Money Skills for Tough Times

This page provides links to the worksheets, online calculators, and other tools mentioned in the webinar, Money Skills for Tough Times.

On this website, KarenChanFinancialEd.com:
  • Covid19 & Your Finances explains government assistance programs set up to help people through the pandemic, and links to many reliable sources for additional information.
  • Twelve Months to Take Charge of Your Finances provides downloadable worksheets, links to online calculators, and other tools for specific money management tasks including:
    • Monthly Expenses Worksheet (Month 1)
    • Weekly Expense Tracker (Month 2)
    • Debt Reduction Worksheet from the Savings Fitness book (Month 3)

Savings Fitness, a publication of the U. S. Department of Labor, has several excellent worksheets in the appendix. There are also interactive, online versions of the worksheets.

University of Illinois Extension trains Money Mentors, and many of the Money Mentor resources are available online for free. Scroll down the page and click the Resources tab. These include a budget worksheet, a worksheet for estimating Occasional and Seasonal Expenses, and more.

Tools for tracking expenses

Apps for tracking expenses – useful review to help you choose:

Envelop budgeting can be a useful approach. Wikihow has a good explanation.

Financial additional income or resources

Unemployment insurance: Some expansions for COVID-19 are still in effect. Use this link to go directly to the section of Karen’s COVID-19 webpage about unemployment https://bit.ly/COVID-Unemployed .

Report fraudulent unemployment claims in your name to your state. For Illinois, report it to the Illinois Department of Economic Security.

Karen’s COVID-19 webpage also includes links to existing government assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps), LIHEAP (low Income Heat & Energy Assistance Program), Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Creating a Debt Repayment Plan

PowerPay is a free, online tool created by Utah State University Extension. A version is also available for I-Phone users.

Money Smart Week 2020 has been cancelled. Click the image for more details.
Freeze Your Credit Reports for Free

As of September 21, 2018, anyone can freeze, unfreeze, or temporarily thaw a credit report for free. You must do this separately with each of the three major credit reporting agencies:

Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services or 800-685-1111

Experian.com/help or 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

TransUnion.com/credit-help or 888-909-8872

How will the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 affect you?

There are lots of moving parts to the new tax law, making it difficult to know how it will affect you beginning in 2018.  In three posts that I wrote for University of Illinois Extension’s Plan Well – Retire Well blog, I explain these changes.

  1. To see how your 2018 return will compare to your 2017, Check this head-to-head, line-by-line comparison of your 2017 and 2018 tax returns
  2. To understand how the changes will affect you, you need to know something about Tax Rates
  3. Other changes include Inflation Adjustments, IRAs, 529 Plans, ABLE Accounts, Student Loans, & Estate Tax
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