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Archive for the ‘Healthy Finances’ Category

Ready or not, the holiday season is right around the corner! Between black Friday, cyber Monday, and giving Tuesday, there is a lot of pressure to overspend around the holidays. Add in out-of-town visitors, shopping, travel, and overeating, and there you have the recipe for a stressful holiday season.

When we realize we have put off saving for the holidays…again, panic sets in. This panic can cause us to overspend and end up paying for the holidays, emotionally and financially, all the way through tax season.  With a little bit of pre-planning, this year can be…well… enjoyable.

September is the perfect time to decide your holiday spending goals and take some of the stress out of your holiday season. Here are 3 simple steps to help you.

  1. Determine how much you can afford to spend, without having to borrow funds.

The easiest way to determine your budget is to look at what you spent last year. Your budget should include what you will spend on gifts, wrapping, food, parties, special clothing, transportation, baking supplies and anything else you choose for a holly-jolly time. This number is a great start but remember, you can always make changes. Were you comfortable with what you spent last year? Do you want to spend a little more or less? Have your circumstances changed over the past year that impacts your cash flow? Just because it was done one way in the past does not dictate that is how it always has to be. For most of us, holidays are more about family, friends, and the joy of the season, than about who can have the biggest, brightest, most extravagant holiday.

2. Multiply your total by 25% and divide your total by three.

Cindy Clampet, Oklahoma State University Extension, recommends adding a buffer of 25% to the amount you spent last year. This can help offset any cost increases and any expenses you might have forgotten from last year. According to Gallup’s survey on the 2019 spending, the average person spent $942 on holiday gifts alone. Therefore, if all holds true, then for 2020 the budget would be $1,178. Divide this total by three and that comes to saving $393 per month. When looking at your monthly income and expenses, if this amount is too much, go back and look at last year’s expenses and determine which areas you can decrease.

3. Create a holiday budget breakdown.

Don’t be tempted to overspend within your holiday budget. This can be very easily done when you look at your account balance, you don’t always recognize how much was planned for travel, food, gifts, etc. The envelope system is a good way to keep it all organized. The idea is to divide cash in separate envelopes for different budget categories and then use cash to make your purchases. The envelopes help you to visually see how much money you have left in each area.  Some find that paying for everything with cash, rather than a card, helps control spending and keep them on budget.

If you have a budgeting or financial question, OSU Extension is here to help. Go to: go.osu.edu/AskOSUExtension and ask our experts your financial question.

References:

America Saves, (ND). How to use the envelope budget system. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://americasaves.org/local-campaigns/kentucky-saves/blog/1350-how-to-use-the-envelope-budget-system

Barlage, L., (2018). Outside the Box Gift Ideas. Live Healthy Live Well Blog, Ohio State University Extension. Retrieved September 1, 2020 from   https://livehealthyosu.com/2018/12/06/outside-the-box-gift-ideas/

Barlage, L., (2019). Saving Money when Budgets are Tight. Live Healthy Live Well Blog, Ohio State University Extension. Retrieved September 1, 2020 from  https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/01/17/saving-money-when-budgets-are-tight/

Kennedy, S., (2018). De-stress your holidays with these smart spending tips. University of Florida. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/wakullaco/2018/11/27/de-stress-your-holidays-with-these-smart-spending-tips/

Ohio State Extension, (ND). Eight Easy Exercises for Financial Fitness. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://fcs.osu.edu/sites/fcs/files/imce/PDFs/8_Easy_Financial_Fitness.pdf

Oklahoma State University, (2019). Planning now can ease financial strain of 2019 holiday season. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://news.okstate.edu/articles/agricultural-sciences-natural-resources/2019/holiday_budgeting.html

Saad, L., (2019). Americans plan to spend generously this Christmas. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://news.gallup.com/poll/267914/americans-plan-spend-generously-christmas.aspx#:~:text=Consumers%20anticipate%20spending%20an%20average,Gallup%20trending%20of%20this%20measure.

