Want to curb your spending but don’t want to pay for a financial management class?

Interfaith Housing Services (IHS) will be reaching out beyond Hutchinson to offer its financial capability class for free, thanks to a $25,000 Recognition Grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.

“Take Control – Grow Your Financial Wellness” is a fun, interactive class, said Lacie Stauffacher, program facilitator. It consists of six sessions, she said, covering the topics of visioning, or financial dreams; maximizing income; spending; saving; borrowing; and protecting, or insurance and investments.

It is for people of all income levels, Stauffacher said, from those saving for a cruise to those saving for an emergency fund.

The goal is to modify peoples’ behaviors to help them reach their financial goals and financial freedom. They want to teach others to empower themselves and live in safe, affordable housing.

After the class she also offers free one-on-one financial coaching, she said.

About 25 percent of participants have come back for coaching and credit counseling, said Stauffacher, and she’s seen people accomplish their goals and increase their credit scores.

Since it began in 2014, 150 people completed the class, said Stauffacher, impacting 300 family members.

“We hope to double that” this year, she said.

The plan is to offer Taking Control in Sedgwick, McPherson, Harvey and Ford counties, according to information provided in a news release.

The class was originally $50 per household, but the grant will cover the costs and allow people to attend for free, Stauffacher said.

Before, many businesses sponsored the class to allow at least 25 employees to participate, said Holly Thomas, Director of Development at IHS. She said afterward employers noticed a reduction in lost time and health care costs and an increase in productivity because employees were spending less time worrying about their financial troubles.

Taking Control is part of a program called Creating Assets, Savings and Hope (CASH), which also includes a first-time home ownership program and an Individual Development Account (IDA), in which IHS will match two-to-one the amount participants save toward a goal, said Stauffacher.

They already offer CASH in 85 counties, said Thomas.

This is a great program, Thomas said, because “people are giving a hand up, not a handout.”

They will be busy, she said, administering the year-long grant money, which will cover facilitation, curriculum, marketing and travel expenses, Stauffacher said.

Stauffacher plans to begin calling communities that already showed interest in the class and non-profits who could offer the class to clients, she said.

More information about facilitating or sponsoring a class is available by calling Stauffacher at (620) 662-8370, ext. 707. Information about the class is available at www.ihs-housing.org