Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Discount Dining


Karen Saley Extension Specialist, Family and Consumer Sciences

Eating out doesn’t have to be a wallet-buster. Pinching pennies seems to be the theme of the day so here are some ideas that may help you save a few dollars the next time you visit your favorite restaurant.

Look for coupons in the newspapers and online
Don’t feel bad about using them. Restaurants know what their food margins are and what they are able to give away. It’s in their best interest to offer coupons to attract new business.

Skip the beverages and drink water
It’s healthier for you anyway! The average fountain drink costs the establishment around twenty cents, you pay over a dollar and sometimes a lot more. So skip the beverages and pocket the change, and if you pass on the alcohol you’ll save a lot more than just pocket change!

Order appetizers instead of full meals
The size of some meals today is so outrageous that we are consuming two, three or four meals at one sitting. Appetizers are more portion friendly and can be very economical usually costing just a few dollars.

Share your meals
Again, portion sizes are usually much larger than they should be so consider splitting an entrée with your dining partner. Save yourself excess calories and a lot of dough.

Skip the dessert
If you must have that sweet indulgence at the end of the meal, why not have it at home. Buy yourself a little treat from the grocery store at a fraction of the cost and pair it with that two cent cup of coffee you can make yourself.

Be an early bird
Take advantage of the early bird specials. Eating a little earlier in the day can save you twenty to thirty percent and you’ll have the whole evening to go for a nice stroll.

Get it to go
No need to order beverages and you get to keep the tip by ordering your meal to go. Take your delicious meal home, light some candles, put on some music and you’ll feel like you’re at a top-notch restaurant without having to pay the high cost.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who is Responsible for the Debt?


Nan Jensen, Famiy and Consumer Sciences

An email was sent to me awhile back regarding a question about who is responsible for a deceased relative’s debt. It was a question that I never have had to think about but one that is important to consider, especially in this economy. Certainly for families who have lost a loved one, it is the last thing that they want to deal with during this difficult time.

Surviving relatives are protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under the law, debt collectors are prohibited from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you. If a debt collector contacts you, have them contact the decedent’s personal representative and certainly don’t give them any of your personal information.

The bottom line is that you are not legally responsible for paying a relative’s debt who is not your spouse. State probate law may limit your obligation to pay your spouse’s debt. For advice in this area, contact an attorney who is familiar with the laws in your state.

The Federal Trade Commission has developed a very helpful publication in a question and answer format about who has responsibility for a dead relative’s debts. For more information check out the FTC publication below.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Job Hunting Tips


By Karen Saley, Extension Specialist

According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida is hovering around a 10% unemployment rate. Not quite as bad as Michigan’s 15% and not nearly as good as North Dakota’s 4%. For those of you who have found yourself among the ranks of the unemployed, here are a few tips to help you get back in the game.

· Be patient
Keep calm and remind yourself that if you keep trying hard, you will eventually get the job you want.
· Discipline yourself
Carefully plan out how you will use your time and stick to your schedule. Make looking for a job your current job.
· Don't wait for the job to come to you
Don’t simply rely on posting your resume online. Going to a company and talking to people is one of the most effective ways to get a job.
· Look at growing job sectors
Knowing the job market means knowing who is hiring. Research the hot new jobs and current trends.
· Network
Let everyone know that you are available for work. The more people you see, the sooner you will get the job you want.
· Sharpen your skills
Keep your professional skills sharp while job hunting. Take a class to upgrade your knowledge and skills.
· Be Flexible
Be flexible about what you will take, and you may find more opportunities within that job, and it will give you the chance to grow in several directions and not in just one.

For more information about job hunting and other related topics, visit Managing in Tough Times found at

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Company and product listings do not represent endorsement by either: Pinellas County Extension, Pinellas County or the University of Florida / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.