Life Update: Pregnancy (week 19), our first foster care placement, plus more!

click photo for more information
Life Update: Pregnancy (week 19), our first foster care placement, plus more!
Welcome to my weekly life update where I share about my pregnancy & give you a peek into our life this past week. If you want to follow a lot more behind-the-scenes and real-time updates every week, be sure to follow my stories and posts on Instagram. 19 weeks!! It feels like the last two weeks have sort of dragged by slower than usual as I anticipated being at the halfway mark. I have a feeling once I hit 20 weeks, then it will feel like it flies by for a bit until I start anticipating 30 weeks and then 40 weeks. HIGHLIGHTS I definitely started looking more pregnant this week. A lot of people noticed it and it’s fun (and weird!) to look down and see a protruding belly! I also broke out my first pair of maternity jeans (see photo above!) which felt pretty monumental! NOTABLE I started taking only one dose of iron daily + one dose of Blood Builder (instead of a double dose of SlowFe). It seems like this combo is working well for my stomach + I seem to have had more energy this week and I have to wonder if the B12 is helping with that?! I’m still nauseous at least part of most every day and running on about 50% the energy that I usually am, but it’s SO much better than the first trimester and I’m so grateful! CRAVINGS Scrambled eggs, avocados, and sourdough toast with butter continue to be my go to’s. I also had this obsession with making a pie mixing yogurt and whipped topping and freezing it in a graham cracker crust (thanks to a suggestion from a follower for how to use up all this plain yogurt I got marked down at a crazy price!) Weight gain: 10 lbs. We bought and decorated a Christmas tree this week! I felt like we were at least a week behind the rest of the world in getting this up, but I guess there are no rules for Christmas, right? The good news is that because we waited, we were able to get the tree for half price! (Psst! If you’ve been around here for awhile, you’ll remember that we ditched having a big Christmas tree last year. But this year, we decided to bring back the tradition and we don’t regret it! Want to hear about more of our Christmas traditions? We all recorded a podcast as a family on that very topic.) Silas had this big wart on his finger that he got burned off this week at the pediatrician’s office. Growing up, I had to get a lot of warts burned off, so I felt so badly for him when he was in pain for the next day as a result. But he really wanted to get it taken off and it was so big that I didn’t think any of the natural remedies would work (I tried a bunch of them growing up, including ACV, duct tape, wart remover ointment, and more and none of them ever worked at all for me!!) Gratefully, the pain only lasted for a day and he’s really happy that it’s healing! Kathrynne had her first basketball games of the season this week. She’s on Varsity this year and has a new coach, so she’s being stretched in good ways. We love getting to cheer her on and try to go to every single game that we can go to. It becomes a fun family activity — and we also get to see new parts of TN as we drive to little towns in different places for her away games! We also had a big Christmas gathering for all of the youth group members from both campuses of our church + the leaders. I laughed so hard and it was such a gift during a very full week. (By the way, Jesse and I have just loved the opportunity to serve as youth group leaders this year. It has brought us so much joy and life to pour into these kids!) Friday afternoon, we got a call about a 3-sibling group in foster care that didn’t have a home for the weekend. They were 13, 11, and 3 and Jesse and I felt strongly we were supposed to say yes. It turned out to be such a wonderful weekend. Tiring, but such a gift to get to open our home up and love on these kids. They had never decorated Christmas cookies before, so we had a fun time baking and decorating cookies together. The 3-year-old gave Kaitlynn a makeover! 🙂 The stay included one night with very little sleep because the 3-year-old had a bad cough and it kept waking her up and then she’d get scared and cry. I finally figured out that if I laid next to her bed, when she woke up, she’d be a lot less scared if I was right there with her. Her cough got worse on Saturday, so I took her into urgent care just to be safe. Gratefully, no ear infection (she’d be complaining of her ears hurting) and just an upper respiratory infection. They suggested honey and a humidifier. We also found Zarbee’s cough syrup that was approved for kids under 6 (we discovered this weekend that almost no meds are approved for kids under 6! I think maybe things have changed since our kids were little?) and we gave her that on Saturday night and she only woke up twice!) We are so thankful we had the opportunity to open up our home this weekend — if only for a short while — to love on and provide a safe place for these kids to stay. I also have quickly realized how many big feelings are going to be involved in this foster care journey we’re on… as I told someone yesterday, it’s both beautiful and brutal. [...]
1
4

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?

