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CHP Urges VA Clients to Get Back to Financial Basics

Christiansburg, Virginia — With the recession, job loss, and the foreclosure crisis continuing to make headlines nationwide and in Virginia, Community Housing Partners (CHP)  is observing Financial Fitness Month (April) by offering tips to help consumers strengthen their financial know-how with a few Financial Fitness Training tips.

“Financial education provides Virginia consumers with the information and practices they need to take control over their finances and build wealth, regardless of income,” said Orlando Artze, Executive Vice President & COO of CHP, a member of the NeighborWorksr network. “With education and determination Virginia families can pay down their debt and build a financial cushion that is a critical safeguard during tough economic times.”

CHP Financial Fitness Training Tips, include:

  • Create a budget.  Examine last month’s bank statement.  Create a budget spreadsheet armed with information about your wages, how much you spend each month, and categorize your spending.  Expense categories can include: Rent or Mortgage, Gas, Groceries, Utilities, Insurance, Car Payment, Credit Card Payment, and more.  After you see how much you are making, how much you are spending, and what you are spending your money on, you will be better able to create a budget that works for you.
  • Cut expenses.  Going out for lunch or dinner, daily trips to the coffee shop, and more, add up.  After creating a budget and examining your spending over the last month, you will likely see expenses that can be cut, which may add up to monthly savings in your bank account.  Instead of buying a daily cup of coffee, make a cup at home.  Bring your lunch instead of buying it everyday.  And, cook dinner at home with your family or friends instead of meeting up a few times a week.  The combination of coffee at home and a bag lunch a couple of days a week has the potential to save more than $50 each month.
  • Tackle debt.  Once you cut unnecessary expenses, you may find a little extra money that can be used to tackle any debt you may have.  To be truly financially fit, work on paying down and eventually eliminating your debt by paying more than the monthly minimum payment.  The monthly minimum payment may barely cover the interest the debt accrues, which means that by paying the minimum each month, it could take more than a dozen years to pay off the debt.  By paying even a little more than the minimum, you are working your way toward financial fitness.
  • Build an emergency fund.  With each paycheck, make an effort to contribute to a savings account separate from your checking account.  Each contribution, no matter the amount, builds a cushion for emergencies down the road.