6 Ways to Save Money Earning Your Degree

Earning a college degree is notoriously expensive, but you don’t have to go broke getting an education. The college experience needn’t include costly habits and growing credit card debt. Try these strategies for staying in the green during your college years.

Save Money Earning Your DegreeCarefully Consider Where You Live

If you want to live in a dorm, consider becoming an RA for free room and board. If you’re looking to get an apartment, this is a money-saving option as well. A full kitchen allows you to prepare meals at home for cheap. Sharing with roommates will drastically reduce your rent. Consider bunking up two to a room for the biggest savings. Whenever possible, opt for an apartment within walking distance of campus to save on transportation costs as well.

Fight the Fast Food Demons

Picking up fast food is always tempting when you’re rushing through a busy day, but it puts a huge dent in your bank account. To prevent these purchases, try the following:

  • Brew coffee at home in the morning and take it with you to avoid Starbucks stops.
  • Pack a lunch when you’re gone during midday.
  • Keep snacks in your bag to help you avoid vending machine buys.
  • Carry a water bottle. You’ll often feel hungry when you’re really thirsty.
  • Start dinner in a slow cooker before you leave for the day.

Enroll in Online Courses

Classes that are held online are often cheaper than those on campus. You’ll also save time and gas when you don’t need to go to and from class. If you have a family, online classes will allow you to stay home with them instead of hiring a babysitter. Look for online alternatives to your courses when possible.

Enjoy Affordable Recreation

You don’t have to hit up expensive clubs and bars or take a cruise every Spring Break to get the most out of your college experience. Become the party host yourself and you’ll save a fortune by screening movies at home, holding BYOB parties, and having potluck meals instead of pricy dinners out. Give your parties a fun theme and no one will notice that you’re opting for the cheaper alternative.

Use Student Discounts

Never buy anything without asking if you can get a student discount. When you live near a college campus, you can often find discounts on everything from movie tickets to bookstore buys. Restaurants in college towns are known for having special student discounts too, when you opt to eat out from time to time.

Stay Away from New Books

With used bookstores, there’s no reason to buy a book new. That residual highlighting may even help you. Textbooks aren’t the only thing to buy used. Study guides, dictionaries, and even beach reads are much cheaper when they’re pre-owned. E-books are another frugal alternative for textbooks and recreational reading alike.
Don’t let money hold you back from your accounting mba or other continuing education. When you’re smart about how you spend, you’ll find that you can meet all your college goals on even the smallest budget.

Why You Should Consider Long Term Care Insurance in 2013

 This year, like every other year, is going to be a time of great change all around us. The Congress may have bestowed an extra life to coffers in state and federal governments around the country with an extension of deadlines so as to not reach a fiscal cliffs, but the truth of the matter remains. Our country is facing a real time threat to funds, resources and budgets and we can no more rest on guarantees that they will be around to protect us by the time we retire from our service years. We ought to be making wise choices that will stand us in good stead in the coming years, and take responsibility for our own futures.

Especially if you already have the means to. So what’s a good way to start doing that? By considering long term care insurance, it’s advantages and what it would cost you to take care of your own health in the future on your terms.

life-insurance-companiesSo what is long terms care? Long term care is a large number of services in healthcare and related fields given to people with chronic illnesses or disabilities. It also includes care-giving activities like taking care of daily routines (bathing, eating, changing clothes, using the bathroom) if a person needs it. Long term care is given when the illness or condition persists over several years. According to research estimates, primary (and unofficial) caregivers in long term care usually tend to be family members and loved ones, who are not paid for what they do. Caregiving as a family member is oftentimes expected, especially in the case of families that are strapped for cash and do not have adequate insurance protection for long term care needs. But research has also proven that this kind of caregiving can be taxing on all, especially the caregivers and their immediate other dependants as well. If you have the opportunity to put affordable insurance in place early on while you can, you owe it to yourself and your kids to take care of things sooner rather than later.

Some people like thinking that they won’t be around for too long, and therefore won’t need long term care. That is not the case for most people; research has again proven that life expectancy has increased significantly and people are living longer these days. With this information, it won’t be safe anymore to assume that you won’t need some form of long term care. And long term care is not just needed when you’re old and n your retirement years. Families with a history of chronic illnesses or conditions that have early onsets should watch out for signs and symptoms and buy umbrella long term coverage for their entire families to protect young children as well.

