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Archive for the ‘Healthy Finances’ Category

…make lemonade!

In other words, don’t throw it out just yet! Fruit during any season can quickly overripe and end up in the trash…but don’t throw out the lemon (or fruit) just yet (unless it is moldy of course)! With the high cost of food, this summer I challenged myself to throw out less food, especially fruit, to learn to be more sustainable. I learned that it only takes a few minutes to turn overripe fruit into usable, edible food.

Here are 5 of the easiest (less than 10 minutes) ideas for using up fruits that are past their prime.

  1. Freeze that fruit! Freezing will stop the fruit from ripening any further, so you don’t have to toss it in the trash! If you freeze overripe fruit it can be used at a later time in smoothies or other recipes. Just peel (if needed), chop and freeze!
  • Make fruit roll ups. This is the easiest idea after freezing! Making fruit leathers or “fruit rolls ups” is easier than you think and healthier without the added sugar. All you need to do is puree the overripe fruit (blender or bullet works great) until liquid, then pour onto a rectangle cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, bake at 225 degrees for 4-5 hours and wala…a fruit roll up! The cooking times will vary depending on thickness and your oven. To finish, use a pizza cutter to cut into strips and then store in a container.
  • Toss in a crock pot! Tossing overripe fruit into the crock pot instead of the trash can, which could easily turn into chunky applesauce, peach cobbler or a healthy dessert with very minimal time and effort.
  • Make jams or jellies. Did you now that it only takes four ingredients to make uncooked jam. These include fruit, sugar, pectin and water! No cooking necessary! I made jam this week using overripe strawberries and here is the recipe I used from Ohio State University Extension who provide evidenced based recipes, fact sheets and 30 minute webinars on food preservation.
  • And finally, bake a fruit crisp or crumble! This easy and delicious dessert can be made in a few minutes with only a few ingredients. There are many recipes available, yet basically you would just slice the overripe fruit, place on the bottom of a pan then add the “crumble” on top of fruit (a combination of oatmeal, flour, sugar, spices, and butter) and bake! This can also be easily made into a gluten free dessert by using almond or oat flour!

So, when life does give you lemons…now you’ll know exactly what to do … and see that something good can come from it 😊.

Be well,

Shari

Written by Shari Gallup, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Extension, Licking County, gallup.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by, Beth Stefura, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Stefura.2@osu.edu

References:

Jams. Jellies and Other Fruit Spreads: https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5350

Making Fruit Leathers: https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5361

Selecting storing Serving Ohio Produce: https://fcs.osu.edu/sites/fcs/files/imce/PDFs/Selecting_Storing_Serving_series_published_2021.pdf

Sustainability. Family and Consumer Sciences Ohio State University Extension. https://fcs.osu.edu/programs/resources/sustainability

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Take steps to explore your financial well-being

The OSU Extension Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest was released July 7, 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic and updated April 1, 2022 to address emergent global economic upheaval.  What is a Hope Chest? Historically, the term hope chest symbolized hope in a marriage or union…key words include vessel and a symbol of hope. The update contains current research to “help people help themselves” by aligning spending and saving within our control.

The past 26 months have taxed individuals and family’s financial wellness. It makes sense to explore the status of our financial well-being.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau developed a tool to gauge individuals financial well-being.  The research was led by a team from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED).  The research team suggests financial well-being is defined as a state of being where you:

§ Have control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances
§ Have the capacity to absorb a financial shock
§ Are on track to meet your financial goals
§ Have the financial freedom to make the choices that allow you to enjoy life

Because individuals and family’s value different things, traditional economic measures such as income or net worth do not capture the emergent aspects of financial well-being today. We must dive deeper, as the quality of our lives is largely determined by the choices we make.  By becoming aware of how to make choices that are best for you and others, you can become what is known as a self-forming person.

