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UF/IFAS study: Distressed older adults more likely to accept financial help

Topic(s): Agriculture, Economics, Families and Consumers, Finances

GAINESVILLE – Emotionally unstable elderly people tend to accept financial assistance more readily than their more stable peers, a new University of Florida study shows.

Martie Gillen, an assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, studied how personality traits play a role in whether elderly people are willing to accept financial assistance from others and in what form.

Gillen said the study has implications for public assistance programs, including food stamps. It may be that such programs should be better marketed to older adults, she said.

“Many elderly people are eligible for food stamps, but will not sign up for the benefits,” she said.

(more …)

UF study: Nature-based tourism often benefits local environment, economy

Topic(s): Economics, Environment, Families and Consumers, Finances, Green Living, IFAS, Research

Taylor Stein

Cutline at bottom. Click here for high-resolution image.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When nature lovers book vacations in the great outdoors, they want their dollars to help preserve the places they visit, and a University of Florida study suggests that often happens.

Research in Costa Rica, one of the world’s top destinations for nature-based tourism, showed that successful tour businesses usually invested in environmental protection and maintenance, and tour businesses of all sizes circulated money throughout local economies.

The findings could help Florida’s fledgling nature-based tourism industry increase its appeal to potential customers, said author Taylor Stein, an associate professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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Scaling back kids’ holiday gift expectations a sensitive subject, IFAS experts say

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, Finances

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — To say this year’s economy has been less than robust would be an understatement.

But with the forces of peer pressure and marketing as strong as ever, many parents find themselves trying to trim children’s lengthy wish lists without dampening their enthusiasm — or putting the family finances in jeopardy, and University of Florida experts have plenty of helpful tips.

First and foremost, says Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension agent Alicia Betancourt: It’s not about the presents.

“What kids really want, in all honesty, what they remember from year to year, is the time that’s spent together,” said Betancourt, based in Monroe County. “Focus more on family traditions, or creating new ones — whether it’s making cookies, going caroling or taking in a play.”

Betancourt suggests taking children to browse the toy store, so that they see for themselves that toys are often much smaller and less exciting than TV ads make them seem.

Kids of all ages can be asked, if not to shorten a wish list, to point to the two or three gifts they’re most excited about, she said.
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More Floridians Ready to Grow Their Own Groceries, IFAS Experts Say

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, Finances, Vegetables
  • By:
    Mickie Anderson – (352) 273-3566
  • Source:
    Sydney Park Brown – spbrown@ufl.edu, (813) 757-2286

Erv Hannan harvests cauliflower from his garden plot on the school's main campus in Gainesville
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With the nation’s economy withering, University of Florida experts say many state residents are looking to put food on the table – by growing it.

Sydney Park Brown, a UF extension specialist with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, said extension agents around the state have noticed a big uptick in interest about vegetable gardening. (more …)

Many Turning to Home Gardening – Minus the Dirt

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, Finances, RECs, Vegetables
  • By:
    Stu Hutson – (352) 273-3569
  • Source:
    Bob Hochmuth – bobhoch@ufl.edu, (386) 362-1725

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Today’s economically spurred resurgence of the home vegetable grower can’t entirely be dubbed a "return to the earth." Many burgeoning farmers aren’t breaking soil, they’re using hydroponics.

"There are a lot of new people interested in growing, and many of them are realizing that hydroponics just makes a lot more sense," said Bob Hochmuth, a multicounty agent with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "It’s one of the most reliable ways to grow crops. And, for people that don’t have a lot of land, which I think is a lot of these new growers, it’s a more cost-effective investment." (more …)

New UF Publication Aims to Help Families Manage Financial Difficulties

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, Finances

Mike Gutter poses with the booklet 'Managing in Tough Times'
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — To help families struggling to make ends meet, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has published a new bottom-line guide to personal finances. Titled “Managing in Tough Times,” the 40-page booklet is available free at county extension offices and online at fycs.ifas.ufl.edu. (more …)

UF Extension Fact Sheets Offer Energy-Saving Information

Topic(s): Conservation, Families and Consumers, Finances, Green Living

Gainesville, Fla. — Planning to buy a new ceiling fan for your bedroom? Want to make some easy changes to increase your home’s energy efficiency? Wondering if it’s time to replace that 12-year-old refrigerator? Confused about what features to look for when purchasing a new air conditioner? The University of Florida, with the support of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, has developed some answers.

Over the past two months, the statewide UF extension service has released a series of 20 fact sheets with a common theme: conservation of energy and water. The fact sheets give the reader information about making wise, energy- and water-efficient choices when purchasing, occupying or maintaining their home. (more …)

UF Family Finance Expert Gives Top 10 ‘What Not to Do’ List for Taxpayers

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, Finances

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Tax season is one of the most stressful times of the year. And a University of Florida expert cautions against making common mistakes that can complicate matters as we go about accounting for our income with the federal government.

So Michael Gutter, an assistant professor in family financial management with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, has compiled a list of Americans’ top 10 tax-season gaffes. (more …)

UF Research Shows Termite Damage Cuts Insulation Values by Nearly 75 Percent

Topic(s): Conservation, Families and Consumers, Finances, Household Pests

Cynthia Tucker and Roberto Pereira use a thermal imaging camera to measure heat transfer through building materials damaged by termites
View Photo

GAINESVILLE, FLA. — Termites aren’t just out to eat the wood in your home. A new University of Florida study shows the voracious insects like to feast on your home’s insulation, too – making it nearly 75 percent less effective.

In tests measuring how termites damage the thermal properties or insulation in homes and other buildings, three types of widely used construction materials – 2-by-4 boards, five-ply plywood and foam board insulation – were exposed to the pest for eight weeks by entomologists at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (more …)

Next Week’s ‘Florida Saves’ Campaign Urges State Residents to Save for a Rainy Day

Topic(s): CALS, Economics, Finances, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Expect a call from your conscience next week, telling you it’s time to blow the dust off that piggy bank.

The organizers behind Florida Saves and UF Saves – both part of a national push called America Saves – don’t mind nagging. During America Saves Week, which runs from Feb. 24 through March 2, the state and campus organizations will host activities intended to get residents focused on their financial futures. (more …)

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