When people argue against the case for long term care, they often say that it’s a waste of time because long term care never ends up being used.

According to this US News article http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2012/11/12/long-term-care-insurance/1677385/),

 long term care insurance providers have changed their offering to include the customer’s best interests a little more. Read an excerpt from the article that describes the new products below:

“• Shared care products that allow a married couple to take out separate plans that are connected. “If the first person passes away without using it, the benefit transfers to the spouse,” Newman says.

• Hybrid products that are a life insurance policy that has a rider for long-term care insurance. Only a handful of companies offer it now, and it is being perfected, Udell says. But the hybrid provides a way to set up a pot of assets that can be used for long-term care. And if it is never needed for that, the family will receive a life insurance benefit.

• Long-term care partnership programs, which are offered in about 40 states. The advantage: Americans who have a state-approved, private long-term care insurance policy will be able to hold onto more of their assets if they later need to apply for Medicaid.”

 So if you’re looking to make your own way out, create your own safety net and rely on your own means in your retirement years, seriously consider a long term care insurance policy. Look also at how much you can afford in monthly payments. You can shop for* long term care insurance* on an aggregator website to help save some money. And don’t forget that your whole *life insurance policy* can also allow the addition of an LTCinsurance rider. Ask your carrier about adding an LTC insurance rider on your whole life policy, which will allow you to use the cash value to pay for LTC costs instead of using it for death benefit.

Cheap Destinations for You and Your Loved One

Whether you are looking for some place to celebrate your wedding anniversary or you just want to take a romantic weekend getaway, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. There are plenty of travel destinations that can be romantic and affordable, too. Take a look at these four cheap destinations for you and your loved one.

Sample Great Food and Wine in New Orleans

New Orléans is known for its great jazz music and southern food. This creates a romantic atmosphere for you are your loved one to enjoy. You should eat at a restaurant that provides live music for the most romantic experience or stroll down Main Street to see history at its best.

Cheap Destinations

One great thing about New Orléans is that it is cheap to visit. This is mainly because the city is still rebuilding since Hurricane Katrina, but that means there are great deals on hotels and other accommodations. You can also find the best vacation deals on airline tickets.

See a Show in Las Vegas

See a Show in Las Vegas
You and your loved one can have a romantic getaway in this city at an affordable price. The hotels don’t tend to be full unless there is a convention, so you can get some great deals on romantic suites during the off-season. Plus, you can find some really great bargains if you don’t stay on the Strip itself. There are so many romantic things to do in Las Vegas. For instance, you can go see a show, walk around the attractions, or eat at a fine restaurant. Then, you can enjoy your romantic hotel room when the night is over.

Go Camping in Yellowstone

Most people don’t consider camping romantic, but you can make it that way by chatting on a blanket under the stars and enjoying nature together. Camping is always less expensive than staying in a hotel and it can be rather comfortable in summer weather — just pack the air mattress to save your back. Camping in Yellowstone can be very romantic. You can hold hands as you walk on trails through the beautiful scenery or count down the minutes until you can kiss during the next eruption of Old Faithful. Camping in Yellowstone is affordable and so is visiting this National Park. So, your biggest expense will be the food.

Go for a Walk on the Beach in Florida

Go for a Walk on the Beach in Florida

Florida is typically seen as an expensive destination because of all the attractions. However, there are plenty of romantic things you can do with your loved one without spending a lot of money. For instance, taking a walk on the beach doesn’t cost anything but the gas to get there. Plus, you can find some really nice beaches away from the main tourist attractions. And, that makes the hotels less expensive, too. There are plenty of other romantic things you can do on the beach, too — sunbathe, surf, collect sea shells, build sand castles, and more.

Romantic vacations don’t have to be expensive. The most important thing is that you spend time together as a couple without the distractions of everyday life. What is the most romantic vacation you have been on with your loved one and how did you save money?

Best Tips for a Knockout C.V

5 Tips for a Knockout C.V

You might have the potential to be the greatest employee in history, but without a great C.V, it’s unlikely you’ll even get through the door.

So what actually makes a killer C.V? And how can you use it to get ahead of the competition?

