Food for Thought: Personal Finances and COVID-19

March 24, 2020

by Mary Parker Draper, Extension Agent – Smith County

The coronavirus pandemic is causing rapid changes to our daily lives and the economy. Work hours are being reduced and jobs are being cut across many industries. University of Tennessee Extension has released three new publications to help those facing a downturn to their personal finances.

“UT Extension is here to serve Tennesseans, in times of plenty and in times of want,” says Christopher T. Sneed, consumer economics specialist with UT Extension. “These three publications are especially helpful when encountering difficult circumstances.”

Triaging Your Debt During a Money Crunch (Publication D 78) gives guidance to individuals who need to determine their spending priorities. The publication divides expenses into three levels: first priority, second priority and optional.

Identifying Your Resources (Publication D 79) can help individuals brainstorm different areas where they could receive help or support. This publication also includes a brainstorming activity for families to consider how they could possibly produce income.

Steps to Stabilize Your Financial Situation (Publication D 80) provides guidance on how to prioritize spending and set limits, identify and evaluate resources, and contact creditors when facing a difficult financial situation. This publication also includes community resource contact information and suggestions to follow when contacting lending institutions or banks.

Each of these publications are available free to read or download from the UT Extension website: To obtain a copy, click on the “publications” link in the menu bar and enter the publication name or number in the search bar.

For other financial resources for families who are struggling to make ends meet or for recommendations on how to handle a difficult financial season, contact the extension office at 615-735-2900. 

Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Stroganoff

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed       

1 envelope (1¼ ounce) dry onion soup mix

8 oz. sliced mushrooms salt and pepper to taste

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 lb. large egg noodles for serving

1 can cream of chicken soup

fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

Place the chicken in the bottom of a lightly greased slow cooker. Add the mushrooms. In a medium sized bowl add cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, and dry onion soup mix. Mix until incorporated and spread on top of chicken and mushrooms. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3-4. Serve over noodles and top with fresh parsley and salt and pepper.