Free Weekly Workshop Teaches Basic Money Management For All

Stressed out by money? Worried about keeping up with bills? Can’t bear to face your credit score? Financial concerns can wear us out, layering added burdens onto an already stressful situation. Even short-term hardship can have lasting effects on our credit – and our mental health. 

Learn how to regain control of finances with COVID Support VT’s Financial Wellness Basics workshop. Every Monday at noon. Register here.

The pandemic has shown just how vulnerable so many of us are to sudden changes in employment or income. Few Americans have the savings to last through any prolonged disruption, yet disruptions have been ubiquitous and in many cases, ongoing. Financial hardship can lead to chronic stress and anxiety, heightening risk for mental health challenges.

“Financial issues can feel so isolating and taboo to talk about. It can feel like you’re all alone and can be really difficult to reach out for help,” says Megan Kastner, COVID Support VT counselor and the workshop facilitator. “You’re not alone. A lot of people are going through this, even if we don’t talk about it.” 

Even if it’s daunting, Kastner advocates taking action toward financial wellness to help you regain some sense of control. By doing so, you can benefit your financial health as well as your mental health. You don’t have to wait until you feel you’re in a good place financially to start. In fact, regaining control may be essential to getting to a good place financially. 

Start now, where you are and with what you have.

Financial Awareness and Knowledge

Awareness combined with knowledge is key to managing our finances, says Kastner, who has a background in banking. “Knowing what’s going on with your accounts is more important than anything. Understand your spending patterns and know when payments are due so you make them on time or make arrangements,” says Kastner. “Putting in the time and effort will be well worth the investment.”

“Knowledge is power.”

~ Megan Kastner, COVID Support VT counselor and workshop facilitator

Many people may avoid budgeting or taking a hard look at their expenses or credit scores out of fear or anxiety. But having a clear picture of what’s going on financially can guide us to where we need to focus. “Often, things aren’t as bad as we imagine,” Kastner says. “But even if it’s worse than you expected, knowing is important. At least you will know what you’re dealing with and can take appropriate steps to move forward.”

Learn the Financial Basics

With compassionate understanding and non-judgment, Kastner walks workshop participants through the basics of personal financial management. It’s a personal crash course in Financial Wellness 101 complete with insider secrets to improve your finances, better your credit, and reduce your money stress. 

In Financial Wellness Basics, Kastner covers a range of topics:

  • Bank Statements: What to know, what to watch for.
  • Emergency Funds: How to start one even if you don’t think you can.
  • Debt Management: What you need to know about loans, refinancing, and debt consolidation.
  • Credit Score: Learn the most important thing you can do to maintain good credit.
  • Retirement: Where are you at? What are your options? 
  • Employer Benefits: An often-overlooked source of potential perks tied to salary.
  • Salary Negotiations: When and how to ask for a raise.
  • Finding Help: Where to reach out for financial support for food, housing, and other needs.

Learn More and Find Resources

Register here for Megan Kastner’s free online Financial Wellness Basics workshop. Every Monday at noon. 

Read more about the interplay of Financial Hardship and Mental Health in the COVID Support VT blog.

For employment and job-seeking support with a mindful perspective, join our Skills for the Job Search workshop series (every Wednesday at noon). All workshops and groups are free and online.

Call 2-1-1, option #2, to speak to a COVID Support VT Counselor for free, individualized counseling and referral to community resources. We can even help you fill out the applications you need to obtain services.

You can also chat with a Support Counselor on our website by typing your question into the chat box on the bottom right corner of your screen.

Blog written by Brenda Patoine on behalf of VCN/Vermont Care Partners for COVID Support Vermont, a grant funded by FEMA and the Vermont Department of Mental Health

Need to Talk?

Call 2-1-1 (in Vermont) for assistance.

In Crisis? 

If you or someone you care for is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can: call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-825; text VT to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor 24/7; connect with your local community mental health center for 24/7 support. 

Find Help

Find resources and tools for coping with stress at

One-click translation to 100 languages of most everything on the website, plus Multilingual Resources.

Find your local community mental health center by visiting Vermont Care Partners.

COVID Support VT is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency, managed by Vermont’s Department of Mental Health, and administered by Vermont Care Partners, a statewide network of 16 non-profit community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disability services and supports. 

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