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Tuesday
Apr212015

8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

The cost of higher education keeps climbing. Since 2004-2005, average college tuition in the U.S. has grown by over 35% to a total of $9,500 in the 2014-2015 school year. While there are many opportunities to receive grants, scholarships, and relatively affordable loans to finance a college education, there are also a number of loan forgiveness programs that can help to erase debt after you've graduated. Here are some of the best loan forgiveness options available.

1. TEACHERS

Many areas of the country need high quality teachers, particularly schools with students who fall into low income brackets. If you teach at one of these schools or at educational service agencies for five consecutive years, you may be eligible for up to $17,500 worth of complete forgiveness on Federal Stafford Loans. PLUS loans are not eligible for forgiveness under this program.

2. EDUCATORS

While the forgiveness of Federal Stafford Loans is limited to teachers, theforgiveness of Federal Perkins Loans is more expansive, and broadly includes educators. Perkins Loans can be 100% forgiven if you elect to become a school librarian, an employee at a child or family-centered agency, a staff member at a Head Start program, pre-kindergarten, or childcare program, or a school speech pathologist, special education teacher, or full-time teacher. Most of these programs require you to work in a low-income school, remain a teacher for a certain number of years, and some also carry specific education requirements, such as a master's degree.

3. ARMED FORCES

If you are considering joining the military, there are loan forgiveness opportunities for you. Should you serve in a hostile fire or imminent danger area, you may be eligible for forgiveness of your Federal Perkins Loans. If your active service ended on or before August 14, 2008, you can receive up to 50% loan forgiveness. If your service began after or includes August 14, 2008, you may receive up to 100% loan forgiveness.

4. FIREFIGHTERS OR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

Should you feel called to protect your city by becoming a firefighter, law enforcement officer, or corrections officer, you may be able to receive up to 100% forgiveness of your Federal Perkins Loans.

5. NURSES OR MEDICAL TECHNICIANS

Nurses and medical technicians across the country are in short supply. In less than 10 years, the nursing field is expected to increase job openingsby 19%. Full-time nurses and medical technicians can be awarded up to 100% loan forgiveness of their Federal Perkins Loans.

6. AMERICORPS VISTA OR PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Many young college graduates feel a compelling call to serve in a volunteer capacity in the U.S. or overseas. If you fall into that category, there are two programs that would help you to gain up to 70% loan forgiveness of your Federal Perkins Loans: AmeriCorps VISTA is a volunteer program for students who want to serve in vulnerable areas in the U.S. The Peace Corps is a storied program that pairs American volunteers with sites abroad in developing nations.

7. EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES OF THE DISABLED

There are many nonprofit and government organizations that seek to provide critical and early intervention services for the disabled. If you work for one of these organizations, you may be eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness on your Federal Perkins Loans.

8. FULL-TIME FACULTY AT A TRIBAL COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY

The U.S. Department of Education has designated certain colleges and universities as tribal colleges. This means that these colleges and universities are primarily focused on educating U.S. citizens who are American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Full-time faculty members at these schools can receive up to 100% forgiveness of Perkins Loans.

Receiving a college education today is now an expensive proposition for just about everyone. Luckily, these loan forgiveness programs provide options to finance your education while also helping you to make a meaningful and lasting impact in a community that needs your skills and talents.

Source: Wisebread.com

Thursday
Apr162015

15 Ways Bad Credit Can Effect Your Life

1. DAMAGE TO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

Often when people cannot borrow money from a traditional lender due to bad credit, they turn to friends and family to bail them out. Being late on a credit card payment will damage your credit rating. But being late on a promise to pay back a friend can destroy your relationship.

Bad credit has a terrible impact on marriages. Jeffrey Dow, a Faculty Fellow at the National Marriage Project, has extensively studied the impact of consumer debt on marital satisfaction. Dow's research uncovered that, in addition to being cited as the leading cause of divorce in America, financial disagreements were a much better predictor of future divorce than even sexual disagreements.

