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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
Sasha Grabenstetter
University of Illinois Extension®

Estate Planning for the Perpetual Procrastinator

We all know that estate planning is important, but for many of us we put it off. We push estate planning off because it deals with the two most uncomfortable topics ever – death and money. For those of us who perpetually procrastinate, hopefully, these simple tips can help you get some of these important financial documents prepared. Updating Beneficiaries/Payable on Death Accou...

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Why I Stopped Tracking Most of My Expenses

Why I stopped tracking most of my expenses…

If you can believe it, I've been blogging for almost six years now. As a financial educator, writing these words on the internet might mean that I could be banned from the "financial educators club", but the fact of the matter is that for almost a year now I've struggled with tracking ALL my expenses, all the time. Maybe you're like me, tired of tracking every penny on an excel spreadsheet, eve...

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What Gift Should I Give

What Gift Should I Give?

Graduation season is coming up soon! Whether it's a high school graduation or college, gift giving season is in full swing come May. According to the National Retail Federation total gift spending last graduation season was expected to reach $5.2 billion. The average perso...

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Finding a new home can be difficult  It doesn t have to be

You Can't Take It With You... When You're Gone.

After the death of both of my parents, I came to this realization as we were left with all of their stuff! How do we cherish the items our loved ones cared about and left behind for us? What to do with all the stuff? One of the best things you, our readers, can do is decide how you'd like your personal items to be distributed after your death. An important step...

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Goooaaaallllssss

GOOOOAAAALLLLSSSS

In February's Podcast, Kathy, Camaya and Sasha discuss goals and goal setting. You can listen to the podcast on SoundCloud ! Laugh and learn with us as the consumer economics team discusses goals together and how to make them less scary!...

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Financial Transparency

Financial Transparency? What's that?

In December's podcast, Family Financial Feuds "To Show or Not To Show", Camaya and I mentioned my friend and colleague Emily Koochel's work with the financial transparency scale . Emily Koochel is a PhD student at Kansas State University and a graduate teaching assista...

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Copy of Family Financial Feuds

Family Finanical Feuds - Who Are We With Money?

In November, Kathy Sweedler wrote a blog post titled "Money Avoider? Giver? What's your Money Personality?" Kathy and I really enjoy discussing money personalities, scripts and even habitudes, so much so we recorded a podcast about it. Listen to "Who Are We With Money?" this...

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Family Financial Feuds - to show or not to show

Family Financial Feuds - To Show or Not to Show?

Join Camaya and Sasha this month in discussing whether to show or not to show your credit report to your significant other! Listen to us on Soundcloud!...

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Copy of Is Gardening Garbage or Great

Is gardening garbage or great? Well, maybe it’s both…

Well, obviously the summer has come and gone in Illinois and it's time to evaluate whether gardening was financially worth it. I had planned on keeping track of how much water we consumed and how many vegetables we were able to "save money on" because we had grown our own. Plus, the looking at the opportunity cost. An opportunity cost is a benefit of something that must be given up to achieve s...

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Family Financial Feuds

Family Financial Feuds - a New Podcast!

We're really excited to show off the work we've done on our new podcast. We hope you'll give us a listen! https://go.illinois.edu/FamilyFinancialFeuds-Introductions Let us know what you think! Either in the comments or on our Facebook page!  ...

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Paying for a Funeral

Paying for a funeral – the options, costs and decisions you need to make.

Most people don't know this but I had to help plan, put together, and pay for both of my parent's funerals. I write this post to help you get ideas about what you'd like for your funeral/burial and to get you moving to get things planned for yourself. Now in the past we've covered some great estate planning topics such as...

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Should I ask for donations instead of birthday gifts   1

Should I ask for donations instead of birthday gifts?

There seems to be a recent trend, thanks to Facebook, of asking for donations for your (or someone else's) birthday instead of gifts. For the last two years, we have asked for donations to our son's birthday instead of toys or gifts that he might play with for a few minutes and then forget about. Here are some items to consider if you've been wanting to ask for donations for your birthday or a...

