April is recognized as Financial Literacy month.  As part of this, April 2 – 9 is known as Money Smart Week and is coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the American Library Association.  It is designed to educate consumers about money management and generate increased financial awareness on a wide range of topics, such as saving, investing and budgeting.

There are several libraries around the country hosting Money Smart Week events.  Search online to see if your library is participating.

Locally, the <a href=http://library.ndsu.edu/blog/2011/03/28/money-smart-week-april-2-9>NDSU Libraries</a> are hosting events throughout the week.

Financial Presentations: come to the library classroom to learn more about money and how to manage it!

  • Tuesday, April 5th from 1-2 pm: Nancy Kvamme from In the Black will present information about budgeting, tracking expenses, credit/debit cards, and the importance of saving.
  • Wednesday, April 6th from 1-2 pm: Steve Asche & Mike Paulson from Thrivent Financial will present “More than Money Matters”
  • Thursday, April 7th from 2-3 pm: Jesse Jurgenson from the Village Financial will present “Living with Less”

Information Booth: All week, there will be an information booth set up in the lobby area with a wide variety of free materials covering many financial topics

Financial Resources: Library owned resources on financial topics will be on display

One program available in some stores is no interest or no payments for a certain amount of time. This may be alright if you are diligent in making the payments or saving so you can pay it off on time. If you do not pay it off in time, the interest will kick in from the beginning and usually at very high interest rates. On a show I was watching the other night, a couple had purchased a big screen TV and sound system for $6,000 on a program like this. They did not have the money to pay it off when the time came and the total jumped to $8,100. And the interest will keep growing until it is paid off.

This is similar to pay to own programs too. When you pay a weekly or monthly amount to rent an item until you own it. In most cases the interest is figured into that amount and the total amount you end up paying is many times more than if you would have saved the money and purchased it outright.

Also, if you think you are getting a good deal on something, but you put it on your credit card and carry a balance for several months. When you figure the finance charges and interest the good deal you thought you were getting turns out to be something very different.

These are reasons why it is important to resist the urge to satisfy your want of instant gratification and to save up for things you want to buy.

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Nancy Kvamme

<a href=http://www.tocatchadollar.com/the-film>To Catch a Dollar</a> will be shown at Century 10 Cinema in Fargo on Thursday, March 31 at 7:30-9:30. Click <a href=

http://www.movietickets.com/pre_purchase.asp?house_id=5018&movie_id=86612&showdate=3>here</a> for listings in other cities. Tickets in Fargo are $9 for adults and $6.25 for children.

To Catch a Dollar is a 2010 Sundance Film Festival selection which documents the birth of Grameen America and the effort to bring Nobel Laureate and Presidential Medal of Honor winner Muhammad Yunus’s microfinance program to the United States. The film features stories of women borrowers from around the world, with a focus in the U.S. on the plight of those struggling to save.

The event will include a panel moderating by CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo and featuring Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Kiva.org President Premal Shah and Suze Orman.

Nancy Kvamme

I have posted before about stocking up on items you use regularly when you find them on sale to save money.  Also, if you happen to find better prices at stores other than grocery stores.  Today I was at CVS and they had items such as Campbells cream of chicken and cream of chicken soup and stewed tomatoes for $0.77.  So that is half off their regular price on the soup.  Stovetop is $0.77 a box this week, the regular price at the grocery store is over $2.00. 

This week at CVS they have 12 packs of Pepsi products for 3/$10 if you have a CVS card and you get $2 in Extra Care Bucks for a future purchase, so they are 3/$8.

Also, check out the bread outlet stores.  The one I stop at is the Country Hearth on South University Drive, since it is closest to my house.  On Wednesdays and Saturdays they have some bread and buns, etc 3 packages for $2.  Other times bread are $1 and up.  They are close to the sell by date, but when I buy a number of packages, I freeze them until I need them.  That way, I can just grab a package from my freezer when I run out instead of having to stop at the grocery store and pay regular price. 

One deal at Sunmart this week is on Kelloggs cereal.  There is a coupon in the flier that if you buy 4 boxes of cereal for $12, you get another 3 boxes free, plus a coupon for free milk on your next shopping trip.  So you end up getting 7 boxes of cereal and milk for the price of 4.

Nancy Kvamme

In Saturday’s Forum there was an <a href=http://bit.ly/fGRwZr>article</a> about a family cutting out all of their discretionary spending for a month.  You may not have to cut all of your spending, but it my help to pay attention to what you are spending.  If you track your expenses for a week or so and see where your money goes and see if there are things you could cut back on or cut out totally.

