Change a Little… Save a Lot

Change a little, save a lotChanging your financial situation can seem to be an overwhelming task. Like most large problems, the best way to address them is to break them down into smaller, more manageable problems. The same holds true with your financial well being. Here are five small ideas that can yield big results to help improve your financial health.


$200,000 loan; 30 years repayment; 4.5% interest.
The monthly payment is approximately $1,013.
Payment Interest Principal
First $750 $263
Last $4 $1,009


1  Make incremental payments on debt as soon as possible. Make extra principal payments on your debt as often as possible and as soon as possible. The way bank amortization schedules work, you pay most of your interest during the early months of your loan repayment.
2 Cut out one annuity bill. Gone are the days when you buy something and then you are done. Now you pay a monthly fee for as long as you use a service. Examples of this are software licenses, cloud storage, television viewing, cell phone services and more. Why not cut out one such service. Put the savings aside for a better use.
3 Eliminate one add-on service. Take a look at bills that have a number of add-on services. Cell phone and internet bills are likely candidates. Do you need that special cable package? Do you fully use your cell phone data plan? Look for ways to cut a little bit out of each of your bills.
4 Pay yourself. When you pay your bills, pay yourself. Place the funds in a hard to reach banking account. Ideally one that does not have internet access. Set a financial goal for this money. It might be to pay for a fun vacation or a special purchase. You will receive a double benefit from this approach. One for hitting your savings goal and one for the joy of purchasing something you want without going into debt.
5 Conduct a competitive review. Key suppliers rely on our inertia. When was the last time you reviewed your auto and home insurance? What about other service providers like cell phones or trash pick up. Choose a service and solicit three vendors to provide competitive quotes. Your current supplier might still be the best, but you will never know if you don’t periodically check.

Financing for College? Be Creative.

Tax Benefits of Being a Sole ProprietorCan you or your child manage to graduate from college without having a mountain of debt? The Federal statistics suggest it is unlikely. But if you are creative, perhaps you can reduce the financial burden you are facing.

Creative funding does not replace the basics

Remember to fill out the FAFSA and submit it on time. This is the federal blueprint to get your aid package. Also check reliable sources to ensure you are taking advantage of the common available support. High School guidance counselors and prospective colleges are great resources to help you understand what is available for you.

A web site like the non-profit is a great place to start. This site has resources to help walk you through the financial aid process and it has tools to help search for scholarships.

Some creative ideas

Here are some, beyond the obvious, ideas to help augment money to pay for school.

Arrow Tutor. If you are good in math, writing, or any other subject consider tutoring others to earn some additional income. You can schedule this around your class time and can feel good about helping other students.
Arrow Work study. Some financial aid packages include a work study element. But if you don’t qualify for traditional work study think creatively. Are there privately run businesses on or by campus? Perhaps the local coffee shop needs help. Is there a little retail store students go to for supplies? Go where the students go, they are targets for employment.
Arrow Be an entrepreneur. Campuses are like small towns. The students need services. Computer repair, transportation, hair services, running errands, and more. Is there a little business opportunity for you? If this is an avenue for you, make sure you understand the local rules for running your small service business.
Arrow Leverage your youth activity. If you danced or played soccer as a youth, consider offering your services as a paid teacher or coach. Local clubs and studios would love to have trained help in their organization. And if you have a passion for the activity, it is a great way to recharge.
Arrow Set up your own internship. Many schools will have programs to support internships with businesses. For every one formal program the school offers, there are hundreds of small businesses in the same field that could use the same type of help. Why not contact local businesses in the field of your choice. Perhaps it is a small accounting firm or a free-lance graphic design company. Can your graphic and web skills be used at a local business that cannot afford their own staff?

If you think creatively, there are many opportunities to reduce the financial burden of college. Just ensure the time spent in augmenting your finances does not get in the way of performing well in the classroom.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your situation please feel free to call.