Holiday Expense Planning

Starting Today:

  • Choose the best options for this year’s holiday spending
  • Ask your loved ones about their preferences
  • Create a holiday spending plan (or commit to listing your spending this year)
  • Identify your hidden holiday costs
  • Make a plan for next year’s holiday expenses (Jan. Apr. June)


To help prioritize, asked loved ones ….

  • If you could only choose one favorite activity for the holidays, what would it be?
  • Is there a food dish, treat, or drink that you would really miss if it weren’t on the holiday menu?
  • Do you have any ideas about simplifying our holiday schedule?
  • Do you have any ideas about reducing our costs?


Handout: My Holiday Savings and Spending Plan.


Apps (there are many options, this is just a sample of some of the apps to help organize planning and spending)

  • Giftster
  • Santa’s Bag
  • GiftPlanner
  • Gift List Diary
  • Christmas Gift List



These food ideas are not to replace favorite holiday dishes but instead to think about easy foods to add to the holiday season – from the larger get together pot-lucks to other times like hosting out-of-town guests or planning meals when the kids are off school for holiday break.


Find Your Local County Extension Office:



Rupp, M. (2021). Preparing for Holiday Expenses. Webinar. Ohio State University Extension.

Stefura, B., Scammahorn, R., and Kline, R. (2022). Give the Gift of Financial Fitness This Holiday. Live Healthy Live Well Webinar. Ohio State University Extension.







OSU Extension Homebuyer Education Team

December 2020

To Extension colleagues from other states, please see below with details about OSU Extension’s 2019-2020 partnership with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

To OSUE colleagues.  If you are interested in …

  • Partnering with the OSUE Homebuyer Education team in 2021, please contact Caezilia Loibl at
  • Connecting with colleagues from the 2019 – 2020 team, please see list below from the 2020 NEAFCS poster and ignite presentation
  • Sharing information about OHFA’s programs with potential homebuyers, please visit 

The Ohio State University Extension Homebuyer Education Team is pleased to celebrate a successful partnership with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.  The team will be co-presenting at the 2020 National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) Virtual Annual Session.

A list of state housing finance agencies is available from the National Council of State Housing Agencies at this website:

  • 2020 NEAFCS Ohio Homebuyer Poster
  • All of the following OSU professionals were part of the team when the application was submitted. Some of our colleagues have retired before this virtual conference. All names are listed and email links are provided for those who are currently working on this presentation. Please contact us with any questions:
    • Beth Stefura (, Caezilia Loibl (, Margaret Jenkins (, Donna Green, Patrice Powers-Barker (, Melissa Rupp (, Heather Reister (, Melanie Hart, Melinda Hill (, Amanda Osborne, Lois McCampbell, Whitney Gherman









Evidence for asset building. (2011). MassINC. Retrieved 08/03/20 from

Housing Counseling through Cooperative Extension (2017). The Bridge: The Office of Housing Counseling Newsletter. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. VOLUME 5, ISSUE 9 MARCH 2017

Loibl, C., Durhan, J., and Moulton, S. (2018). Rich Opportunities from Collaboration with a State Housing Finance Agency. Journal of Extension. v56-7 iw5. Retrieved 08/03/20 from

Myhre, M., and Elsasser Watson, N. (2017). Housing Counseling Works. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Retrieved from

Moulton, S., Collins, J., Loibl, C., and Samek, A. (2014). Effects of monitoring on mortgage delinquency: Evidence from a randomized field study. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Sackett, C. (2016).  The Evidence on Homeownership Education and Counseling. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Retrieved 08/03/20 from

Gifts from the Family Kitchen

This post share tips and links to resources for making economical, tasty and easy convenience foods from the kitchen. Instead of buying a box of instant soup, pancakes or seasonings, try these ideas for making your own. This is a project that the family can help with too! Children as young as toddlers can practice washing their hands with soap and water and helping mix the ingredients in a large bowl with the help of older children or adults.

mason jar with dry soup ingredientsGive Yourself the Gift of Time

Why pay more for convenience items at the store?  Make your own recipes to save money and time. These ideas can also be packaged to give as gifts for the holidays.


What Kinds of Recipes?

Use recipes from Extension (check out the links below) or look for recipes with all dry ingredients such as: uncooked rice or pasta, dry cereal, pretzels, dry beans, nuts, dry milk, flour, sugar, chocolate chips, spices & herbs. None of these ingredients will have to be refrigerated or frozen. If this is a gift, what would the recipient like best? For example, a young family might enjoy a quick snack mix while the gourmet cook would like a tasty, low-sodium spice blend.  Test out new recipes to make sure that the item tastes good, and the instructions are easy to follow.

Thrifty Shopping

Look for sales, compare costs of store brand to national brand, compare cost of smaller verses larger sizes and buy food in season when it is least costly or on sale.

Food Safety

Before any food preparation, clear and sanitize work area and wash hands with soap and water.  Make sure that containers are clean and completely dry before adding any ingredients.