Self-forming people are those who take responsibility for their own lives.  They craft their futures by the actions they take and the choices they make.  Self-formation is a lifelong process of maturing and developing thinking skills. It develops as you interact with others, deciding what is most important to you, and taking action that is best for yourself and others.

Now click on the Financial Well-Being questionnaire tool, answer the 10 questions, and tally your score. Then use the information you learned about yourself to assist you when you take the first steps to prioritize your spending separating your needs from your wants. Click here to begin.

Below is the link for the Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest tool to help you develop and move forward with your state of self-formation and financial wellness. 

Click image to access the complete Hope Chest

Written by Margaret Jenkins, Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Clermont County

Reviewed by Mackenzie Mahon, Extension Educator, 4-H/FCS, OSU Extension Clermont County

Sources: 

  • A Sorgente, M Lanz – International Journal of Behavioral …, 2019 – journals.sagepub.com.  The multidimensional subjective financial well-being scale for emerging adults: Development and validation studies
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (2022) Your Money Your Goals. at consumerfinance.gov/practitioner-resources/your-money-your-goals
  • J.F Laster – Journal of the Japan Association of Home Economics …, 2008 – jstage.jst.go.jp… Journal of the Japan Association of Hemc Economics Educution50(4) (2008.t Nurturing critical literacy through practical problem solving

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Have you ever had a difficult time canceling an online account or subscription service? Maybe the ‘unsubscribe’ or ‘cancel’ button was hard to find, or you had to answer several questions first before being able to finally cancel?

Computer screen

These practices are known as “dark patterns” and they are becoming increasingly common on a variety of websites. Dark patterns are deceptive strategies used by businesses to manipulate the decisions made by their online customers. This may result in consumers spending more money than they had anticipated, signing up for services they do not want, or spending more time and attention on a website than they intended. Several groups are advocating for the removal of dark patterns since they can make navigating the internet more difficult for individuals who speak English as a second language as well as individuals who have less experience using online commerce. Unfortunately, dark patterns sit on the edge of legality, making it difficult for lawmakers to pass legislation against these practices.

Several different types of dark patterns have been identified since 2010, such as:

  • Friend Spam – A website will ask you for permission to access your contact list (usually under good pretenses) but will then send messages to your friends claiming to be from you.
  • Trick Questions – Questions that trick you into giving an answer you did not mean to give, or a question that is worded in a confusing way.
  • Disguised Ads – Advertisements that look like a part of the website content or navigation, in order to get you to accidentally click on them.
  • Confirm Shaming – Websites that make a user feel guilt or shame when selecting an option other than what the company desires.
  • Roach Motel – Websites that allow you to sign up for their services easily, but are then very difficult to unsubscribe from.

How can you avoid falling into these traps? The best way to avoid dark patterns is to slow down and read carefully before signing up for a subscription or purchasing a product. Federal and state governments are slowly addressing dark patterns as well – California recently added regulations to the “California Consumer Privacy Act” that prohibit companies from using some misleading means. 

Consumer Reports has also created the “Dark Patterns Tip Line,” where consumers can submit screen shots of dark patterns they have encountered on the web. Launched in 2021, the tip line now contains a multitude of real-life examples others have encountered.

What are some dark patterns you have experienced?

Sources:

Reicin, E. (2021). Understanding Dark Patterns: How to Stay Out of the Gray Areas. BBB National Programs. https://bbbprograms.org/media-center/blog-details/insights/2021/05/19/dark-patterns

Deceptive Design. Types of Deceptive Design.  https://www.deceptive.design/types

Dark Patterns Tip Line.  https://darkpatternstipline.org/

Germain, T. (2021). New Dark Patterns Tip Line Lets You Report Manipulative Online Practices. Consumer Reports. https://www.consumerreports.org/digital-rights/dark-patterns-tip-line-report-manipulative-practices-a1196931056/

Author: Jessica Lowe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, lowe.495@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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Let’s focus on Financial Wellness for a minute! 