CrowdStreet Review 2019: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

click photo for more information
CrowdStreet Review 2019: Pros, Cons and How It Compares
With its in-depth vetting of real estate developers and operators, CrowdStreet provides a convenient platform for accredited investors to add commercial real estate projects to their portfolio. But investors should do their own due diligence and be prepared to leave their money locked up for years at a time. NerdWallet is a free tool to... Andrea Coombes is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: acoombes@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @andreacoombes. The article CrowdStreet Review 2019: Pros, Cons and How It Compares originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
1
3

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?

These Are the Tax Brackets for 2020 (Plus 4 Tax Changes to Know About)

click photo for more information
These Are the Tax Brackets for 2020 (Plus 4 Tax Changes to Know About)
The year 2020 is looking a lot like 2019, at least in terms of taxes. The IRS just released its inflation adjustments for 2020 federal income tax rates and brackets. While these changes are unlikely to have a huge impact on your bottom line, there are a few things you should be aware of heading into the new year. Because these are the 2020 tax rates, they’ll determine your tax bill that will be due in 2021. You’ll use 2019 rates and brackets when you file your taxes on or before April 15, 2020. How the 2020 Tax Brackets Break Down There are seven tax brackets that range from 10% to 37%. The 2020 tax brackets break down as follows: Unmarried Individuals Tax Bracket Taxable Income 10% Up to $9,875 12% $9,875 to $40,125 22% $40,125 to $85,525 24% $85,525 to $163,300 32% $163,300 to $207,350 35% $207,350 to $518,400 37% Over $518,400 Married Individuals Filing Jointly or Surviving Spouses Tax Bracket Taxable Income 10% Up to $19,750 12% $19,750 to $80,250 22% $80,250 to $171,050 24% $171,050 to $326,600 32% $326,600 to $414,700 35% $414,700 to $622,050 37% Over $622,050 Heads of Household Tax Bracket Taxable Income 10% Up to $14,100 12% $14,100 to $53,700 22% $53,700 to $85,500 24% $85,500 to $163,300 32% $163,300 to $207,350 35% $207,350 to $518,400 37% Over $518,400 Pro Tip Not sure of your filing status? This interactive IRS quiz can help you determine the correct status. If you qualify for more than one, it tells you which one will result in the lowest tax bill. Tax rates apply to the income within each bracket. So if you’re an unmarried individual with taxable income of $50,000, you won’t pay 22% of that $50,000 to Uncle Sam. According to the 2020 tax brackets, you’d pay: 10% on the first $9,875 12% on the next $30,250 ($40,125 – $9,875 = $30,250) 22% on the next $9,875 ($50,000 – $40,125 = $9,875) 4 Tax Changes That Could Affect You in 2020 The modified tax brackets aren’t the only changes the IRS announced. About 60 tax provisions will be adjusted in the new year. A few highlights: The standard deduction will rise slightly: The standard deduction will rise by $200 to $12,400 for people who are single filers or married filing separately. For those who are married filing jointly, the standard deduction will rise by $400 to $24,800. You may be able to save an extra $500 for retirement: If you have an employer-sponsored tax-deferred retirement plan, like a 401(k) or 403(b), your maximum contribution is $19,500 in 2020, up from $19,000 in 2019. The additional “catch-up” contribution workers ages 50 and older can make will also go up by $500, from $6,000 to $6,500. You can contribute an extra $50 to a flexible spending account. In 2020, the maximum contribution individuals can contribute is $2,750. Some limited-income families can get an extra $103. The maximum Earned Income Tax Credit will increase to $6,660. You need at least three children to qualify for the maximum amount. 3 Tax Rules That Aren’t Changing in 2020 IRA contribution limits won’t change. The traditional and Roth IRA contribution limits will remain at $6,000 for people under 50. The extra $1,000 “catch-up” contribution the IRS allows people 50 and older to make won’t change either. You can still gift someone up to $15,000 without paying the federal gift tax. The gift tax exemption is something you might want to take advantage of if you’re contributing to a 529 plan. There’s no limit on itemized deductions. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 suspended these limits. Ready to Start Your 2020 Tax Prep? OK, we get it: You’re probably not thinking about your 2020 taxes yet. After all, you haven’t even had your 2019 Thanksgiving turkey. But if you’re the plan-ahead type, you can check out this comprehensive summary of 2020 tax changes courtesy of the IRS. Even if you’re not ready to jump into 2020 tax planning mode just yet, keep in mind that a new year is often a good time to check your tax withholdings and make adjustments if necessary. So make a date with yourself in early January for a quick tax checkup. Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She edits and writes stories about bank accounts, credit scores, home buying, insurance, investing, retirement and taxes. She is also the voice behind the Dear Penny personal advice column, which is syndicated in the Tampa Bay Times Sunday business section. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
2
85