Storage or Gift Containers

Use only containers that are designed to store food safely. Canning jars, for example, make great containers for food mixes.  If using canning jars, make sure they do not have chips or cracks.  Avoid containers that contain toxic metals, such as lead, copper, brass, zinc, antimony and cadmium.  Other gift containers include mugs for soup or drink mixes (put the mix in a plastic storage bag first before putting it in the mug) or salt or cheese shakers for spice mixes.  There are many choices of decorative food storage bags and containers at local discount or craft stores

Decorating Gift Containers

Your decorations can be as simple as attaching the recipe to the container or you can add scrap fabric, ribbon, or colored paper to decorate the outside of the package.  Tie on a candy cane, small whisk or measuring spoon for added decorations.

Information for this post was updated and adapted from Lisa Martin, EFNEP (2002)

Recipes Featured in OSU Extension Lucas County Classes

Additional Recipes and Resources

Manage Your Money 2017


We would love to learn from you! OSU Extension, Lucas County is partnering with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and the surrounding neighborhood in 2017.

Please take 5 minutes to anonymously answer 8 questions about Money.

Manage Your Money is an Ohio State University Extension six-week course to help you focus on your financial wellbeing.  Learn about individual and family values about money, where your money goes, how to save, plan your spending, limit debt and organize financial records.

In the spring of 2017, OSU Extension Lucas County partnered with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church to offer a six-week class series in South Toledo.Dates: The six-week classes were from on Wednesdays from April 19th through May 24th, 2017.

Who should attend? Any individual adult or couple who are co-spenders. High school students are welcome with a partner adult.

Patrice Powers-Barker, OSU Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences will be facilitating the course. If you are interested in reading about “Why I Am Bringing Work Home”, Patrice describes why she and her co-spender participated in the 2015 Manage Your Money Email Challenge.

Questions about this class? Contact Patrice at or 419-213-2022.

Lucas County Celebrates The International Year of the Pulses


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has named 2016 as The Year of the Pulses. Key Messages:

  • Pulses are highly nutritious
  • Pulses are economically accessible and contribute to food security at all levels
  • Pulses have important health benefits
  • Pulses foster sustainable agriculture and contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Pulses promote biodiversity

Great! Right? Do you know what a pulse is? (We’re talking about a food, not the heart rate). Even if you’ve never used the title “pulse” before, you are probably familiar with dried beans, peas and lentils. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations shares a one page Surprising Facts About Pulses You Might Not Know

So, how and why do we celebrate this #IYP2016 in our Northwest Ohio county? Although there might not currently be a lot of pulses grown in our county, they can grow here. From a community nutrition point of view, we value the nutrition, health benefits, accessibility and affordability of pulses. From an agriculture point of view, they promote biodiversity and from a social point of view, the diversity of pulses and recipes make them a valuable food item to many individuals and families.

To promote the value of pulses in our community we used the following poster about pulses in 2016: Pulse Poster, Lucas County

pulse Lucas Co 2016

We are so appreciative of our Master Gardener Volunteers! This summer they staffed the “pulse guessing game” at the Lucas County Fair and they featured pulses at their annual picnic. Can you guess the pulses in this picture?

guess the pulses game

For those interested in learning more about cooking with pulses, including the steps to take from dry seed to final product, a really helpful recipe book used by our Lucas County SNAP-Ed program is titled, The Bold and Beautiful Book of Bean Recipes by the Washington State Department of Health. The recipes are easy, tasty, healthy and low-cost!

2016 articles written by Ohio State University Extension professionals:

International Year of What? by Jenny Lobb, January 28, 2016

From International Celebration to Personal Favorites by Patrice Powers-Barker, February 16, 2016

Do You Eat Pulses? by Patrice Powers-Barker, The Sojourners Truth Newspaper, volume 37, no 1 (page 7)

Why I Am Bringing Work Home

As a Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, I feel strongly about finding a balance between work-life and home-life, but since my work is about families, sometimes it all overlaps! When my daughters were growing up and I was working with community nutrition education, they would often ask about a container of food in the refrigerator: “Is this for home, or is this for work?”.  In January 2015, I’m bringing work home as I asked my co-spender to join me in the OSU Extension Manage Your Money Email challenge. I reassured my co-spender that I was not planning to share any of our personal financial information as it won’t be asked of any participants.

The risk of personally promoting and participating in a financial challenge is that it looks like we’ve got it all together!  We don’t have it all together, but as we work on areas where we need to improve, we will not forget to applaud the past choices and decisions where we got it right. Even for individuals and couples who have extensive experience and success with a household budget, it’s always a good idea to do a regular review, especially when there are changes in who is living in the house or with income or expenses.

Why I'm Bringing Work Home

Why I’m Bringing Work Home


One activity asks participants to think about money and values and agree or disagree with a list of statements. “Agree” or “Disagree,” what would you decide about these two statements?

  • My household needs a better way to manage money.
  • I feel good about how my household handles money.

If you agree, sign up today to bring this work to your home. (this link was removed after the 2015 online challenge. For current information, please email

“Meshing different styles of handling money doesn’t just happen because people love each other. It takes effective communication, time and effort” (Manage Your Money 1-2). I am pleased that my co-spender is joining me in this challenge to continue to mesh our spending styles! For those who do not have a co-spender, the material can easily be adapted for a single person.  For you parents of teenagers, the material focuses on adults, but you can introduce these and additional topics to working teens. The information and motivation to strengthen one’s personal finances is beneficial to all.