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Saturday, August 17, 2013
I’ve warned readers many times about deals that sound too good to be true . So when I learned about Money Mondays, free financial seminars held at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke, I was sure there had to be a catch.
Are they trying to sell something? Where are the hidden fees? But I’m happy to report that this is one freebie with no strings attached.
Money Mondays is a series of free educational seminars presented by the Virginia Cooperative Extension and four local credit unions: Freedom First, SalemVA, Blue Eagle and FedStar. The seminars began in 2009 and have been held each fall and winter since.
Deb Chappell, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent in the Roanoke Valley, said, “We decided to do something that was open to the public, free of charge and not to sell anything — just for education.”
A committee organizes the events and the first seminars were held at Virginia Western Community College. Two years ago Money Mondays partnered with the Jefferson Center and has been held there since.
The seminars originated with four classes on the beginnings of budgeting, saving, credit cards and credit reports. Since then, each seminar still concentrates on the basics, but organizers have gathered feedback from attendees and tailored the information even further.
“They’re not huge classes that are impersonal, so it’s a nice way to get personal attention. And it’s a good tool to get started on taking control of your financial health,” Chappell said.
The first group of seminars for 2013-2014 begins on Aug. 26. Kristopher Taylor from Freedom First Credit Union will lead “Spending Plan & Behaviors,” as well as “Retirement & Savings” on Sept. 16 and “Everything Credit” on Oct. 21. Chappell will lead “Couponing & Food Savings” on Nov. 18.
She said the seminars for January through April, and possibly May, have yet to be decided. Some classes may repeat or overlap, but organizers want to hear what the public needs and why.
Chappell encourages older teens to attend the seminars and get a jump start on being financially responsible.
“Our ideal target audience is younger people who are just starting to get on track,” she explained.
Students who are heading off to college or jumping into the work force can apply the knowledge they learn at Money Mondays immediately. Each event has a wide variety of participants, usually about 10 to 20 people per class.
Money Mondays is held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Jefferson Center Training Theatre. All seminars are free and offer chances to win door prizes. For more information, call the Virginia Cooperative Extension office at 772-7524.
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