Essential Business Matters
Some helpful hints to
Personal Finance Class
at College of Saint Mary
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE BASICS OF BUDGETING 6
The Three W’s of Budgeting 6
Rules for Successful Budgeting 7
Items Needed to Build a Budget 9
The Budget 9
The Top Three Financial Missteps in Budget Planning 12
INDIVIDUAL ECONOMICS 13
What to Look for in a Bank 13
Type of Accounts 14
Benefits of Sound Banking Decisions 15
Credit Reports – Good Credit vs. Bad Credit 15
RESOURCES FROM THE STATE OF NEBRASKA
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 15
Energy Assistance 15
WIC – (Women Infants and Children) 16
Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) 16
Employment First 16
Childcare Subsidy 16
Refugee Resettlement Program (RRP) 17
Food Stamps 17
Preventative Health Care 18
Medicaid/Kids Connection 18
Nebraska’s Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid) 18
Assistance to the Aged, Blind or Disabled (AABD) 18
Emergency Cash Assistance 18
NDHHS Contact Information 19
Sources and Contact Information 22
Glossary of Terms 23
This booklet was created for you as a resource by
the ladies in the Personal Finance class at
College of Saint Mary.
It is advised that if you have any further questions
regarding information found in this booklet
that you contact one of the sources listed near the back
or some form of financial advisor.
“ARE YOU READY TO BLOOM”
Everyone at some point in their life has dreams and goals that they want to
accomplish. Whether it is saving money to visit a restaurant at the end of the
week or purchasing a car in a year. In order to achieve most of these dreams
and goals, they require hard work, determination and some type of financial
planning. The purpose of this book is to help organize these dreams and goals
so that they can be accomplished effectively and efficiently. This book can be
used as a guide and a resource to help you accomplish those dreams. We do
hope that you utilize this as a valuable resource and enjoy using it as much as
we enjoyed creating it.
The College of Saint Mary
Personal Finance Class, Spring 2009
Here is the place where you can write down all your short, intermediate, and long
term goals. You can also include how you want to reach them.
SHORT TERM TARGET DATE ESTIMATED
GOALS COST/WEEKLY SAVINGS
INTERMEDIATE TARGET DATES ESTIMATED
GOALS COST/WEEKLY SAVINGS
LONG TERM GOALS TARGET DATE ESTIMATED
The Basics of Budgeting
The Three W’s of Budgeting
What is a budget?
A budget is a money plan. It is a paper or electronic document used to record
both planned and actual income and expenditures.
Why should you budget?
1. Know what is going on
Personal budgeting allows you to know exactly how much money you
have. A budget is a self-education tool that shows you where your funds
are going, how they are working for you, what your plans are for them and
how far along you are toward reaching you goals. “Knowledge is power,”
as the saying of George Eliot goes and knowing about your money is the
first step toward controlling it.
A budget is the key to helping you to take charge of your finances. With a
budget, you have the tools to decide exactly what is going to happen to
your hard earned money—and when. You can be in control of your
money, instead of having your money limit what you do. This needs
repeating: you can be in control of your money, instead of letting it control
Even the simplest budget divides funds into categories of expenditures
and savings. Beyond that, however, budgets can provide further
organization by automatically providing records of all your monetary
transactions. They can also provide the foundation for a simple filing
system to organize bills, receipts and financial statements.
If you are married, have a family or share your money with someone, then
having a budget that you both (or all) create together is a key to resolving
personal differences about how money is spent. The budget is a
communication tool to discuss the priorities for where you spend your
5. Take advantage of opportunities
Knowing the exact state of your personal finances and being in control of
them allows you to take advantage of opportunities that you might
otherwise miss. Have you ever wondered if you could afford something?
With a budget, you will never have to wonder again—you will know.
6. Extra time
When a person has all of their financial transactions automatically
organized for tax time, for creditors or for any time a question may arise
regarding how and when their money is spent, they’ll know that they are
prepared and by being prepared with their finances they’ll have time to do
7. Extra money
This might be everyone’s favorite benefit. A budget will almost certainly
produce extra money for you to do with as you wish. By budgeting, a
person can avoid paying additional fees or interest to lenders by making
timely payments and curtail unnecessary purchases by shopping for
needs on a regular basis and every once in awhile treat themselves to the
things that they may want. Savings, even small ones, can be
accumulated and made to work for you.
