Today, I am doing a workshop, Money Make The World go Round at Empower Her for kids ages 8 to 11. We are going to discuss budgeting, wants, needs with the help of a fun game!
Spring is a great time of year! One of my favorites, as the weather turns warmer and the days are longer. For us, it means more time outside and that can be from getting my garden planted and the thrill of fresh vegetables right in my backyard, to having meals outside; either just us or with friends and family. We can open the windows to air out the winter stale indoor air and sleep comfortably with the windows open all night. It means exploring the outdoors, maybe taking a walk in a new neighborhood or park, picnics and movies in the park.
With spring comes weddings and graduations – new beginnings. This can be true for all of us, even if we don’t have a milestone event coming up.
Traditionally, spring makes me think of spring cleaning and tackling the heavier cleaning throughout the house. We can do the same for our finances. For the graduate, you can start them off with the gift of good finances – being able to start to plan their money and finance proactively and make planned purchases versus impulse buying. A great way to start would be the gift of my book, Cash Credit and Your Finances: The Teen Years.
For those who want to get your own finances back on track, 111 Ways to Save or Thrive In Five: Take Charge of Your Finances in 5 Minutes a Day will give you the push you need to get your finances in order.
You can order my books through my website or by order form. If you use the order form, you have the option of me personalizing the book. Just print the order form, fill out the recipient information section, and mail it to the address on the form or fax it to 203-504-7995. For the month of June 2017, we are also offering free shipping on all book sales that are ordered with the order form via mail or fax.
This is a great article about recent grads and tips for getting their first time job. Read more
Do you want your teen to start off their money and finances is a good way? Teach them to make choices that are right for them and come from a place of understanding. Give them the gift of Cash, Credit and Your Finances: The Teen Years. It’s simple to order at JillRussoFoster.com. If you want them book personalized to them, use this order form to order from us directly.
What do you think?
So, you’ve prepared your child for college, which includes buying him a decent laptop. That’s where he’ll store all his homework, access his assignments and turn in his papers. Should be good to go, right?
Wrong. Imagine this: Your child just finished writing this really great paper and it’s due in two hours. Suddenly, the computer crashes. Maybe it’s a virus. Maybe it was because of the soda he spilled on it last night. The ‘why’ doesn’t matter right now – all that matters is that a full semester’s work was lost in a few seconds.
What’s your kid going to do?
1. Borrow another computer from a friend or the school to…
2. Access his files from the external hard drive in his room or from his cloud backup service, and…
3. Send his paper on time.
If you don’t understand anything in Step 2, read on:
External Hard Drive
This is an external storage device separate from your computer. It’s portable – from the size of a wallet to a small box. You plug it into the computer with a USB cable.
Pros: You don’t need the internet to access your files. It’s portable and you can plug it into any other computer as needed. You pay one-time for the device and not a service.
Cons: It can be lost, stolen or damaged and you need to remember to back up your files.
Cloud Backup Service
In simple terms, this is a service that stores a copy of your files on the internet. It backs up continuously and automatically as long as there’s an active internet connection.
Pros: Backs up for you and you can access your files anywhere on any computer.
Cons: Need to keep paying for the service to access your files. Must have a functional internet connection to access files.
Now that you know the different types, why not both?
That’s cheap security considering you’ll be covered for both hardware and internet related disasters.
This all sounds scary, but what are the chances?
Using a computer for school or work opens you up to some major security risks that I think need to be addressed.
1. The actual item can be lost or stolen. (You should have a locate app installed to increase your chances of finding what’s been lost.)
2. Your computer can be infected by a virus or hacked.
3. It can be damaged by liquids, a power outage, or a simple accident.
4. User error. This is where you accidentally delete or overwrite your file.
With so many security issues, the chances of something happening are pretty big. Dorm rooms are crowded work/living spaces occupied by distracted teens. Things happen… a lot.
And, it’s happened to me – a grown up with my own spacious home. Back in June, I crashed my computer. I was saved by backups and the pros to get me up and running again – but it took at least a week. I can’t thank them enough. Now, not only do I have an external hard drive and cloud back up, I have added an automatic backup systems to be double safe.
If you’re getting ready to send your child off to college for the first time, here is a list of things you need to do, or have them do, before school starts.
Research what it’s like to live on campus. What are the rules and regulations? Where is the best place to do laundry or buy food? What student groups are available? What’s the game schedule? When and where are the plays, the concerts and movies? What stores, restaurants and services are in walking distance? Visit the school’s website and Google Maps to start. From there you may find forums or groups that will help you plan for the place you’ll be living for the next year.
Buy or rent your text books online if possible. Text books are expensive. As soon as your class syllabus is available, start comparison shopping. What options are available to you? Downloadable? Hardcover-used but with shipping fees? The school book store may be the most expensive source, but if you wait until the last minute it will be your only choice. (Always use the ISBN to verify that you have the correct edition.)