Written by: Dr. Roseanne Scammahorn, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Darke County, Scammahorn.5@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Kellie Lemly, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Champaign County, lemly.2@osu.edu

Photos by rawpixel.com, Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash, and Marissa Daeger on Unsplash

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"Fake news" on wooden game tiles.

Misinformation, disinformation, fake news…. All these terms, in general, describe the same thing: information that is out of context, missing details, lacking reputable sources, or is just plain false. We hear about misinformation within the context of world or political news a lot, but misleading information can appear elsewhere. Misleading and incorrect information shared about health and wellness and can lead to health decisions that could put you at risk. If something seems suspicious, it might be worth a fact check!

Mediawise, a branch of the fact-checking site Poynter suggests these three questions when looking to discover if something is factual or missing the mark.

  1. Who published the information?
    • By answering this question, you may uncover a potential bias by the author or agency. For example, a company selling a weight loss supplement may not be the best place to learn about a new “miracle” vitamin that the company is selling. A good place to begin this step of the fact-check is to look at who is sharing the information and how they will benefit from such a claim.
  2. What is the evidence?
    • Looking more into the evidence behind the claim can shed light on information that supports or discounts the claim. This article claims, “Teenager left ‘blind’ from diet of Pringles, chips and bread”.  When reading this headline alone, it is easy to be skeptical of the information presented. Looking at the evidence, it is a BBC article and they are a reputable news source without a bias for reporting the story. They interview experts familiar to the case in question and share the science behind what happened. The article also cites a case study from a reputable medical journal that shows further evidence to support the headline’s claim.
  3. What do other sources say?
    • A search of keywords in the suspicious article is a good way to find out what other sources say about the topic. When investigating a “miracle” vitamin or fact checking another claim, look for trustworthy, evidence-based sources. Depending on the topic, a reputable fact checking site may have already done the work for you!

Doing a fact-check only takes a few moments, it can help you make evidence-based decisions. A fact check might just prevent you from sharing misleading or false information on your social media feed.


Author: Courtney Woelfl, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Cuyahoga County

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County         


Sources:

Roberts, M. BBC. (2019). Teenager ‘blind’ from living off crisps and chips. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-49551337

WBUR. (2020). ‘Everything’s Worth A Fact-Check’: Network Teaches Teens To Debunk Online Myths. https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/08/11/mediawise-teen-fact-checking-network

World Health Organization (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Mythbusters.  https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters#pepper

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I have been de-cluttering my home for the past three months. Rather, I have been trying to de-clutter! At the same time, I have had to manage my finances in “new” ways to meet the continuously emerging needs of the COVID-19 pandemic. I took a trip down memory lane as I opened my Hope Chest to add and subtract items.

What is a Hope Chest? Historically, the term hope chest symbolizes hope in a marriage. The hope chest itself is an important vessel that a newly married woman could one day hand down to her own daughter. Traditional cedar hope chests were also used to help protect fabrics and to give the items inside a pleasant aroma. Key words include vessel and a symbol of hope.

What would a 2020 Hope Chest need to look like and contain? In these changing times, the vessel needs to live in a virtual world and be an action of hope.

Ohio State University Extension designed a Hope Chest to “help people help themselves” amidst these uncertain times.  A temporary or transitional spending plan is needed to build hope and manage financial stress.

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

  1. Prioritize spending by separating needs from wants
  2. Identify realistic/SMART goals
  3. Gather current financial spending and saving information
  4. Evaluate COVID-19 pandemic emergency resources
  5. Develop a “new” Accounting for Your Money calendar
  6. Get through the next 6-months using Accounting for Your Money calendar
  7. Re-evaluate and adjust the transitional spending plan monthly

Directions for use of “Accounting for Your Money” Hope Chest

Begin by reviewing Steps 1 through 7 to obtain an overall picture of the components of the Hope Chest. After reviewing the components, you are ready to begin completing the steps.

