Tuesday Tip

TIP: Stick to your guns!! Sticking to your budget might be the hardest part. Unless you’ve got super powered self-control, get creative about how to keep your spending under wraps.

Once you’ve created a budget, you’ve got to stick to it! It takes discipline, but with some helpful tools and ideas, you can do it. Check out all the great budgeting resources on the Believe in Your Future website.


•    Cash System: To keep from over spending, try putting cash in envelopes for things like groceries, entertainment, eating out, etc. When you head to the store, or out for some fun, take only your designated envelope. You’ll be forced to stay within the bounds of your budget, and knowing exactly how much you have now, and what you might need later on, will help you keep your spending in check.

•    Use Technology: Your best budgeting tool is no longer a simple 10-key calculator! You can use a spreadsheet to track, categorize, and calculate your expenses. There is also an array of free budgeting systems available on the web, many of which have accompanying applications for your smart phone. Carry your budget in your pocket! Check out http://www.yodlee.com for a snazzy program that integrates all your bank accounts, tracks your budget, and alerts you when you’ve over spent.

These are just two ideas. What techniques are you using? Please feel free to share!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. Many people honor the memory of the man who “had a dream” by going out in their communities to serve and volunteer. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” So today we ask that same question…

What are you doing for others?

Utah Metal Works

By: Cristi Wetterberg
Resource Development Executive

As a Resource Development Executive, I have the opportunity to meet with a variety of individuals and companies.  One of my favorite corporate partners to work with is Utah Metal Works.  Utah Metal Works is one of the oldest and most respected family-owned non-ferrous metal recycling companies in the intermountain west.  Having been in business since 1955, Utah Metal Works staff and employees have seen our community change over the years and have made a strong effort to give opportunities to individuals and families in need in several ways.  I have worked extensively with Mark Lewon, Vice President of Operations, as well as the rest of the Lewon family, who run Utah Metal Works.  Mark has been a member of our Young Leaders affinity group, has actively advocated for issues during the legislative session, participated in our annual Day of Caring, and I am sure much more than I know.  This year Utah Metal Works forty employees raised over $15,000, which was matched dollar for dollar by the company. This dollar for dollar match goes to United Way’s Cornerstone program, making their United Way of Salt Lake workplace investment more than $30,000.  Utah Metal Works gives, advocates, and volunteers, but most importantly they show how even small companies can make a huge difference!  This is why I love my job, I get to be a part of the amazing generosity and support of so many people and companies who want to make our community a better place for all of us.

UWSL Proud to Partner with other Leading Business and Community Organizations to launch Prosperity 2020

By: Deborah Bayle
President and CEO

United Way of Salt Lake was proud to be among a handful of leading community and business organizations that participated in a press conference and signing ceremony to launch Prosperity 2020 on Tuesday morning.  Prosperity 2020 is an initiative to boost Utah education and to ensure a well-educated and trained workforce for the future.

I was pleased to be able to represent United Way of Salt Lake and offer our support as the initiative moves forward.  The goals of Prosperity 2020 coincide well with our goals and objectives for education.  UWSL is focusing its work on building a strong foundation of early learning from birth to age eight.  Our research shows that there is a direct link between early learning and success in school.  By the time children from low-income families enter kindergarten, they are typically twelve to twenty-four months behind other kids in language and pre-reading skills. It is critical to get infants and young children the tools and resources they need so they can start school on par with their peers.

The goals of Prosperity 2020 are as follows:

1.    To meet the needs of Utah employers, two-thirds of Utah adults should achieve a skilled trade certificate or academic degree by 2020.  This goal is based on a report released last year by Georgetown University’s Center on Education that said about 66 percent of jobs in Utah will require at least some postsecondary education by 2018.

2.    Success starts early.  By the end of elementary school, 90 percent of students should be proficient in math and reading.

“We have momentum, we have drive and we have vision,” said Mark Bouchard, senior managing partner of CB Richard Ellis and the chair of Prosperity 2020. “Prosperity 2020 is the best thing we can do for the economy.”

