Category Archives: Resources

Illinois Has a Big Unemployment Problem

Illinois has an unemployment problem. Greedy and incompetent politicians ran the state into the ground. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Illinois’ average unemployment rate as 6.01 percent. The nation’s average was 4.85.

A leading factor in the unemployment problem is the state’s financial woes. Illinois has more than $14 billion in unpaid debts, a running deficit of $6 billion, and a pension liability that is $130 billion. Moreover, the state hasn’t passed a budget in two years, which has sunk its bond rating.

Surviving the Financial Crisis

It’s a terrible situation for the state’s unemployed population. If you’re unemployed, you’re urged to apply for Illinois unemployment as soon as possible. It’s one of the few state-funded programs that receives funding, because unemployment funds are in special reserve. The Department of Employment Security collects unemployment insurance from employers, and it’s used only to pay unemployed workers.

You may find that unemployment benefits are the only benefits the state can provide. It’s a dire situation in Illinois currently. Social service agencies are closing shop. There is little funding to provide low income people with temporary assistance, such as food stamps or cash assistance.

Historically, unemployed people would attend universities or community colleges with state-provided grant funds. The state’s universities aren’t receiving enough funding, and their enrollment numbers are way down. If going back to school was in your plan, you may find yourself paying out of pocket for some (if not all) of the costs.

Before you write off furthering your education, consider what federal funding is available to you. In 2009, Obama increased Pell grant benefits. This may be enough to fund your higher education.

Managing Your Finances

Plain and simple the state is hemorrhaging money, so what can you do to get back on your feet? You can become a better money manager. If you have some savings, try not to touch it. Try to rely only on the money coming in if you can, and try to spend as little as possible.

Create a budget and use it to determine how you’re spending money. You’ll need to quantify your daily spending and determine exactly where to make cuts. Eating out, extraneous shopping, and cable television may need to be cut so you can survive this difficult time.

That doesn’t mean you should suffer, but try to limit treats. If you and your spouse went to dinner and a movie once a week, try reducing date night to once a month and doing one or the other. Dinner at home and then a movie; or, dinner at a restaurant and a movie at home.

It goes without saying that now isn’t the time to make any big new purchases; however, you could renegotiate the cost of the expensive things you already own. You could consider refinancing your auto or home loans for lower cost payments and reduced interest rates. If your credit score is good and you have a history of paying on time, you could be a candidate for refinance.

You should communicate your unemployed status to all your creditors, including any credit cards you may have opened. They may be willing to lower your payment, or they will defer payments for a period of time (usually 90 to 180 days). If you’re able to get deferments, your credit score will not be affected.

Don’t stop looking for employment. The state’s unemployment program will help you in your job search, but you can help yourself, too. Set up Google alerts for open positions in your field. Although the state is broke, it’s not completely broken. Some programs are still functioning, so find out which government programs are available and contact them to see if you qualify for help.

 

Free Activities that are Free to Do

Are you on a tight budget and have cut out so many pay-to-do activities? Check out these nine free activities that are, well, free!

Participate in a Library Event

No matter if it’s for education or entertainment, the library has hosts of activities free to the public. Some city libraries have free passes for family’s to enjoy a day at a museum, zoo, or other city educational attractions.

Go to the Concert in the Park Night

Many cities offer a free concert or movies in the park night. Here, all you’ll need is to bring your blanket and a few snacks to enjoy a free night out. These are typically held in the summertime, and many are open for kids to enjoy as well. Either way, it’s plenty of room for them to run about should they get bored.

Host a Movie Marathon

If you don’t want to travel far, consider hosting a movie marathon at home with a group of close friends. You can supply a movie from your collection or stream free movies online. Your friends can all bring a dish or favorite snack as well.

Host a Clothing Swap Party

Another free activity is to clean up around your home. You can get rid of old clothes you no longer need. To make it a fun activity, invite a few friends over. Make it a clothing swap party. This is perfect for friends who have kids in various age ranges.

Host a Beauty Day

You and your friends may have many talents. Each of you can think of the perfect makeover you specialize in. Each person can partake in giving facials, manicures/pedicures, massages, or applying makeup.

