Financing and Education

educationI took my first Math 142 (College Mathematics) test tonight and I have to say I think I did pretty good. I did ALL (6 sections) of my homework for the class plus the practice test, so I was extremely prepared. He told us in advance that the test would look very similiar to the practice test. in actuality, it was a little different but pretty easy nonetheless since I was prepared.

A little background; when I decided to finish my college education to transform my life from poverty, I knew I had a long road to go. I knew that because of my extreme math & science deficiencies, it would take me double the time of the average high school graduate to complete this degree. I didn’t graduate high school and the only time I went to school on a regular basis was 7th – 8th grade. Prior to 7th grade I did not attend school and after 8th grade my life was EXTREMELY chaotic to put it mildly. A brief summary; my father died, i ran away from my grandparents and lived with my drug dealing aunt, then lived with a friend of hers, then stayed at a runaway shlter, then a psychiatric facility, then a group home. At 17 years old I recieved my G.E.D.

I’ve attended a University before, for 3 years, taking english, sociology, psych, paralegal..etc, classes that I found pretty easy. I tried to take Math and dropped out atleast 3-5 times over the years feeling it was too difficult. I wasted about $40,000 in student loans doing that. I thought of student loans like I did credit. Free money, from the government, doesnt really mean much, more where that came from, I don’t have to worry about paying it back and can get as much of it as I need. Boy was I wrong. I had no clue! No clue about finances in general in anyway , shape or form.

Now I am 34 years old, feeling old, with not much to show on paper for it. Experience is great, but it’s not the kind of experience you can put in the asset column on a financial portfolio. At 32 I decided that by the time I am 40 I want to have a minimum of a Masters degree, make $80,000 a year, own my own condo and look and feel amazing about my self and the career I am in. I want a career that will keep me healthy and happy and looking 25 when I am 75.

So currently I am taking my basic classes that I need to take to transfer into ASU and the past year I have focused hard on finally passing developmental and remedial Math/Algebra classes which I succeeded in completing this past December. Now I am finally past the remedial level and in a actual College Level Math class. The last math class I have to take in my college career. I am very excited.

Just on chance this past December I applied to Arizona State University to see what I needed left to take as far as classes in order to get accepted in. Turns out they accepted me immediately, and I could actually transfer there as soon as this Fall 2015.

BUT

I don’t think I can afford it.

I guess I wasn’t expected that dream to come true so fast, I was expecting to have about a year to go before I was accepted and I planned to figure out something in that time. But now that it’s in front of me on my plate, I am not sure what to do.

I came up with a Plan B in case I can’t afford to go to ASU this Fall or next Spring. I have been stressing and feeling depressed and anxious about what to do for a few weeks.

I’ve decided that if I can’t afford it, then instead of going deeper into debt, stressing, with mounting education bills at a university I cant afford and worrying about being kicked out for not paying tuition, I will attend my current community college for 2 more years to get a Associate in Applied Science: Strength Nutrition and Personal Training – http://www.gccaz.edu/academics/departments/fitness-wellness?id=11655.

After recieving the degree, I’ll stop going to school for a year and work a 2nd job in the evenings/weekends as a personal trainer. I’ll put all the income from the second job towards my student loans. I should be able to add another $1000 a month to my income from that. After paying about $12000 on my loans, they should be down enough that I can recieve enough financial aid to go to ASU for 2 years.

See once I am in graduate school, I qualify for other loans, it’s the funding of my undergraduate degree that is the problem.

What I didnt realize is that once you are no longer qualified to recieve student loans you cant recieve a pell grant. So if I cap out the $5’000 in loans I have left available for my undergraduate degree, which I would in ONE semester at ASU, then I can’t even get a pell grant to supplement my tuition. I’d have to find scholarships or pay it all on my own. That’s my understanding of it anyway. I’ve had ZERO luck with scholarships and I’ve applied to over a dozen in the past year, so I cant depend on that AND because my credit is so derogatory, I can’t even get a $10 loan, let alone a $12,000 loan I need to finish school?

so we’ll see, I am about to apply for financial aid, and I am putting ASU on the application, ASU will then tell me how much they expect me to pay out of pocket per semester and how much pell grant/loans I could get per semester. If my portion is less than $1000 I can do it, if it’s more than $1000 I am going for Plan B.

