Finding A Roommate

While our children are in college it is very challenging finding the right roommate until graduation.   My son, Arthur has one more year until he can apply for graduation and we are feverishly trying to find him a new roommate.  The cost of living has increasingly gone up over the past few years, but we may have found the perfect place for about $1,000 per month.  He’s had several roommates in the past, but they have moved out of the country or have dropped out of college and we know it will not be cheap.  We want to purchase a condo for Arthur upon graduation, so that he can work full-time in his chosen career and then start saving for his own home purchase.

We’ve tried college apartment boards and Craigslist.com but when using Craigslist we know that we must be very careful.  Craigslist has yielded excellent past roommates for Arthur and we are hoping for the same results this time around.  Whatever happened to the days when renting a room used to cost around $300 per month?  Those days go way back to the year 1970. We are in 2017 and the average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in a nice neighborhood runs about $1,500 per month (or more).

If you are having a tough time finding a roommate for your college kids, send me an email and I will send you resources in your area.

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Living Forever

As a mom, I wish I could live forever to be here and take care or my children.  However, we know that we cannot live forever but through purchasing life insurance I truly feel that I can leave something behind for my family when I am gone.  I certainly want them to be able to continue living their lives without stress and headaches, so I’ve purchased life insurance that will sustain them when I am gone.  So many people often don’t think about purchasing life insurance until it’s too late.  Don’t wait…start today if you haven’t already…

Fidelity Life established in 1896 and offers coverage for adults and children.  They don’t require medical or health exams for many of their policies and they offer affordable monthly, quarterly or annual billing rates.  Go to

http://quotes.fidelitylife.com/

Check out their rates and be sure to purchase some life insurance so that your family will be taken care of should anything happen to you.    This is my way of living on forever through my children.

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Black Friday Shopping

If you have kids who are in college and plan to go shopping this Friday, a good idea would be to equip your children with debit cards because cash can be lost.  However, if they shop with a debit card you can keep track of their spending and if they lose the card – just quickly contact the card issuer and have it replaced.  My son is in college and I signed up him for the Pass Card from American Express.

pass cardThe Pass Card from American Express comes with the following features:

1) Prepaid re-loadable personalized card

2) Safer than cash

3) Kids can only spend what’s on the card; so it’s not like a debit or credit card where your kids can exceed the credit line to run into over draft issues.  Overdraft charges can run as high as $35.00 each.  Even if your son or daughter made a purchase for $15.00, your bank would still charge you a $35.00 over draft fee.  And those fees can really add up.

pass cardChoose when to add funds

Set up automatic reloads online, so instead of asking for money, teens will know when their allowance is coming. It’s easy to reload PASS anytime, online or by phone.

Track activity easily – View balance and purchase history online anytime from anywhere, or set up alerts. Teens can also view balances online, or track their funds via text messages.
If something breaks – If an eligible item purchased with PASS accidentally breaks, or is stolen, Purchase Protection, can reimburse your teen—up to 90 days from the date of purchase.
If a car won’t start –PASS also includes Roadside Assistance, so your teen won’t get stranded. Just call us and we’ll send help.
Global Assist® Services – Your teen is backed by Global Assist. Rely on us 24/7 for emergency assistance while traveling. We can direct the Card member to English-speaking medical and legal professionals, help with lost passports, and much more.
If you have questions – You and your teen can call us 24/7 at 1-877-405-7277. American Express Customer Service will be available anytime, day or night.

How to Add Funds:

Direct Deposit – Save time adding money to your teen’s Card by using Direct Deposit to transfer part of your paycheck automatically. It’s simple and secure. Get started by logging in to your account.

Bank Account – Simply enter your account information online to reload whenever you choose, but note, for your protection, it will take 3-5 business days to verify and load the funds.

American Express Card – Add funds quickly anytime you choose, or set up automatic reloads to make it even easier.

american express

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Straight Talk

straight talk wireless

My son is in college and any parent who has kids in grammar, high school, or college want to make sure that their children have a reliable cell phone service provider.  Wal-mart features many cell phone providers, who offer great prepaid plans at a discount, but the one I think is suitable for any budget is Straight Talk Wireless.  You can purchase unlimited talk, text and data nationwide for only $45 per month.  If you have more than one child, then you really should consider Straight Talk Wireless.  It’s affordable, there are no contracts and they also offer pre-paid plans starting at just $30 for every 1,000 minutes.

