Sep 24

Student Loan Consolidation Tips

Very few college students realize the impact of taking student loans until it comes time to repay them. With graduation looming, students first see the full impact of the tuition Singapore loans when they receive their first payment coupon and the truth sets in – now they must repay the thousands of dollars of loans, whether they have a job lined up or not.

When students enter college, the fact is that the process of obtaining a student loan is pretty simple. They only have to visit the Sallie Mae website, check a few boxes and then wait for the funds to be dispersed. If only the repayment process was as simple. Every two out of three undergraduate students walk away with their diploma and some form of student loan debt.

With the access to seven private loans and three federal ones, college students have a plethora of options to get into debt. Upon graduation, student loan consolidation is an appealing option, as it will reduce the burden and help students reduce the total debt that is owed. It can also simplify student’s finances with lower interest rates smaller monthly payments.

Prior to jumping into a student loan consolidation plan, you need to ensure that it will suit your finances and your loan situation. A problem that many students face is the fact that federal loans are not able to be consolidated with private ones. Another issue that is often observed is that as of July of 2006 federal student loans began to carry fixed interest rates. Prior to that, they were offered with variable rats and when they were consolidated students were able to lock in a reduced rate than paying each loan separately.

Since this change, there is no real financial benefit offered to consolidation federal student loans due to the fact that a single monthly payment plan can be obtained, as well as alternative repayment plans, which can be beneficial in many students’ situations, especially when just entering into the work force.

If you are considering student loan consolidation, you should understand that if you cannot make your payments, it is not going to help. However, if you are only having trouble making the payments, and think it will be fine in the future, the consolidation of student loans will provide you with several helpful alternatives.

Increased Interest

Keep in mind, that while the repayment plans that student loan consolidation offer will decrease the payment that you have, you will also accrue quite a bit of interest, which can stretch out the life of the loan. Also, once you consolidate your loans, you will not be able to do so again. Therefore, you should try to pick a time when the interest rates are low, this will decrease the amount that you wind up paying.

Sep 12

Tips To Help You Make Your Child’s Birthday One To Remember

It might feel like your kids birthdays are every WEEK, not every year. Especially if you have three at different ages. Birthdays are hectic times for all the family, but as the responsibility for the day tends to fall with the parents it can be a stressful time for mom and dad. Plus, kids are growing up so fast these days what with the rise of technology, so it can be hard to know how they want to celebrate. Get it wrong, and you fear inciting the wrath of the tween-ager! But get it right and the whole family can have a great day together.

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Communicate

Talk to your child about the kind of party they want for their birthday and what is available to them on your budget. If they want to rent out a boat and have the entire cast of Frozen come down to wish them a happy birthday, you’ll need to be able to let them down gently! But a slightly smaller affair should be easily achievable. Also decide if you are going to have one event for friends and a separate one for family, or if you are going to mix the two. This, however, can often depend on your child’s age.

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Gifts

Set a gift budget for the birthday boy or girl and try to stick to it. It can be tempting to go completely overboard and spoil your little one rotten – after all, it’s a parent’s instinct to do so. But you don’t want to be eating discount soup for the next month just to make it worth it. Plus, if you bombard your child with too many gifts every birthday, you will set a precedent. Kids often count presents, especially against how many their siblings get. Choose a unique gift idea rather than hundreds of toys they may never use. Pay attention to what your child is religiously into and what is clearly a fad. Of course, there is nothing wrong at all with indulging a fad – it’s all part of being a child. But if the merchandise your child wants is $70 and in two months they’re not interested in it anymore, it can be pretty frustrating. If you can tell they’re into something just because it’s new or fashionable, don’t splash your cash. It’s worth spending more money on something they truly love, such as something related to their favourite movie. Plus, if you children aren’t bored with their toys, they are less likely to clamour for new ones.

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Throwing the party

Kids parties are some of the most fun to throw. After all, nothing beats seeing your child and their friends enjoying themselves. If you need to cut costs, consider holding the party at your home – after kid-proofing it first, of course! If you have outdoor space, try and utilise this as much as possible (providing the weather is good). That way, you won’t need to worry as much about your house getting wrecked. Consider running an activity day with challenges and tasks for your child and their friends. Split them into teams and set them off. Examples of things to do include sack races, apple bobbing and performing a sketch. With younger children, this is a great way to get them off the technology for a few hours too, and really make a party worthwhile. Just make sure it doesn’t get too competitive – everyone gets a prize at the end!