Energy Bills

Hi all. I’m a new member to this blog, so I’m not quite sure of topics and culture etc.

I live in Denver and we’re in the midst of winter of course. I’m getting sick of my energy bills. I paid 267 last month. That’s the highest energy bill I’ve ever paid.

Another month or two and this should calm down. What are those of you in other states paying?

electricityI live in Northern NM. My electric bills have climbed and steadily doubled since December. I had $138.77 in Dec. 07, $195.24 in Jan. 08, and $295.24 for Feb. 15. On top of this I have spent $640 in propane since November 07. I am hoping it starts to warm up soon. These bills are outrageous and I have my thermostats at 65 during the day and 60 at night. It has just been COLD.

I live in a single condo and paid 168 on my last bill.

I’m in Utah and my highest this winter was $380!

I live in indiana..We are on the budget plan. I pay 91 dollars a month.and will settle up later. But our last check our month bill was 128. We seal all our windows, and just reinsulated most of the house that really helps.

My budget plan was going to be close to $229/month- $2 less than last year so this year I decided to gamble because I was going to be super efficient. In December I paid $323 then 6 wks later $455. I have replacement windows, a storm door and I keep my heat at 62-65 day and nite and wear layers and keep 2 down comforters on my bed. I sure hope my gamble pays off-I had over $400 in credit at the end of last season. I live in Central MA.

ne thing to watch for and complain to your utility company is the timing of their meter reading. I was socked with on that blew me away until I realized there was over 6 weeks between readings. When recomputed to about 4 weeks, it was not as bad as it looked. However, it can really mess up your budget planning. Here in GA, they want their money within 2 weeks of sending the bill.

I am in Montana, my last bill was $78.00. My house is 2300 sq. feet. I have a regular furnace for heat. I keep it set at 64 during the day and evening. At bedtime I turn the heat down to 50. It was 18 Below zero here the other day, and is still about the same temp.

On the other hand, my parents live around the corner from me, in a similar size house, and their bill was $169.00. I wear an extra heavy sweater and in the evening I add a lap blanket. I have a nice comforter from Penny’s on the bed. I sleep much better with the heat turned down.

My parents keep their heat at 78 and turn it down to 65 when they go to bed. They never wear a nice heavy sweater in the house. My kids are all grown, but I do have a little 5 lb Yorkie, he wears a sweater also, and is never shivery or cold. Perhaps turning the heat down a bit, could save money. My heating bill is abou $90 lower than my parents.

I live in Wisconsin and just moved in our house that we just built in September 2007. Excluding electricity, we have paid roughly $200 a month for heat (gas). We have had some pretty cold days, but from our previous house that was built in 1965 our heating costs has stayed the same. Goes to show that new construction is better built and insulated than before.

Anyone know anything about MagicJack?

Hi, I’ve been seeing ads for MagicJack, which is the device you plug into your computer, and then you plug your phone into the device. It’s supposed to cost something like $20.00 flat fee per year for phone service.

I understand you have to keep your computer on, especially for voicemail to work.

Has anyone tried this device/service, or knows someone who has? I’d be interested to know what your experience has been like.

I have Vonage which is $25 per month for any US calls; doesn’t matter how many or for how long. I don’t call outside the US, but it sounds like Vonage is much cheaper for international calls also. You don’t need to keep your computer on for outgoing or incoming calls, but you do need to have an ISP provider other than dial-up. I’ve been using them for more than two years and have been very pleased.

Good to know – thanks. I had actually been wondering about Vonage as well.