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?

Veterans Day Freebies 2019

click photo for more information
Veterans Day Freebies 2019
If you’re a part of the military community, don’t miss out on all of these Veterans Day freebies you can score! {Check out this big list of FREEBIES you can also sign up for right now, plus be sure to check out our latest Restaurant Deals and Freebies!} Veterans Day Freebies 2019 Are you a veteran or know someone who is? Don’t miss all of these great Veterans Day freebies and deals that you can score on Monday, November 11th! Tall brewed coffee at Starbucks Entry to U.S. National Parks Chili’s meal California Pizza Kitchen entree Red, White, & Blue Pancakes at IHOP Applebee’s meal Breakfast at Pilot Flying J Dr. Pepper and entree at BJ’s Restaurant Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake dessert or Pumpkin Pie Latte at Cracker Barrel Military Appreciation Dinner at Golden Corral on Monday HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo at Little Caesars Pizza Donut and 12oz coffee at LaMar’s Donuts Coffee & donut at Price Chopper stores All You Care To Eat breakfast at Shoney’s Care care checks and tire installation at Goodyear Auto Service and Just Tire locations Great Clips haircut Sports Clips haircut Military ID is typically required for these Veterans Day Freebies. Valid only on November 11, 2019. Do you know of any other freebies we missed? Let us know in the comments! [...]
1
48

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?

