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
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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.
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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?
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, [...]
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. [...]
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: email@example.com. Twitter: @robinsaks.
The article AmEx Announces Additions and Cuts to Side Perks in 2020 originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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!
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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. [...]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 [...]
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The article Surf’s Up, Wheels Up: Your Guide to Airlines’ Surfboard Fees originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]