Another type of at-home party you can host is a pool party. Swimming parties are popular with children but often the cost of renting the pool can be sky high, especially if you want to add an inflatable too. Plus you have the added cost of refreshments to think about, either at the pool venue itself or elsewhere. Overall, it can work out cheaper to rent your own pool for your back garden, providing it is large enough. Granted, it won’t be exactly the same experience. But, you can provide a BBQ, make a non-alcoholic fruit punch (popular with younger girls) and play your own music if you do it at home.

If putting on a party at your own home isn’t for you, thankfully there are many great options for where you can take your kids. Older children (boys especially) may enjoy a go-karting party. In fact, high-adrenaline parties are becoming a lot more popular, with everything from dirt bikes to supercars on offer. Laser tag is a failsafe option, especially if the party happens to fall on a rainy day. If you have a particularly girly girl, book her and some friends in for a manicure – they’ll love the feeling of being pampered like grown-ups. You can often get discount when booking in a large group, so speak with the salon or check discount websites such as Groupon for a voucher.Screen Shot 2016-09-12 at 5.30.19 PM.png

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The cake

If you’re a dab hand in the kitchen, you might be considering baking your child’s birthday cake yourself. Exciting bakes can delight and thrill, but make it too ambitious and you could end up with half of it on the floor! Sticking to a simple shape is key. If your child is a huge fan a Lego, make individual square cakes and coat them in coloured icing to mimic Lego blocks. Get creative with toppings and food colourants to create something magical for your little one. However, baking is not a skill everyone is blessed with. If you would rather leave it to the professionals, there are plenty of cake companies local to you who can create something amazing for your child. Alternatively, you can order one from further afield to be delivered – although it will mean your cake has to risk the journey.  The good thing about many of these companies is that you can be as involved as you like – so if you still want to design the cake, just not bake it, you can still have some input. Make sure to take a picture once your creation comes to life.

 

Aug 31

Game Enhancing Extras That The Gamer In Your Life Will Love

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Whether you play games yourself or are thinking of a present for a loved one who’s an avid gamer, there are hundreds of game enhancing extras out there to choose from.

There are in-game extras that you can purchase through games’ online stores. Alternatively, there are material, real life extras that will improve the gaming experience tenfold. Here are some of our favorites.

In-game extras

Whether playing on your phone, laptop or a console, there will likely always be in-game extras offered. These boost a player’s potential to achieve their goals in a game. From Pokemon Go’s offer of extra poke balls, incense and lures to purchasing coins in games for the player to spend on extra weapons. There’s nearly always a purchasable option to increase the game’s potential.

Gaming Speakers

Like horror movies, the soundtrack to a game can make all the difference to how you experience it. The importance of sound in games cannot be underestimated. Music can make a spurious situation in a game feel more intense. Sudden noises can make you jump and most games will have a certain sound to alert you that an enemy or reward is nearby. So make the experience completely immersive and invest in the best gaming speakers that your budget will allow.

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Controllers

Controllers are prone to wear and tear. If you’ve been using the same one for years, chances are it might be a good time to reinvest. New controllers will be more sensitive to touch, which can make all the difference when you’re attempting to take down the big boss. Controllers for most consoles will have a signature shape. But, companies often offer slight amendments to the standard controller. For example, different colors.

Retro Games

Retro games consoles and cartridges are highly valued collectable items. Take a look at car boot sales for some real bargains. Second-hand game stores are bound to be full of surprises. Or take to the internet for last minute retro gaming gifts.

Apps

Your phone might not offer the most complex gaming experience, but the days of Snake and Tetris are long in the past. There are now some really fun games that can be kept in your pocket. The app store on your phone will have a host of free and premium rate games. These traveling on public transport. The range of games is essentially endless. Favorites have taken the gaming world by storm. For example, the  (now discontinued) flappy bird, Pokemon go, and angry birds.

Accessories

Gaming extras don’t necessarily have to contribute to the game itself. This kind of gift can range from game themed mugs and pillows to character costumes for cosplay and wall prints. There are all sorts out there. Magikarp baby grows, Tetris shaped storage benches, Mario tube mugs, PlayStation wallets and Nintendo themed table bases. Whatever your favorite game, there will be an accessory of some sort out there for you.

Jul 15

4 Ways To Support Your Family If You’re Unfit To Work

It’s not a situation many of us would want to be in, but unfortunately, it can happen.