When should you budget?
Every year it is best to make an annual budget. Then you can look back at it
as frequently as like to see how you are doing. The more you review and
update your budget the more aware you will be of your finances.
Rules for Successful Budgeting
1. Keep it Simple
Do not make your plan to complex. The simpler you make it the easier it
will be to understand. If you understand your budget then you will get
more out of it.
2. Make it Personal
Your budget should fit your personality. If you find something that works
for you then go ahead and use it. The more personal your plan is the
more connected you will feel to it. This makes it easier and more fun to
3. Keep it Flexible
If your budget is not flexible then it will be hard to make changes in it. If
you cannot make changes then it will be hard for you to have a successful
4. Be Positive
Sometimes budgeting can be complicated and not very much fun.
However, if you keep a positive attitude you can build a better budget that
you will get more out of. It is easy to slip and make a mistake on your
budget but don’t let that get you down. Learn from your mistake, move on
and maintain a positive attitude.
If you follow these steps, your money will build.
Items Needed to Build a Budget
Before you sit down to make your budget, you will need some tools. You can
use whatever you think is necessary and whatever will be most helpful to you.
Here are a few ideas:
• Pay stubs
• Utility bills
If you have all of your information and tools that you need for budgeting in the
same spot it will make budgeting easier and faster.
How it works:
Begin by adding your monthly income. Whether you are paid weekly, every other
week, bimonthly or monthly add this with any other income that you may receive
during the month that goes toward your living expenses. Then write down the
amount you spend each week on living expenses and extra expenses, for
example the Scooters coffee you get on your way into work, and add all of your
expenses up to get a monthly amount. Finally, subtract your expenses from your
income and that will give you either a surplus or a deficit. The following is a
sample budget sheet that you may use or give you an idea on how to create one
CATEGORY Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Total
Wages and Bonuses
INCOME TAXES WITHHELD:
Federal Income Tax
State and Local Income Tax
Social Security/Medicare Tax
Income Taxes Subtotal
Mortgage or rent
Home Repair/Maintenance/HOA Dues
Water and Sewer
Natural Gas or Oil
Telephone (Land line or Cell)
Eating out, lunches or snacks
Day Care, Babysitting
HEALTH AND MEDICAL:
Insurance (medical, dental, vision)
Unreimbursed medical expenses, copays
Fitness (Yoga, Message, Gym)
Other Transportation Expenses (tolls,
bus, subway, taxis)
Subscriptions and Dues
Grooming and Boarding
INVESTMENTS AND SAVINGS:
401K or IRA
Toiletries, Household Products
Grooming (Hair, Makeup, Other)
Other Miscellaneous Expenses
SURPLUS OR SHORTAGE (Spendable
income minus total expenses)
This will help to keep track of when all your bills are due. Paying all your bills on
time prevents late fees. Keep a list of all the bills that you have and then write on
the calendar when they are due. Here are a few examples of bills you might have
and a sample calendar:
- Credit card
- Car Payment
SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Credit Card Utilities Due
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30
The Top 3 Financial Missteps in Budget Planning
People slip up in budget planning when they do the following:
1. Fail to plan for occasional, non-monthly expenditures
People often do not have a plan for the unexpected. A good budget
always has room for a trip to the emergency room, a job lay off or repairs
on a vehicle.
2. Underestimate how much they spend each month
People often think that they do not spend as much as they actually do.
This tends to keep their finances in a deficit. When first planning a budget
keep track of all income and expenses in one place. This will help to
eliminate the problem of overspending.
3. Use credit cards to “balance” their budget
People like to use one of their credit cards to pay off the other. This is not
a good idea. In the present situation, this looks like a good idea, but in the
end, a person will end up paying more because of fees and interest.
Using credit cards to budget is like spending money that is not there. This
can ruin your credit score, which is a very important thing.