Get to know your roommate. You’ll be sharing a very small space with someone you’ve never met. Summertime is the best time to reach out. Find out about them (likes and dislikes), set up of dorm room (who is bringing what) and discuss any issues you are concerned about ahead of time. If you need a roommate off campus (one that’s not assigned by the school), try roomsurf.com.
Doctors and dentists close to campus. It’s time to think about your child’s medical. Set up a physical before they head off to school. Renew prescriptions now so they can take it with them. Check with your insurance carrier to find doctors close to campus in network because emergencies happen. Out of network costs can be a drain on your budget.
Put Orientation on your calendar and go. This is your chance to get to know the school, campus, services and class information. This is a must for anyone going to college or going to a different school.
Technology. In the summer, you can get great deals on laptops, tablets, software, printers, etc. Find out what you need, and get it while the sales are hot.
Don’t wait until fall. Your child will be busy enough trying to handle living on their own for the first time. While the college dorm may seem like a cozy, self-contained environment, it can be surprisingly challenging for the unprepared.
The last word on student loans for this series is about repayment. There are lots of things you need to be aware of. I am speaking about government loans. It may be the same for private loans, but not necessarily. You will need to check with your lender.
Never ignore any debt, especially student loans. Student loans are not included in bankruptcy. They have to be repaid. Interest charges add up, so sooner is better than later.
Student loans are deferred while you are in school. If you plan on taking a year or a semester off, you will have to start making payments. Will the loan go into deferment again when you return? Contact the lender to find out.
If you are having trouble repaying your student loans contact your loan servicer. Yes, this can be a scary call. Trust me, lenders want their money and most of the time they are willing to work with you to find a solution that works for you and them. Never promise to pay more than you can afford.
Some students have no idea what they owe or how many loans they have. This is not uncommon. As students scramble to make tuition, they may take out loans with several lenders over the years. They may also consolidate some loans while leaving others intact. If you feel like you’re missing the full picture, check your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com to see a complete list of all outstanding debts. If you only want to see your government loans, you can go to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
Stay on top of all your debt to keep your finances in control.
It’s that time of year again! I’m not talking about taxes.
You DO need your tax return, but that is only part of it. Any guesses?
It’s FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid. I personally applied last year at this time and here are some of the things I learned. If you are returning to school or have a child in going or in college, you need to read this.
Deadlines: There are several deadlines that you need to take into consideration – federal, state and the college you will be attending. The federal deadline is June 30. The Connecticut deadline is February 15. Deadlines for your state can be found at fafsa.ed.gov.
How to Apply: First, you need to go to the FAFSA.gov and start your application. Online application are easy, but as with anything, take your time and enter your information correctly. Don’t hit enter yet.
Double Check Before Submitting! If you didn’t qualify, it could be because of wrong or inaccurate information. Did you know that incorrectly filled out applications is the reason why most government grants are denied?
Do Your Income Taxes Right Now: You will have to link your tax return to the application.
“Sign” Your Application: How can you provide your signature on an internet document. You will use a PIN that is provided for you when you start the application process.
Need Help? Either contact the college or university financial aid office, read the instructions directly on the FAFSA’s website or call the number listed there.
First Come, First Served: Remember, that sometimes award monies are based on first application in – first application out. The earlier you submit your application the better, as the money goes fast.
Some of you may know this already, but I’m taking a few classes to finish my degree. For those of you going to college, have a child in college, or about to go to college, this may help your wallet.
I have talked about the cost of text books before, but this was my first experience as an adult in today’s market.
I took a class this summer. The textbook was $60 used or $40 for a rental. Thinking I’d like to keep it for future reference, I decided to buy used. Imagine my shock when I discovered that the college bookstore didn’t carry the textbook for a class the college was offering. I had to prepay and have it ordered in.
After the class was over, I was shocked again when the bookstore wouldn’t buy it back. The college is offering the same class with the same book, so why not? Wanting to recoup some of my costs, I sold it online for $11.75 (postage was paid by the publisher).
Now I am taking my second class and that textbook was substantially more – $200 to buy new and $100 to buy used. I did my research and checked a number of websites for the best deal (remember to search by the ISBN number to get the correct edition). I decided to rent it for $40. On the first day of class, the Professor mentioned that we could have used prior editions. Knowing that ahead of time would have saved me a lot of money.
1. Don’t shop at the college book store.
2. Compare prices (new, used, or rental) from several online retailers.
3. Check for digital editions depending on your learning preference.
4. Plan ahead so you don’t have to expedite shipping. The cheaper the shipping the better the deal.
A couple of hard lessons learned that I will put to good use for the remainder of my classes. Textbooks are expensive. Learn from my mistakes to cut a nice chunk off of college costs.