Winter 1989 // Volume 27 // Number 4 // Ideas at Work // 4IAW2

Previous Article Issue Contents Previous Article

More Love Than Money


Mary Crooks
Extension Home Economist
Iowa State University-Muscatine

Bev Craig
Extension Home Economist
Oregon State University-Condon

Many farm crisis programs are aimed at basic needs of families such as food, clothing, and shelter. However, a need also exists to help families with their concerns about gift giving to family, friends, and others. Many families express reluctance to cut back on expenditures for gifts, even when they can't afford them.

The home economics committees and Extension staff in Iowa have developed a program called "More Love Than Money." The purpose is to help families and individuals look for creative ways to give gifts where the thoughtfulness and enrichment of personal relationships are emphasized rather than the dollars spent. This kind of effort has potential for any Extension program area.

The program consists of a set of slides and script that discusses the purpose of gift giving and some general ideas about gifts that reflect "more love than money." A group activity where small groups brainstorm on low-cost, creative gift ideas is included. A handout with additional ideas can be given to program participants and used as a bulletin for other audiences. The program can be done with youth, homemaker groups, farmers, or whole family groups.

The program has been used as a workshop at more comprehensive meetings on stretching resources. Extension staff have presented it to clubs and organizations. It has also been used by lay people with various groups.

This program has focused on a concern that's often overlooked in programs on financial and resource management. People who are willing to reduce expenditures for themselves may have difficulty cutting back on gifts to others. As one participant said, "I like the focus on giving of myself, my ideas, and my skills, rather than the financial investment."

The "More Love Than Money" program was piloted in two eastern Iowa counties. Since then, the slides and bulletins have been reproduced and distributed statewide.