I have been de-cluttering my home for the past three months. Rather, I have been trying to de-clutter! At the same time, I have had to manage my finances in “new” ways to meet the continuously emerging needs of the COVID-19 pandemic. I took a trip down memory lane as I opened my Hope Chest to add and subtract items.
What is a Hope Chest? Historically, the term hope chest symbolizes hope in a marriage. The hope chest itself is an important vessel that a newly married woman could one day hand down to her own daughter. Traditional cedar hope chests were also used to help protect fabrics and to give the items inside a pleasant aroma. Key words include vessel and a symbol of hope.
What would a 2020 Hope Chest need to look like and contain? In these changing times, the vessel needs to live in a virtual world and be an action of hope.
Ohio State University Extension designed a Hope Chest to “help people help themselves” amidst these uncertain times. A temporary or transitional spending plan is needed to build hope and manage financial stress.
The purpose of the Hope Chest is for individuals and families to –
- Prioritize spending by separating needs from wants
- Identify realistic/SMART goals
- Gather current financial spending and saving information
- Evaluate COVID-19 pandemic emergency resources
- Develop a “new” Accounting for Your Money calendar
- Get through the next 6-months using Accounting for Your Money calendar
- Re-evaluate and adjust the transitional spending plan monthly
Directions for use of “Accounting for Your Money” Hope Chest
Begin by reviewing Steps 1 through 7 to obtain an overall picture of the components of the Hope Chest. After reviewing the components, you are ready to begin completing the steps.
Complete Steps 1 and 2 within a week. For Step 3 collect spending records before you add the information to the “Spending Tracker Tool” and “Income and Benefits Tool”.
Steps 4 and 5 include evaluating resources and developing a transitional spending plan.
Steps 6 and 7 will occur over the next 6 months. Completing all the steps will help manage your spending and saving habits.
Work on the steps with your family members/co-spenders and discuss your basic wants and needs. Determine how to best spend your money during the pandemic. Your family will be empowered to meet the new challenges brought about by the pandemic emergency and ease future financial stress.
Post evaluations of this program indicate that most individuals who complete the seven-step process reveal they have/find additional money to use for meeting personal goals.
Written by: Margaret Jenkins, OSU Extension Educator, Clermont County email@example.com