Helping you make informative financial decisions
What to Look for in a Bank
When looking for a bank, a person should look for one that will meet their needs
through all stages of life. Starting as young as small children, a person can open
a savings account for their child to teach the child on how to save money. The
next stage would be for teens and there are teen accounts which add a checking
account to the child’s savings account followed by young adults who may venture
off to college and there are college accounts to help the student with college
expenses, loans and building credit. Here the student may have their first
experience with a credit card. As a person gets older, they may need a bank that
can handle a wide variety of lending such as home or car purchase, home equity
loans or recreational loans. Finally they may need a bank that has investment
advisors. These advisors can help you with retirement planning.
Another highlight when looking for a bank is to find one that will fulfill all of your
financial needs in one spot rather than in multiple locations. With people busy
with everyday life, you need a bank where you can make one stop to handle all
of your banking needs instead of going to this location for home loans, this
location for student loans and another location to deposit or make a withdraw
from your account.
Also a bank that has multiple delivery channels for good customer service is
something that would be beneficial to have. Good customer service channels
can come in the following but are not limited to these alone; local branches that
are close to your home, numerous ATM’s in the city you live in and if possible a
state or nationwide presence and convenient phone or online banking.
Finally choose a bank that convenient for you. By having a bank that is there for
your convenience and available for you whenever you may need to handle your
banking needs will save you time in the long run.
Type of Accounts
• Look for an account that offers you free services like: Free checks, money
orders, cashiers checks, and debit cards. Discounts on other services like
safe box and lower rates on loans.
• Interest bearing or non bearing interest checking accounts
o Interest bearing accounts means that you are paid an interest on
the amount of money you have in your account
o Non bearing interest accounts are the most common accounts that
banks offer and the account holder does not gain interest for the
money in the account
• With a savings account, you want to find an account that will offer you a
competitive rate of interest
Consumer time accounts (CD’s)
• With a CD you can lock up your money for a given period of time usually
anywhere from 3 months or longer for a higher rate of interest. The
disadvantage of CD’s is that if you need to withdraw some of the funds
early there is a penalty involved.
Personal lines of credit, personal loans, and credit cards
• Personal lines of credit and credit cards offer you flexibility in spending
funds as you need to rather than borrowing a lump sum of money all at
once. You can use these products for goods and services at a variety of
places. Repayment begins when you start advancing funds and is usually
a percentage of the amount borrowed against a line of credit plus interest.
• Personal loans are used to buy usually large ticket items like for example
vehicles and etc. When you have a personal loan you borrow a lump sum
all at once and repayment begins the following month for X amount of
dollars for a certain length of time.
Benefits of Sound Business Decisions
Making sound business decisions will enable you to save money by making wise
purchases rather than compulsive buying which is costly. You will be able to
save money because you did not use your disposable income for other things
rather than saving money. By spending wisely you will not be using the income
you need to save to pay your bills on time making it easier to borrow money
because you have not damaged your credit. Doing the aforementioned things
will ultimately enable you to have a strong relationship with your bank and
personal banker. This will also allow additional opportunities that the bank will
have available to you because you have maintained good credit.
Credit Reports – Good Credit vs. Bad Credit
Good Credit – By maintaining good credit you will be able to borrow money.
The money you borrowed will usually have a lower interest rate and more flexible
terms because of good credit. Maintaining your credit will also help you get
better jobs because some employers check credit in their selection process when
hiring new team members.
Bad Credit – Bad credit effect people in many ways. If you’re able to borrow
money the loan you have will most likely have a higher interest rates sometimes
between 18 – 30%. When borrowing the money to purchase cars or homes
many times with bad credit you will have to have a larger down payment.
Bad credit can also affect the process of opening bank accounts. Many times the
bank account you’re able to open will have service fees because of increased
risk to the bank. In some instances the bank may refuse to open an account for
you altogether because of bad credit. Bad credit takes 7 – 10 years to come off
your credit report and can affect job opportunities as mentioned before.
RESOURCES FROM THE STATE OF NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
The Nebraska Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps people
with limited incomes offset the cost of heating and cooling their homes.
The program will partially pay the cost of electricity, fuel oil, gas, coal, wood,
kerosene, propane, or other fuel source.
W-I-C: Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children
The program is a federally funded program established to improve nutrition in
pregnancy and early childhood.