Complete Steps 1 and 2 within a week. For Step 3 collect spending records before you add the information to the “Spending Tracker Tool” and “Income and Benefits Tool”.

Steps 4 and 5 include evaluating resources and developing a transitional spending plan.

Steps 6 and 7 will occur over the next 6 months. Completing all the steps will help manage your spending and saving habits.

Work on the steps with your family members/co-spenders and discuss your basic wants and needs. Determine how to best spend your money during the pandemic. Your family will be empowered to meet the new challenges brought about by the pandemic emergency and ease future financial stress.

Post evaluations of this program indicate that most individuals who complete the seven-step process reveal they have/find additional money to use for meeting personal goals.

Click here to “make money now” and start filling your Hope Chest!

Written by:  Margaret Jenkins, OSU Extension Educator, Clermont County jenkins.188@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu

References:

Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences (2020). COVID-19 – A Financial Resource Guide at fcs.osu.edu/programs/healthy-finances-0/covid-19-financial-resource-guide

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2020). Your Money Your Goals at consumerfinance.gov/practitioner-resources/your-money-your-goals


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COVID-19, social distancing and recent stay at home orders have impacted all aspects of life, including our finances. Protecting health has been a top priority in recent times.  We all need to be following guidelines and making our best efforts to stay physically and mentally healthy to prevent disease. Maintaining financial health during these times is also critically important. Financial wellness is an aspect of wellness that focuses on the successful management of finances. Improve your financial wellness today with these tips:

  • Create a budget. Take a close look at your spending and adjust your budget accordingly.  Saving wherever possible will help your budget in the future.
  • Establish an emergency fund. If you do not have an emergency fund, now is the time to start one. If you have money set aside for non-essential spending or travel, consider using these monies for emergencies instead. Any amount you can put aside to help support you and your household during an emergency will make an impact on your finances.
  • Pay down high-interest debt. If you have any high-interest debt (besides credit card debt) a personal loan or similar and your income has not yet decreased, consider paying off that debt now. The benefits of reducing debt are immense as this provides financial freedom.
  • Consider a balance transfer. Transferring any credit card balances to a 0% for 12-18 months is an option.  Look for no- or low-fee transfers and do your research on any new credit cards before committing. This will give you time to pay down the balance interest free which will free up more cash on hand for the unexpected and add to an emergency fund.
  • Look at your investments. Fight the urge to take a loss and withdraw all your money from the market. For mid-long-term time, it is important to stay the course.  No one can predict what will happen short term, yet over the long run, the economy and markets will come back.
  • Consider insurance options. Some insurance rates may have dropped offering discounted rates. Contact your insurance providers to see if you are eligible for a discount or lower rate. Compare rates with different providers.
  • Talk with your family about money. Discuss how market fluctuations are normal and be open about any negative impacts on your finances. Discuss ways you can save money as a family.
  • Get your credit reports.  AnnualCreditReport.com provides a yearly free credit report.  Read over your reports carefully for any suspicious activity.  If your reports reveal negative borrowing habits from your past, brainstorm ideas to correct them and improve your score.

Practicing financial wellness can have positive mental health benefits, including boosted self-confidence. Take charge of your finances today and be prepared for the future.

For free financial assistance, contact us at:  go.osu.edu/FinancialAssistance

Written by: Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County. lobb.3@osu.edu

References:

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/

Ohio Line, Ohio State University Extension. Preparing a Net Worth Statement. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5245

Ohio Line, Ohio State University Extension. Some Options for Resourceful Living. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5248

 

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Over the last two months, the topic of global financial reset has shown up on news feeds alongside headlines about the COVID-19 pandemic, economic shutdowns, and stay at home orders. In our households, we have experienced an unprecedented schedule shift that has changed the way we do work, school, social activities, and yes, even finances. Reload reset technology update digital

This disruption of what was previously considered normal can also provide an opportunity to reset, to review and bring back processes that work for our families.  Assessing what works and what needs adjusting might be seen more clearly in times of disruption, and a reset becomes possible. For some, it has been a slower time with the ability to save money. For others, it has been a chaotic time that may include the loss of income or increased expenses.

