MAP Alumni Resource Center: Budgeting & Taxes

Feb 2017 Bulletin Board Budgeting & Taxes

Our Moving Ahead Program has over 1,500 alumni, all who are welcome to visit St. Francis House at any time and seek us for support and resource advice in perpetuity. The Alumni Resource Center bulletin board on the 4th floor hosts a new topic each month. 

With the New Year in full swing and our goals planned, we’re ready to move into February with a new sense of purpose.

If one of your goals for the year was to get your finances in check you’re in luck. This month, we’re falling in love with budgeting!

Budgeting can be used as a way of taking back control of your finances. Whether you need helping bouncing back from the Holidays (according to the American Research Group, in 2016 the average American planned on spending over $900!), you’re looking forward to a trip, or have your eye on something nice for yourself, getting into the habit of budgeting could make the process seem much more manageable.

What do you want?

Are you saving for a new car? Trying to pull together money to move? Or maybe you just want to cut down on your spending? Whatever your priorities are, make sure they motivate you to make some serious changes. This is where you can pull in your New Year Goals. Create visual reminders- put a photo in your wallet, change the background on your computer or phone or find other ways to remind yourself of what you want to achieve. Use these as motivation to save!

What do you have?

Tracking your checking account and savings account to understand your spending habits gives you a realistic point of view on where you stand. There are many ways to track your transactions throughout the month: checkbooks, calendars, budget worksheets, phone apps and more. Pick what works best for you, and figure out how much money you have. Once you know how much you take home each month and how much you have to spend (the essentials) you can play around with the leftover money to start working towards your goals.

Change your attitude.

Believe it or not, your attitude about money can actually impact your behavior. If you think that you won’t achieve your goal or that you’re not making progress, chances are you won’t. Find ways to continue to motivate yourself by making your new budgeting and saving habits fun. Try creating a ‘temperature gauge’ to increase as you save towards your goal, or write down affirmations to keep you focused. Read it aloud to yourself every day. Come up with ways that will keep you excited and motivated.

One way to kick start your new motivation for budgeting this year is to take advantage of Tax Season!

For the second year in a row, MAP will be partnering with Suffolk University’s VITA Program to file taxes for MAP Alumni- FREE. Suffolk students spend January training and taking the necessary certifications to help the community get the most of their taxes. We caught up with the Program Coordinator, Michaele to talk about the special connection between Suffolk and the MAP Program.

“Suffolk University is proud to partner with St. Francis House for the second year in row to provide free tax preparation services to MAP students and alumni. This program is so valuable because it gives students practical experience preparing taxes. More importantly, it allows them to interact with people from all walks of life and hear about experiences different from their own. For alumni, this is an opportunity to learn more about taxes and tax filing to keep up with current obligations or catch up on past years!”

We thank Suffolk University for continuing to support MAP in such a wonderful way!

Do you want to join?

Visit this month’s bulletin board for sample Budget worksheets and a list of apps to help get you started. You can request copies of these, or reserve your space for one of the Tax Filing Days by reaching out to Ashley Cilenti at 617-654-1257 or acilenti@stfrancishouse.org.