20 Gifts for Tweens Under $30

click photo for more information
20 Gifts for Tweens Under $30
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for the best Christmas gifts for tweens this holiday season? We have you covered with this Tweens Gift Guide — which includes gifts for tween girls and gifts for tween boys that are all under $30 to help you stick to your gift budget! Silas and Kaitlynn had a blast helping to choose ideas for this gift guide. I hope that their selections of things they and their friends love will give you some great suggestions for gifts that might work well for your tweens, too! -Crystal Pre-teens can be kind of difficult to buy for! But this list of gifts for tweens will give you lots of fun and budget-friendly ideas to pick from! Gifts for Tween Girls 1. Bath & Body Works Fragrance Spray — My girls love these. They have so many different scents and Bath & Body Works is often offering fantastic deals — especially if you buy multiples. Sign up for their email list to be notified of when their best sales are. 2. Bath Bombs — You can make your own or purchase a set like this from Amazon. {These would make a great stocking stuffer gift, too, if you have multiple tween girls to buy gifts for. You could put one or two in cute little bags with a ribbon.} 3. Scrunchies — You’ve probably heard that scrunchies are back in style and our girls can’t get enough of them! {Again, these would make fun stocking stuffers or get an entire set for the girl who loves to wear lots of different colors! Psst! It’s pretty easy to sew scrunchies if you have basic sewing skills.} 4. Letterboard — These are such a great way to display a tween girls’ personality and originality. Best of all, Letterboards now come in many different colors and styles. 5. PopSocket — The girls cannot figure out how I manage to have a phone without a PopSocket on it. Just call me old-fashioned! They adore PopSockets and there are so many cute and fun ones to choose from. This one is a favorite of Kaitlynn’s. 6. Craft Kits — Most tween girls love creating, so a craft kit is usually the perfect idea and something they’ll spend hours enjoying. Plus, if it’s something they can display in their room or wear after they make it, they’ll get even more fulfillment from it! 7. Twinkle Lights — You just can’t go wrong with Twinkle Lights — and there are so many fun uses for them. Kaitlynn is often rearranging her room and coming up with some new way to display her twinkle lights! Gifts for Tween Boys 8. Nerf Toys — When I asked Silas to help me put together some gift ideas for tween boys, he literally picked out 7 different Nerf Guns to include on the list! Suffice it to say, these are a big hit with him and his friends. And it seems like you just can never have too many Nerf Guns, according to him! 9. Sports Pillow — Silas has a football pillow he got last year that he uses as room decor — and to sleep with. In fact, he brings it on every trip! There are pillows for just about every team under the sun. 10. LEGO Kits — There are SO many different LEGO kits to choose from and there’s practically something for everyone. This LEGO Movie Kit is a fun twist combining stop motion film plus LEGO design. 11. 3D Maze Game — These are so much fun, not just for boys, but for adults, too! If you have a son who loves to solve puzzles or be challenged, this might be a great gift idea! 12. Catapults & Crossbows — This kit would be perfect for a tween boy who loves science and engineering and nerf guns. It’s kind of like building your own nerf gun! 13. Flag Football Set — Jesse bought the kids a flag football set a few years ago and it has been well-loved and well-used. A great gift for sports lovers and something the whole family can end up using! 14. Mini Basketball Hoop — Any boy who loves basketball will likely get hours of fun from a mini basketball hoop. Mount this on a door for lots of indoor entertainment. By the way, this Hamper Hoop is a unique twist on a mini basketball hoop — and it might actually get your tween to put his laundry in the hamper! 🙂 Stocking Stuffers for Tweens 15. eos Lip Balm — Kaitlynn loves eos lip balm and it’s such a practical and useful, but also cute and appreciated gift. Perfect for stocking stuffers! 16. Fuzzy Socks — What girl wouldn’t love fuzzy socks? I’m 38 and I still love them! Bonus points for tween girls if they have unicorns on them! 17. puravida bracelets — These bracelets are waterproof, handmade and come in many different colors. They are so fun to mix and match! 18. Thinking Putty — This stuff is always a hit and it comes in so many different colors! (I personally think the Liquid Glass one is the coolest!) 19. Baseball Cards — You can never go wrong with baseball cards if you have a baseball lover at your house! 20. Cool Socks — Socks are such a practical and useful gift… and if they are cool-looking that makes them even better! More Holiday Gift Guides Looking for other budget-friendly holiday gift guides? Don’t miss these: Beauty Gift Guide Gluten-Free Gift Guide Little Boys Gift Guide Stay tuned as we roll out several more gift guides over the next couple of weeks — put together by several different MoneySavingMom.com team members! Psst! Be sure to sign up for our hot deals newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any of the hottest deals each day this holiday season! What other fun ideas do you have for gifts for tweens? Let us know in the comments! [...]
1
74

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?

Creating a Seasonal Bucket List

click photo for more information
Creating a Seasonal Bucket List
The words “bucket list” usually makes people think of big, one-time things to do before you die such as visiting the Grand Canyon, hiking a mountain or running a marathon. These types of activities might not happen as often, but I’m sure they’re exciting. That’s one approach to accomplishing bucket list ideas. If you want ... Read More about Creating a Seasonal Bucket List The post Creating a Seasonal Bucket List appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
1
108

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?