The wellness of the family unit can be defined in many domains, financial wellness is one of them. When life brings a new chapter: marriage, empty nest, downsizing, new job, new home and perhaps even a global pandemic; it is a good time to look at financial wellness and make decisions to stay the course, set a new course or reset a course that is not working for us.

Take time to reset:

  • Reset the spending plan. Does your family follow a spending plan? A spending plan is a basic financial process to match income to expenses to meet family goals. If your spending is more than your income adjustments must be made, sometimes temporarily, and sometimes as a new normal.
  • Reset family goals. Family goals may or may not be about money. Schedule a family meeting to check in on the thoughts, dreams, and goals of individual family members. Work together to create family goals that the family can achieve together. When built together, the whole family including children are invested in the outcome. When goals involve a financial shift, family members are more likely to support the spending plan reset to achieve the goal they helped create.save-3402476_1920
  • Reset spending patterns. One possible advantage of global disruption is that we have had an opportunity to see our daily and weekly patterns more clearly through the forced change in our routine. The drive-through coffee on the way to work, ball games, and even dinner out with a movie contribute to our spending but may not always reflect our goals or our spending plan. Depending on the situation, these may be a type of spending leaks. Consider what expenses may not be as important as you once thought, or where savings can be created.

OSU Extension provides a direct educational response to your financial well-being questions. Have you struggled to identify spending leaks or complete financial goal setting? These and many other questions can be submitted privately through our financial tip line.  An Extension Educator will respond directly to you. Follow this link to submit a question: go.osu.edu/financialadvicesurvey

Working together, you can re-establish financial wellness for your family. Starting now allows you to emerge from an uncertain time of change with a new financial perspective and goals.

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

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Lucas County

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented action in regard to temporary business restriction and closure. Within the last week, Governor DeWine has ordered the closure of all dining rooms of bars and restaurants; closure of bowling alleys, movie theaters, recreation centers and similar businesses; and the closure of barbershops and nail salons.  Yesterday’s “Stay at Home” Order from Ohio Director of Health, Dr. Amy Acton, orders that all non-essential business and operations must cease by midnight tonight. These orders have affected tens of thousands of Ohioans. In just three days last week, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services received 77,817 claims for unemployment benefits. Compare this to two weeks ago when only 2,905 claims were filed.

If you find yourself without a job, I encourage you to visit “COVID-19 – A Financial Resource Guide” which has been compiled by OSU Extension. It features Individual Resources, Employee Resources, Small Business Resources, Available Ohio Food Access Options, Financial Wellness Resources & Consumer Protection, and Finding Local Resources.

University of Wisconsin Extension also has a website for “Managing Your Personal Finances in Tough Times” with a special section dedicated to the financial effects of COVID-19 for individuals, families and businesses. There is also a section called “Dealing with a Drop in Income” that answers questions like “Where do you start if you can’t pay bills?” and “Deciding Which Debts to Pay First.”

Another resource I especially appreciate from The University of Delaware offers advice for Surviving a Family Crisis. Losing income from a job is not inherently more manageable for an individual than a family. However, there are different challenges when multiple people are involved. The University of Maryland Extension also offers some ideas for talking with children about needs and wants.

I have been inspired this week as acquaintances, who are now without work, have shared their struggles in positive ways on social media. They’ve shared their fears and disappointments, but even more, they have shared the encouraging words and even mentioned financial help they’ve been receiving from others. It has been motivating for me to see the support that people are receiving. It has caused me to act and help others who may be facing more uncertain times than I am, even if it is in small ways.

If your job is secure, consider what you can do to financially bless a friend or acquaintance during this time. I’ve heard some great suggestions to set aside the money you might normally spend on gasoline or parking or other daily expenses and use that to make a donation in your community.If you are in a difficult place, please know that many people want to help right now. Let others know your needs, even if that is a listening ear for you to voice your concerns without judgment.