Are you one of the almost three in four Americans surveyed recently by the American Psychological Association who said they are experiencing financial stress? Financial stress can affect people physically, emotionally, and psychologically and result in unhealthy coping behaviors.

Financial wellbeing includes being fully aware of your financial state and budget and managing your money to achieve realistic goals. When you analyze, plan well, and take control of your spending, you can make significant changes in how you save, and ultimately how you feel resulting in living a more hopeful life. 

Ohio State University Extension designed an Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest to “help people help themselves” as we work to achieve financial wellness during this time of rapid social and economic change. Managing and controlling our spending and saving is needed to build hope and manage emergent financial stress.

The purpose of the Hope Chest is for individuals and families to –

  • Prioritize spending by separating needs from wants
  • Identify realistic/SMART goals
  • Gather current financial spending and saving information
  • Locate emergency resources
  • Analyze their current budget
  • Develop a “new” Accounting for Your Money calendar
  • Take control of spending resulting in more saving for family goals

Work through the steps of the Accounting for Your Money Hope Chest with your family members and/or co-spenders as you and your family adjust to changing basic needs and wants. Determine how to best spend your money during this period of rapid social and economic change. Your family will be empowered to meet the new challenges brought about by the change, reducing financial emergencies and easing future financial stress.

Written by Margaret Jenkins, Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Clermont County

Reviewed by Nannette L. Neal, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, OSU Extension Clermont County

Sources: 

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As we age there are many important things to consider. One of those important considerations is living arrangements. With the aging of America, the retirement living industry has grown exponentially over the past decade providing the seniors of today and tomorrow a vast variety of housing and care options. Understanding the housing choices that are offered can make your selection easier.

The first option is continuing to live at home. As with any other critical decision, you should think about the benefits and challenges of living at home. Some benefits may include being surrounded by friends and family in a familiar setting. Some challenges may include needing outside help with everyday tasks and feeling isolated and lonely.

If you choose to stay at home, think about possible modifications that can be done around your house to make your later years of life easier. This concept of making the home more accessible and safer is called Universal Design. The Virtual Universal Design Tour can show you ideas on modifications that can be made to your home.

The next option is to move to an outside facility. There are various types of settings depending on your desires and needs. Understanding the various options is important to help guide your decisions. Here is a brief overview of housing options for older adults:

Active Adult Communities – offer services and amenities aimed at giving residents a more carefree lifestyle, while also providing social engagement opportunities of all kinds.

Independent Living -refers to a way of life in residential communities designed specifically for those who have reached or are nearing retirement age, but want to remain active and independent.

Assisted Living – is a communal way of life designed for seniors who need help with various daily tasks like grooming, bathing, and medication management, but still wish to remain as independent as possible.

Skilled Nursing Care – provide skilled nursing care, a level of care provided by a registered nurse who monitors a patient’s health and administers treatment around-the-clock.

Residential Care Homes – provide individualized service, often in a standard single-family home. These houses have been modified to accommodate the needs of seniors, and are generally licensed by the state for only two to six beds. Similar to assisted living, residents receive 24-hour care and assistance with activities of daily living, including medication management, housekeeping services, transportation to doctor’s appointments as needed, meals, and social programs.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) – offers several different senior living options or care levels all on one campus. It provides a peace-of-mind guarantee of care to residents for the rest of their lives.

Long-Term Care – refers to any community that provides 24-hour care on a long-term basis. Assistance generally includes regular supervision, help with activities of daily living as needed, medication reminders, housekeeping, meals, and social activities.

Memory Care – long-term care that helps those with dementia of Alzheimer’s disease. Memory care is either offered at a stand-alone community, or as an add-on service at some assisted living facilities, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, and nursing homes.

Housing decisions are unique to everyone and will depend on personal preferences, financial resources, and care needs. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging offers A Guide for Making Housing Decisions that provides more detailed information for housing options for older adults.

