Empowering Financial Wellness Program Coordinator
Can you feel the dollars seeping out and the heat creeping into your home every summer as your air conditioner struggles to keep your home cool and comfortable? With rising costs of the basic necessities, you’re probably looking for ways to cut back on them, and to make it possible to leave money in your pocket so you can make progress towards your goals. A home energy audit is a great way to identify ways your family can make your living space more comfortable for you and your wallet.
Guest Contributor: Andrea Schmutz
USU Extension Assistant Professor
Knowing that most everyone appreciates a little more green in their wallet, especially as we head into holiday season, I’d like to share my most recent epiphany. I was reading about “America Recycles Day”, where each year, on or near November 15, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the importance and impact of recycling to our nation’s economy and environment. The EPA’s website, epa.gov, provides fantastic information about greener living, recycling and reducing waste. As I perused an infographic on the website titled “Think Green Before You Shop”, I suddenly realized that the three R’s of environmental sustainability: reduce, reuse, and recycle, could also be called the three R’s of budget sustainability.
6 Perks of Growing a Garden
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: ANDREA SCHMUTZ, USU EXTENSION ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
I recently saw a quote on a sign that said, “Gardening: it’s cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.” I chuckled to myself and pondered the implied message. With spring in full force, it’s a perfect time to consider growing a garden and reaping the following SIX benefits:
GUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PAY, USU EXTENSION ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
When my children were young, one of the things they loved to do was go to the park. As they grew, we visited our local parks, State parks and, the best loved of all, were the National park adventures we’d take. Parks are the perfect place for creating family memories and we still talk and laugh about the many park adventures we had.
Park fun doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact, many times you can experience fun at the park for pennies or less. Last Saturday, May 16th, was the 10th anniversary of the Kids to Parks Day. With COVID-19 restrictions, the day was celebrated virtually. Understanding that nothing can replace an actual park experience, National Park Trust has developed a variety of family activities and distance learning opportunities available at www.kidstoparks.org. These activities can be completed at home, in a backyard or neighborhood, and help families celebrate the day safely. In addition to the online resources, National Park Trust has updated its free mobile ParkPassport App with new virtual park experiences and fun digital badges available through the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Don't have a national park near you? No worries! Below are a few fun and low to no cost ideas for a local park experience from Jacquie Fisher shared in her Edventures with Kids blog about 17 FUN Activities to do at the Park.:
GUEST BLOGGER: ANDREA SCHMUTZ, USU EXTENSION ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
“Look what I found! Can you make something with it?” When my kids were growing up, this was a common greeting as they walked in the door from school. Sometimes they had found a real treasure that held great potential for upcycling. The gold star days were when they opened up their lunch boxes and pulled out multiple empty juice pouches (i.e. CapriSun) they had collected from their friends. We would wash them out and plot all of the many projects we could make with the “trash”.
From the time they were young, I tried to instill in my children their role in protecting the earth and being good stewards of the resources around them. Before they were old enough to understand things like “carbon footprint”, I focused on helping them understand simple concepts like waste and trash. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was also teaching them some simple money management skills while fostering creativity that would pay off when the budget was tight.
Have you ever stopped and thought about the connection between being a steward of the earth and a guardian of your budget? When we breathe new life into a discarded object, we save money and we help save the earth one small step at a time. Here are four common household materials that can be upcycled into useful projects or gifts:
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