November 21, 2007 | By: Katie Pratt

Using basic financial principles, Debra Parrish, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Anderson County, taught a group of women how to stretch their money, while trying to eliminate debt and save for the future during a recent Dollars and Sense for Women financial workshop. 

“The class emphasizes the importance of setting money aside for emergencies, having a budget plan and keeping records,” Parrish said. 

The workshop is a collaboration between extension and the Bluegrass Alliance for Women. It began after a 2001 study by the Governor’s Task Force on the Economic Status of Kentucky’s Women found women of all ages across the state need education on financial issues. Its findings showed the state was the third worst in the nation for women based on economic autonomy, employment and earnings, political participation, health and well-being and women’s reproductive rights. It also reported that by improving women’s economic status, the state could make unprecedented progress in all aspects of Kentucky life.

Nancy Dicken, chair for the financial workshops committee with the Bluegrass Alliance for Women, said the alliance has reached 262 women in 15 Bluegrass counties since the workshops began. Materials used in the workshops are based on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Money Smart Program.

During the workshop, several money management topics were discussed including how to determine monetary worth, discover spending habits and keep organized records. Parish also 
taught the women about the importance of prioritizing and goal setting for large financial endeavors.

In a survey taken at the end of the class in Anderson County, nearly all of the participants agreed they would be able to apply the skills they learned toward improving their financial situations. 

While the workshop is a good starting point to financial independence, it will not cure all problems. 

“This workshop is designed to help women get a handle on their finances, but these classes are just a start,” Dicken said. “The Bluegrass Alliance for Women also offers advanced financial workshops on managing investments.”

The next Dollars and Sense for Women workshops will be Feb. 12 and March 11 in Versailles. 


Debra Parrish, 502-839-7271