EPISODE 34 ~ SAVE MORE: Tuition: Clever Ways to Save Money On a College Education
This is a follow up to MY last episode, number 33, where I covered unusual ways to MAKE money for college. If you can make more AND save more on college, you might just have it covered. Here goes:
- Fund an out-of-state 529. Many people don’t know that you can start a 529 plan in another state. You don’t have to stick with the plans in the state where you live. Some state plans have lower fees or are better run. For example, according to NerdWallet, if you invested $5,000 in Oregon’s plan in 2010, five years later your account would have grown to $7,714. But if you invested the same $5,000 in Michigan’s plan, five years later your account would have grown to $10,017. It pays to look around.
- Apply to tuition-free college. YES, there are a few schools that charge no tuition at all. One is the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, located in New York. Another is Berea College in Kentucky. One more example: College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri. There are others and one might be a fit for you or your child.
- Negotiate a lower tuition. If you can’t go to school for free, how about for less? When schools give out financial aid, often the first round offer is actually calculated by a computer. If you are an excellent student, if you have better offers from other colleges or if the amount of aid is close but not quite enough, those are all good wedges to start a conversation and politely ask for more.
- Get the tax benefits: Federal student loans can be tax deductible, so don’t over look that possibility. Ask a tax pro.
- Private student loans can sometimes have a lower interest rate than federal ones, if you have an excellent credit score, so shop and compare.
- Discounts for good grades: Some private student loan providers will do this, so be sure to check and let them know how you’re doing.
- Go to community college first. This is a tried and true idea, but what you may not know is that a group called AmericanHonors.org will guarantee your admission to a long list of big name schools if you take required courses and maintain a good GPA.
- Graduate in 3 years. My assistant on Easy Money is doing this and saving something like 40-thousand dollars.
- Take summer classes. This could help you graduate in 3 years. It’s also a great plan because summer credits are often CHEAPER! For example, Purdue University says you can spend summer on campus -including tuition, room and board— for about half the cost of a regular semester.
- And final way to save on college: Most schools now automatically enroll you in their campus health insurance plan. If you have a good health plan that covers you while you’re at school, opt out of the school plan and save hundreds or even thousands.
EPISODE 33 ~ EASY MONEY
EPISODE 33 ~ SAVE MORE: Canceled Flights: App Gets You Compensation When Your Flight Doesn’t Go Right
Did you know that when your flight is canceled or delayed, the airline may owe you money? Problem is, you may not know when you’re leaving money on the table and it’s a hassle to do the claims paperwork. Enter an app that will keep track, send in claims and get you your money! It’s called “Service” and what a service it is! My guest is Michael Schneider, Founder and CEO of Service.
How did you get the idea for the Service App?
While on an airplane, I sat next to another man who signed up for Wifi. The man’s laptop died as well as his outlet and he spent hours complaining to the WIFI company and American Airlines. I thought that it was a bad use of the man’s time and that maybe I could figure out a way to help people with issues like these. From that experience, I developed Service.
Explain why an airline might owe somebody money for a delayed or canceled flight.
In the United States airlines are only required by law to provide compensation in the event you are involuntarily denied boarding – this is an extremely rare occurrence. While airlines aren’t required by law to provide compensation in the event of a delayed or cancelled flight, they often do provide “good will” compensation in the form of a travel voucher or miles. Airlines care about their customers and this is how they show it.
OK, so no money for you if it was a weather delay or sometihng like that?
In general, airlines don’t compensate for weather or ATC-related disruptions. Having said that, our system still picks up and files all disruptions over 90 minutes as we don’t currently have a way of determining the reason for a disruption. Depending on your frequent flyer status, an airline may still give compensation even if the reason for the disruption was outside of their control.
What percentage of people file claims with the airlines when they are owed money? In other words, Is the need real?
only 9% of leisure travelers bother to complain to airlines, according to ACSI. That means 91% of travelers are leaving money on the table – whether it’s in the form of vouchers, miles or cold hard cash.
How does Service find out that your flight was delayed or canceled?
Service is built to work to get you compensation for flight disruptions without taking your time. The way we do this is by sync’ing with your inbox, both to automatically find past flight disruptions and to know what flights you’re taking in the future. Service files claims to get you compensation (usually vouchers or miles) in the event your flight is delayed or cancelled.
And when people sign up, you also scan for past flights they may be owed money on, right?
When you first sync your inbox, we look at your last 12 months of travel, and find any flight delays over 90 minutes or cancellations. We then add up how much compensation we think we can get you from the airline(s) and you can file the claim(s) with one tap.
