Photo courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography via Flickr.

“It must start with the little daily choices. Everyone is called to do his or her part, to use goods in a way that promotes solidarity, to care for creation.” – Pope Francis

Are you struggling to meet your financial obligations each month?  Do you find it necessary to address your financial shortfalls by using “high-interest” credit cards?  If so, you know how it makes you feel …stressed, frustrated and seeking to find a better solution!

If this situation reflects yours, you are not alone.  A recent report showed that indebted households today have credit card balances averaging $16,061.  Much of this is due to household incomes growing by 28 percent in the past 13 years while the cost of living has increased 30 percent over this period. Adding to this picture, medical expenses jumped the most, up 57 percent since 2003 while the cost of food rose 36 percent and housing increased 32 percent.

What does “financial literacy” mean?  It means having a basic understanding of how money works. Sounds so simple but it covers a multitude of areas.  However, once you focus on the basics you will learn that choices are everywhere as long as you know where your budget stands now and what to expect in the future.  Once you master this you will find your confidence increases; you can manage your debt before it manages you and you can have a better quality of life.

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Catholic Charities, working with Britepaths and Good Shepherd Catholic Church, offered a free “Budgeting & Money Management Workshop on Wednesday, June 28th.

Knowledge is Power in Budgeting & Money Management

By Nancy Parke, Catholic Charities Volunteer

 “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” Deuteronomy 8:17”

The Catholic Charities of Arlington along with Britepaths delivered an interesting session at their workshop on “Budgeting & Money Management” on June 28th at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria.  The intent was to help people who are having difficulty meeting financial obligations and providing knowledge about how to succeed with their money management.  Basically, teaching people how to help themselves. About 15 people attended this session for a variety of personal reasons.  Some needed to learn how to budget for themselves; others in attendance wanted to pass along this skill to their teenage children or grandchildren; another goal was paying off federal tax debt, while some felt they could learn how to manage their finances better due to financial debt and job loss.

Our Britepaths instructor, Bianca Bonney, guided the group in a journey of self-reflection on how they were currently handling their finances and educated them with tools to help manage their money.  Bianca stressed a variety of ways to gain control of your finances and the need to “tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went”.

Participants listen to each other define their financial goals.

Participants engaged in developing their own goals and specific plans on how to reach those goals.  The group discussions that followed were thoughtful, enlightening and sometimes amusing as individuals strived to determine a better financial path for themselves.

The goal for the session was to help people manage their money so they have more discretionary money at the end of the month and to reduce debt.  Bianca recommended two books that can be helpful in that goal.  “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey as a practical book to reduce debt and “Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clayton as a more philosophical book on managing money.

If you think that you could benefit from a workshop on “Budgeting & Money Management”, please let us know by signing up for future sessions.  There is no charge for this course.  RSVP to: Sally O’Dwyer, Director of Volunteers, sodwyer@ccda.net

 

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