Start a Blog

Are you interested in expressing your feelings? Start a blog for free today. It takes only a few moments to get a free blog set up on Blogger or WordPress. It’s fun to do and you can even monetize it in the future should you choose.

Work on a DIY Activity

If you love crafts or just want to get a few things accomplished around your home, go ahead and work on a DIY activity. A few craft ideas include:

  • Painting furniture
  • Wall art
  • Storage space ideas

Learn a New Skill Online

Since you have free time, why not learn a new skill? Check out online sites such as YouTube, Khan Academy, and Udemy for free videos that teach you how to do practically anything. Learn how to draw, brush up on a particular software skill, or learn how to start a business.

Prep Meals for the Week

Are you looking for a way to be more productive with meal time? How about prepping your meals for the week. If you have most of your items, freezer meals make an excellent choice. These meals include preparing soups, casseroles, and meat dishes. If you plan them right, the meals are healthy and affordable.

The above nine activities are perfect to do when you need to save some serious money. They are fun, don’t require much work, and something you may do.

9 Steps to Patching Your Lawn Tractor’s Tires

If you have a lawn tractor, it’s likely that at some point you’ll get a leak in one of the tires. When this happens, you’ll need to patch the tire. This will allow you to continue to get use out of the tire before having to get a new one. There are a few steps you’ll need to take to patch your tire.

1. Remove the Tire

The first thing you need to do is take the tire off the lawn tractor. This will allow you the best maneuverability with the tire, ensuring that you’re able to figure out where the hole is and get it patched in the quickest time possible.

2. Locate and Mark the Hole

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Image via Flickr by °Florian

After you’ve taken the tire off the lawn tractor, you need to figure out exactly where the hole is. In some cases this will be extremely obvious. If you’ve run over a screw or nail, the hole is going to be where the metal is.

However, in other cases you may need to figure out where the leak is coming from, by doing testing, such as holding your hand over different spots on the tire, to see if you can feel air coming out. Once you’ve found the leak, make sure to mark it, so that you can find it again later.

3. Remove the Tire From the Rim

You need to make sure to get the tire off the rim, without doing more damage. You can do this with a tire machine, or by carefully prying the tire off the metal. Once you’ve removed the tire, you need to flip it inside out. This will allow you to patch the tire from the inside. This is important, as you don’t want the patch to easily wear away as you’re driving down the road.

4. Buff Around the Hole

You need to make sure that the patch will hold. One of the best ways you can ensure this is by buffing around the hole. You can do this with a number of instruments, including a Dremel and sanding bit. Be careful about how long you buff the area, as you don’t want to create another hole or other problems with the tire. Buff it just long enough that the area is smooth and the patch will stick. If the hole is too big, you may want to consider getting a new tire.

5. Apply Vulcanizing Fluid

It’s important to make sure that fluid doesn’t get into the tire through the hole. To keep water out, you need to make sure to apply vulcanizing fluid around the hole. You will apply this to the entire area you buffed. You should only apply a thin layer; don’t apply enough to let it pool, but make sure that there’s enough to cover the entire area. Allow this to dry, which usually takes 5-10 minutes.

6. Attach the Sticky Side of the Patch

Take off the plastic from the patch, and apply the sticky side to the inside of the tire. Hold this on the tire. Make sure you have lined it up correctly, so that you don’t have to pull it off and try again. If you do have to pull the patch off, you may want to consider using a new one.

7. Pull the Pointy Part Through

When you apply the patch, you need to make sure that the pointy part of the piece is lined up with the hole in the tire. Poke the pointy part through the hole, so that it sticks out the front of the tire. With a pair of pliers, grab this. You will need to pull the pointy end through the tire. This will fully press the sticky part of the patch to the hole in the tire. When the plug is set, the pointy section should easily pull out.

8. Ensure the Patch is in With a Roller

After the patch has been applied, use a patch roller to make sure that it is completely stuck on the tire. As you roll this over the patch, it will help press the patch against the tire, and help you know that the patch is completely on the tire.

9. Remount and Reapply the Tire

Once the patch is applied, you’ll need to remount the tire to the rim. After this, you should add air to the tire, and balance it. Once this is all completed, you can reapply the tire to the lawn tractor.

Fixing a leak in your tire is easier than many realize. With only 9 steps, you can fix your flat tire.