Getting ‘Money Smart’

CSM’s Free Workshop Comes to Leonardtown Campus Feb. 20

When she read about last November’s free Money Smart conference at the College of Southern Maryland’s La Plata Campus, Rhonda Piegols of La Plata said to her husband, “Bruce, we’re going.” They were glad they did. They found the seminars informative and wished that they could have attended more than four of the 16 seminars offered.

They’ll have a chance to attend more seminars when CSM’s free Money Smart Workshops come to the college’s Leonardtown Campus Feb. 20.

“People who understand personal finance issues, financial planning, insurance topics and real estate markets are better able to make the right decisions for themselves and their families,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried. “Our community as a whole has a better chance of weathering these tough economic times if our citizens, individually, are financially stable. Being smart about money is a key to that stability.” That is why Gottfried, along with financial experts and area chambers of commerce have joined to present the Money Smart workshop. The Feb. 20 event is co-sponsored by CSM, the St. Mary’s Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of St. Mary’s County, Lexington Park.

The workshops begin at 9 a.m. offering sessions on the secrets to using grants or tax credits to purchase a home; building and maintaining good credit; identity theft protection; and financial planning 101. At 10 a.m. session choices include using 100 percent financing to purchase a home; banking and budgeting; health insurance information; home and auto insurance coverages; estate and divorce planning; and how to choose a financial advisor. At 11 a.m. session choices include buying a new or foreclosed home; practical tips for saving money; annuities and retirement; paying for education; and Roth conversions. All sessions are presented by professionals in their field with adequate time for questions.

Participants will have opportunities to speak directly to local professions in real estate, personal banking, insurance and financial planning prior to the start of workshop sessions between 8 to 9 a.m. or following the workshops from 12 to 1 p.m.

            For information on the Money Smart Workshop, visit To pre-register for the workshop, call Christine Bish as 301-934-7602.



Budget Pitfalls Checklist

Information, such as this budget pitfalls checklist provided at a previous Money Smart workshop, can assist the individual who is trying to understand their budget. The list below indicates areas where potential savings may be made.


        Vending machine soda and snacks


        Running dishwasher or washing machine only half full

        Video rental late fees

        Fast food

        Unwatched paid movie channels

        Dry-clean-only clothing

        Charging without thinking first

        Buying the ‘economy size’ and having it spoil before you use it up

        Cashing your check instead of direct deposit and auto transfer to savings

        New outfit for every occasion

        Lottery tickets

        Impulse purchases

        Buying movies you only watch once

        Shopping as entertainmento

        Leftover food wasted

        Morning latte from the drive-through café

        Home phone line if you always use a cell phone

        Grocery shopping when you’re hungry

        Not having an emergency fund as back-up

        Buying cheap items that break easily

        Parking tickets

        Unread magazine subscriptions

        Ignored repairs

        Late fees on credit or loan payments

        Air/moisture leaks in the house

        ATM fees

        Costly unused phone service

        Extra-peak-time cell phone minutes

        Water left running

        Lights left on

        High-interest credit card debt

        Jack-rabbit starts that waste gasoline

        Leaving the heat up at night or when you’re not home

        Half-eaten dinners out

        Payday loans

        Bounced-check fees

        Paying full price for evening movies

        Too much or wrong type of life insurance


These and other financial tips will be available at the free Money Smart Workshop at CSM, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the College of Southern Maryland’s Leonardtown Campus, C Building, Feb. 20. To pre-register, call Christine Bish at 301-934-7602. For information and a list of session topics, visit Snow date is Feb. 27.




Free Money Smart Workshop at CSM: Managing Your Money in Difficult Times. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Feb. 20, College of Southern Maryland, Leonardtown Campus, C Building, 22950 Hollywood Road, Leonardtown. A one-day education workshop on managing your money in difficult times divided into four seminars: Insurance, Financial Planning, Personal Banking and Real Estate and Mortgage, with each seminar containing multiple, individual hour-long sessions—16 sessions to choose from. Topics include: Secrets to Using Grants/Tax Credits to Purchase a Home, Identity Theft Protection, Paying for Long-Term Care Insurance, Choosing a Financial Planner and more. Expo of real estate, banking, insurance, and financial planning businesses between 8 and 9 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m. provides time to talk to professionals. All sessions are presented by professionals in their field with adequate time for questions. Workshop is free. To pre-register, call Christine Bish at 301-934-7602. For information and a list of session topics, visit Snow date is Feb. 27.