Lessons in savingA three-session class on managing money presented by Catholic Community Services over the past two months led to a checklist of money saving options for participants.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
A three-session class on managing money presented by Catholic Community Services over the past two months led to a checklist of money saving options for participants. With information on everything from paying down student loans and extreme couponing to understanding credit reports, the “Living Well With Less” class offered a little something for everyone.
“Because of the professionals and the group dynamic it became a very practical group to invest your time in,” said Rich Garner, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Superior majoring in English.
The sessions began with an overview and a two-week expense-tracking journey. Participants wrote down every cent they spent over a two-week period, then looked to see where their money was going. They put together a list of money-saving tips, from low-cost food options to RX Relief Cards that offer a savings on prescription drugs. Turning old clothes into cash through rummage sales, recycling scrap metal lying around, carpooling and trading services were discussed as ways to save or even increase income.
“Anywhere in the community you’re going to find resources,” said Annie Lepper, assistant vice president of marketing at Superior Choice Credit Union and a member of Northland Wisconsin Financial Wellness. Everyone knows about some of the options, but by pooling that knowledge, they learn more, said Lepper, the guest speaker for the final session of the class.
“Let’s face it, they don’t teach this stuff in school,” said Sandy Carlson, a housing counselor with Catholic Community Services who co-led the class.
Interest was high for extreme couponing. Online videos at www.passionforsavings.com provide the basics of couponing, including how to stack promotions, coupons and store sales for maximum savings. Another free website, www.foodonthetable.com provides recipes and grocery lists to print or e-mail to yourself, along with tips as to what items on the list are on sale at the featured stores, which include Cub Foods.
Ruby’s Pantry and Lake Superior SHARE each offer low-cost food distribution along with Facebook sites for those interested. Those who are able to process their own deer can call the city of Superior deer committee at 715-817-3343 to put their name on a list to receive a free gutted deer. The deer are available from fall through spring. The best time to sign up for the list is late July or early August.
Fuel assistance is available Oct. 1-May 15 by calling the Douglas County Health and Human Services Department at 715-395-1651 or online www.douglascountywi.org. Weatherization help can be found through the Ashland County Housing Authority, 715-274-8311.
RX Relief cards are available online at rexreliefcard.com or at Catholic Community Services.
The basic nuts and bolts of the money management class, including daily spending diaries, are available online through the Federal Deposit Insurance Program under Money Smart or at www.mymoney.gov.
Future classes will have the opportunity to add to the growing list of resources and money-saving options that this initial group created. Container gardening may be added, or a session focusing on student loan debt, one of the more common issues that brought participants to the classes. The key, Carlson said, is to pool knowledge.
“We are our best resource,” she said.