Renee Fox, Nutrition Specialist, appeared on ABC 36 on Good Day Kentucky and shared great tips on how to pack healthy school lunches



The goal of the Family & Consumer Sciences Program is to improve the quality of life for individuals and families in Anderson County. We want to help the residents of our county meet new challenges in a changing environment. We focus on our clients' economic and social well-being through programs that help people extend their incomes, improve their health and strengthen their personal and family relationships.

For more information, contact Mary Hixson, County Extension Agent for Family & Consumer Sciences at the Garrard County Extension Office 859-792-3026

Keeping Good Financial Records
by Mary Hixson, FCS Extension Agent for Garrard County

Have you ever run out of money at the end of the month? How about not having enough money for an emergency that happens during the month? Does it seem your money disappears and you do not know where it went during the month? Keeping track of your income and spending helps you manage your money for the month.  If you have never kept a running tab of your spending this is a good place to start learning about money. Find a small notepad and write down everything you spend for a month. This gets easier as you do it every day. Don’t forget any little amount—that means the pop or tea you might drive through and order; the snack out of a vending machine as you wait for an appointment; handing over money to children needing change for school; every time you buy gas. Keep a list with what you spend every time you spend.

As you develop a good system for keeping track of your income and spending, you can begin to set some goals for your money.  If you do not have enough money for some expense categories, you can look for ways to cut your expenses in that category or others so your income will be more than or equal to your spending each month.  Remember that some expenses are seasonal and do not occur every month, but one way to make this manageable is to set aside money for those seasonal costs, such as; know how much car insurance costs and divide by 12. This would be how much you need to save every month for the 6 month or yearly payment for car insurance.

There are many systems for keeping track of your income and expenses.  The envelope method is a simple way if you pay with cash, but also works if you use other methods such as checks or the computer—you would just pretend the actual cash is in the envelope.  There is one envelope for each spending category.  Label the envelope for each expense category and place the cash for paying for that category in the corresponding envelope.  For example, food is one of your expense items.  Put your cash for food for the month in an envelope marked “FOOD”.  As you pay for food from the money in the envelope, mark on the outside of the envelope the date you spent it, the amount you spent and to whom you paid it.  Receipts for the money you spent on food can go in the same envelope.

Make a list of your expense categories.  Then mark one envelope for each expense category.  Envelopes for your fixed expenses (same amount each month) might include: Rent or Mortgage, Water, Car Payment, Car Insurance, Credit Card Payment, School Lunch Money, Electricity, Telephone, Child Care, Home Insurance, and Property/Income Taxes.  Envelopes for adjustable expenses (amounts differ each month) might include: Food, Clothing, Medical Expenses, School Expenses, Gifts, Laundry, Car Operations, Animals, and Fun.  If you put the same amount in the school expenses envelope each month, but only spend it once or twice a year, you will not have to use credit cards or borrow from another category when it comes time for school expenses.

Another envelope can be marked Income.  You can list the amount expected and the amount received each month. If you keep an envelope for each month, at the end of the year, you will have a record of all of your expenditures for food.  You will also keep track of where your money goes.  As you make a spending plan, you can check your envelopes from the previous year and have a good idea how much it will cost for each category.

Of course, the envelope method is a pen and paper method, but there are other ways such as using a computer program or an APP on your phone for keeping track of what you spend. The important thing is to get in the habit of keeping track. The Extension Office in collaboration with Bluegrass Community Action will be hosting “Be Moneywise” workshops starting March 2 at 6:00 pm held at the Extension Office. During “Be Moneywise” participants will learn about money habits, emotions tied to money, making a spending plan and much more. This will be for five weeks every Thursday. For more information about creating a spending plan or to register for the workshops, contact the Extension Office at 859-792-3026.