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Financial Check-up

Tips for reviewing you budget and how to make adjustments to reach your financial goals.

Nashville, Ark. – Periodically, it’s a good idea to look at your financial situation. For many people, tax time is a perfect time to review your budget and make adjustments as needed. When you look at your finances, follow these steps to ensure you’re making smart decisions that will help you meet your goals.

Review or Create a Monthly Budget. Start by determining how much income you have by listing salaries, interest, pensions, and any other sources. Be sure to list your net pay, not your gross pay. Then estimate your expenses. The best way to do this is to track them for a month or two. Write down every penny you spend to give you a clear picture of where your money is going. Finally, subtract the expenses from the total income. Hopefully this will be a positive number. If not, you will need to see where you need to cut back on spending. It may be cutting out a noontime lunch and taking your lunch to work instead.

Build an Emergency Fund. Do you have funds set aside in case of a major unplanned expense? If not, consider building an emergency fund that covers three to six months of living expenses. While this may sound unattainable, setting aside just a few dollars each month will add up. If possible invest in an account that will build over time.

Manage Debt Load. Whether you’re working to pay off credit cards, student loans, or a mortgage, take time to evaluate how to most effectively pay down your loans. Managing your debt load will help you get a better handle on your financial health. Reducing these payments is an important step toward improving your financial well-being.

The Howard County Cooperative Extension Service has several great fact sheets to help you take control of your finances. Call the office at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. You can also check out the website for information on basic money management, credit and investing. The Cooperative Extension Service provides researched based information to help people improve their economic well-being and quality of life.

Recipe of the Week

If you are looking for a great after school snack, try this one. This recipe has been served at Best Care (Child Care Training) for the past several years. It is always a favorite. So easy to prepare!

Apple Dip

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

    1 cup butterscotch chips

    2 Tablespoons vinegar

    ½ teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Microwave condensed milk and butterscotch chips for 2 minutes or until melted.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon and mix.
  3. Serve with apple slices.


By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.