And what about future travel? Do you have a solution for that too?
For future travel, once you enable AutoProtect, we will file a claim with the airline anytime you’re delayed or cancelled – you don’t have to lift a finger!
How does Service get paid for its service?
We charge 30% of the value of what we get for you to your credit card on file. If we can’t recover, you don’t pay!
What if you get miles or vouchers for somebody? How does Service get paid for that?
Yes – nearly all the compensation we get for our users is “non-cash”. For example, if we get you a $100 voucher we will charge you $30. If we get you 10,000 miles, we will charge 30% of the cash value of the miles.
And how does a Service user get his or her money or compensation?
If it’s cash, we submit banking details to the airline and the bank wires the cash directly to your bank. If it’s a voucher, we send you a link or a PIN to access it. Or frequent flyer miles get deposited right in your account.
Michael Schneider, Founder and CEO of Service, thanks so much for joining me on Easy Money!
EPISODE 32 ~ SAVE MORE: Buy Gift Cards: Why Pay Cash When You Could Buy A Discounted Gift Card, Instead?
Our save more topic for today, which may sound familiar if you’ve read the Make More blog post because now I want to talk about how you can SAVE money by BUYING People’s unwanted gift cards!
Yes! Why pay cash at a store, when you could, instead, buy a discounted gift card to that store?
cardpool.com and raise.com are the 2 websites I mentioned earlier where people buy and sell gift cards. Rest assured that both of them offer customer guarantees. They vary but the essence of them is that the gift card you buy WILL be legit or your money back.
So knowing, that… Let me give you some ideas of the savings that are possible by buying gift cards. I just went to these sites to look around and spotted the following offers:
Let’s start with some of the smaller savings because the stores are popular so their cards aren’t discounted much.
—4 percent off a Home Depot gift card.
—2 percent off of Macy’s.
—3 percent at Dick’s sporting goods.
OK, so small savings there, but every bit helps. Now some bigger discounts on gift cards:
—Fandango, the movie theaters, 12.5 percent off. And Regal Cinemas 14 percent off.
—Applebee’s restaurants 14 percent off. CHili’s 16 percent off.
—Jiffy Lube 16 percent off.
—and finally, Ikea, 10 percent off.
These are some solid deals. And then, if you’re a super saver, you will also shop sales and use coupons to TRIPLE your savings! Let me know how it goes!
EPISODE 31 ~ EASY MONEY
EPISODE 31 ~ SAVE MORE: Cheap Vacations: Check Out These Tips To Take Trips For A Fraction Of The Cost
Whether you like to take lots of quick 3-day weekends or fewer but longer trips, there are clever, creative strategies for saving on travel. My guest is Chrissy Pate, who runs the savings website BeCentsable.net and co-wrote the book of the same name. Chrissy has been featured on Good Morning America, The Early Show, and many more and we’re lucky to have her here on Easy Money. Welcome, Chrissy!
Let’s whet people’s appetites: what percentage would you say you save on your family’s travel with the tips we’re about to share?
It’s easy to save 50% with a little bit of planning!
Is it better to book early or book at the last minute to save money?
Booking early is usually a better way to save. BUT if you wait to book until just 5-7 days before you plan to travel, that can yield big savings too, especially if airline seats are undersold.
Another timing question: why is it important to research the high and low seasons for places you want to go?
It’s common to save up to 50 percent by traveling in the off-season. I’ve learned that THE cheapest air travel season is the two weeks after Thanksgiving, so if you can travel then, that’s great.
What are the cheapest days of the week to fly?
Typically, (though not always), mid-week is best. So for example, departing on a Wednesday and returning on a Tuesday.
Do you find it useful to sign up for airline emails? Or is it just more junk in your inbox?
I do find value in a few airlines’ emails because I get notice of fare specials and other offers. Sometimes they will drop fares dramatically for a short period of time, so be on the look out.
You say you need to go beyond using big websites like Travelocity and Orbitz to book airline tickets. Why?
Some regional airlines like Allegiant and Southwest don’t submit their fares to those sites. And they can have great deals! So you should check sites individually of any airline that flies to your destination.
What’s your top tip for saving on rental cars?
My favorite tip is to use reward points to book rental cars.
And how about a good tip for saving on hotel rooms?
There are some many reward programs available. My best tip is to pick one and use it to get the most benefits! We like Hotels.com because it’s easy and confident when we are on road trips.
And know the details of the program!
But maybe your favorite way of saving on a hotel room is not to book a hotel room, right?