Ready for a Change of Scenery? These 9 Cities Will Pay You to Move There

click photo for more information
Ready for a Change of Scenery? These 9 Cities Will Pay You to Move There
If you could use a change of scenery, why not get free money to move somewhere? In the face of declining or slowing population growth, some cities have decided to get aggressive about their survival. Some are giving away free land, others free tuition, and still others are literally handing out stacks of cash to folks who agree to move their metropolitan area. Here are 10-plus places that really, really want you to move there… Places That Will Pay You to Move There If you’re already looking for a new place to call home, but you don’t have your heart set on a specific area, there are plenty of ways to determine a good fit for you. If you’re just starting out your career, we’ve found the top 10 cities for wage growth. And if it’s closer to quitting time, we’ve found 11 surprisingly affordable cities for retirement. But if you’re simply looking for a change and welcome a financial incentive, we’ve found 10 cities — and two states — that are offering deals worth thousands of dollars to entice you to make their communities your home sweet home. 1. Tulsa, Oklahoma Oklahoma’s second largest city is offering to pay remote workers $10,000 cash to relocate there through its Tulsa Remote program. You’ll get some upfront cash to help with relocation expenses, then a monthly stipend for your first year. At the end of the year, you get the remaining dough. And they’ll throw in a desk at a coworking space so you don’t have to work out there on the plain all by your lonesome.  The only requirements are that you must be 18 years old, eligible to work in the United States and, you know, want to live in Tulsa. The 2019 application has closed, but you can sign up to receive an alert as soon as the 2020 application opens. FYI: You’ll need to be ready to move to Tulsa within six month if accepted. 2. Hamilton, Ohio Hoping to boost its college-educated quotient, Hamilton, Ohio, has a “reverse scholarship,” which pays successful applicants up to $10,000 to move to this small city outside of Cincinnati — paid out in 30 convenient $300 installments. To qualify, you must have graduated within the last seven years from a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts or Mathematics) program. And you can’t currently live in the city of Hamilton, but you must demonstrate employment within Butler County (where Hamilton is located).  The city’s website also states a preference for those with a desire to give back and engage with the community, so perhaps this is your shot to stage that community theater production of… “Hamilton.” Just sayin’. 3. Marquette, Kansas Anyone who’s ever driven cross country via I-70 knows Kansas has no shortage of open space. The state has experienced declining population growth since the early 1900’s, so towns like Marquette have been giving out free plots of land in order to entice new residents. Marquette’s free plots are located on the west side of town in the Westridge Addition, and the website promises beautiful sunset views over the open fields. To qualify for the free land, you must agree to build a home on the land within one year, and commit to living there for at least a year after your home is completed. 4. Lincoln, Kansas Here’s another Kansas town offering free land to qualified inhabitants. According to its website, you’ll be able to see the buffalo roam from your home on the range, should you take them up on their offer. Again, you’ll have to comply with the city’s requirements for building and inhabiting a home within set time parameters. Contact Lincoln City Hall for full details. Even if neither Marquette nor Lincoln quite suits you, you might be able to take advantage of Kansas’ Rural Opportunity Zones elsewhere. They cover 77 counties, and benefits include tax waivers and student loan repayments. 5. Curtis, Nebraska How’d you like to build your dream home — without spending a dime on the land itself? It’s possible in Curtis, Nebraska. Construct a home in Curtis within a set amount of time (and according to certain specifications), and you’ll receive the land free. All of the lots come utility ready and are located on paved streets. And in Curtis, it’s the more the merrier — and more lucrative. The family incentive program awards $500 for the first kid, $750 for two and $1,000 for three more children who move to the city and enroll in the Medicine Valley Public Schools. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM work at home 4/4/19 @ 1:26 AM business development 10/2/19 @ 2:27 AM T FlexJobs 9/27/19 @ 9:43 PM s SSDI Isn't Enough To Make Ends Meet 9/25/19 @ 2:38 PM See more in Make Money or ask a money question 6. New Richland, Minnesota Life’s simpler in the Midwest — especially when you can get land for free. If you build a home within a year of receiving the land’s deed, your new property in New Richland’s Homestake subdivision will be 100% free of charge. Plus, the town’s in proximity to a golf course, lake and bike trails. 7. Harmony, Minnesota Want to move to the “Biggest Little Town in Southern Minnesota”? The town of Harmony will provide home-builders a cash rebate of up to $12,000 to cover costs of construction — and the program has zero age, income or residency restrictions. 8. Niagara Falls, New York Need help repaying your student loans? Who doesn’t? It might be as easy as moving to scenic Niagara Falls, New York. The city will reimburse you for student loan payments up to nearly $7,000 if you agree to live in specific neighborhoods for two years. Plus, you’ll live right next to one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  9. Baltimore, Maryland Ready to give a little love to an underloved property — and get paid for it? Baltimore’s Vacants to Value Booster incentive gives $10,000 to buyers of Vacants to Value properties in an effort to address the blight caused by abandonment in the area. The home must be your primary residence, and you must be willing to invest at least $1,000 of your own resources. Also, the $10,000 must go toward your down payment and closing costs. If that’s not enough reason to Old Bay country, the city also has a Buying Into Baltimore program that offers a $5,000 incentive to use toward buying a home anywhere in Baltimore. You must attend a Trolley Tour event to be eligible; 30 individuals are selected on a lottery basis. Still not convinced? We have two words for you: crab cakes. Bonus: Anywhere in Alaska or Vermont Why limit yourself to just one city when Alaska and Vermont will pay you to live anywhere in their states? Since 1976, Alaska has paid its residents to live there via its Permanent Fund Dividend. The payouts are funded by Alaska’s oil royalties and are divided up evenly among citizens. Yearly payouts vary, but the 2018 dividend was $1,600. Not too shabby just for being there! To be eligible for the rebate, you must not claim residency in any other state or country. Check out the full details here. Vermont, on the other hand, is making its case for remote workers to relocate to the land of maple syrup. The state’s Remote Worker Grant Program will pay for “qualifying remote worker expenses” up to $10,000 — $5,000 per year for up to two years. And in 2020, [...]
1
91