Written by: Kathy Tutt, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Sources:

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Housing Options for Older Adults: A Guide for Making Housing Decisions, retrieved from: https://www.usaging.org/files/HousingOptions.pdf

Prosch, T. (2014). The Other Talk: A Guide to Talking with your Adult Children About the Rest of Your Life. United States: McGraw-Hill Education.

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Spring is one of my favorite seasons. It represents a restart with fresh beginnings.  Spring cleaning may look different for each person and may include deep cleaning your house, preparing your garden, washing windows, and it can also mean spring cleaning your finances.

Spring cleaning your finances can provide a fresh look at your financial situation and help clean up some financial messes with your money. Here are four places to start:

dollar bills planted in fresh soil

Spring Clean Your Spending Plan: Now is a great time to adjust your spending plan. Is your current money flow where you want it to be? If you are not sure, begin by writing each and every expense on a calendar or journal for a week or a month. Observe where your money is being spent and how much is being spent. Then adjust your spending (one less coffee a week) or adjust your budget (add money to your eating out budget and reduce entertainment) to make it fit your goals.

Spring Clean Your Recurring Monthly or Subscription Payments: These are the payments that are set up to withdraw funds from an account or your credit card each month. A recurring monthly payment may be a cable bill, car payment, or student loan payment. Subscription payments are automatic and typically on an annual or monthly schedule. Subscriptions may be an annual fee for shopping discounts to a favorite store, a car wash pass, or a fitness club membership. Each fee continues until you cancel it.  First, consider if you are still using or needing the subscription. If you are paying $30 a month for a gym membership, yet in the past three months you’ve only found 2 opportunities to go, your cost per workout is $45. Or perhaps you no longer visit a store that one time was a favorite, but still pay the $25 annual fee for their store discount.

Spring Clean Your Credit: Take each loan and credit card you currently have and list the amount owed (not the monthly payment or minimum payment) and the interest rate being paid. If that list surprises you, it may be time to clean up the situation.  Work on paying down those balances with a debt snowball method or a debt avalanche method.  A debt snowball pays the smallest debt with every extra dollar possible until it is paid off, then proceeds to the next smallest debt with the additional available money. It snowballs into a larger and larger payment with fewer and fewer debts.  The debt avalanche method tackles repayment on debts starting with the highest interest rates. Once one is paid off the next highest interest rate loan can be paid with money previously allocated to the previous loan and the current loan.  The avalanche continues until debts are all repaid.

Spring Clean Your Wallet: Your wallet may represent your daily connection to money transactions. According to Experian, Americans carry an average of 3.84 credit cards which is down from 4 previous to the pandemic.  In your wallet, do you have credit cards you no longer use? Now is a good time to remove or discard them. Make sure you have your remaining cards inventoried with contact information of whom to contact if they are lost or stolen.  Also, while cleaning your wallet look for gift cards that may carry balances.  Over half of Americans carry unused gift cards and nationally have a balance of over $21 billion. Find your cards and be intentional about using, regifting, donating, or cashing in the balance.

Where will you start? Spring clean your finances one project at a time and enjoy the reward of money well spent and even better saved.

Written by: Melissa J. Rupp, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Fulton County

Reviewed by: Emily Marrison, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Coshocton County

Sources:

Adamczyk, Alicia. “Half of Americans have unused gift cards, and it’s costing them over $21 billion” 18 Feb 2020, CNBC Make It, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/14/americans-have-over-21-billion-in-unused-gift-cards-and-store-credits.html

Stolba, Stefan Lembo. “What Is the Average Number of Credit Cards per US Consumer?” 8 Apr 2021, Experian, https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/average-number-of-credit-cards-a-person-has/  

Tardi, Carla. “Debt Avalanche Definition.” 5 Aug 2020, Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/debt-avalanche.asp

Picture Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/money-grow-interest-save-invest-1604921/

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fresh strawberries and flowers

Join the “Spring Into Wellness” Email Challenge Now!