I used to have a contract for my family cell phone plan, but the costs were astronomical.  So, I did my homework and found a more affordable, but reliable plan with Straight Talk Wireless.  I’ve outlined some valid reasons why I think you should walk into your local Wal-mart and check out a Straight Talk Wireless plan today:

  • Straight Talk is a service provided by TracFone Wireless Inc., America’s largest no-contract cell phone provider in the U.S.
  • Straight Talk partners with existing wireless networks nationwide to provide no-contract wireless phone service.
  • Straight Talk is available exclusively at Wal-Mart and the cost savings of not having to maintain stores is passed directly on to customers.
  • Straight Talk has all of the same great phones as the contract carries, including name brands like Samsung, Apple, Windows and LG.
  • Straight Talk offers the same networks and the same phones at half the cost.
  • Straight Talk provides service in more zip codes than any other wireless carrier and reaches more than 300 million Americans.
  • The “ALL YOU NEED” plan for $30 a month to receive 1,000 minutes, 1,000 text or multimedia messages, 30 MB of data transfer for data phones and 411 calls at no additional charge.
  • The unlimited plan for $45 a month to receive unlimited talk, text and data Nationwide anytime with calls to 411 at no additional charge.

make a wish

Please also be aware that every Saturday in September, Straight Talk Wireless will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish for each person that visits their participating local Wal-Mart and takes a minute to learn more about Straight Talk.

  • Straight Talk will donate a minimum of $500,000 to Make-A-Wish and up to $1,000,000.
  • Believe it or not, not everyone lives near a Wal-Mart! From now until September 28, when you share the video on straighttalkwish.com, Straight Talk will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish®, up to $100,000 (one donation per viewer, per day) towards their $1,000,000 goal. It’s fast, easy and worth every second!
  • This is the second year in a row that Straight Talk will be hosting this program. Last year’s program was very successful, reaching its $1,000,000 donation mark!
  • Straight Talk believes there is nothing greater than granting a sick child’s wish. They are thrilled to be able to be part of making that happen again this year.

make a wishVisit @Walmart to learn more about @MyStraightTalk this Sat. & Straight Talk will donate $1 to @MakeAWish: http://ow.ly/ooeBn #StraightTalkWish

I participated in this sponsored campaign for One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

 

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Freshman on a Budget?

shop on a budget

How to shop on a budget when you’re a college Freshman? Well, I was college Freshman many eons ago, but my son Arthur is currently a Freshman and he shops for small items each week – such as laundry detergent, milk, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit and water. Arthur lives in a college apartment that does not have a kitchen, so under his bed is where he keeps a compact fridge that also has a tiny freezer. It’s difficult to buy things you need while you’re in college, because if you’re studying full-time and unemployed, then you usually have to ask your parents for money to shop. Parents may or may not have the money, especially if they are assisting with college tuition.

So here are a few thrifty places you may want to shop while attending college…

CVS – the local CVS has a bunch of items on sale each week for $.99 cents to $1.99 – my favorite is the water and laundry detergent. They also have snacks under $1.99 each that can satisfy starving college kids.

Family Dollar – if you live in the Midwest, then there’s bound to be a local Family Dollar store near you. Don’t pass it by, because here you can find a treasure trove of necessary items for under one dollar. They carry tons of food items and canned goods for less than a buck.

Target – I love Target! I always shop there for so many items, like this is where I found the sheets for my son’s bed in his new college apartment, they were XL sheets and the entire set was under $10 bucks. Find a Super Target and it’ll be one-stop shopping for groceries, toiletries and many additional items you will need as a college student.

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Should Interns get a Paycheck?

I remember my college years and I did work a few years as an intern.  I had both paid and non-paid internship positions.  However, it’s always a plus to get a paycheck, even if you’re working as a college intern.   During college you have so many expenses, like food, gas in your car or public transportation if you live in New York, Chicago or Philadelphia.  Those costs may vary, but the fixed costs still remain in the day-to-day life of a college student.  So, I watched the CNN special, hosted by John Sutter entitled “Obama Should Pay his Interns”, and I do agree that some pay should be considered.

Although I’ve never worked as a White House intern, I would imagine that possibly having to relocate from Indiana to Washington and renting an apartment would be expensive.   Transportation to and from the White House, clothing, food, utilities, etc. – would probably amount to about $2,500 each month.  And for a starving college student, having a paycheck can help. Unless, you have wealthy parents who can foot the bill, then you will be left out in the cold by paying to work as an intern.

