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Local Knights of Columbus announce essay winners -11/21/2014, 8:57 AM

Grocery collection for ECMA on Saturday -11/21/2014, 8:56 AM

Feast on these holiday savings this season -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

Birthdays (Nov. 20, 2014) -11/20/2014, 8:13 AM

HPMH partners with counties for outreach -11/19/2014, 3:49 PM

Kansas Next Step announces honors -11/19/2014, 2:09 PM

Senior volunteers honored for years of service to communities -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

Living life by the five senses -- plus another -11/19/2014, 9:09 AM

'Big Hero 6' is slightly under-inflated -11/18/2014, 9:15 AM

KHP gives tips for safe Thanksgiving travel -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Latest donations move FHSU closer to goal -11/17/2014, 1:06 PM

Kansas is reading to preschoolers -11/17/2014, 12:56 PM

Great American Smokeout is Thursday -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Keep little helpers safe in kitchen -11/17/2014, 11:35 AM

Moran receives Legislator of Year Award from home care association -11/17/2014, 11:26 AM

Hammond named to fraternity commission -11/17/2014, 9:45 AM

No stepfamily is immune to holiday stress -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Community Bulletin Board (Nov. 17, 2014) -11/17/2014, 9:26 AM

Get the most from grazing crop residue -11/16/2014, 5:35 PM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 16, 2014) -11/16/2014, 12:52 PM

Choice overload -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

God and Ebola -11/14/2014, 9:05 AM

Birthday -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

10 tips for stress-free Thanksgiving cooking, planning -11/13/2014, 8:30 AM

Do you need that annual mammogram? -11/12/2014, 11:52 AM

'Warcraft' preview stirs excitement; 'Interstellar' is solid -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Favorite coffee cake and being introduced to Sassy Sundae -11/11/2014, 8:40 AM

Many types of stressors can affect holidays -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Time for film's encore, German cooking at library -11/10/2014, 9:09 AM

Business Briefcase (Nov. 9, 2014) -11/9/2014, 4:30 PM

Westview hosting youth lock-in -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

A prayer that stands the test of time still holds true today -11/7/2014, 8:22 AM

Extension program gives tech tips for parents -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Birthdays -11/6/2014, 9:24 AM

Foreigners must report land holdings -11/5/2014, 3:39 PM

Jana's Campaign fundraiser nets $33,000 -11/5/2014, 10:29 AM

Getting out and voting, because I can -11/5/2014, 8:40 AM

Waterline works will hamper traffic -11/4/2014, 4:08 PM

Email issues resolved -11/4/2014, 11:43 AM

Gloria's birthday present, followed by barbecue pizza -11/4/2014, 8:41 AM

Many live in stepfamilies in United States today -11/3/2014, 8:58 AM

Taking care in providing proper animal health -11/2/2014, 8:31 AM

Clubs and meetings (Nov. 2, 2014) -11/2/2014, 11:10 AM

After 5 gathering Nov. 10 in Hays -10/31/2014, 7:50 AM

Time for trick or treating -10/31/2014, 7:49 AM

Gella's to show Turning Points film encore -10/30/2014, 1:53 PM

State's Cold Weather Rule takes effect Saturday -10/29/2014, 9:33 AM

'John Wick' is efficient excitement for flick -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Serving up homemade cinnamon rolls -10/28/2014, 9:07 AM

Hansen Foundation awards grant to HaysMed Foundation -10/27/2014, 10:20 AM

HaysMed's cardiovascular-stroke team earns award -10/27/2014, 10:11 AM

Signs of suicide in teens should be dealt with quickly -10/27/2014, 8:58 AM

c_ -10/26/2014, 5:57 PM

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

'The Ogallala Road' author to speak at FHSU -10/23/2014, 9:40 AM

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

Birthday -10/23/2014, 9:24 AM

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

'Fury' is visceral and slightly shapeless -10/22/2014, 10:20 AM

Singing, making cheese and doing laundry all part of chores -10/21/2014, 8:51 AM

Parenting adolescents no easy chore for parents -10/20/2014, 9:47 AM

Breaking down using distillers grains on the ranch -10/19/2014, 1:12 PM

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

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

2014 Kansas Speaks Survey finds wide dissatisfaction with politics -10/17/2014, 3:54 PM

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

Adding Christ's love to everyday situations wards off harm -10/17/2014, 9:14 AM

Producers hope to cash in on commercial -10/16/2014, 8:22 AM

Finding out you're technologically challenged -10/15/2014, 8:51 AM

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

A corn roast and mountain pies -10/14/2014, 8:16 AM

'The Judge' bends and breaks -10/14/2014, 8:16 AM

Tips to helping children be good eaters for mom and dad -10/13/2014, 3:59 PM

Mother-daughter relationships can be difficult -10/13/2014, 9:04 AM

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

Spring cleaning in the fall -10/8/2014, 8:13 AM

'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

Dealing with argumentative teens a challenge -10/6/2014, 9:02 AM

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

To whom do we listen -10/3/2014, 8:49 AM

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

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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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