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Ramsey Qubein is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The article How to Request Missing Radisson Rewards originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
One of the most requested podcast episodes has been for us to talk about our Christmas traditions, what Christmas looks like for our family, and how we do gifts for our immediate and extended family.
In this episode, we sat down with Kathrynne, Kaitlynn, and Silas and had a discussion on our favorite Christmas memories, why we make a December Bucket List, what we chose for our bucket list this year, some things we’re doing differently for Christmas this year, how we do gifts, and what Christmas Eve and Christmas Day look like for our family.
One of our biggest goals for each December is to keep things simple, not over-commit, and focus on memory-making and shared experiences. We sit down at the end of November and talk about what we want to prioritize for the Christmas season and then we make a list and block out days and times on the calendar to make these priorities happen.
We’re excited about some new things we’re trying this year and we’re looking forward to another special December season of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and spending lots of time together as a family!
In This Episode:
[01:58] We kick off the show by each sharing one of our favorite Christmas memories.
[07:29] Want to know what’s on our December Bucket List this year?
[11:16] Hear about our Dollar Tree stocking tradition and why we’re stepping it up this year.
[13:16] How we do presents at our house.
[15:45] Giving is something that is always a big priority for us, thanks to the kids’ initiative in this area!
[18:00] What does our actual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebration look like for our family?
[21:38] The kids share our quirky wrapping tradition.
Links and Resources:
Dollar Tree Stocking Stuffers
She Reads Truth
He Reads Truth
Crystal’s Favorite Things on Amazon
Crystal’s Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!)
Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: email@example.com
How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show
The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.)
Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support! [...]
If you’re looking for an easy way out of your student loan debt… this isn’t it.
But if you’re ready to make a commitment to protecting and defending your country, you may find relief through a debt forgiveness program.
And you’d have plenty of company in your… company, since approximately 200,000 active duty members owe a collective $2.9 billion in student loan debt.
But as a service member, you have a few more options for wiping out your student loan debt than your civilian counterparts. So pay attention.
Military Student Loan Forgiveness
If you’re ready to serve your country after graduating college, you have options for attacking your student loan debt.
Although you can also qualify for other programs unrelated to your service, such as teacher student loan forgiveness or nursing school loan forgiveness, we’ll focus on the options that depend on your work in the military.
National Defense Student Loan Discharge (aka Perkins Loan Forgiveness)
If you served in a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area, you qualify for the National Defense Student Loan Discharge, which is part of the Perkins loan cancelation program (the Perkins loan program ended on Sept. 30, 2017).
Loans are discharged according to the following classifications:
Up to 50% for four years for borrowers whose active duty service ended before Aug. 14, 2008.
Up to 100% for five years for borrowers whose active duty service includes or began on or after Aug. 14, 2008.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
This is probably the most well-known forgiveness option — although “notorious” might be a better adjective for it.
Out of the approximately 76,000 PSLF applications that were processed by March 2019, only 518 applications were approved. For those who didn’t major in math, that’s less than 1%.
If you make too much to qualify for an income-driven repayment plan, don’t bother with PSLF since the standard payment plan will leave you with nothing to forgive after 10 years.
And the program that was supposed to fix the problem — Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF)? Yeah, it turns out the acceptance rate for that one nearly matches the original.
Be prepared for a long wait — it takes a minimum of 10 years to qualify — and to follow a lot of rules in regards to the type of loan, repayment program and employment eligibility. To help you navigate the process, check out these seven essential questions to ask about Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Total and Permanent Disability Discharge
If you become totally and permanently disabled during your service, you’ll automatically have your student loan debt discharged. (Your student loans also get canceled if you die, but let’s not consider that as an option, OK?)
Prior to August 2019, you still had to fill out the TPD Discharge application, but now the discharge is automatic for veterans.
Veteran Affairs will alert the Federal Student Aid office as to your eligibility. The office will then notify you, at which point you will have 60 days to decide if you want to decline the loan relief.
If you think you may go back to school again some day, understand that accepting the disability discharge could make it more difficult to take out future student loans.