Whether it’s a temporary illness or a long term disability, being unfit to work can have consequences on your life, and the lives of those around you.

But this is a situation you should try and make the best of, even if it seems like all is lost! In this day and age, there are no shortage of financial options available to you. There are plenty of ways to continue supporting your family, even if the worst should happen –  and here are four of them.

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Make use of your creative talent!

Since you’ve got it – why not make the most of it? Seriously – you could do a spot of freelance writing, make and sell crochet products, or work on Photoshop artwork for people. You’d be surprised at how many people, around the web, will be able to make use of a talent you have.

So if you have an injury that means you’re unfit to work and you have more free time, now’s your chance. You could even grow vegetables in the garden and sell them on at the local market. Get creative! The internet is chock-full of markets that allow you to offer your talents for payment, so take a look

Government benefits

In the event of a long-term illness or disability, the state will have your back. There are a variety of disability and sickness benefits you will be eligible to claim, so have a look into them.

By contacting your local council, you’ll get in touch with people who’ll help with getting disability payments for you. There are also state sick pay benefits which could prove useful in the long run.

Payday or short term-loan

Of course, this will only be viable if your injury/illness is for a short while. If you have a long-term disability, then racking up a bunch of credit debts would not be wise. But, if the end is in sight, a low-interest payday loan could provide you with the financial stability you need. Temporarily, anyway.

Just make sure you can afford to pay it back, and don’t borrow more than you need. That’s how the vicious cycle starts! Borrow, then borrow again to pay back the first one!

Pensions and equity

Did you know that you don’t always have to be retirement age before you cash in a pension? In some cases, you can claim it at any age you like, which could mean you have a lump sum waiting to use.

Similarly, if you have paid off a good chunk of your mortgage, you could try and cash in on the equity in your home. The equity refers to the value your house has built up over the years, and it could be tens of thousands of dollars.

Of course, by taking the equity, you have less to pass on to your kids in your will, but this allows you to support them now. If you’re unfit to work, a lump sum of cash is exactly what you need.

Jun 22

Changes

So much has changed here. Actually everything has really.

It all started when I was working for one of the larger reputable blogger programs as a Community Coordinator, that is until about a month ago. The program took added a new manager who in the end made my position unnecessary. Initially I was very upset because I had devoted over three years into this program and I felt a little betrayed. During that month without work as you can imagine things were chaos because we are a large family and really need the income from both of us to survive, especially because Austin is much more expensive than Louisville was.

During the month without work I went through a lot of soul searching because the thought of leaving the kids at home while I work outside of the home scares me. Thats when I realized that maybe its time that the kids help a little more around the house and become more independent so that I can find something outside of the home that will support us. Eventually I started liking the idea of working outside of the home because this means I will get out of the house more (a LOT more) and one thing I really despised about working from home was that I never got to have any adult interaction. The idea of working full-time has really set in and I would like to think I have embraced it fully.meandkids

Since I won’t be home as muchI will have little to no time to blog though. Right? Well I guess that only time will tell. I have felt for a while that things have gone “stale” here mostly because I have felt that I needed to keep up with the other bloggers. I feel like now I will only blog whenever I genuinely have something to say and not because I feel that I need to have content put up on my site. Less is more right?

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I had to find a new doctor whenever we relocated, luckily for me she has been fabulous. I have had so many tests done in just a month or so, some of those tests were ones that I was avoiding because I was scared of the results. It turns out I had little reason to be worried because those tests came back fine. I did however get diagnosed with PCOS and pre-diabetes. The doctor put me on Metformin and suggested that I see the nutritionist asap.

I have been on the Metformin for just over a week now, and its has been rough because this medicine is totally messing up my stomach. But Im fighting and trying to get my health problems under control. Bonus: I have lost 8 pounds! Part of that is probably the medicine and part is probably that I am being more active. I have been going to the pool almost daily and having fun with the family. It turns out that getting away from my computer isn’t a bad thing. I had some serious FOMO (fear of missing out) but it really does feel nice to unplug and just enjoy the beauty of outside, and geez Austin has so much to enjoy.

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Lets not forget that the boys start high school this year and Jayde will be in 8th grade. Those two things alone make me feel a little sick to my stomach… I CANNOT be the mom of kids this age.

Any who, I hope you’ll stick around to see what other crazy changes the future has in store for us. I do plan on documenting my journey with PCOS here whenever I get a free moment and have something decent to contribute here.

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