Well fear not as here are our tried and tested tips to boost your chances of wowing employers.


Tell the truth!

5 Tips for a Knockout C.V

Your C.V is a record of you and your achievements, NOT someone else’s.

Yes it is tempting to tell a few ‘white’ lies to improve your grades or accomplishments but you will be caught out sooner or later.

Just imagine getting your dream job, then have it taken away from you when they discover that you’re not who they thought you were.

And as technology has developed, the internet is now a vital aspect of recruitment, so any lies you may have told on your C.V can be quickly and easily researched.

Be yourself.


Keep it short

If there is one golden rule to writing the perfect C.V it’s this:

Don’t waffle.

It may be tricky to get all your precious personal information onto one sheet of A4, but please don’t exceed two sheets.

As much as you’d like to tell an employer how incredible you are and that the job in question was practically made for you, a long C.V, in most cases, will be binned.

And remember; you don’t need to put C.V at the top, just your name will do. Employers will know what it is, so don’t waste time and space stating the obvious.

Clear layout  

If your C.V is unorganised and poorly displayed, what do you think that tells employers about you?

An employer doesn’t want to spend unneeded time reading through a blocky C.V, so keep it concise, to the point and allow for plenty of space around the text to make it easy on the eye.

Bullet-points are great as employers can quickly read through your C.V.

Forget the generic C.V

Although your C.V is filled with great things about you, how relevant is it to the job?

Sending off a generic C.V to a long list of varied businesses is something you should avoid.

Just say, you’ve applied for two separate positions, one in a marketing agency and one at an accounting company.

Are they both looking for the same person?

Make sure your C.V is tailored to each individual job, filled with the specific strengths and attributes you have at your disposal, which will let them know you’re perfect for the job.

Get a reference

It’s all well and good listing your skills on your C.V, but having people that’ll back it up is even better.

Try and get at least two references into your C.V from previous employers who can vouch for you.

Don’t worry if this is your first venture into the world of work, having a teacher or college tutor is still a great idea.

So there you have it, just a few tips and hints to ensure that it’s not your C.V that’s stopping you from getting the job you’ve always dreamed of.


3 Tax Saving Tips for People Living Abroad

tax tipsOnce you move to a new country, it is an exciting prospect because the change is welcome. However, moving to another country also involves learning the laws of their land. The biggest problem that people find with the change is tax rules, especially after moving to the US. The US expat tax laws are pretty complicated but not without solutions.

Of course, there is an intricate system involved but the best thing about taxation is that you can always find a legal way to work around problems. So, if you are in the process of filing your expat returns, hold on for a while and read the following tips –

  1. Make Use of Foreign Tax Credits – For US citizens, tax has to be paid on the income you earn anywhere and everywhere, even if your place of residence is somewhere else. However, you can exclude your foreign income while calculating your taxes. For this, you need to fill out a form for excluding your foreign income. There would be a physical presence test to qualify for this.

An added advantage of filing the foreign income exclusion form is that you would now receive foreign housing credit. This increases your housing deduction by almost 45% and depends on the area of your residence. To top it all, areas with a higher standard of living like London, Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Perth and Paris have a higher deduction.

The forms would have to be filed properly and in order if you wish to receive these benefits. The two forms are –

  • Form 2555; and
  • Form 1116.
  1. Keep An Eye On The Exchange Rate – Probably the most practical tip of all. When you are filing your tax in the US, obviously the payments would be made in US dollars. However, the conversion is done on a daily rate basis by the IRS, except for some cases where an average annual rate is taken as the base. There are many methods and you have to choose the right one when exchange rates are concerned. Take the help of a professional if you are unsure about something.
  2. Watch Out For the Accountant’s Fees – This is a tip that, if followed, might save you quite a bit of money. The accountant’s fee that you agree to pay when you hire a professional accountant to file your expat returns should be flat. Many accounting companies can be sneaky in this department. They don’t give you the full bill structure in the beginning and later when the actual bill is delivered, it costs a lot more than what you expected.

It is best to deal with prices that are transparent without having to worry about supplementary services constantly. Make it a one-time single payment to save yourself the hassles.

Make sure that you choose a good accountant to help you with these intricate and technical details.

