News Filed Under Family Financial Management
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When there never seems to be enough money to cover the bills, trying to set up and follow a budget can seem like a pointless and stressful activity.
Bekah Sparks, Mississippi State University Extension Service instructor in the Center for Technology Outreach, said a variety of apps and electronic tools can help make it easier to save money and spend wisely.
Every weekend before I go grocery shopping, I clean out the refrigerator and experience guilt.
Partially full yogurt containers past their expiration date. Shriveling squash. Browning celery. Leftovers I saved with good intentions but never ate. (Photo by Kevin Hudson)
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The coldest days of winter do not seem to slow squirrel activity.
One significant reason is that mating season for eastern gray squirrels lasts through January, and babies arrive about six weeks later.
Most squirrels build nests for these babies in the forks of tree branches or in the hollows of tree trunks. Their nests are created mostly out of dry leaves and twigs.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippians display their generous hearts through their high rate of charitable giving, but thieves sometimes take advantage of these soft spots in a variety of holiday scams.
“The Chronicle of Philanthropy” indicates Mississippians give an average of 5 percent of their annual gross incomes to charity each year. That generosity ranks them second in the country, just slightly behind Utah, in charitable giving.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Much attention is focused on preventing identity theft to safeguard finances, but medical identity theft can be just as devastating.
Susan Cosgrove, family resource management area agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Newton County, said medical identity theft occurs when a thief steals personal information to use to obtain medical care, buy prescription drugs or commit Medicare fraud in the victim's name.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- King Solomon wrote thousands of years ago that there is nothing new under the sun, a truth played out daily by unscrupulous people putting modern spins on the age-old practice of fraud.
The Federal Trade Commission reported 20,588 Mississippians fell victim to some type of consumer fraud in 2016. Another 2,378 were victims of identity theft.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Homeowners have until March 31 to file for a homestead exemption, which may help lower their annual tax bills.
Jason Camp, an instructor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service Center for Government and Community Development, said qualified homeowners may fall into one of three exemption categories, based on age, disability or veteran status. They may be eligible for a substantial tax exemption if they met these requirements on Jan. 1.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Half of Mississippians have lower credit scores than the average American, with Jackson area residents having the second lowest average score in the U.S., according to a national credit monitoring agency.
A recent workshop and new organization, both directed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, aim to help individuals improve their financial health through responsible credit use.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi farmers know they can turn to the Mississippi State University Extension Service for solid advice, but newly married couples can rely on the same source for friendly help with family challenges.
The Extension Service offers numerous publications online and in county Extension offices that address a wide variety of issues important to newlyweds. Topics include budgeting, nutrition, child rearing, conflict resolution, fitness and job skills. County offices also offer a wide range of training programs to area residents.
JACKSON, Miss. -- The Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production will hold its November field day in conjunction with the 2016 Mississippi Food Summit and Agricultural Revival.
The revival is set for Nov. 17 and 18 at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum. Participants may also attend Jackson-area farm and garden tours on Nov. 19.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Creating a reasonable spending plan and reducing debt should be top priorities when it comes to living a well-budgeted life.
Rita Green, assistant Extension professor and state specialist for financial management in the Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences, said developing a budget helps families establish a vision for their spending.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- “Phishermen” do not need lures or worms to get their prized catch; the only bait they need is a good scheme.
Anyone can be phished -- tricked through electronic fraud into unknowingly forfeiting sensitive personal and financial information, such as password and credit card details. In many cases, the result of a successful “phishing trip” is an empty bank account for the victim.
May is Older Americans Month …
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Older Americans, along with their caregivers and families, can better navigate legal and financial waters related to aging by making appropriate plans, protecting their identities and being aware of scams.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Small-business owners and entrepreneurs can participate in an upcoming workshop to help them establish, develop and grow their businesses.
The Mississippi Small Business Forum will be March 17 at the Mississippi State University Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Raymond.
The MSU Extension Service, Alcorn State University Extension Program and Hinds Community College Entrepreneurship Business Development Program will deliver 12 educational sessions and help business owners understand the resources available from these colleges.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi Saves will launch its second America Saves Week campaign on Feb. 23 to promote financial responsibility throughout the state.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Studies show many Mississippians are not good at managing their money, so some may use the new year as an opportunity to turn over a new leaf financially.
A 2013 Gallup poll found that just 32 percent of Americans put together a monthly budget to track income and expenses. Even fewer actually stick with it. The results add up to significant debt. Federal Reserve statistics indicate the average household owes $7,281 on credit cards. When looking only at households carrying credit card debt, that average debt rises to $15,608.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Giving to good causes generates a wide range of happy feelings, and it is one reason why charitable organizations put such an emphasis on giving during the holidays.
Rita Green, family financial management specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said studies have shown that giving money to other people makes the givers happier than spending that same amount of money on themselves.
RAYMOND -- Consumers who take a few precautions while shopping this holiday season can avoid the unwanted surprise of empty bank accounts and stolen identities.
Rita Green, family financial management specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, recommends shoppers follow some guidelines when making purchases in stores and online.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Holiday gift giving can feel overwhelming when everyone seems to have the necessities and the budget is tight.
Natasha Haynes, a Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Rankin County, said one easy solution is to give homemade food gifts.
“Everybody has to eat, and food gifts do not have to be expensive or high in calories,” Haynes said. “From homemade granola to jars filled with ingredients for a pot of healthy soup, good gifts are limited only by your creativity.”