Why would you decline? Although the discharge isn’t subject to federal taxes, the discharged amount may still be considered income for state tax purposes.
If you don’t decline, your remaining student loan balance will be discharged and you’ll be reimbursed for any payments made following the date of the discharge. Get more details about the total and permanent disability discharge (TPD) program here.
Repayment Programs for Service Members
As a service member, you’ll find multiple programs that will repay some of your debts, but none of these programs forgives the loan and interest in its entirety — and all of the forgiven amounts are taxable.
Armed Forces Education Loan Repayment Program
Following a complete year of active-duty service, you’ll become eligible for benefits available through most branches of the service (sorry, Marines).
Depending on which branch you choose, you’ll see the loan repayment programs referred to as College Loan Repayment Programs (CLRP) or Student Loan Repayment Programs (SLRP).
If you’re rehabilitating a student loan in default, you’re allowed an interruption in the consecutive pay period until after your qualified military service is completed.
All of the programs repay direct federal loans (subsidized and unsubsidized); other federal loans may be eligible, depending on the specific program. And each come with enlistment and/or testing qualifications, so ask your recruiter about specific requirements for your program:
Air Force: Soaring with the Air Force Reserve for up to six years could really pay off. Annual payments will be $500 per each qualifying loan or 15% of the outstanding balance, whichever is greater, for up to $3,500 for each year of satisfactory service. Maximum amount: $20,000.
If you’re taking the legal eagle route, the Air Force has a three-year student loan repayment program for you. You can qualify after completing your first year as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer. Maximum amount: $60,000
Army: The Army has multiple loan repayment programs to choose from, depending on your status. For active duty members, the maximum annual benefit is a third of the current principal balance or $1,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service up to three years. Maximum amount: $65,000.
Navy: For active duty members, the maximum annual benefit is one-third of the current principal balance or $1,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service up to three years. Applicants must be approved before shipping to RTC, according to Terrina Driscoll with Navy Recruiting Command. Note: To be eligible for the loan repayment program and 100% of your Montgomery GI Bill benefits, you must reenlist for additional three years or have a 6 year Active contract. Maximum amount: $65,000.
Coast Guard: For six years of service, you’ll receive up to $10,000 per year to repay loans at qualified minority-serving institutions. Maximum amount: $60,000.
National Guard: You’ll need to enlist for at least six years for annual disbursements through the National Guard repayment program. Maximum amount: $50,000.
Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP)
If you’re a health professional with student loans to repay, providing your services to the military could help you out of debt.
Both Active and Reserve members of the Army can receive assistance through separate programs. For example, nurses in the Army Reserve are eligible for up to $50,000 toward student loan repayment over three years of service.
For the Navy, you must be a commissioned officer enrolled in the final year of an approved residency program leading to specialty qualification in medicine, dentistry or osteopathic medicine. The maximum award is $40,000.
And if you’re Air Force, you’ll receive up to $40,000 to cover your health profession education in exchange for at least two years of service.
Additional Student Loan Benefits for Service Members
Even if you don’t receive forgiveness of your loans, you can deploy these reduced interest and deferment programs as a member of the military.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Interest Rate Cap: Interest on student loans you took out prior to your military service is capped at 6% during periods of active duty.
Military Service Deferment: You can postpone loan repayment during certain periods of active duty and while you prepare to go back to school following your active duty.
0% Interest: If you serve in a qualifying hostile area, you don’t have to pay interest for up to 60 months.
HEROES Act Waiver: The Education Department waives many documentation requirements — think: updating your family size and income f [...]
My circa-1987 all-gray kitchen is finally undergoing a much-needed renovation. But before the demolition could start, my husband and I had to take every single thing out of our cupboards and drawers. It was kind of like an archeological dig, as we discovered mysterious gadgets, orphaned appliance cords and even a 1990 receipt for a coffeemaker purchased by our home’s previous owners. [...]
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Do you wish you could be more productive and use your time intentionally? If so, you’ll definitely want to grab this productivity bundle that’s on sale right now!