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

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Lucas County

Sources:

Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (2020)  COVID-19 – A Financial Resource Guide. at https://fcs.osu.edu/programs/healthy-finances-0/covid-19-financial-resource-guide

University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension (2020) Managing Your Personal Finances in Tough Times. at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/toughtimes/

University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension (2020) Financial Resources to Help Get Through COVID-19. at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/toughtimes/covid-19-financial-resources/

Olive, P. University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. (March 2020) Dealing with a Drop in Income. at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/toughtimes/files/2019/01/Drop-in-income-2020-state-version-new-logo.pdf

Park, E. and Nelson, P.T., Surviving A Family Crisis. (2012) (Ed) Families Matter! A Newsletter Series for Parents of School-Age Youth. Newark, DE: Cooperative Extension, University of Delaware. at https://www.udel.edu/academics/colleges/canr/cooperative-extension/fact-sheets/surviving-family-crisis/

University of Maryland Extension (2013) Helping Your Child Become Money Smart. Factsheet FS-962. at   https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/publications/FS-962%20Helping%20Your%20Children%20to%20%20Become%20Money%20Smart_0.pdf

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/fJTqyZMOh18

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brown bag lunchMany Ohioans are working to provide access to nutritious meals for students facing the extended break from school and face-to-face learning.  While many educational entities normally provide weekend food backpacks and/or food pantries when schools and universities are in session, it will be challenging to continue this during the next several weeks without the help of more people.

It is wonderful to see so many individuals, agencies, groups, and businesses offering to help their neighbors in this time of need.  Let’s look at some healthful options to provide students and their families directly and for donating to food pantries and other distribution groups. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides us with a list of foods and food groups that are shelf-stable and broad in their nutritional offerings:

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, beans, fruits, vegetables, spaghetti sauce, and soup
  • Microwaveable meals such as macaroni and cheese, chili, spaghetti, etc.
  • Pasta, rice, breads and crackers
  • Meat jerky
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal, instant oatmeal or granola
  • Peanut or other nut/seed butters and jelly
  • Dried fruit
  • Canned or boxed juices
  • Instant or ready to eat pudding
  • Non-perishable (boxed or canned) pasteurized liquid or powdered milk
  • Food for infants

As news and plans to address Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), continues to evolve, please keep in communication with your friends, family and neighbors to see how to continue support anyone in need.

If you need food, check with your school, church, library, or community center website or social media. Many are working to provide other food options for children and families who will no longer be able to gather at feeding sites or schools.

Good nutrition, hand-washing, cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and social distancing will lead to a healthier and safer future for all of us.

Writer: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D. Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, spires.53@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

 

 

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Green Santa eating cookies

Waste is becoming a bigger challenge than ever before. The average American produces over 4.6 pounds of waste every day. Around 251 million tons of trash are produced every year and 1/3 of all trash is recycled. Plastic and garbage gets into watersheds, winds up on beaches, is consumed by sea life, and eventually goes into our food supply. Trash is found increasingly in national parks, scenic rivers, and in our communities.

Normally, when we take our trash out to the curb, some of it doesn’t even make it to the landfills, but gets blown away and winds up in storm drains and eventually rivers, oceans and beaches. Trash that makes it to landfills has its own set of problems. Most trash takes years to decompose and landfills need to be maintained for 30 years after they are full.

Waste increases 75% during the holidays. Major source of waste include wrapping paper, cards, gift packaging, and broken lights. Many gifts, from jewelry to electronics, use a lot of resources to produce . New electronics and toys replace the old which wind up in landfills.