Challenge Dates: April 4 – May 15, 2022

Topics Covered:

  • Financial Wellness
  • Social Wellness
  • Intellectual Wellness
  • Creative Wellness
  • Environmental Wellness
  • Emotional Wellness
  • Physical Wellness
  • Occupational Wellness
  • Spiritual Wellness
  • Balance

What is the cost? It’s FREE!!

Who can participate? Any adult with an email account.

How do I sign up? Look at this chart and find your county. Go to the link beside your county and register before March 28, 2022.

County Registration Link
Belmont go.osu.edu/LHLWBelmont
Brown go.osu.edu/LHLWclermontbrown
Butler go.osu.edu/LHLWButler
Carroll go.osu.edu/LHLWCarroll
Champaign go.osu.edu/LHLWChampaign
Clark go.osu.edu/LHLWClark
Clermont go.osu.edu/LHLWclermontbrown
Coshocton go.osu.edu/LHLWCoshocton
Darke go.osu.edu/LHLWdarmerpreb
Defiance go.osu.edu/LHLWnwohio
Fairfield go.osu.edu/LHLWFairfield
Franklin go.osu.edu/LHLWFranklin
Fulton go.osu.edu/LHLWnwohio
Hancock go.osu.edu/LHLWHancock
Hardin go.osu.edu/LHLWHardin
Henry go.osu.edu/LHLWnwohio
Hocking go.osu.edu/LHLWFairfield
Holmes go.osu.edu/LHLWHolmtusc
Knox go.osu.edu/LHLWKnox
Licking go.osu.edu/LHLWLicking
Lucas go.osu.edu/LHLWLucas
Mahoning go.osu.edu/LHLWMahoning
Medina go.osu.edu/LHLWMedina
Mercer go.osu.edu/LHLWdarmerpreb
Monroe go.osu.edu/LHLWMonroe
Morrow go.osu.edu/LHLWMorrow
Ottawa go.osu.edu/LHLWOttawaSandusky
Paulding go.osu.edu/LHLWpauputvw
Perry go.osu.edu/LHLWPerry
Pickaway go.osu.edu/LHLWPickaway
Pike go.osu.edu/LHLWPike
Preble go.osu.edu/LHLWdarmerpreb
Putnam go.osu.edu/LHLWPauputvw
Ross go.osu.edu/LHLWRoss
Sandusky go.osu.edu/LHLWOttawaSandusky
Trumbull go.osu.edu/LHLWTrumbull
Van Wert go.osu.edu/LHLWPauputvw
Warren go.osu.edu/LHLWWarren
Washington go.osu.edu/LHLWWashington
Williams go.osu.edu/LHLWnwohio
Wood go.osu.edu/LHLWWood

If your county isn’t listed, you may register with this link:

go.osu.edu/lhlwopen

For more information, contact Lisa Barlage, barlage.7@osu.edu or Roseanne Scammahorn scammahorn.5@osu.edu. 

Spring into Wellness with Extension!

Sponsored by Ohio State University Extension

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Picture of Food Waste
trash isolated on white

Food ethics involves decisions, actions, and judgements that governments, organizations, families, and individuals make related to food and are guided by food values. Examples of food values include nutrition, quality, sustainability, animal welfare, social/cultural acceptability, cost, convenience, safety, and food waste avoidance. Often, food values are prioritized in order to guide decisions. For example, a person might become a strict vegetarian because of their concern for animal rights and environmental sustainability, even if their choice might not be convenient or culturally acceptable. Often values conflict with one another or there are trade-offs. For example, a school food service might serve chicken nuggets that are frozen and precooked, rather prepared from scratch using lower sodium ingredients. In this case, nutrition (less sodium) is sacrificed for convenience, safety (less risk from cross-contamination), and cost.

