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Financial Check-Up

When you look at your finances, follow these steps to ensure you’re making smart decision that will help you meet your 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, make adjustments as needed. When you look at your finances, follow these steps to ensure you’re making smart decision 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 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

            This week’s recipe was a winner at the recent Dairy Foods Contest. Lily Trombley, a Cloverbud member of the Nature Seekers 4-H Club made this delicious recipe!

Butterfinger Ice Cream Cake

18 graham crackers

¼ c. sugar

5 Tbsp. melted butter

1 bag snack-sized Butterfingers

½ gallon vanilla ice cream

1 c. whipping cream

2 Tbsp. sugar

            Set ice cream on counter. Crush graham crackers and mix with butter and sugar. Press into bottom of 11x7-in. pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Crush Butterfingers. Mix with ice cream reserving a few for topping. Once crust is cool, spread ice cream over crust. Allow to set at least 6 hours. Mix whipping cream with sugar. Spread over top and freeze at least one hour until ready to serve.

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 Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of 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.