Some people advise that paying to work as an intern has benefits of prestigious jobs that look great on college graduate resumes. But, spending all that money during college may or may not be worth it.  You decide…please email your thoughts on this issue to carolyn@helicoptermamma.org

white house

 

 

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Credit Card Debt

college credit cards
I don’t advocate college students applying for credit cards until they have a full-time job. Credit card offers will start pouring in once they begin college, but it’s important that we teach our children that getting in debt too early could be a huge mistake and ruin their credit even before they graduate college. I’ve spoken with my son extensively about credit, and I’ve pleaded with him not to accept any credit card offers until he graduates college and is working full-time. I’ve seen so many people ruin their credit by charging up thousands of dollars and not having the income to support the credit cards they’ve acquired. Here are some important credit card facts:
Student Credit Cards
  • 91% of undergraduates have at least one credit card, up from 76% in the same study conducted in 2004. The average number of cards has grown to 4.6, with half of college students having four or more cards. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009”)
  • The average undergrad carries $3,173 in credit card debt, the highest since the study began. The average senior will graduate with $4,100 in credit card debt, up 41% from the same study conducted in 2004. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009”)
  • 92% of undergraduates use credit cards to pay for educational expenses and 30% admitted to using their credit cards to pay for college tuition. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009”)
  • Graduates will amass almost $20,000 in student loan debt. (Source: Nellie Mae, “Undergraduate Students and Credit Cards in 2004: An Analysis of Usage Rates and Trends”)
  • 25% of the students surveyed in US PIRG’s 2008 Campus Credit Card Trap report said that they have paid a late fee, and 15 percent have paid an “over the limit” fee. (Source: U.S. PIRG, “Campus Credit Card Trap”)
Cost of College
  • The cost of tuition at a private four-year university was $25,143 in 2008 (up 5.9% from 2007). The cost of tuition at a public four-year university was $6,585 in 2008 (up 6.4% from 2007). (Source: The College Board)
  • According to a 2007 College Board Study, people with a bachelor’s degree earn over 60% more than those with only a high school diploma? Over a lifetime, the gap in earning potential between a high school diploma and a B.A. is more than $800,000. (Source: The College Board, “Education Pays”
Student Debt Issues
  • 7.2% of students drop out of college due to debt and/or financial pressures. (Source: Duck 9)
  • People in the 18 to 24 age bracket spend nearly 30% of their monthly income just on debt repayment – double the percentage spent in 1992 (10% of net income is a recommended amount for debt obligation). (Source: Center for Responsible Lending)

     

Financial Literacy
  • A 1997 study sponsored by the Jump$tart Coalition found that high school students lack an understanding of basic personal finance concepts. On average, survey participants answered 57% of the questions correctly. Only 10% of respondents said they learned about personal finance at school, while 60% learned at home. (Source:Jump$tart Coalition)
  • In 2007, a survey on teens and money reported that only 45% of teens know how to use a credit card, while just 26% understood credit-card interest and fees. (Source: Charles Schwab)
  • 84% of undergraduates admitted the need for more financial management education. Of these, 64% would have preferred some type of financial literacy education in high school and 40% as college freshman. (Source: Sallie Mae, “How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009”)

credit cards students

 

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Husband is Gone

Kay wrote a letter telling me that she is happiest when her husband Jim is at work (or just plain ol’ gone)…  “We fight all of the time.  After almost 12 years of marriage, we always argue.  My husband Jim suffers from bi-polar disorder and when Jim’s not on his medication, he makes my life a living hell.   We were happy when we first tied the knot but things have slowly gone downhill.  Jim works about 50 plus hours each week as an insurance salesman and I am self-employed, working from home as an Accountant.  Since I work from our home, Jim feels like I should do everything that concerns the home…like cooking, cleaning, handling of the monthly household expenses, taking care of our children’s needs – plus I have to do my professional work.  Jim has three children and I have two.  Our kids don’t get along and are not that close because they live in different states.  My two kids live with us, but Jim’s children live with his ex-wife in Michigan.  Jim also distributes about seventy-percent of his monthly take-home pay in child support payments.  All of his tax refunds also go towards paying child support from his previous marriage.”

Kay, I think you fight a lot because…

#1 – Jim is bi-polar and needs to stay medicated.