WIC serves pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children under age
five that are considered at nutritional risk
WIC provides services at no cost to clients including:
• Nutrition and health education
• Breastfeeding education, promotion, and support
• Supplemental foods
• Referrals for other services that may be needed
Aid to Dependent Children (ADC)
The ADC Program provides money payments and/or medical coverage to eligible
parents and dependent children age 18 or younger who qualify because the
family has little or no income. Participation in Employment First may be required.
Employment First (EF) is the name of Nebraska’s welfare reform program.
The goal of EF is to help families achieve economic self-sufficiency through
training, education, and employment preparation. EF is designed to assist
families through the transition from welfare to the work force
The Childcare subsidy program assists eligible parents and caretakers in paying
for the cost of child care while they work, attend employment-related training or
school, or participate in another approved activity.
Based on their income the family may be responsible to pay for a portion of the
2 3 4 5 6 7 8+
$1,400 $1,760 $2,120 $2,480 $2,840 $3,200 $3,560
In order to qualify for assistance, you must need child care because you're:
2. Attending school or training sessions;
3. Going to medical or counseling appointments for yourself or another child;
4. Incapacitated (must be verified by a physician).
If there are two parents in the family, both parents must be participating in one of
the activities listed above.
Refugee Resettlement Program (RRP)
The RRP may provide financial and medical assistance to persons who are not
eligible for other programs to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Assistance may
be available to single adults or childless couples in the first 8 months after their
arrival in the United States.
The FSP assists households with limited assets and income to buy the food they
need for good health. Households qualify for Food Stamp benefits based on
available household assets, income and certain expenses. If the household is
eligible, Food Stamp benefits are placed on an Electronic Benefits Transfer
(EBT) card for the household to buy food.
Food Stamp Program Guidelines – April 1, 2009 – September 30, 2009
Maximum Food Stamp Allotments
Household Size Maximum Allotment
Each Addl. Member plus $150.00
Preventative Health Care
• Cardiovascular Health (CVH) Program
• Comprehensive Cancer Control
• Diabetes Prevention & Control Program
• Infectious Disease Prevention and Care
o HIV Prevention
o Tuberculosis Program
o Ryan White Part B Program
o STD Control Program
o HIV Surveillance
• Injury Prevention & Control Program
• Nutrition & Activity for Health
• Preventive Health/Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant
• Renal Program
• Tobacco Free Nebraska Program
Kids Connection (KC)
Children under 19 years who are not covered by health insurance may be found
eligible for KC, a Medicaid program for qualified uninsured children.
Nebraska’s Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid)
This is assistance that can help pay for certain health care services for eligible
families and individuals which include the following:
• Parent(s) with dependent minor children;
• Children under 19 years of age;
• Pregnant women;
Assistance to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD)
The AABD Program provides money payments and/or medical coverage to
individuals or couples who:
• Are age 65 or older
• Have been determined to be permanently and totally disabled or
permanently and totally blind;
• Have a temporary disability that will last at least 6 months;
Emergency Cash Assistance:
Emergency Assistance helps with money and/or services for needy children and
other household members when there is an emergency. The program helps
when the situation is threatening to the health or well-being of an eligible child
and family. To be eligible for emergency assistance a family must have gross
countable income less than the following:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Income $860 $1,060 $1,260 $1,462 $1,661 $1,861 $2,063 $2,263 $2,462 $2,662
Payment may be made for:
1. Rent or mortgage payments,
2. Home furnishings,
3. Emergency non-food items, such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies,
4. Emergency food,
5. Emergency clothing,
6. Moving costs,
8. Emergency special diets,
9. Medical payments, or
10. Emergency telephone installation
• Main Switchboard - 402-471-3121
• Physical Address
301 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln, Nebraska
• Mailing Address
Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services
P.O. Box 95026, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5026
Essential Business Matters
The information presented in this packet can be of great value to those
who choose to utilize the information presented in it. Though the information
provided is not a tell-all guide that will lead you to great wealth, it is starting point
for making sound financial decisions. Setting goals, budgeting, resources, etc. -
all the information provided will put you on the right track for success.
“Remember that budgeting is a tool that can both reveal problem spending
areas and help fine-tune your cash flow. The mere process of gathering
information to begin or maintain a budget can help you control your spending and
free cash to save, invest, or pay off debt.”
