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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oh No! I'm Broke! How to Get Quick Cash.

Sometimes unexpected expenses come up.  Although it is in your best interest to have a savings account for just these sorts of emergency situations, I also understand that when you are young, broke, and trying to pay for school sometimes your emergency fund is not quite big enough to cover everything.  So here are a few ways to quickly get money without digging yourself a deeper hole.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Need A New Shirt!

Clothing can be a big money sucker.  It is tempting to spend your cash trying to look cool at some trendy store.   There are better ways to get a great look and still save some cash. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Utility Bills: You Can't Avoid Them, But You Can Lower Them

Utility bills are tough.  You can’t negotiate the cost of water and power, but you can still save money on these things.  While other utilities (stuff I lump in with utilities) like phone service, cable, and internet can be negotiated and navigated.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hoofin’ it! How to Cut Down on Transportation Costs.

Transportation can be quite costly if you make certain choices.  For instance, some people think that owning a car is required if you need to get around town.  This is not always the case.  For me I have to have a car because the nearest bus stop to my place of employment is 10 miles away, but most people I know don’t have those sorts of circumstances. We are going to explore how to save money by going without a car, or amending how you use your car if you choose to keep one anyway.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Saving Money On Pencils and Pickles.

Ok, school supplies are probably one of the most fun things to go shopping for each year before school starts.  Sometimes the fun can make you forget about how much money you are spending.  There are ways to reduce the cost of school supplies that don’t require much effort.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is This a Book or a Brick of Gold?

College text books are infamous for being very expensive.  Sometimes you might wonder, “Is this a book or a brick of gold?”  There are multiple ways of saving money when getting textbooks (renting, buying from the right places, and sharing), but you need to think about a few things before you start collecting each semester’s worth of books.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting Something For Nothing: Lowering the Cost of Tuition and Rent

I told you I would write a post about how to cut costs. I lied.  I’m going to write multiple posts on how to cut costs in college. The first post will deal with the most expensive parts of paying for college: tuition and housing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Under 24 and Your Parents Don't Pay? Sucks to be you!

I wanted to take you through some of my story to help you put together all of the information that I have presented so far.  As the blog progresses I will share more and report on my past, present, and future methods of paying for college.

I have heard many people, including myself, lament the plight of the under age 24 dependent student whose parents can’t (meaning they are financially overextended but FAFSA doesn’t seem to notice) or won’t help pay for college. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Financial Aid 201

For many students financial aid is used primarily just to pay tuition, but for some students financial aid also helps to pay for some school related living expenses as well.  Let’s say you received your financial aid package and your financial aid package including grants, scholarships, work-study, and federal loans did not even add up to the cost of your tuition.   What do you do?  Well that depends.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Financial Aid 102

Loans!  They can be very confusing for some people.  First you need to learn about some basic personal finance concepts.  Interest is a fee associated with the cost of a loan.  Generally you pay a certain percentage on top of the loan.  This additional money is often added to the principal (or original loan amount) and compounded (a method where interest is then calculated based on the new total).   
There are many loan interest calculators on the internet.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Financial Aid 101

Now that you have selected your general pathways to pay for your education, let’s see what kind of break the financial aid office at your college or university gave you.  Oh, you don’t know about finanacial aid yet, do you?  Well here is the breakdown of what financial aid is, what kinds of aid are offered to people, and which options are preferable.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Full-Time Times 2: Working While Attending School

It is not uncommon for people to “work their way through college.”  In fact, many students worked part-time through high school and even if they have money to pay for their higher education they work part-time in college as well.   Working while attending school can be challenging, but it can also be managed.  There are several options when it comes to working while attending school.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Uncle Sam: I Want You to Go to College!

When most people think of the military providing for a college education they think of the ROTC.  I do plan on outlining this program, but there are other methods of taking advantage of educational opportunities in the military. Before you consider the military remember that this is a huge commitment. You should really want to be in the military in addition to earning a college education. Don’t join if you are just in it for the money.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Postponement and Pausing: I See a Four Year Institution in Your Future

Postponing!  What, I thought you said I can go to college right now!  You’re right I did say that, but I also said that some of my pathways are controversial.  This post is really two different pathways with a common theme.  The common theme is putting off attending a four year college or university until you are financially ready.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Testing Out: Perfect For All Ages

I’m going to start with the high school kids again…don’t worry adult re-entry students and current college students this post is for you too. Taking tests to receive college credit is another great way to save money on tuition costs.  Most of these tests (but not all of the tests) do cost money, but the test cost is still significantly less than paying for a class.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dual Enrollment: The Early Bird Pathway

The most obvious pathway that most people default to is graduating from high school. and the following fall semester beginning college at a four year institution.  This is fine for those of you who have enough money saved for college, or who have full-ride scholarships, but for most students this is not the case.  The problem is that so many people never think about their general plan of paying for school and go straight to this; then they are forced to scramble when a financial crisis comes up and this is where mistakes are made. The financial mistakes you make here can haunt you for a long time...believe me. I will cover those mistakes later, but first I will share with you the major pathways to paying for college.  These pathways can be used in combination with each other.  The smarter, more innovative students usually find a way to combine all or most of these pathways.  If you are young enough you can take advantage of all of these pathways...for those of you who are older, you will be limited but you still have many options.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Now For the Reality Check.

So far you know exactly how much school will cost you, how much money your parents can contribute, and how much you will need to pay for.   The question you need to ask yourself is “Do my wants match my reality?”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It’s Time For an Honest Conversation With the Folks

Now that you have a concrete idea on how much money college is going to cost you, it is time to have a little chat with the parental units (or if you are an adult re-entry student, substitute the word parents with spouse/significant other).   This conversation can go in many different directions.  Your parents may have been fortunate enough to have saved a large sum to pay for your college expenses, they may be broke, or they may be somewhere in between.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The True Cost of College 101

Before you start learning about how to pay for college make sure you don’t get ahead of yourself.   Do you honestly know exactly how much college costs you per year? How about per month?  I’m not just talking about tuition, but all of college.  If you don’t fully understand the costs how will you be able to create an effective plan to pay for everything?

The Goal of College Wallet

I know paying for college can be confusing, overwhelming, and scary.  I’ve been through it…I’m still going through it.  The biggest problem I have had with learning about how to pay for college is that many pathways and techniques are never talked about or barely mentioned.  I decided to start this blog to help everyone (high school kids, parents, and adults who decided to go back to school) out there who needs to learn the financial ins and outs of paying for school. 

Maybe you can learn from my experience both good and bad choices.  I also plan on offering multiple ways of paying for school.  It is up to you to decide what ways are most appropriate for you and your situation.  My goal is to help others who are discouraged or baffled by the high cost of education.

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