for teaching, research -9/25/2014, 4:44 PM

FHSU Hispanic American Leadership Organization presents Antonio Neves -9/25/2014, 4:44 PM

Be aware to build an emergency fund -9/25/2014, 8:32 AM

Downs grad named RA at Cloud County -9/24/2014, 2:07 PM

Road project meeting planned in Norton -9/24/2014, 4:55 PM

Girl Scouts hosting free community event -9/24/2014, 4:01 PM

Hays Symphony Orchestra to open 2014-15 music season -9/24/2014, 4:01 PM

Students assemble for the 6th annual Poetry Slam -9/24/2014, 4:01 PM

FHSU to host annual majors and graduate programs fair -9/24/2014, 4:01 PM

Nation's largest taxpayer group honors Huelskamp -9/24/2014, 10:51 AM

Teach Ag Day celebrates opportunities -9/24/2014, 10:24 AM

HaysMed co-hosts summit on human trafficking -9/24/2014, 2:15 PM

American Farm Bureau Federation names Kansas lawmakers 'Friends of Farm Bureau' -9/24/2014, 10:24 AM

Looking to the past in dealing with the present, future -9/24/2014, 9:55 AM

Fun at the fair -- once again -9/24/2014, 9:55 AM

Nex-Tech Wireless to offer iPhone 6, iPhone6 Plus -9/23/2014, 11:11 AM

'This is Where I Leave You' leaves room for improvement -9/23/2014, 9:02 AM

Birthdays and gluten-free goodies -9/23/2014, 9:02 AM

Kansas Originals market plans Spirit of Kansas Festival -9/22/2014, 8:01 PM

Electric cars to test their endurance at the High Plains ElectroRally -9/22/2014, 12:06 PM

FHSU students can now earn a sustainability certificate -9/22/2014, 11:20 AM

Local students among 39 awarded for Hunter Scholarships at FHSU -9/22/2014, 11:19 AM

Peer pressure can play role in raising adolescents -9/22/2014, 8:45 AM

Business Briefcase (Sept. 21, 2014) -9/21/2014, 2:33 PM

FHSU one of 25 schools across the nation selected for 'hackathon' -9/19/2014, 3:55 PM

Cities to receive funding for road improvement projects -9/19/2014, 2:24 PM

Kansas Farm Bureau celebrates Farm Safety Week -9/19/2014, 2:15 PM

McDonald’s of WaKeeney invests in library -9/18/2014, 5:45 PM

State receives $3.5 million grant to reduce infant mortality -9/18/2014, 3:00 PM

Kansas highway system ranked 5th in national report -9/18/2014, 11:51 AM

Dixon joins FHSU with social media marketing as her mission -9/18/2014, 11:15 AM

In case of emergency, prepare a grab-and-go kit -9/18/2014, 9:08 AM

Birthday -9/18/2014, 9:07 AM

Association donates 105 car seats to KHP -9/18/2014, 4:50 PM

Kansas receives CDC funding to gather data -9/17/2014, 4:14 PM

Brownback orders flags lowered -9/17/2014, 11:08 AM

Life during retirement is still plenty busy -9/17/2014, 8:51 AM

Generations briefs (Sept. 17, 2014) -9/17/2014, 8:50 AM

'No Good Deed?' More like, 'No good, dude' -9/16/2014, 9:38 PM

Delta Zeta Turtle Tug: Tug your heart out -9/16/2014, 4:19 PM

Moss-Thorns Gallery of Art hosts exhibitions throughout the year -9/16/2014, 4:19 PM

Moran names service academy selection board -9/16/2014, 4:19 PM

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SPOTLIGHT
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Steps for a mid-year financial checkup

Published on -8/29/2013, 10:40 AM

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Now that we're more than halfway through the year and settling back into a fall routine, it's a great time to do a quick financial checkup. Taking some time to review your financial progress from the first half of the year can help you organize and prepare for the remaining months.

Here are six simple steps for a mid-year financial checkup:

1. Review your New Year's resolutions. Did you make any financial resolutions to kick off 2013? Now is the perfect time to look back and see how you did. If you followed through, congrats. Set some new financial milestones to continue your streak.

If you didn't do too well, think about why you weren't able to stick to your goal. Was your budget too strict? Did you have some unexpected expenses? Set new goals that will help you stay on track.

2. Reorganize your financial goals. The next step is to reprioritize your goals. If you have multiple debts you're paying off, decide which one you want to aggressively pay off first. Choose either the one with the higher interest rate or the smallest balance -- whichever will help you stay motivated.

3. Be prepared for emergencies. Saving and paying off debt at the same time can be challenging, but it's totally doable. Tuck away some money each month into an emergency fund. We all face unexpected expenses at times -- just make sure to refill your emergency fund if you have to use it. Start with a goal to save $1,000. Then, the next step is to save up enough for three to six months of expenses for a good emergency cushion.

4. Cut unnecessary expenses. When reviewing your expenses so far, if you notice a lot of unnecessary spending, it's time to trim the fat. Can you cut back on discretionary expenses such as eating out, shopping, extra travel costs? Are there some monthly bills you can reduce or live without? Why not save some of that extra cash instead?

5. Plan for holiday spending now. This might sound crazy, considering we're still in the heat of summer, but planning ahead and saving a little extra for the holidays now will help keep you from incurring holiday debts later.

6. Don't neglect your retirement fund. It's never too early -- or too late -- to start planning for retirement. Does your employer offer a 401(k) plan? Take advantage of it. Many employers also match a percentage of your contributions. If a 401(k) isn't an option, consider opening an IRA or individual retirement account.

If these six steps are a helpful reminder, maybe you're ready for a more in-depth financial review. Ask for the Extension publication "How Are You Doing: A Financial Checkup" at the Ellis County Extension office, (785) 628-9430, or find it online at www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/MF2721.pdf. It can help you identify problems, chart progress and provide motivation if changes are needed.

Linda Beech is a Kansas State University Research & Extension agent in Ellis County specializing in family and consumer sciences. lbeech@ksu.edu

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