(AP) - An Alabama Cooperative Extension System initiative is aimed at helping residents survive the financial crisis.

Extension System director Gaines Smith says the initiative, Thriving in Challenging Times, is an educational effort that kicks off Thursday.

He says it's not set up to help people rebuild and manage their stock portfolios, but, he says, the Extension System is equipped to provide them with the practical knowledge and skills they need to cope with the economic downturn.

Some tips include shopping on a limited budget, managing and overcoming debt, and saving on energy costs. He says farmers also can benefit from the initiative with help on cutting costs.

Smith says Extension System personnel statewide are involved in the effort.

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