#2 – Jim must realize that you work just as hard as he does, even though you are sort of your own boss and work from home.  But, just because you work from home doesn’t make your job any less important than his.

#3 – Has Jim ever contributed to the household chores – like cooking, cleaning and helping you write monthly checks out to cover the bills?  Does Jim even know what the monthly bills look like? Sounds like Jim needs to pull up a chair and get his hands dirty a bit.

#4 – Money is the number reason people get divorced.  When one person feels as though he or she are carrying the entire load, things can get a little stressful.  That’s when the other person has to help with the load, so that you don’t feel so overloaded.  Kay, you sound overwhelmed.

#5 – Kay, you knew what you were getting yourself into when you married Jim.  You knew he owed over forty-thousand dollars in back child support.  You knew his kids resided in another state.  You knew he was NOT a rich man, but you certainly had no idea that he was bi-polar.  You had no idea that he would suffer from such deep depression that he would pull you down emotionally as well.  Kay, I wish you knew his condition prior to the marriage, but now that you are aware of it – what can be done to help him control his bi-polar disorder?  If he doesn’t take his medicine regularly and things keep getting worse, I strongly recommend that you seek marriage counseling.  If Jim keeps physically threatening you (although you say he hasn’t hit you yet) – then I will begin to fear for your safety and that of your children.

Kay, you must realize that you DO NOT LIVE ALONE.  It feels like you live alone and all of the responsibilities are on your shoulders.  I know it even seems like Jim is a child and not your husband because he acts like a child by screaming and hollering at you when he gets up every morning; by not concerning himself with the important things that happen in your home; but Jim needs to know how the bills get paid.  He is a 50-year-old man, who needs to start acting like such.  Jim needs to know how you feel when he gets home from work, instead of you always asking him how he feels.  Kay, please seek immediate counseling and if Jim keeps threatening you with physical backlash; then I say it’s time to move out and try to seek counseling if you think your marriage is salvageable.  Only you know the answer to that question.  Good Luck.

 

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One-Way Street Relationship

I apologize to my followers who have emailed me letters that I haven’t had the opportunity to respond to – Janelle from Los Angeles, CA wrote a letter regarding her husband, who works full-time but earns less money than she does.  Janelle complained that she does “most of the housework, for example – dishes, vacuuming the house, cleans the bathroom, kitchen, etc.” – plus Janelle makes about $100,000 annually.  Her husband, Tyler makes about $45,000 annually and “does NOT contribute to any of the household chores.”  Yet, when Tyler comes home from work, he expects a “home-cooked” meal to be prepared by Janelle.  Janelle is usually so tired, she doesn’t even have time to wash her hair and she pays all of the bills, so she doesn’t even spend money pampering herself – like getting her hair and nails done.

Well, Janelle – all I can say is… “You got major problems, girl.”  You are in a “one-way street” relationship.  Your husband is doing ALL of the taking and feels like it’s totally up to you to keep on giving and giving until it hurts.  Men who live in a household and feel like they are NOT responsible for housework, just because they have a “job” and go to work 40 hours each week – are clueless.  Janelle needs to stop doing ALL of the household chores and see if Tyler will lift a finger to do something around the house.  When Tyler’s laundry is dirty and he is looking around for clean clothing – just tell him he needs to start cleaning his own dirty laundry.  It’s that simple.

Women need to stop allowing men to take, take and take.  When you get married it should be a 50/50 situation.  Janelle said her paycheck covers 70% of the household expenses, because her husband pays a large chunk of his paycheck in child support.  So, since this man has to pay most of his money to the ex-wife and kids – then maybe he should think more about what you have to “give-up” to be his wife.  Relationships are not all about money, but they are about loving and caring for each other.  Janelle’s husband only thinks about himself, if he can’t help her clean the house that the two of them share and if he feels like because Janelle wears the skirts, and it’s your responsibility to have his meals prepared daily – then he really doesn’t understand what marriage is all about.

Janelle says she’s “gained weight over the past year and her husband could care less.  He never tells her that she looks nice, because he’s so busy looking at other women.  Well, Janelle – no doubt the other women he’s looking at are being taken care of by their men. I’m sure they are not looking so good, by doing all of the work around the house, plus paying all of the bills.  No, these women are busy taking care of themselves – which is what you need to start doing immediately.  Tyler doesn’t want to see you looking good, he wants to keep you just the way you are – so don’t keep giving.  You need to start taking back what’s yours and that’s YOUR SELF RESPECT!