"Compared with disagreements over other topics, financial disagreements last longer, are more salient to couples, and generate more negative conflict tactics, such as yelling or hitting, especially among husbands," Dow says. "Perhaps because they are socialized to be providers, men seem to take financial conflict particularly hard. Not surprisingly, new research that I have done indicates that conflict over money matters predicts divorce better than other types of disagreement."

And, talk about kicking you when you are down. During a divorce, a credit score can be used as leverage when dividing up assets!

2. LACK OF ACCESS TO EMERGENCY MONEY

One of my friends nearly lost her dog to cancer last year. Because of her low credit score, she was unable to get an emergency loan to cover her beloved pet's medical bills. Luckily, she was able to raise the money for treatment by crowd sourcing. Unfortunately, this kind of happy ending is uncommon. Outspending your means could leave you vulnerable to a medical catastrophe.

3. LIMITED MOBILITY

Hurricane Katrina was devastating to just about everyone in New Orleans, but many people were put in harm's way due to financial obstacles. Katrina struck on August 29, two days short of payday for some of the city's poorest residents. With no cash on hand and no credit, people literally lost their lives because they couldn't afford to pay for a bus ticket or gasoline to evacuate the area.

Airline tickets cannot be purchased with cash. While this seems like a First World problem, homesickness and the desire to go home is a universal feeling. In addition to keeping you away from loved ones, having a low credit rating can keep you from getting the best credit card for travel. With the right rewards card, travelers can save thousands of dollars by using mileage points to purchase tickets and accommodations, and avoiding foreign service fees for cash advances and purchases.

Poor credit can also keep you from owning a car or getting affordable insurance, which in turn can keep you from taking jobs that require a car.

4. JACKED UP CAR INSURANCE RATES

Although this is illegal in some states, some car insurers have decided that there's a connection between on-time payments and reckless driving… and jack up the rates or deny auto coverage accordingly. Not having car insurance can obviously negatively impact the quality of life of anyone who is dependent on a car for work.

5. INCREASED PROPERTY INSURANCE COSTS

Some insurance companies see a correlation between low credit scores and high insurance claims, and inflict punitive rate increases on customers with poor credit. Although California, Massachusetts, and Maryland prohibit this practice, people with poor credit pay a least twice as much as people with excellent credit in most states. For example, if you live in West Virginia and have poor credit, you will pay up to 208% more than your neighbor with a high credit score!

6. A STRUGGLE TO REFINANCE A MORTGAGE

Following the epidemic of foreclosures, new banking rules have been applied that make borrower's creditworthiness even more critical to negotiating a reasonable interest rate for home loans. Getting a loan allowed me to turn my rundown house into a beautiful rental property that pays for itself every month. The ability to get a loan for home improvement revolutionized my life by putting me on the fast track to financial independence.

7. DIFFICULTY RENTING

As a landlord, I check the credit score of potential tenants for late payments. I won't rent to people with too many late payments because the eviction process costs me too much time and money. It doesn't matter how much I like the prospective renter; I've learned the hard way that any goodwill I might have will be quickly turned into hate by tardy renters who have to be nagged into paying. I am not alone in this practice of judging prospects by their creditworthiness. In fact, most landlords I know only look at the credit score and don't allow potential renters to put their low score into context (i.e. "I was hit by a drunk driver and my medical bills bankrupted me!").

8. GRIM JOB PROSPECTS

Most people I know don't have a poor credit rating because they are shopaholics. When the recession hit, a lot of unemployed people had to make emergency financial decisions that are still dogging them today.

There's a push to prevent employers from using credit reports against potential employees. But right now you can be denied a job due to a poor credit score. Allegedly, employers are supposed to inform you if your credit is the reason you were not hired, but this is no consolation to any job seeker who really wants and needs to work. One out of four Americans have had to go through an employer credit check, and one out of 10 are denied work because of a low credit score.

9. STUNTED GROWTH FOR START-UPS

Many lenders require borrowers to put up their home as collateral for a small business loan. But even getting a home equity line of credit requires a good credit rating. Like landlords, many franchisers make decisions about licensing new franchises based on credit rating.

10. HIGHER INTEREST RATES

Even if you are able to borrow money, borrowers who are considered to be higher risk pay higher interest rates.