6 Overlooked Vehicle Incentives You Should Cash-In On

If you’re looking for a new vehicle, there are a lot of things to consider. No doubt one of your biggest concerns is getting a good price. Before you start haggling, look into these often overlooked incentive programs for a great deal.

Vehicle IncentivesLeasing Incentives

Though you may have initially had your eye on buying a car, leasing is a great option too. About one in four people chooses to lease and not buy. There’s a big market for leasing incentive programs and you’ll find many great deals this way. Leasing incentives typically apply the financing incentive or cash back rebate that’s offered for car purchases to your lease, saving you a chunk of money.

Customer Loyalty Programs

Customer loyalty programs aren’t as heavily publicized as other types of offers, and so they’re often overlooked. If you’ve purchased from the same manufacturer in the past, you can often get a rebate on your next vehicle. If you’re happy with your current car and simply want a newer model, be sure to look for a customer loyalty program that will reward you.

Bonus Offers

Bonus offers are almost never advertised. You may have to actually call for bonus offers. These typically apply to a specific group of people, such as military personnel. Regardless of your status, however, it’s worth it to call and ask about all possible incentive programs that are available.

Low or No Interest Financing

These deals are heavily advertised, so you may know about them. However, not all car buyers are really aware of how they work. If you’re interested in no or low-interest financing, you should check your credit score before you head in to the dealership. It’s worth it to spend a few months paying down your credit before you go car shopping if you want this kind of deal. It typically applies only to buyers who meet certain credit score requirements, but it can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

Cash Back Rebates

Cash back rebates are another common offering with car dealerships. Many dealers will give you a choice of the cash back offer or the low-percent financing. This is when you need to pull out the calculator. A $20,000 car with a 5% interest rate will actually cost $24,000. If you’re not getting at least $4,000 in cash back, you’re better off taking a zero-percent financing option. Be thorough and make sure you’re choosing the best deal.

Miscellaneous Incentives

Every now and then you’ll come across a dealership with its own novel incentive program. You might be offered vehicle upgrades or free electronics equipment with your buy. If you’re truly interested in the incentive, it’s a good deal. You shouldn’t take it just for the sake of getting something free, though.

There are lots of great incentives out there for car buyers, so be sure to take the time and explore them all. Remember that dealerships are vying for your business and you can get a great deal when you’re willing to hold out for the right one.




Picking The Right Payday Loan

So, you have balanced your budget a gazillion times and you have asked everyone you know, and no matter how you add up the numbers, there just isn’t enough money to make ends meet until your next payday. You need to repair the car, the bills needs to be paid, and there is no food in the pantry. It is time you choose the best payday loan for your situation and make the decision that will help you get through this difficult time. So how do you pick the right payday loan?

Payday LoansOffice of Fair Trade

Before making a decision on any payday loan company check with your local Office of Fair Trade (in the UK) or the Better Business Bureau (in the US and Canada). This agency will allow you to search online for reports of trustworthy businesses. If a business has had multiple complaints or problems, this will be recorded to help you make an educated choice. Compare local companies that offer payday loans for possible involvement in scams or illegal practices. This is a great place to start your research and evaluation. Any company with questionable practices should be avoided.

Measure your Interest Rates

One of the most variable factors of payday loans is the interest rate. Depending on the company and the amount you borrow your interest rate can vary widely. The best way to get an idea for this is to use a site like Compare Payday Loans. Generally these interest rates are well over 300 percent which means that your paycheck will be spent largely paying back interest. Look for the company with the lowest interest rate possible. This will save you money in the long run and help you when you are paying back what you owe.

Brick & Mortar Loan Companies

Consider choosing from a physical location in your community. These institutions much follow state and national laws regarding the lending of monies and payday advancements. You borrow set amounts plus added fees and interest charges. The laws protect the consumer with these locations because if there are problems it is easier for authorities to find the company. When paying back these loans, you have the advantage of knowing where to go and how to comply.

Online Companies

Buyer beware; the lure of fast cash is alluring but the fine print will get you here. These online companies are not always local to your area and they do not have to follow the same rules and regulations. Most of the time you are only paying interest and fees, while rolling over the principle and accruing more fees and interest. This can quickly snowball.

