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Illinois Extension educators have advice to carry you through all the stages of life: college, family, children, retirement. Read a blog post to help you with life's daily financial challenges.

Plan Well Retire Well Blog
1040 Tax Form
Read article: Is it better to ask for help or prepare your tax returns by yourself?
Is it better to ask for help or prepare your tax returns by yourself?
Every year people gather up all their tax documents, organize them and then think about their options: do their income tax filing themselves, pay...
Piggy bank on cash
Read article: Opportunity to learn practical money management strategies
Opportunity to learn practical money management strategies
Webinars provide a safe environment to explore new or challenging topics. As financial educators, we aim to provide a safe and inclusive environment...
calendar
Read article: New Year’s financial refresh
New Year’s financial refresh
With the start of a new year, you should take some time to think about your financial wellness in addition to your overall health. Do you feel like...
couple looking at each other's phones
Read article: Pay down debt or invest my money?
Pay down debt or invest my money?
Should I pay extra on my student loan or invest in a Roth IRA? Build up an emergency savings fund or pay off my credit card debt? Pay off my mortgage...
picture of phone with a receipt coming out of it, credit cards laying on phone, money coins on one side of phone and money bills on other side
Read article: Mint app retiring: Tracking expenses in the New Year!
Mint app retiring: Tracking expenses in the New Year!
Have you heard the news? Do you use the Mint app to track your spending? Maybe you haven’t if you are not a Mint user. But the very popular budgeting...
boxes brightly wrapped with bows
Read article: How does your money personality drive holiday shopping? Are you a Giver or Avoider?
How does your money personality drive holiday shopping? Are you a Giver or Avoider?
Money and the holidays. For some of us, we happily swing into the spending mode. I look forward to the excuse to buy people gifts and spend money on...
Shocked man holding clock and cash
Read article: Tick-tock! It’s time to re-evaluate your federal student loan repayment options!
Tick-tock! It’s time to re-evaluate your federal student loan repayment options!
The clock is ticking on organizing your student loan repayment. After several years of pause, federal student loan payments are due, as of October...
Person in forest looking at two different paths
Read article: Stress-test your financial plans
Stress-test your financial plans
When I faced a major life decision of deciding whether or not to retire, looking at my financial situation was a big factor in the decision. I...
Finding Financial Balance
produce aisle
Read article: Focusing on food costs
Focusing on food costs
Have your groceries been eating up your budget lately? If you have noticed the increased cost of buying food, you are not alone. Some current...
fireworks
Read article: Financial New Year's resolutions
Financial New Year's resolutions
With the start of the new year, many people set some goals or resolutions for the year. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, do you think about...
gifts
Read article: Debt-free holiday gifting
Debt-free holiday gifting
A season of gifting does not have to mean taking on debt. Do you take on debt for holiday gifting? Debt comes in many forms, such as using a credit...
sale tags
Read article: Black Friday Shopping – Is it worth the hype?
Black Friday Shopping – Is it worth the hype?
The holiday shopping season is upon us. The upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales will be here soon. Don’t forget occasional expenses, like...
mobile payment
Read article: Do you experience purchase pain with cashless transactions?
Do you experience purchase pain with cashless transactions?
When trying to bring awareness to your spending habits, do cashless purchases register the same for you? The pain of paying is a term used to...
beach chairs
Read article: Understanding Social Security: Are you preparing for retirement?
Understanding Social Security: Are you preparing for retirement?
Is retirement part of your financial plan? It is never too early to think about retirement, but many...
school supplies
Read article: Are you ready for back-to-school expenses?
Are you ready for back-to-school expenses?
Right now is the time of year that kids are getting ready to return to the classroom. For some, this is a welcome excitement; for others, this may be...
kids playing
Read article: Seasonal summer spending
Seasonal summer spending
Acknowledging seasonal and occasional expenses is an important part of your spending plan or budget....
