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Teach Yourself How to Budget: A 7News Special Report

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Turning around your finances may be overwhelming to think about, but it can be done. There are some easy steps to starting out. The first is to set a goal for yourself.

Lisa Werner, who co-founded West Virginia Saves, teaches several free classes a month helping people learn how to manage their money. Werner says setting a goal and putting it in writing really helps. When she is instructing her classes she says the first thing they do is take a few minutes to set goals of what you're looking to do with your money.

"It could be something modest like an emergency fund or something big like a house but, I have them put down in writing what they want to work toward," said Werner.

A second step is to keep a spending diary. Werner suggest writing down every dollar you spend for a month, or even just a week, to see where your money is being spent and where you can make cuts.

"You'll be really surprised where your money is going, you can't control if you don't know where it's going," said Werner.

But if you feel like you are in too deep and need more help, there is free help available.

West Virginia Saves is a program that works to help people "start small and think big."

Werner, who helped co-found the program in the mountain state, say that since 2006 there are more than 6,000 "saves" accounts with millions of dollars saved.

The program works with participating banks that let you open a savings account with any amount of money and there are no fees or minimum balances.

All you have to do to sign up for an account is agree to be a part of the WV Saves program, which only works to help you better yourself financially.

The program asks you to set up a goal as well, which Werner says is the key.

"We're finding when they write down and commit to themselves to save "X" amount each month, they're doing it," said Werner.

A few local places host the W est Virginia Saves Classes. Every Wednesday at Catholic Charities in Wheeling Werner teaches the classes starting at noon. Every second and fourth Friday they are held at House of the Carpenter on Wheeling Island, also starting at noon.

In order to receive utility assistance from House of the Carpenter, they require to sit through one of the classes.

Executive Director of House of the Carpenter, Dr. Michael Linger, said he thinks it's working.

"So many people are literally living marginally, one little event can push them into a serious financial difficulty, if we can help put them in a position that lessens that possibility then that's a good thing," said Linger.

For more information you can visit the West Virginia Saves website for helpful tips and information on opening an account.