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Is Gardening Garbage or Great

Is Gardening Garbage or Great?

For the last two summers, my family and I have had a garden in the backyard. We take the time to till the soil, plant the vegetables and herbs, then wait. This summer I want to track my spending and see if my time and money it's really worth having a garden. This year we planted: 7 tomato plants (roma, heirloom and cherry) 4 bell pepper plants 1 jalap...

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Utilizing the Library to Keep Costs Down

Utilizing the Library to Keep Costs Down

For many people it may be obvious that by using your local library, you would save money, but many people don't even utilize their library! According to a 2016 Study on Libraries by the Pew Research Center , "just under half of all those age 16 and older (48 percent) say they have visited a public library…in person...

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how insurance saved the day!

Lost my Wedding Ring! How insurance saved the day!

Last August, I lost something very important to me – my wedding ring! I took it off to wash the dishes and when I went to find it the next morning, it was gone. I searched my trash can, recycle bins as well as all through the house. At first, I was really upset until I remember that we had insured it! Insuring personal property isn't hard, but you have to remember to do it. Sometimes it...

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Why I May Never Go Grocery Shopping Again!!

A few months ago, I was shopping for groceries at my local grocery store when I kept hearing this noise. The noise it turns out was a personal shopper scanning grocery items for a grocery pick up. When I asked the store associate about it, she said that more and more people were trying it. As a financial educator, I was intrigued and went ahead and signed up. So what did I find?...

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Three Quick Holiday Spending Tips

With Thanksgiving this week, holiday shopping will be in full swing come Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday! So, here are some last minute holiday shopping tips to keep your spending plan in check! USE YOUR CASH Use cash instead of credit to make purchases – research shows us that we spend up to 30% more when we use a credit c...

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The Student Loan Chronicles: The Average Amount of Debt

The Student Loan Chronicles: What is the average amount people owe? Back in May, I started the Student Loan Chronicles blog series. Last month I covered...

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The Student Loan Chronicles: What is it?

Last month I wrote a post about starting the student loan chronicles . For those of us paying back student loans, th...

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The Student Loan Chronicles

Student Loans. As a financial educator and millennial, I am one of the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have student loan debt. Most of the debt was my choice, but the ramifications of my choice never fully hit me until I had to start paying them back. Over the next few months, I'm going to take a peek behind the curtain of student loans. I'm going to interview friends who were...

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Wedding Season is coming... is your wallet ready?

Ah, wedding season. The time of the year when we celebrate the love of two people to be bound legally together. Whether you're in the bridal party, parent, grandparent or friend... weddings these days can be costly! According to The Knot's 2016 Real Wedding Study, the average wedding costs $35,329 dollars (and that doesn't even include the honeymoon!) Even attending a wedding as a guest can g...

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Making Taxes More Fun!

Every year we dread doing the one thing we must get done, and that is filing our taxes. This year, I want to help make taxes more fun and enjoyable! Have you heard about IRS Tax Form 8888 ? If not, it's going to be your new best friend this tax season! IRS Tax Form 8888 let's you do some pretty cool things,...

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holiday shopping tips

Holiday Spending Tips

The holidays are coming up… and with it is the ability to overspend. Whether you're shopping for a few or many, having a plan for the holidays can help. Below are my top 3 holiday spending tips! 1. Use a budget within a budget. Although this seems tedious, having a budget within a budget will help to keep your spending in check. In a normal spending period, you have all of your...

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Freedom from Credit Card Debt!

Back in December of 2014, I wrote a blog post called " 2014 Financial Goal Challenge: All About that Debt " describing how my husband and I had been trying to pay off all of our debt,...

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 A GoalWithoutA PlanIs JustA Wish

Life Transitions - Change is Constant

"The only thing that is constant is change."-Heraclitus Life seems to move faster and faster as we age. I know from experience that when I started working for Extension I was a single person, then engaged, then married. Our readers have followed me along in my home buying series and now I'm excited to share that we'...

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