Read all the fine print

After you have researched all the companies in your area, looked at the online options, talked your location agencies, and asked all your questions, you still need to read all the fine print. Do not take this lightly. While many companies will issue loans with little information and times, you can be caught with terms that are dangerous and may change if you are not careful. There are not only interest rates that add up but also fees. If you don’t understand something in the instructions, ask a unbiased third party to explain on your terms.

Five Tips for Preparing your Taxes

With the new year comes yet another tax season. Some people jump for joy this time of year, anticipating large tax returns to help purchase that new toy or pay off that debt. But for most taxpayers, the new tax season brings nothing but confusion and anxiety. However, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Preparing yourself for this tax season with these easy tips will make this tax season your most enjoyable and pain-free yet.

Collect All Tax Forms

tax tipsIn order to make your taxes as simple as possible, you should begin by creating a checklist of all the tax forms you expect to receive from your employers. If your taxes are simple and you only have one employer, you may only require a W-2 or 1040EZ to begin your tax return. However, most of us aren’t so lucky to have such a simple tax life.

If you’re one of the unlucky tax preparers who has multiple W-2s and 1099s, make a list of all forms you should receive and designate a safe and secure location in which to store them as you receive them from your employers. If the end of February rolls around and you still haven’t received all of your tax forms, contact the employers whom haven’t sent you your forms. Filing without all of your tax forms is a greater headache than you need to take on.

Choose a Filing Method

Whether you decide to use a tax accountant, bookkeeping service, an online tax preparation program, or to do your taxes by hand, choosing a filing method is an important decision you must make, and it cannot be taken lightly. While this isn’t a difficult step, it is important nonetheless. Many tax prep services allow you to file your Federal Return for free if you choose to do the electronic filing option.

Do Some Research

Once you’ve decide how you will file your taxes this year, start looking for any tax credits or deductions you might be eligible for. This is an especially important step if you choose to file your taxes on your own, as you don’t want to miss any credit or reduction that could reduce what you owe or increase the amount you’ll be refunded.

Let’s Get Organized!

If you have any itemized deductions or other business expenses you plan on claiming, you will need to get all of your receipts organized. Scanning all of your documents will provide you with a secure backup of all your files in the event you misplace any of them. If you’re finding yourself having difficulty separating your business and personal expenses, getting a dedicated credit card for your business expenditures will also help you keep everything in order. Plus, being able to fall back on your business credit card statements will make it easier for you to verify that you have all of the documentation to receive your deductions.

Schedule Time to File

Now, to the most boring element of tax season: actually filing your taxes. Some of us would rather have teeth pulled than file our taxes. It’s a long, arduous process that typically takes more time than anyone ever anticipates. Do yourself a favor and schedule an afternoon (when you won’t be working, of course) in which you will complete your taxes. You don’t want to be one of those rushing to file right before the deadline. The stresses of tax season are largely avoidable, so long as you prepare yourself for the task at hand. Spending an afternoon on your day off isn’t what you’d like to do with your time, but once you have your tax refund in hand, you’ll be glad you were so well-prepared to tackle your taxes.

How Budgeting Saved My Ass From Financial Crash Down

Financial freedom is not when you are rich, sometimes; you can be rich and still be poor at the same time. You are said to have attained financial freedom when your revenue supersedes your expenditure, you will end up having excess.

BudgetingMany of us are dreaming of financial freedom, but we refuse to work towards it. One of the roads to gaining financial freedom is by budgeting.

Budgeting is a financial plan for a particular term; it could be for a year, a quarter, or a month. At the end of every year, a country makes a budget for the coming year. A budget includes a list of your spending and expenditure.

Everybody needs a budget, for individual, the largest percentage of individuals lives on monthly income and wages, therefore, it is better to make your budget a monthly term or in relation to how your compile your income.

Before I came to the knowledge of budgeting, I have always planned my spending un-organized, and that has been killing me for a long time before I got to discover. You spend your money mostly on unnecessary items, you won’t know until you put down something.

I could have been a pauper, budgeting saved me from misfortune. My income is never enough, I always have to borrow to complement my spending every month, and before my income comes in, debt is already waiting to eat them up. How then do you expect me to scale through?

These are some Benefits you get from Budgeting through my personal experience.

Gives you control over your money

A budget guides you how to spend your money, with budgeting; you are in control of your money, and not your money handling your control. You won’t have to suddenly adjust to lack of fund, a factor that treats me so bad, and makes me go so broke even before the month halves.