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?

We Stopped Buying Paper Towels

click photo for more information
We Stopped Buying Paper Towels
Is it possible to live without paper towels? Yep, it is. In this post, I share why we stopped buying paper towels. I also share how we manage to live just fine without them. “Where are your paper towels?” I get this question so often from new guests who are at our house. They always look a little shocked when I say, “Well, actually, we don’t buy paper towels.” As I’ve mentioned the fact that we stopped buying paper towels online, I’m always met with curious questions about how on earth we manage to live without paper towels. The process was really just two simple steps… 1. Stop Buying Them You want to know how we’ve eliminated paper towels from our home? Well, here’s the answer: I just stopped buying them. Seriously, that was it. Early on in our marriage, I realized that paper towels were one item I could never find that great of a deal on. I also realized that these were an item many people lived without for thousands of years, without any issue. So I talked to my husband and asked him if I could do an experiment: could I just stop buying paper towels and see if we missed them? You know what? We never really even noticed. When we needed to clean up a spill, we just used a towel. When we needed to wipe something up, we used a rag. It just wasn’t a big deal. Honestly, the only times I’ve realized we didn’t have paper towels were when someone was at our home and they asked for a paper towel. I’d just tell them we actually don’t use paper towels, but the rags or towels are in the bottom drawer in the kitchen. 2. Find Creative Alternatives I keep a drawer full of towels and rags in the kitchen handy for spills and clean-up. The only time I’ve found that paper towels were really handy (and I did buy some) was for our camping trips and when we moved. Otherwise, for everyday messes and spills, rags or old towels/washcloths have worked just great for us. We can always toss them, if need be, if the spill was really messy. A number of people have asked what we use to drain bacon on, since that seems to be a very common use of paper towels. We actually cook our bacon in the oven on a cooling rack with foil on a pan underneath. So yes, we do throw out this foil once it has been used. No, You Don’t Need to Quit Buying Paper Towels! Now, please know, I’m not writing this to make the case that all of you need to quit buying paper towels. However, I share it as an example of how there are many things we’ve come to think are “necessities” in life which really aren’t. How about trying to live without some of these things and see if it really is that difficult or earth-shattering? You might be surprised to discover you don’t even miss these once-considered “necessities”. What about you? What simple things have you eliminated from your life and found you didn’t miss at all? Tell us about it. [...]
1
150

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?

