Extension News

Families Find Valuable Information at Managing Tough Times Website


AMES, Iowa – Each day more people face the challenge of paying bills on less income. An Iowa State University Extension website can be their guide to resources and affordable answers. 

Managing Tough Times , a one-stop shop at www.extension.iastate.edu/answers, addresses financial questions, stress related issues and ways to eat nutritiously on a limited budget. The website was launched March 9 by ISU Extension.

Coming at a time of increasing unemployment numbers, the website offers a wealth of information at no cost – print materials, hot line numbers, program offerings and contact with experts through blog entries, video demonstrations and short interview clips. Many of the print materials linked in the page text and on the resource page can be downloaded for free. Additional low-cost publications are available from the online store.
Money Mechanics – Credit, PM 1459a, is one free downloadable publication that has become popular in counties with high unemployment rates like Winnebago County.  “We have had an increase in requests for credit card related information since our unemployment rates hit some of the highest numbers in the state in December 2008,” said Carol Peterson, ISU Extension education director in Winnebago County.

“People want to know how to use credit wisely, manage credit card debt and protect their privacy when using credit cards online.”

Power Pay, a computer analysis program, is an example of an interactive resource visitors will find at www.extension.iastate.edu/answers. Margaret Van Ginkel, ISU Extension families resource management specialist, recommends Power Pay as a tool for anyone striving to get out of debt.

“The Managing Tough Times website links to a Power Pay page that offers a couple of ways to participate,” said Van Ginkel. “People can complete a worksheet on the Extension website and submit it for an analysis, or they can visit https://powerpay.org to enter the information and receive an analysis. Both options are free to Iowa residents.”

The Managing Tough Times website was created with input from extension field staff, like Van Ginkel and Peterson, who are in direct contact with Iowans’ most immediate needs. Extension campus and field staff helped frame the Families and Households section of Managing Tough Times by identifying topics of interest to Iowans and the corresponding resources.

Jeannie Warning, ISU Extension to Families interim program director, describes resources and her department’s involvement in creating material for Managing Tough Times. The Warning video is in the blog area of the website, under the title Meet an ISU Extension Expert. 

Managing Tough Times website visitors, whether employed or unemployed, will find material to make challenging decisions more manageable. The website www.extension.iastate.edu/answers is one way ISU Extension provides research information to families in a timely manner.


Contacts :

Margaret Van Ginkel, Field Specialist, (515) 727-0656, vangin@iastate.edu

Carol Peterson, Winnebago County Extension, (641) 584-2261, carolp@iastate.edu

Jeanne Warning, ISU Extension to Families, (515) 294-6622, jwarning@iastate.edu

Willy Klein, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515)294-0662, wklein@iastate.edu