Tag Archives: cash money

Is Further Education Worth It?

Standard
Is Further Education Worth It?

Going into further education after leaving school seems like the best option for many. At eighteen years old, you don’t know what you want to do. So instead of going full time at a job you despise and would love to bring down from the inside, you choose to pursue the highs and lows of university life.

But is it all worth it? Tuition fees have skyrocketed, and continue to raise, leaving graduates mired in debt. Furthermore, the jobs you wanted aren’t available, too many applicants, not enough positions. Was your three, four, or five years sitting hungover in lecture halls a waste of time?

Finances:

A student loan will ease a lot of money troubles when at university, but it is afterwards that you need to worry about. To combat this, some choose to work while they study, but for those who don’t want to or can’t, then you need to consider what financial shape you will be in upon graduating.

While there are national student debt relief programs available to help graduates through this, you should also consider other ways of paying off your loans. It is smart to begin paying back as soon as you graduate. Otherwise, you will find it hard to start prioritizing your debt when you need to pay for rent, food, and everything in between.

Health:

You are allowed to let loose at college. If you aren’t there for the social side, then you will miss out big time on some priceless experiences. But doing this can cause your health to suffer in the long run. People get so into the party lifestyle that they can develop conditions such as alcoholism or nicotine addiction due to their actions while studying.

It’s hard to keep on top of your health; you eat what and when you can and many often suffer from the Freshman Fifteen when first starting. You have so much free time at university that it pays to get into good habits then and not try to repair the damage later. Furthermore, the stress that comes from student debt and deadlines can hurt your mental health, as well. However, universities will offer free counseling if you find yourself struggling to cope with the demands.

Career:

Studying something at university is supposed to set you up for entering a related career in the future. But how many people have you met who studied something, say marketing, and are still droning away behind a till?

It takes time to find the job that you want, and getting it straight out of university is unlikely, but now we are seeing people some five or more years in the future still working away at the same job they had in school. Some people have taken steps towards fixing this by retraining later in life to give them much-needed experience, without having to quit their job.

So, if you want to go to university, then go for it. This isn’t supposed to warn you off pursuing further education. But you know yourself, and you need to be aware of what the future may hold upon graduation. Most people who graduated will tell you that university is worth it, but not necessarily in the way that you might think.

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Advertisements

Can I Trust My College With My Student Loans?

Standard
Can I Trust My College With My Student Loans?

Congrats! You’re going to college. All of those years of studying hard and living at home have finally paid off. Within a couple of months, the bags and boxes will be full and you’ll be ready to meet your roommate. What a time to be alive (lol). Well, it is as long as you make it that far. If there is one thing that we know about higher education, it’s the price. According to The Economist, the average student loan debt is $37,172. It doesn’t matter how many weekend jobs you have because you ain’t going to save that money.

So, this is where the government comes in handy and finally pulls its weight and lends you the money. And, you gladly hand it over to the college of your choice without a second thought. Wait a minute, though. What if that was a mistake? These are the signs that you can trust a college with your student loan, because things can go south very quickly:

Retail Price:

Career coaches won’t tell you to do this, but what’s the point of being a teenager if you aren’t going to rebel (YOLO.)? Think of a college like property. Before you make an offer, the savvy thing to do is check the prices throughout the neighborhood. That way, no one gets conned over the price. Universities are the same because they will try and charge extra for a course which is no different to its competitors. They might have an “excuse”, but it has to be a good one. As a rule, the majority of the courses throughout the major colleges are the same, barring a feature or two. An establishment that is trying to milk you for as much as possible isn’t a trustworthy one.

The Paper Trail:

The foundations of a con doesn’t change from the bottom to the very top. Whether you’re dealing with a petty criminal or a rogue college, they all require trust. Not to be cynical, but keep your cards close to your chest. Again, not something a counselor would advocate, yet an important piece of advice, nonetheless. Fake unis and colleges attempting to improve their bottom line act like butter wouldn’t melt. So, the idea of education fraud doesn’t even appear on a potential student’s radar, not unless it’s on Call of Duty. However, it’s a problem which is impacting the school systems around the world. The good news, is that a receipt of payment is a simple fix. I know you wanted something a bit more James Bondish, but there are no fancy gadgets here. Nope, it’s just a piece of paper with the time, date, and a total amount.