Most people certainly are concerned about food waste. Even yet, 40% of all food goes to waste here in the US. Food waste contributes to climate change as rotting food is converted to methane in land fills, and also wastes water and energy. Food insecurity remains high at 1 out of 5 people experiencing food insecurity in America which makes our food waste problem more appalling.

Although majority of food waste occurs in households (40-50%) it also occurs throughout the entire food chain including production, processing, distribution, retail, and service. Competing food values are largely to blame whether at the consumer level or at other levels of the food system that are influenced by policies, guidelines, or economics. Below are some examples of food values compete with food waste avoidance.

Food quality and social acceptability often take precedence over food waste. Consumers expect that their produce to be without blemishes and within the use-by or sell by date. So unwanted food is wasted by farmers, groceries, consumers and even food pantries in some cases. Unfortunately, use-by and sell by dates aren’t an indicator of food safety but some misperceive them to be.

Nutritional guidelines might have an impact on food waste. Some critics have suggested the Dietary Guidelines for Americans promote food waste by recommending leaner choices of meat and dairy, as the fatty parts of these products get discarded during processing.

Convenience and food safety concerns often compete with food waste avoidance. Consumers might dine out for convenience, rather than prepare left-overs. Restaurants might not be able to donate left over buffet items due to food safety policies.

As consumers we can reduce food waste by planning, preparation, storage and making using of leftovers. As concerned citizens, we can learn about food waste in our communities and work with organizations such as local food councils or governments to try to address it. Activities such as gleaning, and other waste recovery efforts take coordination amongst different groups in a community.

 

Author: Dan Remley, PhD, MSPH, Associate Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, OSU Extension

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Assistant Professor, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Wood County

Sources:

Remley, D. The Ethical Choices we Make Around Food Everyday. Accessed at https://wordpress.com/post/livehealthyosu.com/14822

Harvard School of Public Health. 2020 Dietary Guidelines Released. Accessed at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2021/01/12/2020-dietary-guidelines/

Food Print. The Problem of Food Waste. Retrieved on 2/28/22 from https://foodprint.org/issues/the-problem-of-food-waste/

Barton, A. Figuring out Your Fridge. Retrieved on 2/28/22 from https://wordpress.com/post/livehealthyosu.com/14575

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house on a hill with a tree

Have you been thinking about buying your own home? It’s the American dream, right? Well, if you are not prepared, that dream can become a nightmare. Buying a home may well be the single largest purchase you ever make, so ensure you are making informed decisions throughout the homebuying process. You may be asking yourself “what process?” It is not as simple as picking a home and moving in. There are things you can do before you ever begin looking for a house, and some of them can save you money in the long run. Here are 3 items that should be on your “to do” list prior to purchasing a home.

Identify your reasons for wanting to become a homebuyer, then examine the advantages and challenges.

Advantages may include:

  • A place of your own
  • Financial incentives
  • Scheduled savings
  • Stable housing costs
  • Increased value
  • Tax benefits

Challenges may include:

  • High cost of home ownership
  • Decreased mobility
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Possibility of foreclosure

Get your credit in shape.  Lenders use your credit score to determine your ability to make timely payments, manage credit limits and utilize different types of credit. The higher your score, the better chance you have at a lower interest rate, which can mean thousands of dollars over the course of your loan. Did you know you can receive a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion)?  Visit annualcreditreport.com to order a copy. If you notice a mistake, you should report the discrepancy to have it removed.

Determine your budget and then shop around. When determining your budget there are a few things to consider. In addition to the money that you borrow (principal), you will pay homeowner insurance, and taxes (escrow), and interest. These items are often added together to make up the total monthly payment. You should also budget for other household expenses such as utilities, homeowner association fees, and general upkeep and repairs. A good place to start is to calculate your debt to income (DTI) ratio. Your DTI is all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross (before taxes and other deductions) monthly income. A general rule of thumb is to keep DTI under 36% (this number can fluctuate). 

