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Public record (July 29, 2014) -7/29/2014, 8:15 AM

Gerstner: I don't love 'Lucy,' but have seen worse -7/29/2014, 8:15 AM

Disaster training exercise scheduled for Kansas cities -7/28/2014, 12:32 PM

Kansas children asked to draw posters for contest -7/28/2014, 12:32 PM

Many options available to help victims of abuse -7/28/2014, 9:03 AM

Victims of violence need help from supporters -7/21/2014, 8:10 AM

Vision Dance Company brings home honors -7/20/2014, 6:43 PM

Get control of weeds in wheat stubble -7/20/2014, 11:19 AM

Business Briefcase (July 20, 2014) -7/20/2014, 11:19 AM

Horse owners encouraged to watch horses for VS -7/18/2014, 2:34 PM

Kansas Lottery sales set new record in FY2014 -7/18/2014, 3:58 PM

Celebration VBS begins Monday -7/18/2014, 9:56 AM

ELL strategies workshop to equip area teachers for diverse classrooms -7/17/2014, 8:47 AM

Admissions at FHSU partners with advanced English class -7/17/2014, 7:43 AM

Political science degree program at FHSU ranks No. 11 -7/17/2014, 7:43 AM

Music offers many benefits, so sing out -7/16/2014, 2:26 PM

Words of 'wit and wisdom' from days gone by -7/16/2014, 2:26 PM

Public record (July 14, 2014) -7/15/2014, 10:27 AM

'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' shines -7/15/2014, 8:32 AM

Different strategies can help victims deal with violence -7/14/2014, 9:56 AM

Public record (July 9, 2014) -7/8/2014, 10:28 AM

'Tammy' is every kind of bad -7/8/2014, 7:57 AM

Smaller number of men victims of domestic violence -7/7/2014, 8:44 AM

Hays After 5 to celebrate 38 years -7/4/2014, 9:37 AM

Hope for today: Remember to mind your manners -7/4/2014, 9:28 AM

Celebrating rain, national ice cream month -7/3/2014, 9:28 AM

Honey, don't forget the (healthy) vacation snacks -7/3/2014, 9:28 AM

'Transformers: Age of Extinction' arrives with a soulless, explosion-packed dud for the viewer's eye -7/1/2014, 1:25 PM

Fourth of July fireworks safety tips -6/29/2014, 2:19 PM

FHSU alumnus and chapter of year recognized for service -6/29/2014, 2:19 PM

Animal health considerations for cows fed in confinement -6/29/2014, 4:03 PM

Business Briefcase (June 29, 2014) -6/29/2014, 4:03 PM

Summer interns participate in community service day -6/29/2014, 4:03 PM

Creep feeding or early weaning when forage is limited -6/22/2014, 1:58 PM

Galaxy, Kansas Aviation win top biz honors -6/22/2014, 1:58 PM

Business Briefcase (June 22, 2014) -6/22/2014, 1:58 PM

Where are you in your financial plan? -6/17/2014, 10:55 AM

Wheatland center receives award -6/15/2014, 2:28 PM

Business Briefcase (June 15, 2014) -6/15/2014, 2:28 PM

Dave says: Take the Roth -6/10/2014, 10:45 AM

Pregnancy testing cow herd pays off in the long run -6/8/2014, 2:21 PM

Summer events scheduled at the Hays Recreation Center -6/1/2014, 11:14 AM

Overbey heading home to eastern Kansas -5/25/2014, 10:43 AM

Don't ignore those honey-locust trees in pastures -5/25/2014, 10:43 AM

Elementary school movie reviews -5/20/2014, 8:47 AM

When to castrate calves could affect weight later on -5/18/2014, 1:43 PM

Business Briefcase (May 11, 2014) -5/18/2014, 1:43 PM

News from North Central Kansas Technical College -5/11/2014, 4:04 PM

Evaluate risk for delayed rebreeding as a stockman -5/11/2014, 4:04 PM

Heaven is for real -5/9/2014, 9:59 AM

Students help with shelter's landscape -5/8/2014, 3:58 PM

Birthday -5/8/2014, 3:58 PM

Planning funerals in advance makes decisions easier -5/8/2014, 3:58 PM

Barton College offers summer outreach programs -5/4/2014, 2:23 PM

Controlling parasites essential for healthy calves -5/4/2014, 2:22 PM

La Crosse woman completes beef training -5/4/2014, 2:41 PM

Business Briefcase (May 4, 2014) -5/4/2014, 2:40 PM

Monahan takes Franciscan vows -5/2/2014, 8:39 AM

D of I recognizes long-time members -5/2/2014, 8:39 AM

Agencies collaborate to explore Medicare basics -5/1/2014, 9:26 AM

Birthdays -5/1/2014, 9:26 AM

One good rain won't save drought-stricken farmers -4/27/2014, 3:04 PM

Business Briefcase (April 27, 2014) -4/27/2014, 3:04 PM

'Transcendence' fails to connect elements -4/22/2014, 4:39 PM

Spring gallery walk schedule -4/21/2014, 4:37 PM

Parents can teach children skills for coping with stress -4/21/2014, 4:38 PM

Law enforcement works to further decrease fatalities -4/20/2014, 5:48 PM

Public record, April 18, 2014 -4/18/2014, 4:39 PM

Roadwork to begin in Phillips/Smith counties -4/18/2014, 4:45 PM

Public record, April 17, 2014 -4/17/2014, 4:39 PM

Public record, April 16, 2014 -4/16/2014, 4:39 PM

Enjoying high school memories -4/16/2014, 10:27 AM

Public record, April 15, 2014 -4/15/2014, 4:39 PM

New ponies, warmer weather welcome in spring -4/15/2014, 8:47 AM

Coping strategies, including healthy eating, can reduce stress -4/13/2014, 9:46 AM

Winners chosen for Hays art exhibition -4/10/2014, 12:12 PM

Putting parent burn-out into perspective -4/10/2014, 11:08 AM

-4/8/2014, 8:35 AM

Many factors can cause stress in families, including divorce, death -4/4/2014, 9:23 AM

God brings life to dry bones -4/4/2014, 8:27 AM

Aging issues addressed in April Extension programs -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Quilting, eighth-grade activities make up Eicher family time -4/1/2014, 9:15 AM

Many stressors exist in several types of families in United States -3/31/2014, 10:11 AM

Power of vegetables and fruits -3/27/2014, 8:46 AM

A few more expensive pinot noirs, but ones well worth the cash -3/25/2014, 9:27 AM

Early start to morning leads to busy day for Eicher family -3/25/2014, 9:27 AM

Families need to find proper ways to deal with stress -3/23/2014, 9:20 AM

Birthday -3/19/2014, 9:19 AM

Trichomoniasis in cattle herds increasing -3/15/2014, 12:07 PM

Wines and consumer behavior -3/11/2014, 3:03 PM

Propane refill hits budget; hog butchering on tap -3/11/2014, 3:03 PM

Workplace, workforce sees changes through decades -3/10/2014, 9:56 AM

The Church is called to reflect Jesus outside of church -3/7/2014, 3:49 PM

Extension workshop features estate planning -3/6/2014, 3:49 PM

Enhance employee wellness with Walk Kansas -3/5/2014, 3:49 PM

Change your clocks, smoke alarm batteries -3/4/2014, 3:49 PM

Winter blues continue for Eicher family -3/4/2014, 1:53 PM

KDOT announces approved February bids -3/3/2014, 4:28 PM

K-23 pavement replacement project to begin -3/3/2014, 4:19 PM

Celtic guitarist Barlow performing at library -3/2/2014, 4:10 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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