Working from home

Hi everyone,

Has anyone had experience with VirtualVocations.com? I was thinking of joining. I am not looking to quit my current job, just to supplement my income. Since I work 11a-7p, it’s hard to find a second job part-time, because most evening jobs need you to start 5-5:30pm.

I did see a recent post that said most at-home job schemes are not really legit – but I am presuming the poster meant the kind that advertise their websites on tv.

Any advice would be appreciated. Many thanks.

work from homeFrom my experience, you can find these jobs yourself by searching the interent instead of paying them to do it for you. WAHM.com has alot of job opportunities. Liveops is one of the companies I worked for answering calls from home. They don’t pay all that much, but it is easy work. There is a $30 background check fee, but I made that back with my first paycheck. I got hired by another one here lately but had to deline because you have to work at least 5 days a week and be available for 6 hours at a time and I can’t keep my kdis quiet that long! LOL I can’t remember the name of them but I linked to them from the wahm.com. Volition is another good place to find jobs. You can look at the forums and people will leave feedback on companies and whether they are good to work for or not. I take the names I see on the forum and google them to find the websites and apply to them. Hope this helps!

There ARE legit work at home jobs out there, but they are hard to find. Good luck.

Great info Tara-I’ll definitely be checking out WAHM.com and the other site. I knew there was a way to find legit companies-I just hadn’t found it yet.

I currently work from home and make my own hours. Do you do any transcription? I could give you a reference for the company that gives me transcript work if you can do
that kind of work. Another site that you can bid on jobs is www.elance.com. I’ve had good experiences with them so far.

I would be interested in transcription if you could give me that link. I used to do transcription in a doctors office transcribing autopsy and pathology reports. All the companies I have seen want you to pay to get started and I don’t have the money to do that. Thanks.

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I do a lot of transcription, daily in my current job. I work for a law office, and transcribe for all the various practice groups (labor, medical, litigation, environmental, patent) – so all have their own terminology and ways of setting up their documents.

Please do send me the information.

Hi Jen, I checked out elance.com and was pretty intimidated. All I want to do is find some work from home data entry or database/spreadsheet maintenance work. Elance.com seemed more a site for the small business owner/entrepreneur. They really push you to market yourself and the whole Elance University was a bit scary with their examples of a design firm. What do you think? Is this not the right site for me? You said you bid on transcription jobs-did you have to become an incorporated company and do a fancy profile in order to compete for these jobs? I really want to do some part time work at home but it seems like either the opportunities are scams or you need to be an established business.

They’re doing it even worse now

credit cardDo NOT be shocked or surprised if a charge card triples your interest rates. Because of the bad situation in finance, B of A, Capital One among others have started to hammer even their ‘best customers’ who’ve never paid late, never skipped etc, with HUGE interest rate hikes.

I heard this on the ABC news at about 2:30 AM this morning.

I know they’ve done this before, but this is even worse to me, because you don’t even have to be late, or delinquent on anything.

One man on the news said he did not even know they’d done this until he looked at his statement online.

I thought of all of us, and if any of mine do that to me, I am letting them all whistle for their darn money. I’ll let them sell it off and just deal with it if it happens. It’s even scarier than before because the financial houses will try to recoup their losses they got this year by coming after cardholders bigger than ever.

Converting a Chapter 13 to a 7?

Just wondering if anyone here has coverted their chapter 13 to a 7? I am doing some research on this and figured i could get some info here. I wonder if i do this, will it still just be 1 bankruptcy on my credit report, but just say converted to a 7, vs just a 13? I also wonder if it will impact my credit score? (lower it?)I have heard lenders dont like to see it, but that Mortgage companies do not look down on converting.

Also, I KNOW that recovering from bankruptcy is easier with a 7, only because you are discharged generally within 4 months of filing, vs having to go thru your chapter 13 repayment plan for 3-5 years. Boy, is that UNFAIR or what?

Any input is appreciated.
Thanks,