Why File (not taxes)

April 17, 2018

Organization is important! – Why??? It saves time, money, & effort. The key to organization is a good record-keeping system. If you need some motivation to get you started, here are just a few benefits:

paper files

  • Easier to find important information (How many times have you stressed frantically looking for that ever-important document at the last minute?!)
  • Provides security
  • Provides proof of transactions (But I already paid that bill! If you can’t prove it – it didn’t happen!)
  • Helps in handling emergencies
  • Makes it easier for others (If you pass away – where will your loved ones go to find important and needed documents?)

Here’s a few tips to help you maintain your system and make it easier:

  • Start simple
  • File documents regularly
  • Only file what you need
  • Label/color code it
  • Make it convenient
  • Go digital
  • If you’re wondering what and when to shred documents, the Federal Trade Commission has a few guidelines.
  • Keep a RED file (disaster preparedness documents) in a fire-proof case that you can grab-and-go in an emergency

It’s A Security Thing!

  • Lock the cabinet
  • Don’t leave things floating around
  • Consider mail safety – electronic vs. postal
  • Shred what you don’t need – To help with this, the CRIMESTOPPERS ANNUAL SHRED EVENT is this weekend in Sioux Falls

Annual Shred Event: Saturday, April 21, 2018 9am-1pm

57th and Louise in the Minnwest Bank parking lot.

6th and Sycamore at Washington High School.

13th and Main downtown in the Pavilion Parking Lot/Ramp

* There is a suggested donation of $5.00 a box.


Want to learn more about organizing your paper piles to organized files? Or learn more about what to maintain in your disaster preparedness RED file?  Call LSS Center for Financial Resources at 605-330-2700, 888-258-2227 or schedule an appointment online. Sessions may be completed in-person, by phone or online.

written by Sara Ramirez

4 Tips for Keeping Kids Safe Online

September 24, 2015
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am part of a unique generation. We are tasked with parenting the first generation that doesn’t know life before the World Wide Web but we remember existence before Google and Facebook. I managed to survive most of my childhood without daily access to the internet. However, most in my generation are now actively using technology as a part of our daily lives. We began with the green screen of Oregon Trail and now some of us voice text our kids using a smart watch.

I find myself feeling pretty confident that I’ll be able to keep up with my daughters in the technology department but realize that attitude could lead me right into an app-disaster. With that in mind, I’ve decided to come up with a short list of reminders for myself and the rest of us in the generation that remembers floppy disks that were actually floppy.

  1. Baby Steps and Quality Time:
    Safety online isn’t really that different from safety in the rest of the world. Just like we wouldn’t allow our 2-year-old to cross the street, we also don’t wait until our child’s 12th birthday and send them off into traffic to practice street crossing on their own. We give our kids the privileges and responsibility that they can handle gradually by teaching them and guiding them and certainly not all at once. Enjoy time together using technology. There are many apps and web pages in which you and your child may have shared interest. This provides moments to be a positive role model.
  2. Get Smart:
    Educate yourself on what your child is doing. Fortunately, we have Google at our fingertips! If you want to allow your child to play online games, be sure you understand the game and what the options are for chatting with friends and accessing content that isn’t part of the game. For example, in Minecraft kids can join games with others and chat with them. Just watching your child play for a minute or two wouldn’t necessarily tip you off to that fact. It doesn’t make it a bad game. It just changes the conversation you will want to have with your child before playing. Ask your child questions and listen to their answers. Start a conversation and stay involved.
  3. Set Expectations:
    Some of the best educational games are on the same website as games with violence so helping your child understand what the rules are for your family online is critical and frequent checks are important. As my kids get older and play at a friends’ house, we are talking more about what to do if they are away from us and run into a computer situation that doesn’t fit with our rules. This isn’t different from when we talk about what to do if something in the “real world” makes them uncomfortable away from our parenting umbrella. As they get older and do research for school, they may run across inappropriate content in a search so we talk about the best thing to do if that happens as well. We also talk about what they can share or tell in person or online as well as how we treat others.  Some parents have written contracts with these expectations. At https://thesmarttalk.org/ a parent and child can follow the steps on the page for creating a contract together with some conversation and bonding on the side. Of course, if those expectations aren’t followed, parents follow through with appropriate consequences including reduced privileges.
  4. Monitor:
    It is critical to keep an eye on what is happening. Our house rules ask our kids to use technology in the living room or dining area rather than bedrooms. We also set the expectation that any passwords for apps or devices need to be shared with a parent. As our children get older, they will likely have more freedom since they have been very trustworthy so far. For now we take a peek every so often just to be sure they are still doing ok and haven’t bumped into anything they can’t handle. Children need to understand that parents have the responsibility to keep children safe. Even though the child is trustworthy and makes good choices, others on the internet may not be appropriate, so good parenting requires supervision with the goal of keeping kids safe.

Happy clicking everyone!

Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services

Happy (and Safe) Halloween!

October 29, 2013

Costumes should be safe! Avoid masks that impede vision. Avoid hard accessories like plastic swords or broomsticks that could poke your child or others. Be sure shoes and costumes aren’t a tripping hazard.

Always check treats and candy to be sure they are safe.

Never let them go alone. Walk with your child. If you think they are old enough to go without an adult, be sure they are with friends you trust. Teach them about crosswalks and talk about where they are allowed to go.

Don’t forget the lights! Be sure that children are walking with bright lights so that others can see them and they can see where they are going. Be sure candles in jack-o-lanterns and luminaries are flameless or out of reach of children.

You are the best judge of what is safe for your child. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to your child even if all of their friends are doing something. Keep your child safe.

Halloween Kids Read the rest of this entry »

Safe Families and Safe Kids

October 10, 2013

This week is National Fire Prevention Week. Keep your family safe with tips and activities from Sparky The Fire Dog. In short, Sparky says:

  1. Plan two ways out!

  2. Have working smoke alarms!

  3. Choose an outside meeting place!

  4. Practice your escape.


October is also a month filled with memories for me. Six years ago I had the unique experience of being blessed by a miracle. When we were expecting our youngest daughter we were nearly the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. Our furnace had an issue that went unnoticed and our carbon monoxide detectors did not work. By the grace of God and the help of great medical staff we are still around to tell others to be safe. Tragically, it seems that every year around this time local news contains the story of lives lost to carbon monoxide when we all start our furnaces up for the year. My hope is that this can be prevented.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has good tips to keep everyone safe. Some things you need to know:

  1. CO (Carbon Monoxide) is a colorless and odorless gas.

  2. Have working CO Alarms

  3. The symptoms of CO poisoning often mimic the flu and include: headache, fatigue, difficulty breathing, nausea, dizziness and confusion.

  4. If you suspect poisoning go immediately to a physician or call 911.

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