Holidays And Shaping Up -- Financially

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By Layden Hale

In less than 60 days, you will undoubtedly start hearing ads to lose weight. With Holiday Season spending and debt upon us, shaping up your finances should be another concern. Homeport is a good place to start, and here is why.

Before taking our two-day, 10-hour, Financial Fitness classes, Homeport clients are asked to detail the issues that most concern them about their finances. Without question, the top three responses are:

How do I live within a budget?

How do I save money for a specific goal?

How do I get out of debt?

These questions have added value and concern as we begin the on-line and in-store end of year spending which can often leave debt piled higher than normal.

So how do I live within a budget?

Layden Hale

Layden Hale

To begin to answer that question, you need to create a budget based on your household income minus household expenses.  It must be accurate. No cheating. You can’t forget drive-through specialty coffees, gifts, or impulse buys on shopping networks or at the supermarket checkout.

So how do I save money for a specific goal?

Make saving a priority. If you don’t have a savings account, then open one. Two, make a commitment to place in that account a minimum amount on a specific schedule, such as pay day. The amount of money is not as important as the habit of saving. There are times where I ask our clients to save $10 a month.                                                                                                                                       

All this effort is only is good as your willpower, to be hands off from the funds you have managed – and committed – to save.

How do I get out of debt?

For some people, this is the toughest question. The average U.S. household had $8,158 in credit card debt at the end of 2016. Eliminating debt requires planning by yourself, or with the assistance of a certified credit counselor.

The word commitment, again, and sacrifice are important in addressing debt. Sacrifice may mean less spending or bringing in more income. You must reduce expenses and bring home additional revenue. Would you cut your cable? Are you clipping or downloading coupons for purchases? Would you consider working overtime if offered, or finding a second job?

In Homeport’s two-day Financial Fitness classes, financial counselors address all these issues, and more, with the support of presentations by local bankers, financial planners and other guest speaker experts on topics ranging from insurance to taxes.

After taking the two-day, 10-hour Financial Fitness classes offered at Homeport, participants receive a certificate of completion and opportunity to meet one on one with a Homeport credit and budget counselor. 

So, my message for The Season? Make Homeport your financial gym. We’ll get your finances in shape. Visit on-line or call 614 221-8889, Ext. 134, to register for financial counseling.

(Layden Hale is a Senior Counseling Advisor for Homeport.)

Photo by Tim Gouw at