Seems like Janelle has been giving so much of herself that Tyler is just used to taking your time and he really doesn’t care what the cost is – he really only thinks of himself!  So, if I were Janelle I would make Tyler do his own laundry, his own shopping and make him prepare his own meals.  Why is it fair for Janelle to work 40 hours each week and pay 70% of the household expenses PLUS Janelle has to cook, clean and do just about EVERYTHING else?  This is called “CRAZY”.  Stop the madness and tell Tyler he needs a maid not a wife.  He is looking for a mother and a maid, certainly not a wife.

Tyler also complains about anything concerning Janelle’s 15 year old son.  If Janelle asks Tyler to do anything for her son – since he is not the biological father – he complains about it.  Janelle, I hate to tell you this – but Tyler only cares about Tyler.  He is with you, but he doesn’t care that you don’t fix yourself up anymore, or that you look and feel like CRAP.  All he wants are his needs met.  He doesn’t care about you or your needs.  Things will work if and ONLY if Tyler starts to think more about your feelings and LESS about his own.  He is selfish.  He wants the world to revolve around him and how he feels.  He wants you to think of him – ALWAYS.

Well, I’m here to tell you to start thinking about YOURSELF.  Go to the gym, get your hair and nails done.  Take yourself out to a fancy restaurant and make yourself feel WORTHY, because you ARE!  Join the gym and go there EVERY single day.  Make yourself feel good about YOU.  Because nobody else will – I mean it!  Start this week and email me when you have that new gym membership.

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Living on a Buck a Day

Christiane Amanpour is addressing global poverty by asking people in the United States to live on a dollar a day.  I am starting this special project next week Monday, where my family and I will eat on a dollar a day.  We can’t live on a dollar a day, because our shelter costs exceeds a dollar by far.  But, we can try to eat on a buck a day, which we have never done before.

If you’re like most people you, including myself – you don’t carry cash and you simply swipe your debit card during lunch breaks and shopping trips.  But, what on earth can you buy for a dollar or less?  Well, there are many things that actually costs less than a dollar: bananas, rice, carrots, lettuce, 1-2 potatoes (small in size), 1-2 oranges.  You can’t find strawberries for less than a buck anywhere and we usually shop at Trader Joe’s where there is nothing that costs less than a dollar.  So, this will be very challenging for us but I know we can do it.

Over the weekend, I will list what I have found in local grocery markets that actually cost less than one dollar.

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DNA Paternity Testing or Not?

I received a letter from a woman regarding DNA testing of her step-daughter. The letter reads as follows…

“Dear Helicoptermamma,

I am writing you to get your advice on whether you think my husband should request his eldest daughter take a DNA test.  I’ve been happily married to a wonderful man for 15 years, but during that time I’ve heard from various members of his immediate family that his eldest daughter (age 25) may not be his biological daughter.  He has four wonderful children and I love them all as if they were my own.  I have one son who will be starting college next year, but as my husband and I are growing older, we are working towards leaving behind a substantial amount of life insurance policies for our children.  I have insurance policies that total well over $500,000 thousand dollars in benefits.

However, I just don’t feel right leaving money to children that are NOT his (our) biological children and/or grandchildren.  But, I asked my husband about his daughter possibly taking a DNA test and his response was, “Let’s just leave things as they are”; which I interpreted this as meaning he really didn’t want to know whether the child was his biological child or not, especially since he’s raised the child since birth as his own flesh and blood.   And she could very strongly possibly be his own child, but since his first wife cheated and was unfaithful to him during their marriage, I asked him what makes him believe that she wasn’t cheating on you PRIOR to the marriage?  He admitted to me that there was another guy she was sleeping with while he was dating her.   His relatives have adamantly stated that the child looks exactly like the other guy and the other guy’s family.

Which begs the question, “Who is the father of your eldest daughter?”  He also said he spoke to his mother about the DNA test and his mother responded, “That’s just ridiculous, your daughter looks just like you.”  But, I have seen so many men raising children that look like them but were NOT their biological kids.  It makes me wonder why he wouldn’t take the test – since he so strongly believes the child is actually his biological daughter?  What is he afraid of if he truly thinks the child is 99.9% his?