Their Reputation:

Universities aren’t exempt from the rumor mill. Whether it’s Oxford and Harvard or a community college, campus gossip is something that you shouldn’t always take with a grain of salt. There will always be rumors and experiences from previous students. If you hear anything that sounds sketchy in the murky underworld that is higher education, don’t be afraid to investigate. A little piece of gossip can be the difference between tens of thousands of good debt, and a fraud case.

Keep in mind that all colleges aren’t the beacon of morality of which they claim. Some are dishonest and unreliable, plain and simple. Do your research, because your student loans are going to impact you until you finally pay them off.

Featured Image By: Flickr

Moving Past Open Mics With Your Indie Band

Standard
Moving Past Open Mics With Your Indie Band

Sure, there are people out there who are going to tell you that now is the time to be a musician for the simple fact that there are more avenues than ever to explore. But just because there are a lot more ways to get heard does not mean that it is easier. In fact, being an indie band now is probably harder than ever before for the simple fact that there are so many options. Playing yet another gig at yet another tavern hidden way off the beaten track, the kind of place that makes you pay for your own water is not exactly a great way of making it. Don’t believe us, just look at your band’s communal wallet.

However, just because you’re broke and living at your bass player’s mom’s house does not mean that you should give up the dream. That is because you can still make it and live out your dream of touring some far-off country where fans chant your name in their adorable local accents. It is just about following the rules and knowing how to maximize your chances.

Of course, telling you that and then skipping town would hardly be rock n’ roll of us. So, to help you start living the dream and escape your bass player’s mom’s house (No offense, Barbara.), we have pulled together a list of insider tips and tricks. Check it out:

  1. Get To Know Your Fans Like The Back of Your Hand:

Pennies are short and, for some reason, no record labels seem to hang around open mic night’s held in Big Dave’s Garage (lol.). Basically, there is no sign of an advance floating your way just yet, which means your fans are your biggest financial life jacket. That is why you need to make sure that you are giving your fans something for their loyalty and love. Get to know the names of those guys and girls that are always in the front row. Give your fans a way of listening to exclusive music or interviews by creating a band website and then sharing this sort of content there. Share video recordings of acoustic sessions and behind the scenes banter on your social media pages and make sure that you are replying to any comments or messages that float your way. We used the life jacket analogy for a reason because, in the same way, you need to inflate your life jacket by blowing air into it, you need to give your fans something in return for being so awesome.

bandd1

 Party over hereeee!

  1. Play Your Strengths As Well As Your Guitar:

Every band has their own strengths, so make sure that you are aware of what yours are and then play to them in every way possible. Just being great songwriters with above average talent and the technical know-how when it comes to uploading your music onto Soundcloud, Youtube, Spotify or whatever else isn’t enough. You need to find other ways to shove your musical abilities into the realms of greatness, and that requires a little bit of magic (aka creativity). If you’re a band that offers more stage presence than the lovechild of Katy Perry and Bruno Mars, then try and play as many live gigs as possible, and maybe even consider getting a residency somewhere. Not only will you get paid, but you will see your star start to rise as more and more people see you. It could be that your sense of humor is your secret weapon, in which case document this and share it, get interviews with niche magazines and little radio stations, and then let this personality of yours show in your music videos. OK Go became famous for their viral worthy music videos, which means that it is totally possible to emulate this approach to success.

bandd2

 A cool band name is a must!

  1. Grab People By The Eyes And Ears:

Having a sound that people recognize is one of the most important factors when it comes to carving out some Top Of The Pops like success. But so is having the right visual branding, too. That is why it is worth spending a little bit of time and money (Presumably borrowed from your parents. Barbara, we’re looking at you.) on a graphic designer. This branding of yours is going to be stamped across all of your promotional material – Facebook page profile pictures, website homepage, Instagram, flyers, album covers, t-shirts, USB drives, and pub mic-night posters – and will help establish your place in the industry. Think about some of the greatest and most famous bands to ever walk the boards of the biggest venues. The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Run DMC, Daft Punk. All of these legends created a visual identity so powerful that just their shadows would halt you in your tracks. Basically, get your branding right and you’ll have people want to sport your promotional products, whether t-shirts or posters, and that will spread the good word faster than the flu.