11. LOSS OF BASIC UTILITIES

Utilities regularly check credit before beginning service. If you have been late making payments — especially utility payments in the past — you might be required to pay a deposit in order to get service.

12. IMPACT ON PROFESSIONAL LICENSING

The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows government agencies that regulate professions to use credit reports. This means that states can require proof of creditworthiness before issuing everything from medical licenses to doctors, to construction licenses to contractors.

13. LACK OF DISPOSABLE INCOME

I am currently working furiously to pay down my home equity line of credit early, so I can achieve the peace of mind that financial independence offers, and save thousands of dollars in interest payments. In order to achieve this goal, I have cut out pretty much all varieties of elective spending. No eating out. No dry cleaning. No college classes. No new purchases beyond the absolute necessities, such as food and health care. While I spend part of every day feeling annoyed and inconvenienced by my lack of ready cash, I make an effort to realize that my situation is temporary. I will enjoy a better retirement because of the savings I am making today.

People with poor credit spend more on fees and interest and, therefore, have less money to spend on experiences that enrich their lives.

14. INCREASED STRESS

When I was 20, I watched as a sales clerk cut up my credit card right in front of me. That experience scared me straight. I will do almost anything to avoid public shaming, including pay my bills on time. However, most people would rather struggle with the stress of debtthan admit that they can't afford something.

15. POOR QUALITY OF LIFE

Debt can keep you from getting an education. It can keep you in an unhealthy relationship. It can keep you from getting a better job. Debt can keep you from fulfilling your potential as a person.

Every journey starts with a single step, including the journey towards creditworthiness. Even if you can only afford to pay down an extra $10 a month on your credit card debt, that is $10 you are spending to make your future better and more financially secure.

Source: Wisebread.com

Thursday
Mar262015

Free Betty Crocker and Pillsbury Samples, Coupons, More

Sign up for our FREE email for the best of Betty! Get $250 in exclusive coupons, access to free samples, our hottest recipes, and more. Click below!
PLUS, be sure to sign up for the Pillsbury freebies! 

Click below to sign up for FREE samples and coupons!

 

Thursday
Mar192015

Target agrees to pay $10 million to settle lawsuit from data breach

Were you effected by the 2013 holiday credit card theft? I was! Now they are paying out to consumers.

Under the proposal, which requires federal court approval, Target will deposit the settlement amount into an interest bearing escrow account, to pay individual victims up to $10,000 in damages.

The claims will be submitted and processed primarily online through a dedicated website, according to the court documents.

See complete story.

Tuesday
Mar172015

8+ Starbucks Money-Saving Hacks

Here are some Starbucks money-saving secrets!
  1. Sign up for a Starbucks card and all your customizations (flavor shots, soy substitutions) are free. Register it online, and then pay with your card each time (you can even link it to your bank account so it automatically refills), and you'll get a free drink of any kind for every 10 transactions. If you like to grind your own coffee, you also get a free tall coffee for purchasing a pound of coffee and a free tall drink of your choice for purchasing a two pound bag. And did we mention the free drink on your birthday? 
  2. Plus get free refills on hot or iced brew coffee and tea during the same store visit with a Starbucks reward card!
  3. Instead of pouring out coffee to make room for cream, order a small size but in a bigger cup.
  4. Bring in a coffee sleeve to be reused and get a $0.10 discount. You also get a $0.10 discount for bringing in a mug.
  5. Shop online. They regularly offer sales and deals.
  6. You can get 50 cent refills on coffee as long as you are still in the store.
  7. Check out the secret Starbucks menu.
  8. Make your own Starbucks favorites @ home!

Starbucks Lemon Loaf

Starbucks Vanilla Scone

Starbucks Oat Fudge Bars

 

 


Sunday
Mar152015

Ikea Printable Coupons

Go here to print a coupon for $15 off $150! Or get a coupon for $25 off $250 when you register on IKEA site and opt-in for text messages – redeemable in-store only
Friday
Mar132015

10 Outlet Shopping Hacks

1. KNOW YOUR "OUTLET" STORE

"Outlet" stores come in three flavors: factory stores, actual outlet stores, and conventional retail stores. Always ask an associate what type of store you are shopping in to quickly figure out the type of deals you might find.