This bundle was SO popular earlier this year when it was offered, and they’ve brought it back as a flash sale for two days only!! Hurry and grab it for just $37 before the end of tomorrow, August 15th!
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These resources are designed to help you:
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If you feel overwhelmed or stuck when it comes to your productivity and time-management, this Productivity Bundle will help give you the practical tools and tips you need to take that first step!
Go here to grab your Ultimate Productivity Bundle for just $37. [...]
When people think of the best medical facility in the U.S. — if not the world — one institution typically comes to mind: the Mayo Clinic. That reputation for excellence is well-deserved, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest Best Hospitals rankings. The publication says the Rochester, Minnesota-based facility is the best hospital in the nation. It's not the usual... [...]
Guest post from Darya 0f A Mom From a Foreign Land
Completing graduate school was one of my biggest accomplishments in life… and graduating with no school debt made the moment even sweeter!
Before I started my master’s degree, I was terrified that I would graduate owing thousands of dollars and it would take me years to pay it back. I was also freaking out because I was pregnant and my baby was due in the middle of my first semester. I couldn’t imagine how we were going to afford it all.
Gratefully, I had the support of my husband and a plan in hand. Three years later, I received my master’s in science and had no debt to repay.
I went to NC State University in Raleigh, NC. The tuition and fees for one semester totaled to about $6,000 for in-state students. On average, a master’s degree at this school takes between 4 and 6 semesters (roughly $24,000 to $36,000!)
Here are the things I did to finish graduate school DEBT FREE:
1. I worked at the university.
The good thing about grad school is that you can often get an assistantship job and have your tuition covered. I also received a small stipend with it!
I got a teaching assistantship that included assisting a professor during a class, grading homework, helping with attendance, and overly assisting with general administrative tasks.
I had this job for 3 of my semesters — which meant no additional tuition costs for those 3 semesters!
2. I had another part-time job.
I worked every Friday and Saturday night at a local steak house.This job gave me the flexibility and finances to earn my master’s degree.
Occasionally, if my school load was lighter and my husband was available to watch our child, I would pick up an extra shift here and there. I made about 70% of my income at the restaurant. It was tiring and I had to work late but I needed the money.
3. I took some online classes.
I didn’t want to take too many online classes, but taking a few helped me stay at home when I first had my baby. At the same time, I saved on gas (I had a 70-minute commute) and could work more hours at the restaurant.
4. I cut down on unnecessary expenses.
We stopped eating out. On the days I went to school I brought my snacks, lunch, and coffee from home.
I minimized social life and entertainment. I breastfed my daughter to save on formula. I kept clothes shopping to a minimal.
5. I earned a scholarship.
I got a $1000 scholarship for working towards a Career in Conservation due to some volunteer work I did for a local environmental organization.
6. I made small payments on my loan while on grad school.
My schooling lasted 6 semesters and (as I mentioned above) my tuition was covered for 3 of the semesters.
In order to afford the other 3 semesters I had to get a loan. However, as soon as I got the loan though, I started making $50 monthly payment on it while still in school — even though I did not have to.
Some months I could not afford to pay more, others I would pay extra. And once I started working full-time (see below), I started paying as much as I could. I ended up completely paying off my loan before I officially graduated!
7. I started a full-time job while still in school.
I started working as soon as I finished all my classes, but I spent another 8 months working on my thesis. Working a full-time job and working on my paper was challenging. I had to devote my nights and weekends to writing, but I was happy to be able to get a job before I had officially graduated.
Doing all these things took a lot of effort and dedication.
I am so happy that I can now focus on paying off other bills and not worry about student loans.
I believe that anybody that puts their mind to it, can do it too!
Darya grew up in Eastern Europe, and has been living in the U.S. for over 10 years. To this day she still has trouble adjusting to the American culture, especially when it comes to raising a child. She lives with her husband and 3.5 year old daughter in Greenville, SC. While working a not-so-exciting governmental job, she still finds time to blog about motherhood, working mom life, healthy life, and recipes at A Mom From a Foreign Land. [...]