Belinda from Indianapolis, Indiana

*****Helicoptermamma’s response to Belinda’s letter….

Belinda, I think you should leave the subject alone.  If your husband is OK with raising a child who may NOT be his biological child, then that is his business.  He has that right.  However, I do understand that you don’t want to leave money for children who are NOT his or your direct biological offspring.   In that case, I would suggest you exclude the child in question from any of your life insurance policies.  Evidently, your husband knows something he is not disclosing and maybe things are better left the way they are…but my advice would be to leave your insurance policies to your biological son and allow your husband the option to bequeath his life insurance policies to his four children.

Obviously his mother is in a possible state of denial.  Lets’ face it – she has raised his eldest daughter as her biological grandchild.  She would be heart-broken to find out after a DNA test that the child is not biologically linked to her son.  So, in this situation, it’s better NOT to know the truth for their sake.  Also, the 25-year-old daughter would want to know who her true biological father is and maybe the child’s mother is not ready to disclose that information.

Belinda, men have a very big EGO and finding out 25 years later that a man has raised a child that is NOT his biological child – would be a HUGE blow to his EGO.  So, Belinda don’t discuss the subject ever again with your husband or anyone else.  But listen up girl, leave all of your life insurance and inheritance to your son.  Your husband is old enough to make his own decisions about his children, so let him decide what he wants to do with his life insurance policies, etc.  Also, if you feel uncomfortable purchasing gifts or sending money to the eldest daughter and her children, then let that be known.  Tell your husband you want to treat all of his children as if they are your own, but you need to know if they are indeed his biological offspring.  But don’t bring the subject up unless your husband asks you to do something for his kids.  Belinda, you too have a right NOT to give anything to children who are not biologically linked to you or to your husband.  But, remember that your husband also has the right to take care and love this child as though she is his own.  Seems like it really doesn’t matter to him whether or not he is truly the father.  So, let it go and don’t bring this up ever again.  I wish you both the best.

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It’s Tax Season

Just about everyone I know is awaiting their IRS and/or State income tax refund.  Seems like there have been many glitches in the system and folks that filed a week ago have been “re-sequenced” and placed behind those that filed recently.  I have not filed yet and don’t plan to do so until the very end of tax season.  Just so many problems I see people experiencing this year – makes we wanna just wait!  I never really get a large refund so what’s the rush?

I do hope those of you who are waiting on your tax refunds to pay rent, mortgages, utility bills, etc. – I wish you the best.  I hope they process yours as soon as possible.  I can imagine what it must be like to be waiting and not getting any answers.  But, it’s the IRS – what do you expect?

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Moms and Job Interviews

businesswomen
If you are preparing for a job interview, it’s important that you look the part. Go easy on the make-up, don’t wear any perfume, avoid loud colors like red or yellow and arrive promptly. Remember, no gum. Good luck for those of you who have upcoming job interviews next week.

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$100 Dollar Monthly Giveaway

100 bucks

 


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Credit Cards-Should You Get One for Your Teen?

discover amex cards

As parents it our responsibility to teach our teens about credit.  My son is seventeen and he knows the difference between a credit card and a debit card, because I feel it’s important he understands the difference between his money (or my money) and the bank’s money or lender’s money.  I see so many young people who are just barely in their early twenties with horrible credit scores.  Their scores are low because they didn’t learn the basics of my favorite motto – “Cash is King”.  This is an important principle that I have taught my son.  I feel everyone should utilize cash for all of their basic needs like rent, home mortgage, car insurance, utility bills, and food.  Credit should only be used for convenience purposes only.  Never use credit if you really don’t have the money to pay in cash.

For example, I told my son once he begins college he will have one credit card and one debit card.  The debit card should be used for everything and anything.  College expenses such as books, food, dorm costs, etc.  That’s his money and once he runs out, he won’t have to worry about paying interest or late fees.  However, should he choose to make a purchase with his credit card for things like a laptop computer or car repairs; then he must understand unless the credit card bill is paid in full within 30 days, he will be charged interest and possibly late fees if the payment is late.  Late pays 30, 60, or 90 days plus will have a largely negative impact on his credit score.

So, please teach your teens that “Cash is King” and they should avoid credit cards unless they are using them for large purchases and only if they have the money at the time of purchase.  If all of the above applies, then go ahead and charge the item(s) and make certain the credit card statement is thoroughly reviewed to ensure all charges are accurate and by all means pay the bill in a  timely fashion.  It takes 7 to 10 years to recover from low credit scores, which result from Bankruptcy filings. So, let’s teach our teens good spending habits and the importance of maintaining a good credit rating.

 

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