Factory Stores

Factory stores are locations that sell merchandise made specifically for the factory store. While the deals to be had can be quite good, be aware that often the merchandise is of lesser quality. I actually had a manager at an Eddie Bauer factory outlet tell me that the stitching is not as good compared to their regular stores and items typically won't last as long. In addition to Eddie Bauer, examples include Gap, Banana Republic, and Gymboree.

Actual Outlet Stores

Actual outlet stores are locations that sell merchandise originally stocked in regular retail stores. Often products are last season's overstocks or have a small blemish on them. You can typically score a much better deal at outlet stores compared to factory stores. It is important to always examine products carefully to ensure quality. Popular examples of real outlet stores include REI, Coldwater Creek, and Lands' End.

Conventional Retail

Conventional retail locations dressed up as outlet stores are also prevalent. In an attempt to take advantage of popular locations and high foot-traffic, some retailers willingly buy space at outlet malls. The deals at these stores often match the deals found in their conventional retail counterparts. Examples include Old Navy, Merrell, Famous Footwear, Sunglass Hut, and American Eagle Outfitters.

2. FIND HIDDEN CLEARANCE DEALS

Just because you're shopping at an outlet mall doesn't mean stores are without a clearance department. Typically, you'll have to walk past all of the full-priced merchandise to find the clearance section hidden in the rear of the store. If you can't find your size or color, ask an associate for assistance — they often have clearance items in the back that haven't been put out on the sales floor yet or were recently returned.

3. PRACTICE INFORMED COUPONING

When it comes to outlet shopping, not all coupons are created equal. Typically, coupons are created specifically for outlet or factory stores and regular in-store coupons won't be accepted. Check the coupon fine print to avoid the disappointment of a printable coupon being turned away at the register. Always do a Google search for "Store Name OUTLET coupon" before you head out to the store to make sure you find an applicable coupon.

4. SHOP HOLIDAY WEEKENDS

Outlet stores are notorious for offering amazing sales on holiday weekends like Memorial Day, Labor Day, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving. You'll often find entire outlet stores marked down 40%-50% off original prices. The parking lot can be quite full on holiday weekends, so it's advantageous to get there when the stores open to avoid the crowd.

5. DON'T BUY JUST BECAUSE YOU MADE THE TRIP

All too often, shoppers get caught up in the mystique of outlet malls and feel they need to buy just because they made the drive. Don't fall prey to this mindset. Instead, shop with a list and a budget and stick to it. If the deals simply aren't there, then leave the store knowing that they eventually will be, especially on big holiday weekends.

6. GO SOCIAL AND SAVE

Did you know that the majority of outlet centers have their own Facebook pages? Do a quick search for the Facebook page of the outlet mall you plan visit and get exclusive sale and coupon information.

7. SCOPE THE NIKE OUTLET HASH WALL

The Nike Outlet is a big favorite with many outlet regulars, and many contain a far back wall referred to as the "hash wall," where they typically stock shoes that are marked down for a quick sale. What you see is what you get, so if you are not particular on style or color, it's a great place to score a deal.

8. HAGGLE THE PRICE (WHEN APPROPRIATE)

You can absolutely haggle the price at a traditional outlet location, where items are likely to have a blemish or be reconditioned. Politely point out the imperfection, ask for an extra 15% off, and be prepared to settle for a 10% discount. The bigger the imperfection the better chance of success, especially if you are making a substantial purchase. The same goes for damaged packaging as stores realize they will have a tough time selling items at the advertised price. Give it a try it and you may be pleasantly surprised with the result.

9. SHOP FOR NEXT SEASON

A great way to use save on outlet shopping is to stock up on apparel, shoes, and outerwear for the following year, especially when shopping for growing kids. When you stumble across an amazing deal, simply buy a size or two up and store for next year.

10. BE AWARE OF THE RETURN POLICY

The return policies at outlet shopping locations can often be kind of screwy, so always ask before they slide your credit card. Sometimes items are final sale with no refund available. Sometimes you can only return items to an outlet location, which, depending on how far you drove, can be a real pain. Always be aware of the store's return policy and shop accordingly.

