LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Here in Lansing, the poverty rate is at more than 22%, which is higher than Michigan’s average poverty rate of about 13%.

Knowing the need in the community, LAFCU credit union is hosting an event every other Thursday, “Pathway to Financial Transformation,” to teach people all things money. Folks don’t have to be a member at LAFCU to attend.

“You know, finance itself surrounds you every day of your life, so if we can be there with the resources our community needs, we are here for them,” said Kellie Swiger, creative director at LAFCU.

People at the event visited several stations looking to teach them about finances. Organizers say the first step in getting ahead of your money is to change the way you think.

“We like to start the course with behavior, attitude. Do you know the difference between a ‘need’ versus a ‘want.’ If someone mentions the word ‘money’ to you, what’s the first thing you think of when someone says ‘money’ or ‘finance,'” said Sheila Scott, Community Financial Education & Business Development Officer.

Scott said the most common question she gets is “How do I improve my credit score?” She said first, you need to understand what drops your credit.

“A lot of times, we apply for all of these credit cards,” Scott said. “Well, you have to understand that inquiry is going to stay on that credit report for two years, so things like that can drop your credit score. Maxing out credit cards, you know, having too much outstanding debt.”

Scott said the key to getting hold of your finances is budgeting: cutting out things like fast food and extra clothes are ways you can start to build a savings.

The event was over today, but LAFCU will be hosting a free course like this one in the future.

The event will go on every other Thursday, excluding holidays, from 6-7 p.m., for a 16-week period. It began Sept. 14.