  1. Forget All About A Record Deal. Period.

No one from a record deal is going to turn up at one of your small gigs – or your bass player’s mom’s house (No offense, Barbara.) and hand you the golden ticket that is a record deal. That just isn’t going to happen, nor should you want that to happen. The hard work is there to be enjoyed, used in your music, and make you successful. Most importantly, though, you need to understand that no record label has a secret recipe that guarantees success. They just don’t. Instead, they pick up talent based on their independent success; so they will pick you up based on your independent success. That is what you want. You want to use this as a bargaining chip should the day ever come where labels start to notice you instead of getting snapped up early and dropped or, worse, hung out to dry. Concentrate on what you are doing, focus on your trade and doing your own thing; that is what will lead to success – not trying to chase the money and the labels.

Being in a band is cool. Finding success in something you love is cooler. Prepare for a lot of hard work and with just a little bit of luck, you won’t be crashing on Barbara’s couch for much longer.

Featured Image By: Pexels

Cleaning Out My Closet

Standard
Cleaning Out My Closet

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday! Okay. We all know by now that I am a clothing hoarder. Everything from accessories and shoes to purses and a closet full of gorgeous duds – I have a lot of it. It’s no secret that I love to shop, BUT it’s also not a secret that I rarely do a closet overhaul because I never know when I might need that five year old cardigan!!

My clothes make me happy to look at, but even I have to admit that it was becoming a chore to squeeze new purchases into my overflowing closet and dresser. This past week, I made an effort to go through my clothing collection and take the rejects to Plato’s Closet and then donate the items that they didn’t want. I have to say – it was really hard!!

During my closet clean out, I tried to follow the “if I haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it” rule. However, this proved to be pretty difficult since I really do wear everything that I own. When I go on shopping trips, I purchase things that I know that I will get a lot of use out of. I am mindful of the quality of the piece that I’m considering and if it will still be in excellent condition one, two, or five years from now. So, with that in mind, you can see how this overhaul was a struggle. It was seriously almost like trying to decide which one of my two beloved dogs that I like the least. Lol, as you can see – I really love my clothes!!

Despite what myself and the good lord knows was a difficult task, I was able to manage filling up my vacation bag with clothes and accessories to take to Plato’s Closet. Although I do try and wear all of the pieces in my wardrobe as often as I can, there definitely were some items that haven’t been in the spotlight for quite some time. Maybe not an entire year’s worth of time, but long enough that I could picture myself without having the top, bottoms, etc. So, into the bag it went.

I would be a liar if I said that I wasn’t pleased with myself. Even though I had a hard time with my closet clean out, I still managed to purge a decent amount of stuff. With an “I just finished a marathon” smile on my face, I made my way to Plato’s Closet to see if I could get myself at least a tank of gas with my fallen clothing friends. I had a pretty good feeling about this, because I take excellent care of my clothes to the point where my wardrobe looks like it’s filled with brand new pieces. But:

APPARENTLY PLATO’S CLOSET DIDN’T THINK SO!!!

Plato’s Closet baffles me – which is why I don’t even like going into the store. They always seem to take the clothing that I wasn’t confident that they would want but threw in the bag anyways, rather than the actual nice pieces that I have to offer. Out of the lovely fall coats and sweaters that I was willing to part with, they ended up taking the random odds and ends of my unwanted items, instead.

It was just confusing to me as to how I only received seventeen dollars for clothing that I know will be marked up to an ungodly price. Does this sound petty? Yes. But it’s okay, because everyone who has sold to Plato’s Closet before has thought that so it definitely needed saying. Of course, I’m happy to be rid of some if the items collecting dust in my closet, but there’s always going to be that “wtf” confusion when an old T-shirt was chosen rather than something with the tags still on it (Gifts! I buy my clothes to wear, remember?)!

Am I bitter? I’m always bitter. But, I did get a tank of gas out of my closet cleaning Plato’s Closet excursion, which is what I set out to do, so it’s cool. (It’s not.)

Cleaning Out My Closet proved to be immensely difficult and the payoff was minimal, but I’m glad to have gotten it over with! What are your closet cleaning tips? What are your thoughts on Plato’s Closet? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: PopKey

DIY Lies That You Should Never Listen To

Standard
DIY Lies That You Should Never Listen To

DIY work is something that everyone has tried at some point in their lives. Perhaps you have tried to put together a fence in the garden or maybe attempted to repair something in the kitchen. Some are successful…. some aren’t. DIY success depends on a number of different factors, but there is one major source of information that everyone attempts to follow when they’re presented with a broken appliance or issue: the internet.

The internet is full of useful facts, information, and tutorials that can teach us everything from how to dance to how we can use cardboard boxes as furniture. It goes without saying that the internet is a valuable learning resource, but there’s one problem that far too many people overlook; is the information even credible?

With so many articles and blogs on the internet, it can sometimes be hard trying to discern if something is true or false. In this article, we’ll be going through some of the most common lies that people tell you about DIY and why they’re false. This is to prevent you from making bad decisions when it comes to home repairs and also to alert you about the dangers of false information on the internet.

DIY Is Cheaper Than Calling A Contractor:

Perhaps the biggest flaw in this way of thinking is that DIY is the cheaper option. This assumes that you already have all of the tools and materials to do whatever repair or renovation that you want. And we all know that this can be expensive! Let’s assume that you want to repair a leaking pipe in your bathroom. Not only do you need to purchase the right tools for the job, but you also need to purchase the materials, such as piping, and it needs to be cut to size and shaped appropriately. Add in the additional cost of delivery and you’re going to be paying more than it would cost to hire someone to repair it for you. If you look at plumbing services, such as www.alltex-plumbing.com, you’ll find that it’s actually fairly cheap to hire a contractor. Compare this to the cost of learning something, purchasing the tools, and getting the materials and you’ll see how much cheaper it actually is.

DIY Is Easy to Learn:

DIY is never easy to learn. Among all of the articles that you might read and tutorial videos that you can watch, there’s going to be some information missing. Most of those people usually aren’t qualified teachers, which means that they aren’t exactly the best at explaining things. In addition, experience is what makes a good contractor and unless you have a large supply of broken appliances to fix, it’s difficult to get enough practice in. Small DIY projects can be fun and fulfilling, but larger repair projects should be left to the pros.

In short, DIY is not easy to learn and it’s not cheap, either. If you’re absolutely certain about learning DIY, then you can check websites, such as https://www.familyhandyman.com/skills, to get more information. Just be warned; you need to dedicate yourself to DIY if you really want to get something out of it. And all of the Pinterest projects will be waiting for you when you’re ready!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Understanding Reverse Mortgages

Standard
Understanding Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a way to increase the money that you have during your retirement by accessing part of your home’s value in the form of actual money. You can borrow up to a certain percentage of the value of your home, and you won’t have to pay it back in the same way that you would a regular home loan. The only monthly installments involved will be the ones that the lender pays to you, unless you request to borrow a large amount at once. You can pay back a reverse loan whenever you want, as long as you don’t move away.

As soon as you leave, the lender can exercise their right to call in the loan, and they can also sell the home to get their money. But, as long as you plan to stay in your house for a while, a reverse mortgage can provide a much needed financial boost in times of trouble.

Who qualifies for a reverse mortgage? There are certain requirements in order to qualify for a reverse mortgage. An individual must own their home outright. If there is still a mortgage balance owed, it must be low enough that it can be paid off at closing. The homeowner is still required to pay property taxes and insurance, so they must have the finances to do so. The individual must be at least 62 years old or, if there are multiple owners, the youngest must be at least 62 years old.

When does a reverse mortgage become due? The reverse mortgage becomes due when the homeowner sells the house, moves out of the property, or becomes deceased. If there are multiple owners, the mortgage does not become due as long as at least one of them still remains in the home as a primary residence. Once the reverse mortgage is due, the balance of the loan must be paid back within six months.