Source: Wisebread.com

Wednesday
Mar112015

11 Ways to Save at Kohl's

1. Save 15% When you Sign Up for Email & Text Alerts

If you’re not already on the list make sure you Sign Up for Kohls Email & Text Alerts. You’ll receive a 15% off coupon each time you sign up so spread these out to get 2 separate coupons!

You can sign up for Email Alerts here to get your 15% off Kohls Coupon

And Text SAVE07 to 56457 to get a 15% Off Coupon sent to your phone and sign up for Mobile Sale Alerts.

2. Earn $5 for every $100 you Spend!

Have you heard of the Yes 2 You Rewards Program? You have to sign up for this program online, then you’ll earn $5 for every $100 you spend regardless of how you pay! Plus you can earn the $5 on every $100 in plus Kohl’s Cash so it’s Bonus Savings you don’t want to miss out on. Make sure you sign up here.

3. Find In Store Coupons Quickly

All Kohl’s coupons are valid both in stores and online. If it’s an online coupon it should be listed under the Today’s Deals section where you can print an in store shopping past. Or you can use Retail Me Not App to find In Store Coupons. Just pull up the app on your phone to see current and valid Kohl’s Coupons then show your phone at checkout to receive your discount.

4. Stack Your Kohls Coupons for Extreme Savings!

Most people don’t know Kohls allows you to stack a dollar off coupon (Like a $10 off any purchase or $10/$30 Purchase) coupon with a Percent off Coupon (Like 15% or 20% Off Everything!)

$ coupons, Kohls Cash and Discount Coupons all can be applied to the same order. Or you can stack a Category Coupon (Mens, Juniors, Womens) + A Total Purchase Coupon for Big Savings!

Online you can Stack up to 4 Coupon Codes on the same transaction!

5. Use Price Matching with Kohls Coupons

Did you know Kohls will match Competitors Ads with a current date. This applies to in store items, but it can be an easy way to save. Stack those Price Matches with Kohls In Store Coupons for Big Savings!

6. Earn 10% Back in Rewards on Gifts Purchased off your Registry

If you or someone you know is getting married make sure they know about Kohls Ever After Rewards! You can earn 10% of the amount purchased from your registry! That means if friends and family members buy $1,000 worth of items off your registry you’ll earn $100 in Rewards to spend on other items!

In addition you’ll get a 15% Discount on all the items remaining on your registry! Sign up for the Kohls Wedding Registry Here and be eligible to earn Kohls Ever After Rewards!

7. Earn Kohl’s Cash on $48 or more

One of the best ways to save at Kohl’s is by taking advantage of Kohl’s Cash. Kohl’s frequently runs promotions where You can earn $10 in Kohls Cash for every $50 you spend.These promotions typically overlap with coupons so for the biggest savings wait for a Kohl’s Cash Promotion and stack it with coupons!

Did you know, you actually only have to spend $48 to earn Kohl’s Cash? If you are within $2 you’ll earn Kohl’s Cash as if you spend $50! It’s just one way Kohl’s makes our lives a little easier! No more adding in filler items to get over $50. Details Here. 

Remember Kohl’s Cash is only valid during specific dates, so check the dates on your Kohl’s Cash and set a reminder in your phone so you don’t forget to spend it!

8. FREE Shipping from the Kohl’s Kiosk In Stores

If you can’t find a Coupon Code for Free Shipping you can head in stores to use the In Store Kiosk. Any order made from an In Store Kiosk will get Free Shipping with No Minimum! This is perfect for ordering those items only available online and a great way to avoid shipping costs!

9. Wait for Gold Star Clearance

Kohls runs something called Gold Star clearance which is up to 80% off original prices. Typically this happens around 4 times a year at the end of each season. Watch for the Gold Star Clearance sections in your stores to find amazing deals!

10. Senior Citizens Discount

If you’re over the age of 60 the best day to shop is Wednesdays! All Senior Citizens age 60 and older will save save 15% Every Week on Wednesdays! Details Here.

11. Save Your Receipt for Easy Price Adjustments

You have 2 weeks to take your receipt back for a price adjustment. If the price goes down then you’ll be able to get the difference back!