There may be small expenses that you spend money on without really thinking about it.  A dollar or two here or there may not seem like a big deal, but if you do that regularly it can count up.

So you may not have to totally cut your spending but if you keep an eye on how you spend your money, it can make a difference in your finances.

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Nancy Kvamme

It is getting to be that time of year to start thinking about graduation gifts.

Following are some ideas for gifts, either high school or college graduates. Instead of money, consider giving gift cards. Some ideas are coffee shops, restaurants, book stores, gas cards, and grocery stores. Whatever kind of gift card you select, you could make a basket of theme related items to add the gift card to. Many times you can find gift bags, baskets and items for your basket at dollar stores. If you know they have an E-reader, you could get them a certificate to purchase books, they may need to read.

Other ideas are a laundry basket (laundry basket or bag, detergent, a roll of quarters), snack basket with a gift card or movie tickets.

I highly recommend any of <a href=http://www.finishrich.com>David Bach’s</a> books. The two I recommend the most are The Automatic Millionaire and Smart Women Finish Rich. They have very useful information and are easy to read.

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Nancy Kvamme

It may be early, but I thought I would write a post of ideas of ways to save money when planning a graduation party or party for any other event.

Following are some ideas to save money when planning a graduation party, or any type of party.

Check out the dollar stores. Some dollar stores have Mylar helium balloon for a dollar each and they usually last as long as the more expensive ones. I got one for my birthday a couple years ago and it lasted almost a month.

Also, they have plastic plates, napkins, utensils in various colors and themes. You may also be able to find serving bowls and platters. Also look for party decorations and items that could be used as centerpieces.

If you are in need of serving bowls, platters, etc another place to check out are the second hand stores. Some have various items like this at a fraction of buying new.

While browsing in the second hand store today, one of the books I purchased is “101 Things You Should do Before your Kids Leave Home” by David Bordon and Tom Winters. Some of the ideas are parts of wit and whimsy and others are practical ideas to prepare your kids for life outside your reach.

Since I write posts about finances, two of the ideas relating to finances are Explore the Fine points of financial management and Instill a passion for thriftiness. In exploring the fine points of financial management it is important to begin when they are old enough to understand the purpose of money. Train them to spend some, save some, have fun with a little and donate some. Your efforts will carry more weight as your kids see you managing your finances well.

With the changes in the economy, it has been more important than ever to teach kids the importance of being thrifty. It is common for us to want more things and better things than we can afford. With it being easy to get credit it is easy to spend more money than we may be able to afford. It is important to teach them the value of waiting until they have saved the money to afford what they want.

It doesn’t mean depriving yourself, but if you take steps to consider what you really do want and what you can afford, you may be happier than if you buy items you cannot afford. The more you own and can’t afford, the more stressed out you will be.

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Nancy Kvamme

<a href=http://financialliteracymonth.com>National Financial Literacy month</a> is recognized in the United States in April in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.

On the website they offer 30 tips to lead you on a path that will help you achieve financial wellness. Even if you don’t start on April 1st or even in April, the 30 steps can be done at any time. The important thing is to get started and do it.www.in-theblack.net for more information on the classes. Also, let me know if you have any other questions and suggestions for future posts.

Along with the Kids and Money workshops I have been holding and have more scheduled, I am also hosting Women and Money classes. They are based on David Bach’s book, Smart Women Finish Rich. I will share the 9 steps to achieving Financial security and funding your dreams.

Check out my website at www.in-theblack.net for more information on the classes.  Also let me know if you have any other questions or suggestions for future posts.

Nancy Kvamme

Home is Home

A couple weeks ago, I was on a Caribbean cruise.  The ports were St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Grand Turk.  St. Thomas and St Maarten still had several buildings that were destroyed by recent hurricanes that had not been rebuilt yet.  On this trip and a trip to Mexico a couple years ago, I got to see how some people live.  And people that live in poor conditions in relation to what we are used to don’t feel like they are in need because that is what they are used to.

Also, the islands have to import everything so the cost of most items are higher than we are used to.  Some one asked the tour guide why they stay there if the cost of items is so high.  His reply was “Home is home”. 

This was brought to my mind again with the recent tradegy in Japan. 

I realize several people are facing difficulties with the economic conditions but things can be a lot worse. 

Some of the economic situations can be controlled by watching how you spend your money, etc.  Unlike natural disasters that cannot be controlled.

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Nancy Kvamme