Guest Contributor: Christina Pay, USU Extension Assistant Professor
Most people will agree that the “dog days of summer” are usually slow, lazy, and hot. This phrase took on a whole new meaning for me when I moved from Utah to the San Joaquin Valley of California. With temperatures in my new town ranging between 99⁰ – 114⁰ (F) each day, my heat tolerance was sorely tested. And, as temperatures rose, so did the power bill. I couldn’t keep my head in the freezer all day (not practical) nor could I turn the air conditioner down to “arctic” (not economical). Instead, I learned a few tips along the way on how to stay cool without going into debt.
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: CALLIE WARD, USU EXTENSION ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
When was the last time you wrote a letter? Or Thank You? Even a nice Post it? I remember the excitement of a pen pal letter coming to our mailbox or seeing the colorful envelop with Grandma’s handwriting on it, and I am not that old! Have we truly lost the art of the handwritten note? With May comes graduations, end of year teacher gifts, Mother’s Day, the final arrival of Spring for most of us in Utah, it is a time of new life and sometimes the never-ending gift list. So why can’t we go back and save this valuable custom of a handwritten card?
I turned 33 in April, and birthdays stopped being cool after 16, (anyone else?) but every year I receive two things. A card from my mom - this one usually has a sheep or cowboy of some sort on it and one from my little sister. This year specifically, it was the one from my sister that made my day and was one of the best gifts I have every received. She took the time to write something special and included some great memories. She spent less then $5 and had me rolling for the whole day, adding more joy for my birthday.
How can something so cheap be so impactful? Especially in our busy world, taking the time to send a handwritten card means more than a dollar store gift or that random gift card. An article I read from Forbes magazine shared three benefits of a handwritten thank you note that can easily be benefits of a handwritten card:
GUEST BLOGGER: EMMA PARKHURST, CHES, USU EXTENSION ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
I consider myself to be a frugal consumer, although this hasn’t always been the case. When I was younger, I thought I was frugal...but the honest truth? I was obsessed with making cheap purchases. I would try to make the least expensive purchase no matter what the item was, which typically meant purchasing lower quality items. As a result, I would have to replace these cheaper products more often, which meant spending more money in the long-run. Yikes! I finally had enough of the cycle when I realized I would spend less over time by purchasing a more expensive and higher quality item that would last longer. Who else can relate? If this experience sounds familiar to you, here are some tips to get out of this cheap-purchase cycle that helped me make smarter purchases:
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.:
Blog editor and Accredited Financial Counselor sharing real-life money smarts that can help you stay on track with financial goals while still enjoying life!
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