Once you have your budget, shopping homebuyer assistant programs can pay off. The Ohio Housing Finance Agency has programs available for first-time buyers, veterans, college graduates, and first responders just to name a few. These types of programs often help with down payments, closing costs, or other pre-closing expenses.

You may also want to consider getting pre-approved with a reputable lender. Being pre-approved means you qualify for a loan, tells sellers you are a serious buyer, and helps you better understand your housing budget.

The journey to homeownership can be exciting. It builds wealth, increases stability, and even produces health benefits. When you are ready, visit the Homebuyer Education page through The Ohio State University Extension website to learn more.

Written by: Heather Reister, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Butler County.

Reviewed by: Roseanne Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County.

Sources:

“Homeownership Costs: PMI, Taxes, Insurance and Hoas.” My Home by Freddie Mac, https://myhome.freddiemac.com/owning/homeownership-costs.

Healthy Homes – Habitat for Humanity. http://www.rchfh.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Healthy-Homes.pdf.

“Homebuyer Education.” Homebuyer Education | Family and Consumer Sciences, https://fcs.osu.edu/programs/healthy-finances-0/homeownership/homebuyer-education.

“The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA): Home Page.” The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) | Home Page, https://ohiohome.org/.

“Your Credit Report and FICO® Score-All Free.” Experian, https://www.experian.com/.

“Credit Scores, Credit Reports & Credit Check.” PERSONAL, 25 Jan. 2022, https://www.transunion.com/.

“Equifax: Credit Bureau: Check Your Credit Report & Credit Score – United States – Evo Prod.” United States, https://www.equifax.com/.

“Home Page.” Annual Credit Report.com – Home Page, https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action.

“Common Questions from First Time Homebuyers.” HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), https://www.hud.gov/topics/common_questions.

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Picture of Trash

I can remember growing up in Michigan in the 70s and 80s, we would get our first snowfall around Thanksgiving, and we wouldn’t see grass until late March. Every year here in southern Ohio, it seems the idea of a white Christmas is a thing of the past. The past decade has seen the warmest average temperatures on record. Climate experts paint an ominous picture for our planets’ future and our overall quality of life. Issues such as plastic pollution and food waste contribute to climate warming and also immediate wellbeing.

If you are looking to set a New Years resolution, consider some ideas that are eco-friendly. Here are a few ideas:

  • Buy and use reusable straws. Keep them on hand and refuse single use straws at restaurants.
  • Stop using single use plastic bags. Keep reusable bags in your cars so you don’t forget them when running into the grocery store.
  • Freeze left overs and use ingredients later in smoothies, soups, etc.
  • Start a compost pile for food waste. Keep an old coffee bin in the kitchen to discard food scraps.
  • Start using bar soap or refill soap containers to avoid purchasing plastic bottles.
  • Reuse glass jars, Tupperware, and beeswax wrap to store food and leftovers instead of single use plastic sandwich bags.
  • Refill a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water.
  • Participate in a neighborhood clean up or roadside garbage pick up.

These are just a few ideas. Small changes can really add up over a lifetime. The actions of millions of people can can collectively reduce the amount of plastic and food going into landfills and contributing to climate change.

Author: Dan Remley, Ph.D., M.S.P.H. Associate Professor, Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, M.P.H., Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension

Sources:

Beyond Plastics. (2021). THE NEW COAL: PLASTICS AND CLIMATE CHANGE. REPORT: The New Coal: Plastics & Climate Change — Beyond Plastics – Working To End Single-Use Plastic Pollution

Ohio State University Extension. Sustainable Action through Video Engagement (S.A.V.E.). Sustainability in the Kitchen. Left-overs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlDXy80yraY

Ohio State University Extension. Sustainable Action through Video Engagement (S.A.V.E.). Sustainability in the Kitchen: Single Use Plastics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CangcvETxk

Ohio State University Extension. Sustainable Action through Video Engagement (S.A.V.E.).Composting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lOMPTRj7eE

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