When you are ready to choose your banking institution, keep in mind that
the fastest rising concern among customers is the ever-increasing bank fees.
Compare minimum balances to open and maintain accounts without paying fees.
Also inquire about linking accounts or "relationship banking," as it is sometimes
called, where you benefit from having several accounts at one bank, thus
eliminating the need to have a specific balance in each individual account.
Another concern is identity theft, which still limits the number of people
who do their banking online. The convenience of ATM machines is also a major
concern when selecting a bank. Finally, location means a lot. The convenience of
a bank is important unless you are primarily banking online, in which case you
can look for a lower rate from a bank that may be located across town
Last, but not least, the most important first step is goal setting. This is a
power process for thinking about your ideal future and for motivating yourself to
turn this vision of the future into reality. The process of setting goals helps you
choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to
achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You'll also quickly
spot the distractions that would otherwise lure you from your course. More than
this, properly-set goals can be incredibly motivating, and as you get into the habit
of setting and achieving goals, you'll find that your self-confidence builds fast
Anonymous Encouragement Quote:
"When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the
Dictionary.com. 200. Dictionary.com, LLC. Web.April 2009.
Garman, E. Thomas, and Raymond Forgue. Personal Finance . 9th ed. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. Print.
Google Images. 2009. April 2009
Mouw, Dan. Personal interview. 06 April 2009. Interview.
Nebraska. Department of Health and Human Services.Lincoln: GPO, 2007. Web.
"Why Budget?." 2008. Tulip Tree Press. April 2009
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
301 Centennial Mall South
PO Box 95026
Lincoln, NE 68509-5026
(402) 471- 3121
Dan Mouw, Branch Manager
Wells Fargo Bank
3536 Comstock Ave
Bellevue, NE 68123
Glossary of Terms
Assets - items of ownership convertible into cash; total resources of a person or
business, as cash, notes and accounts receivable, securities, inventories,
goodwill, fixtures, machinery, or real estate
Bank - an institution for receiving, lending, exchanging, and safeguarding money
and, in some cases, issuing notes and transacting other financial business.
Budget - an estimate, often itemized, of expected income and expense for a
given period in the future.
Certificate of deposit - a written acknowledgment of a bank that it has received
from the person named a specified sum of money as a deposit, often for a fixed
term at a specified interest rate.
Checking account - a bank account in which checks may be written against
amounts on deposit.
Credit - confidence in a purchaser's ability and intention to pay, displayed by
entrusting the buyer with goods or services without immediate payment.
Credit report - a detailed report of an individual's credit history prepared by a
credit bureau and used by a lender to in determining a loan applicant's
Credit score - a numerical expression based on a statistical analysis of a
person's credit files, to represent the creditworthiness of that person
Deficit - the amount by which expenditures or liabilities exceed income or assets;
a lack or shortage; deficiency
Deposit - money placed in a bank account or an instance of placing money in a
Dreams - an aspiration; goal; aim
Expenditures - the act of expending something, esp. funds; disbursement;
Goals - the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end
Interest - such a sum expressed as a percentage of money borrowed to be paid
over a given period, usually one year; sum paid or charged for the use of money
or for borrowing money
Liabilities - moneys owed; debts or pecuniary obligations
Loans - the act of lending; a grant of the temporary use of something
Savings - the amount left over when the cost of a person's consumer expenditure
is subtracted from the amount of disposable income that he or she earns in a
given period of time.
Security - freedom from financial cares or from want
Surplus - the excess of assets over liabilities accumulated throughout the
existence of a business, excepting assets against which stock certificates have
been issued; excess of net worth over capital-stock value.
Withdrawal - Removing funds from an account, plan, pension or trust. In some
cases, conditions must be met in order to withdraw funds without penalization.
There are two ways to withdraw money: in cash or in kind.
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Application for Benefits
The following pages included in this booklet are a copy of the Nebraska
Department of Health and Human Services Application for Benefits, which can be
located at the Official Nebraska Government – Nebraska Department of Health
and Human Services website. The web address is as follows:
This is located in the first box under the heading Appendices. It can also be
located at the following address: