Tag Archives: moolah

Can I Trust My College With My Student Loans?

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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

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Understanding Reverse Mortgages

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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

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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.

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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

Summer Travels On A Budget

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Summer Travels On A Budget

Hello everyone and welcome to my darling friend, Amy’s, post for my Salute To Summer guest bloggers series. Amy is the author of the blog, An Ambivert Lifestyle, and it is AMAZING so definitely take a look and give it all the love. As you guys know, my life motto is “ballin on a budget” so, naturally, Amy’s post about embracing a travel lifestyle while being smart with your cash speaks to me on a spiritual level. Take a look at Amy’s how to guide on how to make the most of your moolah on your summer vaca:

Summer Travels On A Budget

Traveling isn’t an easy task. Planning and preparing for the trip is one of the most stressful things that you can do to yourself. From working more hours and skipping nights out to save up to unexpected costs before your trip also contributes to this stress. Personally, as a full-time student and a full-time employee, it is extremely hard, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve to traveling on a budget and finding great deals. Being a college student and a frugal spender, I like to explore deals on flights on the internet, books, personal experience, and word of mouth.

Finding Deals on Flights

  • Student Universe – This company provides less expensive flights for students. They work with 80+ airlines to get cheaper flights listed than anywhere else. This site is truly magical. Not only do they provide deals on flights, but they also offer deals on tours, hotels, and group travel. For members, they provide even more deals for special rates.
  • Private Browsing – This is super important! Whenever you are searching for flights, go on “Private Browsing” on whatever internet browser you use. Airline companies pay big money to know what consumers are searching, so if you visited a certain flight over and over again, they increase prices so you can buy faster.
  • Skyscanner – This helps you scan flights of your choosing through all the different airline companies. You can also see prices on different dates, as well, for convenience.
  • Booking flights on Wednesdays! – This is such an easy trick. Almost all of the time, flights will be consistently lower than the rest of the weekdays since they consider this day to have the most amount of seats available, so prices are lowered to fill the planes.
  • Check social medias and your email! – Usually, airline companies will email deals and promo codes for flights for a period of time. These have saved my bacon many times.
  • Get a refund! – No, really! If you purchased a ticket and the fare has dropped since you bought it, call/email them to ask for a refund for the difference. It may not always work, but the fact that it has worked with certain airline companies is amazing! Websites such as Yapta and Orbitz track your purchased flights and let you know. Easy.
  • Champ through several stop flights – It isn’t easy and most of the time it isn’t fun. The majority of the time these stops are red eyes. It sucks, but being able to spend a couple hundred dollars to be able to buy that souvenir for you girlfriend’s cousin’s mom is worth it.
  • Airfare Errors – This is your best friend. Websites such as AirFare Watchdog and Secret Flying can be used to allow you to beat the system and stalk for mistake fares.

While Traveling Do’s

  • Research ahead of time – If you travel to a foreign land, it’s best that you research where you want to go first instead of winging it. I have spent so much more money than expected when I have winged it.
  • Look up places that do not charge admission – You’d be surprised at how many museums do not charge admission fees throughout the world. I always do this when I go on vacations because it gives you something to do that’s fun, while keeping money in your pocket.
  • Foreign Exchange at your bank – Some people don’t know this but some banks will actually let you exchange currencies right there. Sometimes the rates are cheaper than when you’re traveling and it’s convenient to have the currency of the destination before you even get off of the plane.
  • Carry cash & don’t use your card – Having a fixed amount of cash on you helps BIG time with budgeting on a day-by-day vacation. It helps you not over spend and prevents binging on those miniature Eiffel Towers or flower shaped gelato. Plus, if you use your card, chances are that your bank will charge you an international fee.

Places to Stay Without Breaking the Bank

  • Air BnB – This is already a given, but I love them so much that I had to put them on this list.
  • Hostel World – Hostels are the cheapest way to travel. You get to meet different people traveling that will probably become your international long term friend. Hostel World allows you to look up every single hostel in the area that you’re traveling to. You get to compare between different hostels, prices for a private room and dorms, and amenities. They have a Best Price Guarantee as well, so they will provide the cheapest rates for every hostel.
  • Home To Go – Not too many people know about this page. It’s a very user friendly site where you get to look up Bed and Breakfast type places. They provide last minute deals and discounts up to 75% off for their members for certain places.
  • Tripping – This is a sight that lets you look up vacation rentals, hostels, rooms for rent per night, hotels, etc. Similar to Air Bnb.

Extras

  • Lonely Planet – Unique site that provides travel books and videos about different countries and their activities such as beaches, food and drink, art and culture, and adventure travel. They also provide services such as travel insurance, adventure tours, car rentals, flights, hotels, sightseeing tours, and airport transfers and shuttles. Another perk of this website is that they provide tips, as well.
  • Like A Local – This company is so great! This site allows you to be able to contact locals in the area that you’re traveling to be able to get suggestions, tips, and even ask to meet up. They provide suggestions for tours, food, nightlife, shopping, and sightseeing all at your fingertips. On top of that, you can also pay a local to be your tour guide for CHEAP. I’m going to be traveling to Munich at the end of May and a local posted that they charge 2 euros an hour to be your guide. I’m SHOOK. But it gets better, you are also able to download their phone app and purchase an offline, no internet, and no roaming charges map for $1.99 per city that can also use your GPS to locate where you are. If you’d like to be a guide as well in your home town, you can also sign up with them and be paid!

The most important part of traveling, of course, is that you have fun and enjoy! Only be on your phone to take pictures and make a new friend and take in every opportunity that you can to soak in and appreciate your new surroundings.

Wow! Thank you so much to Amy for such fantastic, invaluable tools to use while traveling on a budget. For more on Amy’s upcoming travels, be sure to check out her blog! How do you ball on a budget? Where are you traveling to this summer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

3 Ways Your Home Can Earn You Money (For Once!)

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3 Ways Your Home Can Earn You Money (For Once!)

Homes have always been a cost-center. Sure, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but your home will always cost you money. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utility bills, and all that end of the month stuff that makes us realize how small our pay check really is in today’s world. But what if we told you that you could turn your home from a cash-leaker to a money-maker and that you could do it right now? Oh, yeah, we’re totally serious.

The Extra Apartment: As with anything that involves your house, always check the legalities of a renovation. But, in most cases, there is nothing illegal about adding a self-contained property to your estate. It could be that you have a basement that is doing nothing but letting the heat escape from your home in the winter, in which case you should definitely look into renovating it into an apartment to rent out. If you haven’t got this option, then why not have the team from The Renovation Company take a look at your garage and see what they can do with your space. As a little bit of advice, we do recommend that you work out how much this extra self-contained property will make in rent and how much value it will add to your home, and then calculate whether the cost of renovation is worth it. However, the scales usually tip in your favor, especially if you’re clever (which you are!).

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Chez YOU!

The Rental Route: The undisputed king of disrupted technologies is Airbnb and for good reason, too. If you live in an area that is desirable or even within a short distance of some attractive spot, then you could see your home turn into a cash-catching side-earner. What do we mean by desirable? Well, being in a holiday hot spot has its benefits, but so does living close to a hospital, airport, university, popular wedding venue, or a big employer. The other great thing about going down this route is the choice. You could rent out your spare room, both of your spare rooms, or your entire house (and just go and stay with your friends for a few days). You can set the price, boundaries, rules, and the little extras you are willing to offer (yup, we mean breakfast). You could even up your fee by making a few simple home improvements. Trust us, a lot of people are making a lot of money from going down this easy-peasy route.

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I’d pay extra for that!!

The Storage Space: Not everyone is cool with the idea of sharing their home with total strangers, whether short-term or long. That’s kind of understandable. However, renting your space out for money doesn’t have to mean inviting people into your castle. You can make a steady income by renting it out as a storage space. The fact that there are now companies like Store Mates proves that there is an ever-growing demand for storage units, and that is what you could offer. It could be people wanting to store their boats or RVs over the winter, in which case your heated garage would be ideal. It could be that someone is moving house and needs to store a load of boxes, which is where your unused attic becomes a money maker. Just remember to treat your listings like any other listing. Good photos and a detailed note of any additional features will go a long way in cranking up your fee.

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Just don’t take the boat out for a test spin!

With a bit of creativity and possible renovations, your home could become your newest money maker in no time!

Featured Image By: Pexels

How To Stay In Control Of Your Cash

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How To Stay In Control Of Your Cash

When you’re just starting out in the world of work and education, you’ve got a big shot at life. No matter your circumstances, your relationship with money will define your future, your level of stability and security, and, of course – the rest of your life. We’re sorry to say, but money really does make the world go round, and you could lock yourself out of a future and enter a world of financial insecurity if you are not careful with your cash. If money makes the world go round, you can easily find yourself lost in that same cycle.

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Say “money”!

The good news, though? You’re young, you’re just starting out, and you have the internet. This means that you’ve got time, opportunities, and knowledge on your side (if you choose to read up and learn, that is!). With some valuable tools, you can avoid making financial mistakes and you can – for the most part – develop a healthy relationship with money quite easily. The key? It’s to never let your spending outweigh your earnings. Major shopping sprees, vacations, and spending with reckless abandon? It’s an easy path into pointless debt. It’s an easy path to financial misery.

People will get into debt. When you take out a loan to fund a car purchase after passing your test, you’ll be in debt to the provider of the finance. When you get your mortgage, you’re in debt with the lender. When you take out a loan to fund a business venture, you’ll be in debt. This, for the most part, can be seen as “good debt”. It’s debt that is acquired for a purpose. What’s bad debt? Well it has a different definition in business, but to us, it’s the debt that you acquire with high-interest values because you can’t hold yourself back from spending. It’s payday loans; it is credit cards.

Debt is a real danger and for a number of reasons. Debt, of any size, will affect our credit rating. This can affect the future of a young person quite drastically. It can mean that you are rejected from having a mobile phone contract. It can mean that your mortgage is turned down. It can seriously affect any future decisions that you choose to make. Debt also creates emotional stress and worry. Debt isn’t the end of the world, we all get into debt – it’s how we pay it off that matters.

Being in debt isn’t a bad thing – it is when we choose to live in debt that things turn nasty. There are always methods to paying off debt and anyone that you owe will prefer that some attempt at paying can be made. When you are in debt, you will always have options like student loan forgiveness. Getting stressed about being in debt can quickly lead to one avoiding paying for their way out of it.

To stay in control of your cash, you need to manage debt and your spending. This can be hard for youngsters – because they are explicitly targeted by those who seek to profit from debt. However, control of cash is an invaluable skill for anyone and your bank account will be thanking you! Not today, debt. Not today.

Featured Image By: Wikimedia

When Bargain Hunting Gets Serious

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When Bargain Hunting Gets Serious

We all love a bargain and nothing beats finding the perfect thing on sale. It gets your heart pumping and makes you feel GOOD! And, the invention of online discount code sites has changed the way many of us shop, too. Shopping also releases endorphins. It may not be scientifically proven yet, but most of us would agree that finding a bargain releases even more. But sometimes, there’s more to getting a deal than that feel good buzz. We’re stepping away from finding the dress that you were looking for at half price. Instead, we’re going to look at when finding a deal can make a difference to your life. Believe it or not, some things are more important than clothes (though it may be a small, select few!):

Food: We can all agree that food is an essential. But, finding food when you’re working on a tight budget is far from easy. For some of us, clothes shopping is far from our minds. When we can’t afford to feed our families, life can get on top of us. So, how can you ensure that you can always buy food? The first thing and a point we’re going to return to again and again is the importance of shopping around. Knowing where you can get the best deals is important.

Despite what you might believe, prices on the same products vary a huge deal from store to store. When money is stretched, you can’t afford to buy at the shop closest to you. Instead, look around. Go to a few different stores to see which one has bargains on certain things. It’s also important to have a set meal plan for the week and only buy the ingredients that you need. People who shop per meal are sure to spend more than those who plan ahead and shop once a week or so.

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The chip aisle is SO beautiful.

Health: Healthcare isn’t cheap. Those with enough money can afford to pay for health care to cover costs. But, people on a tight budget don’t have that luxury. Instead, they have to cross their fingers and hope nothing happens. Frankly, a big health bill would be enough to cripple the best of us. It may seem strange to consider bargain hunting where health is concerned, but it’s important. Few people realize that you can get discounts on prescriptions if you need them. It’s even possible to find deals on health insurance if you know where to look. Again, shopping around is key.

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Bills: Most of us would agree that our bills are the largest monthly expense that we have. So, it makes sense that we would want to find deals where we can. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but again, shopping around is your best bet. If you don’t look at each company’s prices, you could be paying well over the odds. Once you’ve done your research, you also have the opportunity to return to your current company and see if they can offer a competitive price. Playing companies off against each other is sure to knock costs down.

As you can see, the secret to saving money on important costs all comes with doing your research. Check the ads, apps, and websites for the best deals as well as keeping up with the promotions certain companies may be offering for new customers, etc. and you are sure to see savings!

Featured Image By: Public Domain Pictures