We can all become green Santas by reducing, recycling and reusing this holiday season. Here are some tips for gifts…

  • Secondhand gifts- Consider shopping at secondhand stores such as goodwill for gifts. Anything in good condition can become a gift. Young children and baby toys especially can be cleaned and gifted.
  • Minimally packaged gifts- Most packaging can’t be recycled.
  • Durable gifts- Do some research on quality and durability when it comes to gifts. Sometimes the more expensive TV set will be the one that lasts longer.
  • Non-physical gifts- Gifts of time and service are special. Offer to baby sit, take someone out to dinner, buy zoo passes, museum passes, dance classes, scuba diving lessons, hot air balloon rides, etc.
  • Charitable gifts- Give money to a college endowment, red cross, etc. in someone’s name.
  • Waste reducing gifts- Gifts such as nice coffee mugs, reusable water bottles, metal straws, mesh produce bags, school lunch boxes, wool dryer balls, Tupperware, cloth napkins, bamboo utensils, reusable dish rags, insulated bags, brew your own k pods (for Keurig) will all reduce the need for disposable products.
  • Make your own gifts- Make sock puppets, boxes with different clothing items (make-up kits) for kids, crafts, etc.

Recycle and reuse as much as possible during the holidays. Lights can be recycled at places like Lowes, and wrapping paper can reused. Some people use cloth for wrapping paper. Gift bags can also be reused as well.

All of these actions, although small individually, can make a big difference collectively in terms of reducing trash, protecting natural resources and even mitigating climate change. Hope there is much green in your Holidays!

Sources:

Money Crashers https://www.moneycrashers.com/green-eco-friendly-gift-ideas-holidays/ Accessed on 12/10/2019

How Stuff Works https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/conservation/issues/recycling-reality1.htm Accessed on 12/10/19

World Wildlife Fund https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/how-does-plastic-end-ocean Accessed on 12/10/19

Author: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, OSU Extension

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, OSU Extension, Wood County

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There are several ways that we can help our future self with better planning and preparation today.

A couple of years ago I started to hear and read what was a new phrase for me: Future Self. The older I get, the more I consider how the things I do today will affect who I am tomorrow. And that may just be the definition of maturity.

This is by no means a complete list of everything to consider for your future self. But as we enter full swing into a season when we are encouraged to immerse ourselves in indulgence, may this be an inspiration (and even permission) to be kind to your future self. Here are some themes that I am currently tackling or have on my list to accomplish in the coming year.

Meal planning: The stress of quickly coming up with dinner once I get home from work results in a not-so-fun-mom. I’m sure that once upon a time I was better at planning out meals for the week ahead. So a present for my future self is to make meal planning a routine habit. My goal is to sit down the last week of each month and plan for the next month. That may sound like a lot, but as a co-parent with tween kids, we always know about 90% of our schedule for the next month. Planning this way allows me to see which days should be a slow cooker meal, which evenings we can cook together in the kitchen, and which nights are going to be a creative use of leftovers. There are some great resources to give you a planning template, menu idea inspiration and some recipes to vary your protein, which could be just what you need for a change of pace.

Family meetings: We recently started doing this at our house. My oldest chairs the meeting and the youngest takes minutes. It keeps them engaged and gives us some great laughs. Our main goal is to discuss our calendar for the next month. It has significantly reduced the night before realization that there is a schedule conflict tomorrow. We also talk through expenses that are coming up and how are we are doing with our budget. Here are some other good tips for family meetings.

If not now, then when?: Planning is a theme here. I recently taught a money management class to a group of employees at a local manufacturing company. During the last lesson we discussed several of the things that we know are important, but since they don’t seem urgent, we don’t act on them. Having advance directives like a living will, identifying power of attorney, and understanding life insurance are examples of things that your future self and your family will appreciate.

Exercise: Since turning 40 I know that I am more physically fit than I have probably ever been in my life. I made the choice to make it a priority. I thought about the future self I wanted. Not to fit into a certain size clothing. My goal is have a healthy lifestyle that gives me the best opportunity to live long enough to be a part of my great-grandchildren’s lives.  It is never too late to increase your physical activity . It can be one of the best presents you give to your future self.  