What happens with the estate? In the event that the homeowner or owners are deceased, beneficiaries of the estate can choose to place the property for sale. If the estate sells for more than the amount of the reverse mortgage, the proceeds become the property of the beneficiaries. Should the house sell for less than the total amount of the reverse mortgage, the lender must take the loss. The debt cannot be passed along to the heirs of the estate.

The estate beneficiaries may, instead, choose to pay back the reverse mortgage in order to retain ownership of the property. In this event, they must pay back any balance remaining on the mortgage. This can be done either by using financial assets or by refinancing the mortgage.

What if I change my mind? If a senior citizen obtains a reverse mortgage and then reconsiders, they have the option of paying back the loan early. Prior to September of 2012, lenders could charge a penalty for repaying the loan prior to term. Since then, penalties for prepayments are illegal. However, lenders may charge other administrative fees for processing the early discharge of the loan.

Reverse mortgage counseling: Deciding if a reverse mortgage is right for you depends on many factors, and consumers need to understand all of the pros and cons. An impartial reverse mortgage counselor can fully explain exactly what the loan entails. This counseling is mandatory in order to protect consumers. Counseling may be done face-to-face or over the phone. After providing counseling, the counselor must sign an HECM Counseling Certificate and mail a copy to the homeowner. The copy is presented to the lender along with the reverse mortgage application.

Let’s be honest, any type of financing when it comes to your home can be confusing. It is always best to handle your affairs with the utmost care and to consider how each of your options, like a reverse mortgage, fits into your current lifestyle.

Featured Image By: Flickr

Money Management For Summer Fun

Standard
Money Management For Summer Fun

The summer season is unquestionably the greatest time of the year. It offers the opportunity for non-stop fun through a wide array of activities. Sadly, though, those ventures can hit your wallet hard. So, needless to say, finding the right balance between amazing summer adventures and not breaking the bank is essential.

Summer is the perfect time to start generating savings at home because with vacas and day trips, you won’t be there as often. However, you will still be there sometimes, which is why you need to have some entertainment features on hand. You could probably cut down your TV package without noticing the difference, I’m sure there’s countless channels that go unused! Try downloading the Cinemabox movie app for access to the latest films and shows. Not only does it save money, but it also gives you the option to watch from the back yard hammock or on the move.

Speaking of the back yard, that could be one of your greatest assets throughout this part of the year, too. Nothing beats relaxing on the patio with rattan furniture. Whether it’s a relaxed evening with a book or spending family time together in the evening doesn’t matter. Those joys are better than anything offered during the colder months. Best of all, enjoying the garden is virtually free. Your lush back yard could even become your new place for social activities. Invite friends over for a summer BBQ or garden party, and it’ll be far cheaper than heading out to the local bar. And, let’s be honest, this option sounds like a lot more fun!

There are many other ways to save money at home during the summer. This is the ideal opportunity to complete various home upgrade tasks for long-term rewards. Increasing the home insulation will work wonders that will truly pay dividends in the winter. Meanwhile, looking for cheaper energy quotes can help decrease the bills even further. Growing food and generally living a greener life should bring ample rewards, too. Of course, it might be a bit late in the year to start with certain fruits and veggies. But that’s okay! Do your research and learn what types of produce grow best for this time of year and in your area and you’ll be well on your way to delicious summer salads in no time!

You will still inevitably go out on various occasions – it is summer, after all. The key is to make smarter choices. Leave the expensive internal activities for the autumn through spring. The summer months should be filled with hikes, sports, and exploration. I’m sure we’ll all be longing for those opportunities once the weather gets worse.

summer7

Pretty!

Vacations are another crucial part of the summer. Most families have their big trip of the year during this time. Be sure to follow these ideas for a non-budget breaking holiday so that you can score the best deals during your big vaca. Money shouldn’t dictate every decision that you make in life. But maintaining a greater sense of control over your finances will enhance the summer and the rest of your year. If you can generate those savings without sacrificing your enjoyment, then you’re in for a fabulous summer, for sure!

Featured Image By: Pixabay