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Karen Poff

karenpoff.png Karen Poff is a Senior Extension Agent with Virginia Cooperative Extension, serving the Northern Shenandoah Valley and specializing in Family Financial Management. She has worked for VCE since 1987. She holds a master of public administration degree from James Madison University and has been certified by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education as an accredited financial counselor.



Recent posts by Karen Poff

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Karen Poff

Planning ahead can ease holiday stress

Because most people have high expectations of the holidays, many families experience extra tension during November and December. People feel the pressure of long "to do" lists and numerous activities. Ironically, family members may be more short-tempered or overly sensitive during a time of year that is supposed to bring joy. The keys to managing this busy season are adequate planning, advance preparation, shortcuts and stress management.
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Karen Poff

Save money on insurance

One thing that no one can afford to be without is insurance. You might roll the dice and go without it. But the odds are that sooner or later you will encounter a serious life circumstance that you cannot afford.
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Karen Poff

Don't get caught in a money trap

Last week we talked about traditional and non-traditional banking services. Sometimes people have problems with the traditional services provided by credit unions and banks. Then, they tend to seek out non-traditional services which can often be money traps. In some cases, such as with check cashing and money orders, the services are simply more expensive.
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Karen Poff

Traditional and non-traditional banking

Sometimes I hear people say that they would rather not put their money in a bank or credit union. Some of the reasons they give include trouble managing a checking account in the past, low interest rates, fear that creditors will take the funds, and problems with identity theft.
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Karen Poff

A healthy family plays and laughs

One way to make your family stronger is to make time for play and laughter.
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Karen Poff

News related scams

You've probably heard about the scams related to charitable donations. Did you also realize that Internet scams can be related to the news itself?
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Karen Poff

Developing a spending and savings plan

Many people have a negative feeling about the word "budget." The word brings to mind a straight jacket or perhaps chains -- something that holds you back or keeps you in check. But the purpose behind a budget is exactly the opposite.
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Karen Poff

Use credit wisely, instead of not at all

From time to time I hear people say that because of their bad experiences with credit, they want to pay cash for everything and never borrow again. This may seem like an admirable goal. but in reality, a life totally without credit can actually reduce your financial stability.
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Karen Poff

Personal finance foundations

If you want to build stability into your personal finances, you have to start with a firm foundation. The first step is to get organized. You'll need a simple home filing system, a way to keep track of which bills are due when, and one place to store everything. You can use large envelopes, file folders, notebooks, or calendars to organize. The best system is the one that works for you!
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Karen Poff

Of love and money...

During February, everyone's mind turns to hearts and flowers (and chocolate!) as we celebrate Valentine's Day. My son recently mentioned a new title for the holiday, "Single's Awareness Day." Singles may wish they had someone to share the flowers and chocolate with, but they do have one advantage over couples in the area of money management. Singles don't have to argue with a partner over how to spend their money.

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