Sources:

Galloway, A and Starnes, J. Advance Directives. University of Tennessee Extension at https://farmlandlegacy.utk.edu/pubs/AdvancedDirectivesSP743C_Gray.pdf

Iowa State University Extension (2016) 5-Day Meal Planning Worksheet. at https://iastate.app.box.com/s/nwecdndbm5ighioz3suu

Iowa State University Extension (2016) Meal Planning Calendar. at https://iastate.app.box.com/s/6a073s9g34gfia0thev88mu1bp4rzfw2

Kansas State University Research and Extension Department of Human Nutrition. Vary Your Protein Recipe Series. at https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/humannutrition/nutrition-topics/eatingwell-budget/meals-documents/VYPRecipeBook.pdf

McCoy, J. Family Meetings Foster Good Communications. University of Illinois Extension Parenting Again Newsletter Issue 29. at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/grandparents/article.cfm?ID=5171&IssueID=5213

Rapaport, L. (2019) Maintaining or starting exercise in middle life tied to longer life at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-fitness-middle-age/maintaining-or-starting-exercise-in-middle-age-tied-to-longer-life-idUSKCN1UC2E9

Rivette, C. (2013, June 15) Planning ahead: Power of attorney – part 1. Michigan State University Extension at https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/planning_ahead_power_of_attorney_part_1

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/board-school-forward-front-2525247/

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

Reviewed by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Belmont County

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girl doing handstand on beach with sunset/ocean in background

New Year’s Resolution Revival

Many New Year’s resolution focus on making health and lifestyle changes. Halfway through the year is a good time to check the progress of your resolutions.  After the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, many people start out highly motivated and determined that this is the year things will improve. However, within about six weeks, motivation dwindles and many fall off track. If this is where you are at, take a deep breath, and remember that is never too late to pick up where you left off and make progress again towards those goals.

My first recommendation is to think about your New Year’s resolution. What is your “why”? Your “why” is the reason you decided to set a particular health goal. Examples include lose weight, more energy, improve chronic diseases or achieve a fitness goal like running in a race or playing a sport. Write down your “why”, and then set smaller goals that will help you achieve your bigger goal. Goal setting needs to be strategic, so check your goals to see if they follow SMART goal guidelines:

  • S- Specific. Is your goal specific?
  • M- Measurable. Does your goal have objective forms of measurement to check your progress.
  • A- Achievable. Is this the right time to make changes in your life?
  • R- Realistic.  Does your goal challenge you, but not so much that you are setting yourself up for failure?
  • T- Timely. When do you plan to achieve this goal?

Next, check out who your support system is. It is important to surround yourself with people who know and support the goals you have set for yourself.

Staying motivated and committed is critical in reaching your goal. Stay motivated by reminding yourself of your “why” frequently. Place  motivational quotes on sticky notes around your home or work.  It helps to have friends or family that are willing to check in with you regarding your SMART goal’s progress , and develop a plan of action for how you will stick to your goals when you are tempted to quit.

Written by: Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension,Wood County,zies.1@osu.edu and Sara Turner- Smith, Bowling Green State University Dietetic Intern, Graduate Student in Food and Nutrition.

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension

Sources:

Treber, Michelle. Using your Vacation to Jump Start your Healthy Resolutions. July 14, 2016. Live Healthy Live Well Blog at https://livehealthyosu.com/2016/07/14/use-your-vacation-to-jump-start-your-healthy-resolutions/

Mayo Clinic Staff. Weight-loss goals: Set yourself up for success. August 1, 2018 Mayo Clinic at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20048224

Meehan, Amy. Sticking to Your SMART fitness goals. March 27, 2018. Live Health, Live Healthy Blog at https://livehealthyosu.com/tag/smart-goals/

Lane McKenna, Achieving your SMART health goal. (n.d.) Be Well Stanford at https://bewell.stanford.edu/achieving-your-smart-health-goal/

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