AmEx Announces Additions and Cuts to Side Perks in 2020

click photo for more information
AmEx Announces Additions and Cuts to Side Perks in 2020
American Express is making adjustments to secondary benefits across its portfolio of cards as of Jan. 1, 2020, adding new perks, tweaking others and eliminating some entirely. “This is part of our effort to offer our card members the benefits they value most,” an AmEx spokesperson said in a statement to NerdWallet. Although you shouldn’t choose a credit card... Robin Saks Frankel is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rfrankel@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @robinsaks. The article AmEx Announces Additions and Cuts to Side Perks in 2020 originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
1
157

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?

Dollar Shave Club Starter Set for just $5 shipped!

click photo for more information
Dollar Shave Club Starter Set for just $5 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Have you been wanting to try Dollar Shave Club? You can get their Starter Set for just $5 shipped right now! If you’ve been curious about Dollar Shave Club, you can sign up and get a Starter Set for just $5 shipped right now! This also might make a unique gift idea for someone! This initial Starter Set includes the executive razor handle, four 6-blade razor cartridges, a trial-sized shave butter, a trial-sized post shave dew, and a trial-sized prep scrub. This is a great value!! I’ve been using Dollar Shave Club for quite a while now, and I really like it! You can read my completely honest review of Dollar Shave Club here. Note: When you take advantage of this deal, it signs you up for the Dollar Shave Club membership that will renew after the first month at the full executive razor price of $9/month. Be sure to go into your membership settings and cancel (or change to a cheaper razor) if you don’t want to continue. Go here to sign up and get your $5 Dollar Shave Club Starter Set. [...]
1
113

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?