Yes, we love booking rental houses for our vacations. Here are some keys to getting the right keys:
—Book early —like 9m months early.
—In addition to sites like VRBO and AirBnB, try bidding on vacation rentals on eBay.
—Try to rent through an individual owner instead of an agency. You can often negotiate with the owners.
—If you REALLY want to save: ask if they will waive the cleaning fee if you clean the property yourself.
Now let’s talk about saving on the activities you do on vacation. Tell us about reciprocity programs.
If you are a member of your local zoo, art museum or other attraction, you may be able to get free passes to visit another city’s attraction. These reciprocity programs exist for many:
—zoos and aquariums
—Science and technology centers
—And botanical gardens.
You also have a warning about deals on activities that aren’t really deals.
Find out what the regular price is before you book that “good deal.” Many times companies will say ‘kids sail free or half off’ but then the regular price is marked up so you aren’t getting as good a deal as you thought.
And, finally, souvenirs! Kids, especially, always want souvenirs. What’s your trick for those?
Take Disney for example: Many national chain stores like —Target, CVS and Walmart— will carry the SAME products sold at travel gift shops for half the price. You can buy the souvenirs before you leave home or once you get there. Give the items to your kids as you enjoy your trip and they don’t even have to know you didn’t buy them at the pricy souvenir shop on the grounds of the attraction.
Chrissy Pate, author of Be Centsable and founder of the BeCentsable.net website, thank you so much for being my guest on Easy Money!
EPISODE 31~ GUEST BLOG: Disney World: How To Magically Save Money
By Chrissy Pate, Founder, BeCentsable.net
Are you dreaming of a Disney Vacation? Here are some great articles with tons of Disney tips and secrets to help you plan your dream Disney vacation and stay on budget!
Disney World Secrets: Disney Tips To Save Money – We recently went to Disney World for 9 days on a family vacation for only $1438 (hotel, plane, rental car, and park tickets). That is just $359 per person for 9 days! I have outlined in this article some Disney Tips and Secrets that we used to have a wonderful vacation on a budget!
Guest Name: Chrissy Pate
Guest Title: Founder of BeCentsable.net, a free savings website with tips and tricks.
Guest Contact: Find BeCentsable on… Facebook
Chrissy is a stay-at-home mom with two girls from Missouri. Chrissy has helped thousands of subscribers save money without giving up “extras” like travel and entertainment.
EPISODE 30 ~ SAVE MORE: Buying A House: Spend More To Save More Longterm
Believe it or not I’m going to encourage you to spend money to save money by buying a house, if you haven’t already.
Home-buying got a bad rap during the bubble years, but I am still a big believer for a very fundamental reason: it’s the one investment you can make with money you have to spend anyway. After all, you have to pay money to live somewhere.
If you currently rent, it’s your biggest expense, but you can make that money serve two purposes by buying a place instead. You get a nest and a nest egg. You can’t sleep in a stock and bonds don’t keep you warm in the winter —but a home takes care of both. Besides, many people can’t afford to pay their rent and buy stocks and bonds. According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of homeowners is $234,000; while for renters its $5,100. Why? Because buying a house is a forced savings plan where you can shelter your money and shelter your family.
But wait, there’s more! What other investment enables you to use somebody else’s money to make money? That’s exactly what happens when your house appreciates in value and you sell it for a profit. Even though you still owe money on your mortgage, the people at the mortgage company don’t make you share the proceeds with them, now do they?
You also get lucrative tax benefits, at least for now. Congress is considering changing this. Right now, as you probably know, the IRS allows you to deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage from your federal income taxes. It’s the government’s way of supporting home ownership. Even on a 200-thousand dollar house or condo, you can save more than 2-thousand dollars a year thanks to this tax break.
Furthermore, by buying a house you are locking in your monthly housing payment. By contrast, rent is almost guaranteed to go up. Since 1990, rents have risen more than three percent a year, according to Reis, Inc., a real estate forecasting firm. If you buy a house and choose a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, your housing payment is set for decades. Let’s do the math. Say your rent is $1000 a month, but, remember, it goes up 3 percent a year, so over 10 years, you will spend $137,566 on rent. But if you put that same thousand dollars toward a fixed rate mortgage payment, your cost over ten years would be $120,000 dollars. That’s a savings of $17,566! Sweet!
Rents go up by Here’s my final argument in favor of buying a house: property values have been going up an average of six percent a year since 1968. So, I say, take a gamble on a possible gain. What’s the worst that could happen? You might lose money? Go for the potential earnings instead of the sure loss. Because, if you keep paying rent, you will definitely lose money.