Fearless Financial Futures
"Family Financial Feuds Find peace of mind during financial changes"
Read article: Find peace of mind during financial changes
Find peace of mind during financial changes
Endings can entail mixed emotions of happiness and sadness. Reminiscence amid endings might help people continue to be who they are as they pass from...
"Family Financial Feuds Decluttering Your Life" with images of cluttered table next to organized table
Read article: Declutter your life
Declutter your life
Does the clutter in your house cause you stress? Is the clutter a cause for conflict with other family members? Do you want less clutter but you are...
"Family Financial Feuds Cottage Food & Second Gigs" with images of cans, jars, and a piggy bank
Read article: Cottage Food & Second Gigs
Cottage Food & Second Gigs
The last few years have seen an increase in the percentage of self-employed according to a recent report from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. As...
"Family Financial Feuds Inclusive Financial Education and Practices"
Read article: Inclusive Financial Education and Practices
Inclusive Financial Education and Practices
According to the National Disability Institute (NDI), individuals with disabilities who are Black, Indigenous, or Latinx have 28% to 36% higher...
Purple background with "Family Financial Feuds" and "Managing Credit when Prices are Rising"
Read article: Managing Credit when Prices are Rising
Managing Credit when Prices are Rising
As a consumer, you have likely felt the impact of inflation on your wallet, but have you considered how inflation can affect your credit? Costs of...
Purple background with "Family Financial Feuds" and "Fraud: More than the Dollars", with a graphic depicting a person and fraud symbols
Read article: Fraud: More than the Dollars
Fraud: More than the Dollars
According to data from the Supplemental Fraud Survey (2021), an estimated 3 million American adults reported being victims of personal finance fraud...
Purple background with "Family Financial Feuds" and "Fighting to Save Money", with a graphic depicting a person with boxing gloves and bag of money
Read article: Fighting to Save Money
Fighting to Save Money
Did you know that 32% of U.S. households do not have enough money saved to cover a $400 emergency expense? Maybe the needs in your household are...
Man holding pen sitting across a desk from woman with hands folded
Read article: Understand your fair access to credit
Understand your fair access to credit
When I first started using credit, it was exciting and intriguing to learn how I could build and improve my credit over time. At that time, I never...
Be Centsible: For College Students By College Students
How can I save money while on vacation?
Read article: How can I save money while on vacation?
How can I save money while on vacation?
Vacations are costly, even if you start planning months before your vacation. While you are on the trip food, activities, and nightlife can get...
What are loans, scholarships, and grants?
Read article: What are loans, scholarships, and grants?
What are loans, scholarships, and grants?
Choosing the right college can be daunting. One concern students often have when applying to college is the affordability of their college tuition....
How can I save up for my next big event?
Read article: How can I save up for my next big event?
How can I save up for my next big event?
As college students, money often runs tight, but we still want to blow off steam going to fun events or activities. I often find myself wondering how...
How can I prepare for a vacation?
Read article: How can I prepare for a vacation?
How can I prepare for a vacation?
Traveling as a student can seem impossible. Between the checks from low paying university jobs and monthly allowances from parents, sometimes we must...
What are some common credit misconceptions?
Read article: What are some common credit misconceptions?
What are some common credit misconceptions?
There are a lot of misconceptions around various personal finance topics. Many of this misinformation stems from confusion around credit scores and...
People shaking hands
Read article: What should I ask about a company's 401K when starting my first job?
What should I ask about a company's 401K when starting my first job?
Fantastic, you made it through college, walked across the stage at graduation, received your diploma, and got that first career job offer. What...
How can I stay motivated in achieving my financial goals?
Read article: How can I stay motivated in achieving my financial goals?
How can I stay motivated in achieving my financial goals?
Congratulations! You have taken action to get your financial life in order. Whether your goal is saving, budgeting, investing, or repaying debt, the...
Do you really need that? 
Read article: Do you really need that? 
Do you really need that? 
In an age dominated by social media and keeping up with the latest trends, it is easy to overspend on “wants” and ignore spending on “needs”. It ...

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