8 Ways to Pay for College Without Student Loans or Your Parents’ Help

click photo for more information
8 Ways to Pay for College Without Student Loans or Your Parents’ Help
Parents aren’t perfect. Shocking, I know. So even though you may have been planning out your college career, your family’s financial situation may not have kept up with your dreams of campus life. On average, 34% of college costs were paid from parents’ income and savings, according to a national study by Sallie Mae. But families who have a limited income and haven’t been saving may not be able to help cover a higher education price tag. Including tuition and applicable fees, the cost per credit hour at a four-year institution is $301.23, according to a Penny Hoarder analysis of National Center for Education statistics. If an average bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours, the total price comes to $36,148 — not including room and board. Whether it’s by necessity or by choice, your parents could end up saying you’re on your own if you want to go to college. But that doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to a mountain of student loan debt or to skipping college altogether. But you do need a plan of attack, which is where we come in. How to Pay for College Without Your Parents’ Help You may not want to hear this right now, but paying for your own college education can actually be good for you (just like brussels sprouts or liver). Taking on the responsibility can teach you budgeting techniques and saving strategies that you might not have learned if your parents were picking up the tab. You can start saving on college by choosing a less-expensive school — here’s our list of the best college bargains by state. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, check out these eight ways to pay for college without money from your parents — or student loans. 1. Scholarships and Grants From Your School Already have a college in mind? Then the first place to start looking for scholarship money is the school’s financial aid office. If you’re still in high school, ask your guidance counselor for their help reaching out to the college. It’s important to know what money is available, so ask the financial aid officials about deadlines for applications, opportunities for need- vs. merit-based funding and options for renewable scholarships and grants. Pro Tip Some schools won’t consider you for any of their scholarships until you’ve submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Transferring from another college? Whether you started at another four-year institution or you’re continuing your education after completing your associate’s degree at a community college (a great way to save money, BTW), transfer scholarships offer a niche option. Here are 25 transfer scholarships we’ve found. 2. Federal Pell Grant Federal Pell Grants are need-based awards that are awarded on an annual basis (meaning you need to reapply every year). Use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply — here’s a step-by-step guide for filling out FAFSA. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,195 for the 2019–20 award year (July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020). The amount you get will depend on the four following factors, according to the Federal Student Aid office: Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The cost of attendance at your school and your specific program. Whether you’re a full-time or part-time student. If you plan to attend school for a full academic year or less. Filling out FAFSA requires your tax information, and unless you’re no longer a dependent, that means you’ll need your parents’ most recent tax returns. Providing this information doesn’t leave them on the hook for your college bill, but it could affect your financial aid package. Pro Tip To avoid debt, don’t take more money than you need. Accept free money (scholarships and grants) and earned money (work-study) in your financial aid package first, then student loans only as needed. If your parents won’t provide these details, there are a few options that you can explore. One option is to claim yourself as an independent, but that’s typically only allowed if you are over 24 years old, are married, have kids, are a veteran or can claim special circumstances. 3. Grants From Your State States use your FAFSA to determine your eligibility for state financial aid, so you get a two-for-one with that application (actually, it’s more like a three-for-one, since your school will probably use it, too). But some states require additional documentation, and their deadlines are not always the same as the federal ones. Note that most state grants are only applicable for in-state schools, but there are some state grants and scholarships you can use for out-of-state tuition. Check out your state’s FAFSA requirements for rules and deadlines. 4. Work-Study Program Federal aid doesn’t stop with scholarships and grants. If you’re able to work on campus part time while attending classes, you can apply for federal work-study (FWS), which is essentially federal aid you receive for working. Pro Tip IRS Publication 970 outlines 10 tax benefits that students can claim to reduce the income tax they owe. Read more about it on irs.gov. Work-study jobs typically allow you to earn extra money without having to leave campus — that’s helpful if you’re without a car or if making the hike from campus to a job would be cost prohibitive. But don’t expect a work-study program to cover all your costs. Under the FWS program, students typically work no more than 20 hours a week during a semester. And you won’t be allowed to exceed the allotted hours from your financial aid award, so don’t bank on overtime to cover extra costs. Learn more about on-campus job opportunities here. 5. Other Scholarships After you’ve talked to your college’s financial aid office and filled out your FAFSA, it’s time to get a little creative in your scholarship search. Start with your intended career. Corporations and professional associations often offer grants and scholarships for students pursuing degrees in related fields. As a bonus, researching and contacting these organizations early in your college career will help you make connections that can come in handy when you’re applying for jobs when you graduate. Pro Tip Some scholarship deadlines are as early as a year before college starts, so start applying during the summer between your junior and senior years. Also check out nationwide databases like Career One Stop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, and The Penny Hoarder, which has its own compilations of awesome scholarships — and weird scholarships. 6. Part-Time Job On-campus work isn’t the only way to make extra cash — and off-campus jobs don’t require you to qualify for federal work-study.   Among the other benefits of an off-campus job is the potential to earn more money than at a FWS job since you can work more hours and keep the job year-round. Additionally, you can potentially turn a part-time gig into a job upon graduation. Here are six tips to help you move from part-time to full-time employee. And if you don’t want to leave campus but still want to earn part-time or full-time money, check out our handy work-from-home portal for legit ways to make money from your dorm. 7. Paid Internship Internships provide on-the-job experience, which can help bolster your resume as your college career draws to a close. Not only does a paid internship offer the same potential experience as an unpaid version, it could actually improve your chances of finding a post-graduation job. Among the 2019 graduates who had an internship, 66.4% of paid interns received a job offer, while just 43.7% of unpaid interns were offered a job, according to the survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. You can start your internship search at your own college, whether it’s contacting the career services department, attending on-campus career fairs, reaching out to your alumni network or asking professors within your o [...]
1
694

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?

Surf’s Up, Wheels Up: Your Guide to Airlines’ Surfboard Fees

click photo for more information
Surf’s Up, Wheels Up: Your Guide to Airlines’ Surfboard Fees
Catching a wave after your flight? If you’re planning to bring your own surfboard to your destination, you could face some hefty checked bag fees that usually can’t be avoided, even with an airline-branded credit card that offers free checked baggage. Let’s cut to the chase: The best airlines for surfers are American Airlines and Alaska... Meghan Coyle is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: mcoyle@nerdwallet.com. The article Surf’s Up, Wheels Up: Your Guide to Airlines’ Surfboard Fees originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
1
440

Favorite! Would you like to add notes/tags?