Financial Experts Share Secrets to Personal Money Management

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eXtension.org Experts Answer Questions and Offer Free Insight into Personal Finance Management During Tough Times

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Money Management in Times of Disaster.

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Americans are becoming increasingly concerned with losing their retirement funds, investments, jobs, and even the roof over their heads. According to the American Psychological Association's 2007 Stress in America survey, money and work are two of the top sources of stress for almost 75 percent of Americans. As talk about the rising consumer debt, falling housing prices and the rising costs of living increases people need answers to questions about how to handle personal finances during these tough times.

As a result, eXtension.org, an innovative, university research-based website launched in February, recently added a new element that offers free, easy-access to information from financial experts at universities around the country. These experts address questions facing American families during the current economic distress and encourage consumers to be proactive in their financial situations.

Not only do eXtension's financial experts provide consumers with tools to help them cope with stress, practice positive spending habits, manage their debt and stretch their dollar, but they also are available to answer specific consumer questions. With an easy-to-follow form, Web site viewers can identify a specific category within personal finance, ask their question and expect to quickly receive an answer from an industry expert. Likewise, viewers can post comments about articles and resources on the web site, as well as rate the posting they read.

In addition to answering questions, eXtension.org experts provide nearly 30 different articles on everything from "adult children moving home" to "deciding which bills to pay first" to "living on your income". These resources provide creative suggestions for inexpensive social activities for individuals and families or on ways to stretch your dollar at the grocery store such as:

  •     Have a family game night, go for bike rides, and bake or cook together as a family.
  •     Take advantage of free programs offered by the library, museums, and community bands or orchestras, or other free community events.
  •     Invest in staple foods like canned fruit, tuna, or sauces when they are on sale.
  •     Plan meals around items that are on sale, especially costly items like meat and fish.

Children and teenager recreation can weigh heavy on the families' pocket books. eXtension's financial experts address how working teenagers can be contributors to the family, such as:

  •     If a teen is contributing to family financial efforts, consider relieving them from some family chores.
  •     Plan and budget for wants like entertainment, vacation, or trips. Consider what part the teenager's money will play in family vacations or other purchases. Teens will learn the value of saving over time for wants.
  •     Analyze expenses and income from their job to determine if the costs outweigh the benefits to themselves or the family.

The financial situation has added great emotional burdens to many individuals and families and this site offers articles on:

  •     Accepting Your Feelings
  •     Coping with Stress
  •     Keep Lines of Communication Open
  •     Managing Stress, and
  •     Teaching Children Coping Skills

Everyone has felt the burden of the fluctuation in gas prices over the last year. The new website content includes tips on how to save money at the gas pump such as:

  •     Using cruise control for long stretches on roads like freeways, except on hills.
  •     Making a list of what you need for the week to make the fewest trips possible.
  •     Staying close to the speed limit. Lower speeds provide greater fuel efficiency than higher speeds.

At eXtension's personal finance content area, Web site viewers can find other resources regarding consumer credit, lifestyle transitions, retirement planning, saving and investing, communicating about money, children and money, home ownership, and health finance. The newest resource area within the Financial Security category is "Money Management in Times of Disaster."
For more information, visit http://www.eXtension.org or click on http://www.extension.org/pages/Financial_Security:_Managing_Money_in_Tough_Times.

About eXtension
eXtension.org is unlike any other search engine or information-based Web site. It's a space where university content providers gather and produce new educational and information resources on wide-ranging topics. Because it's available to the public, students, researchers, clinicians, and professors, at any time from any Internet connection, eXtension helps solve real-life problems in real time.

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Micah Hirschfield
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