Utah faces challenges, including lagging academic performance, changing demographics and increasing workforce needs, but we can still ensure a bright future for Utah by pledging to LIVE UNITED by helping our children succeed in school and life. To learn more go to the United Way of Salt Lake website and pledge your support for education.

Tuesday Tip: Make Adjustments

By: Bill
Believe In Your Future

TIP: When creating your budget, make adjustments to areas where you are over spending.

Once you understand your current spending (see last week’s tip: track your expenses), identify items that need changing, and keeping long-term financial objectives in mind, set goals for what you want to accomplish with your budget.

Tracking expenses can often be an eye-opening experience.  You may discover that you’re spending more at the coffee shop or vending machine than you thought! Now that you know just exactly where and how you are spending your money, you can make realistic decisions about what your budget should look like. If you’d like to rein in your spending in a certain category, set your limits a little lower and try to stay on target. Keep in mind your long-term goals and make sure to allocate money for savings or to pay down debt.

There are several resources available on the Believe website to help you create your budget. Check them out here.

An Act of Generosity

By: Ashley Hillman
Community Collaborations Director

It was a week before Christmas when a UWSL board member called our CEO, Deborah Bayle, and asked how he could help make Christmas special for families who may not have the means to provide basic necessities for their children, much less provide gifts. It was decided that providing families with Target gift cards would be the best strategy. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure if all of the community learning center coordinators would respond positively to the offer because it was, indeed, merely a few days before the fall school session was ending for the students. With all of the regular holiday festivities and chaos that ensues at this time of year, I did not know what to expect. I was thrilled that each of the coordinators enthusiastically jumped at the offer, despite the extra amount of work it would require for them to coordinate.

Five community learning centers received 15 Target gift cards, each valued at $200, to distribute to families needing a little extra assistance this holiday season. The result was astounding. Coordinators reported stories of mothers shedding tears in response to the generosity of an individual who will likely never even meet the families whom he has touched. Families wrote thank you notes and even provided family photos, which will all be passed along to the donor.

How could I have ever thought that the community learning center coordinators would be reluctant to help touch the lives of the families they encounter each day? Yes, it took some extra work on their part to make this happen, but they made it happen. And because of it, families may have a little more food, some warm clothing, and the ability to have provided a memorable Christmas for their children. This is an example of the priceless generosity that is present in our very own community, and I don’t know about you, but it makes me proud to be a part of it.

An Act of Generosity- Their Stories

Below are stories shared by individuals about the impact of “An Act of Generosity.” Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

The day Jessie broke her arm my whole life got turned upside down. Emotionally and financially, Christmas got put to a dead halt. I have been really worried about how I was going to finish Christmas. Jessie is a great child and deserves the world….The donation you guys gave to me was the biggest blessing. It came right at the perfect time. I was able to get Jessie a much needed coat and pair of snow pants. I let her pick out a gift to give to me, too, because she has such a kind heart. She wanted to get me something so bad…I am so grateful for this gift to me and her. I wouldn’t have been able to finish Christmas without this help.

Hola. Gracias por la ayuda. Nos sirvio mucho gracias a la ayuda pudimos tener una Navidad muy felices con unos regalitos para nuestros hijos. Muchas gracias y muchas bendiciones para todos los que hacen posible los sueños de muchas familias. Gracias. Muchas gracias.

A single mother with two children was recently separated from her husband who has cut off all communication with the children. Mom is working and every dollar is put towards food, rent, etc. It has been extremely difficult for the oldest boy, and a little extra help was greatly appreciated and helped relieve some of the family stress of constant economic pressure which has been compounded by the sadness of loss and abandonment.
The father of a family that received a gift card was recently in a car accident and unable to work.  While in the hospital, he missed a court date for a traffic violation. After he got home, he went to address the violation, thinking he was doing the right thing, but in fact, he was arrested and jailed. He could not make bail, so he was unable to work. His family was in dire circumstances and mom told the children there would be no Christmas. She received a gift card on the 24th and went shopping after the children went to bed. At the time, she had a single present for one child, which was given by that child’s godparents, but she had nothing for the other three. The gift card made it possible for her to provide Christmas for all of her children.