Finding help in tough times
This website is for people who find they need to ask for help - people who may have recently lost a job, a home, or may be having a hard time making ends meet. People looking for help may not know where to begin. OSU Extension has compiled a list of state resources, community services, and information to help people find the help they need in these tough times.
The American Psychological Association’s 2007 Stress in America survey found that money and work are two of the top sources of stress for almost 75 percent of Americans.
If you or someone you know is in financial crisis, information available at: www.extension.org/financial_crisis may help.
eXtension is part of Cooperative Extension, a nationwide, non-credit educational network. Each U.S. state and territory has a state office at its land-grant university and a network of local or regional offices. Due to its partnership with Cooperative Extension, eXtension.org is able to pull the best, most researched knowledge from the smartest land-grant university minds across America, connecting knowledge consumers with knowledge providers.
Specific articles and resources include:
How to Avoid a Mortgage Crisis
Debt Management in Tough Times
Keeping a Roof Overhead
Making Extra Money
Use Credit Cards Wisely During Holidays
Surviving and Thriving in Difficult Economic Times
Job Loss Affects Children, Too
Look for Places to Cut Personal Spending
Economists: Tough Measures Needed to Cure Economic Ills
Stretch Your Food Dollar: Keep Food Safe
And, many, many more
Managing Money in Tough Times Resource Background
Following are brief descriptors for various resources found on the eXtension Managing Money in Tough Times web site:
- Sizing Up Your Financial Situation Unforeseen events in life can pose financial challenges for you and your family. When faced with reduced income or increased expenses, you need to take charge and develop a spending plan.
- Making the Most of What You Have When your income drops suddenly or expenses unexpectedly increase, your first concern is how to pay bills and meet day-to-day expenses. Learn how to look at your total financial picture and determine the best ways to use your assets.
- Controlling Spending It is time for immediate action to stop all excess spending when your income is reduced. Learn how to get the most for your money and make a positive contribution to your family’s well being.
- Stretching Your Food Dollar Food is a flexible budget expense that can be reduced in challenging economic times. Explore strategies for reducing food costs and still serve appetizing and healthy meals.
- Deciding Which Bills to Pay First When you do not have enough money to cover your basic living expenses and pay all your bills, you need to make some difficult decisions and develop a revised payment plan to repay your creditors.
- Keeping A Roof Overhead One of the biggest expenses is housing when you experience reduced or lost income.. Paying the rent or making the mortgage payment is a priority. Careful planning may help you avoid eviction or foreclosure.
- Meeting Your Insurance Needs If your income decreases, you may find it difficult to continue paying insurance premiums. Determine your minimum insurance needs and create a plan to provide coverage with the least risk for financial disaster.
- Coping With Stress Unexpected income changes are among the most stressful events a person and family can experience. The entire family needs to learn how to best cope and how to minimize the negative feelings that a financial crisis can create.
- Accepting Your Feelings People respond to a personal crisis with different feelings: anger, anxiety, outrage, self-doubt. The tension may show up as restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, apathy and exhaustion. Learn how to accept your feelings, understand why they are present, and how to deal with them in positive ways.
- Teaching Children Coping Skills Help children cope with your family’s reduced resources including strategies for empowering children in the family coping process.
- Things You Can Do When Money Is Short In challenging financial times, there are many activities that adults and children can participate in to feel like they are improving the situation and making a positive contribution.
- Adult Children Moving Home Children finishing school, ending relationships, or losing their jobs may find their only safe haven is with family. It is important to set rules and expectations to make this transition as comfortable as possible for both the children and parents.
- Building an Emergency Fund It is important to have something set aside for a rainy day. Even when times are tough, it is important to have something set aside in case of job loss or loss of income or assets.
- Debt Management in Tough Times While debt may seem a low priority, you may benefit by maintaining or improving your credit that can provide new options for existing obligations. Mismanagement of debt is often costly which can be a further drain on resources.
- Doing Things Together as a Family for Less Cutting back often means cutting back on the spending for family fun. The most important thing is spending time together as a family. There are many ways to have fun as a family on a shoestring budget.
- Freeing Up Money from Services We use many services from utilities to cell phones, from banks to insurance companies and very seldom are these services free. It is important to consider maintaining only services you need and/or use.
- Having a Spending Plan is Critical Maintaining a budget allows you to maximize your income and save for the future. Without a plan, having leftover money is left to chance rather than design.
- Keep Lines of Communication Open Households and families need to share information with each other. This includes information about expenses, income, and even concerns.
- Making Extra Money Finding ways to earn additional money can help families make ends meet when expenses rise or income falls. Learn about strategies to find odd jobs and opportunities.
- Managing Stress Tough economic times create a lot of stress; it is important to keep your resolve and perseverance by managing stress in a healthy way. Learn about things that can help and those that can hurt.
- Saving Money at the Gas Pump With fluctuating gas prices, it is best to have efficient driving habits. Consider how you drive and how you organize your errands.
- Stretch Your Food Dollar: Keep Food Safe Consumers can waste money on food that spoiled from improper storage or from buying things too close to expiration. Consider how to best store things fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat.
- Stretch Your Food Dollars at Home We often watch money get thrown out with wasted foods and unused groceries.
- Stretch Your Grocery Dollars Major grocery shopping trips can be very costly. Planning ahead and following some tips when shopping may help cut expenses.
- Tips for Teens: How to Contribute to Family Needs During Tough Times Teens can help families by finding creative ways to cut back on their own or family expenses. They can also help out in the home, freeing up time for parents to earn additional money.
- What are Your Resources? We have many resources. While only some can be used to pay the bills, others can provide opportunities and tools for managing in tough times.
- What is Your Net Worth? It’s important to know your financial position by comparing the amount of debt to the value of things you own.
- When Prices Rise: Living on Your Income Price increases occur naturally over time, sometimes the rate of this increase (inflation) increases by larger amounts in the short run from a change in the economy. What things change, how do we deal with these?
- Working Teens as Contributors to the Family Teenagers often have their own spending needs and may need to make choices. One important choice the family should discuss is whether a teen should get a part time job to help with their own expenses.
Oregon State University Extension's Family and Community Health Family Financial Management link includes basic budgeting for food security, managing between jobs, financial security, and bankruptcy debtor education information.