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Personal Finance

Everyday Personal Finance

Spending Plan
A spending plan shows where your money is going and what you can do to change your spending habits to reach a financial goal. If there’s one thing you need to do to reach financial freedom, it’s develop a spending plan.

Before you can put a plan into action, you need to know where your money is currently going.

Financial Education
  • LSS Financial Counseling Service: Workshops for all age groups, tailored to the needs of community groups, classrooms, churches, employers, and can also offer "train-the-trainer" for agencies.
  • Neighborhood Development Alliance (NeDA): Non-profit organization that serves the Latino population in the metro area.
  • Shakopee Workforce Center: Call 952-445-7087. Workshops are taught three Mondays each month from 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Money Management I covers basic management tools. Money Management II includes credit and debt, and Money Management III discusses stretching your dollars and identity theft protection. Classes are free. No pre-registration necessary, but call for monthly schedule.
 
Saving and Investing
Saving and investing doesn’t have to be complicated. Check out these resources:
 
  • MyMoney.gov: Offers tools to help you find the right bank for you as well as beginner guides to financial statements and investing.
  • Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota: Programs designed to give low-income workers the opportunity to save for a house, education, or starting your own business.
  • Rutgers Cooperative Extension: A free home study course entitled Investing For Your Future designed for beginning investors.
  • Feed the Pig: Saving tips from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
 
Managing Credit and Debt
Good credit creates opportunities to access credit quickly and with better terms. Find out about your credit score or improve your credit with the resources below.
 
  • AnnualCreditReport.com: Your credit score helps determine if lenders will loan you money. See what your score is. You can receive a free credit report annually from each of the three credit bureaus by going to their Web site or calling 1-877-322-8228.
  • Office of the Minnesota Attorney General: Find out everything there is to know about credit in The Credit Handbook. The Attorney General also offers information on debt collection practices.
  • Federal Reserve: When will your credit cards be paid off? Find out with this calculator.
  • Federal Trade Commission: If you’re having trouble making ends meet, this site outlines the steps you need to take to get back on track.
  • LawHelpMN.org: Get free and low-cost legal resources regarding debt.
 
Credit and Debt Counseling
Counselors are available to help with credit or debt issues. You can contact:
 
 
Find out the fastest way to pay down debt with this calculator from Bankrate.com.

Buying a Car
Purchasing a vehicle doesn’t have to be a hassle. Try these resources to make the process a little easier:
 
  • Office of the Minnesota Attorney General: Get all the latest consumer protection information about buying a vehicle in The Car Handbook.
  • AWARE: A step-by-step approach to buying a car.
  • CAP Agency: The Getting There program helps low-income, working parents afford vehicles to maintain employment.
 
Identity Theft and Scams
It is estimated that about 9 million Americans have their identity stolen every year. Learn how to avoid identity theft and what you can do if it happens.
 
 
Removing your name from mailing and telemarketing lists reduces your risk for identity theft. Try these sites:
 
 
Healthcare and Insurance
Everyone needs insurance for their homes, cars and medical care. Use this resource to learn more about selecting proper insurance coverage.
 
  • Minnesota Department of Commerce Insurance Gateway: Insurance information for consumers and companies. You can also report insurance fraud.
  • HealthCare.gov:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website that lets consumers take control of their health care by connecting them to information about quality, affordable health care coverage.
 
Dakota and Scott County Public Health departments can connect you to many low cost health resources.

Last updated: 4/29/2014 9:17 AM