Keeps you in your financial freedom goal

It guides you, and stops you from making unnecessary spending, all your need will be met with rest of mind even with limited income because you have budget according to your income.

Makes you know what you have spent money on

Sometimes, it becomes a headache for me, when I suddenly see that I am out of fund, and there are still important things to attend to. It sucks, you begin to think on what you have actually did with the money, it get worse only to find out that you have spent it on something of less value, and here is something important waiting to be sponsored. I thought saving my money in banks will curb my spending, it actually did, but it was limited, this is the only disadvantage of the ATM, you quickly go to the machine, when you see that you are broke.

Encourages your savings attitude

In budget, there will always be excess, that goes into savings, had it been you had not budgeted, you just see that you finished them all, and your eyes opens, what you did with them were not necessary, that equates to wastage, and you lack savings which is one of the road to financial power.

Allows you to manage your family

Your son, knowing full well that you were not going to give him any more contingency amount within the month, will also be pushed to have a budget, everybody gets settle as due, no one fights for getting the smaller share.

It alerts you of future dangers

Fuel was going to fly in price, food stuffs were going to be a little scarce, the government was going to control inflation, you quickly adjust to this in your budget, and you have no problem worrying what the situation reads.


Helps you to invest and generate more money

From your savings fostered by budgeting, you have money to throw into investment opportunities, and can even generate a part time business that will give you extra income.

These are some of the critical issues budgeting have been able to solve in my life.

5 Ideas for Young Entrepreneurs to Consider When Looking to Grow Their Businesses

loanWith all the talk on financial stability and economic awareness going on, great focus on the small businesses enterprises is coming up every day. Much of the financial and business awareness that is being created is in a bid to empower people to the extent possible, allowing them the chance to start and effectively manage their businesses.

The main challenge however is how to raise startup capital.

1)      Develop a solid plan for the business. 

In as much as the individual may be clear on the kind of business they want to pursue, it is important that they first step towards securing funding be writing it out. A well-documented plan will paint a clear picture of what the investor or funder is buying into, allowing them to understand clearly what they money will be used for, as well as the structures and systems that will be set in place to realize the dream. This is one of the primary ways to attract investments.

2)      Have realistic business projections 

When it comes to seeking funding, there are certain factors that investors look for. The entire principle behind setting up and running a business is making a profit. Any funder or investor wants to believe that they are putting their money in a viable and productive idea. The balance sheet needs to depict clearly what the sales, turnover and net profit of the business has been to date. In addition, there is need to have cash flow forecasts so as to give the financier an idea of what to expect from the business in days to come.

3)      Have Healthy Business practices 

When people are setting up businesses, there may be a tendency to want to draw in customers and make sales at all costs. However, some costs are too high to incur, and one way this can be seen is in a business offering credit to customers before their payment trends are proven. In this way, a young business can set itself up for dark times as the risk of failed payments can scare away potential investors or possibly make those already plunged in to pull out.

4)      Try out online resources 

There is an emerging trend in cyberspace that is proving effective and beneficial particularly to young and upcoming businesses. Peer to peer networks are some of the ways in which people are able to access funding for their businesses. This is done by connecting the lenders and the borrowers, who in turn interact and settle on a repayment plan that allows the young business to repay the loan as it were over a stipulated period.

5)      Charity does begin at home 

In some ways, turning to family and friends may be a prudent move in soliciting for funds. One of the things that make this a better option to pursue is the fact that they, unlike other investors, may not only believe in the business but in the businessperson as well. This could prompt them to be more generous and lenient on repayments than any other investor may be. As such, this should actually be the first resort for anyone looking to start his or her business.

Crowd funding is another upcoming idea for those looking for investment for their businesses. It involves small businesses turning to a large number of investors for small amounts of investment. In exchange, the investor gets to own a part or stake in the business, more commonly referred to as equity. The danger with this idea is the fact that should the business person get too carried away, they may end up losing the greater part of their business to the investor, a move they might later regret. 

Author bio

Richard Horsewood a graduate from the Harvard School of Business, he is the head of consultancy at a financial aid firm that seeks to promote personal loan California, a program that educates the people of California on the channels they can use to acquire financial assistance for their investments.