College Money Matters: How to Pay for that Degree

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ID-100231013While this topic has been of hot debate lately, the general consensus is having a college degree will bode well for your future. But, with rising costs, many parents and students are left wondering how they are going to pay for it all. Unless you are pretty well-off financially or have been hyper-diligent about that college fund, you are not in a position to just write a check and be done with it. How great would that be? There are lots of factors to consider when it comes to figuring out the financials, and here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Research Tuition Deals

As the cost of a bachelor’s degree continues to skyrocket, there has been a push by the government to get schools to control their costs. Many schools are implementing tuition freezes or reducing the typical increase in tuition that takes place from year to year. Keep these institutions on your radar.

Keep Your Grades Up

Awhile back, money awarded for financial need was given out twice as much as money based on academic performance. In many public universities now, the split is about even The most recent data, which tracked non-need-based aid, found that between 1996 and 2008, it doubled. So, the chances are greater now that a child with a strong academic performance will get some money towards paying tuition.

Consider Private Loans and Alternative Funding

Some changes to federal aid in 2014 may reduce the amount of money for which certain students qualify. Finding money elsewhere may be necessary, and you have some good options. By 2025, it is projected more people will be using private loans than federal to finance their college education. First and foremost, before turning to private loans, make sure you have exhausted all your options for government aid—interest rates are lower and you never have to start paying back until you graduate. Interest rates for private student loans are tied to one of three indexes, and it is recommended to go with a lender who sets rates based on LIBOR plus 2 percent or prime minus .5, which produces similar interest rates to federal loans. Make sure you have a full understanding of the total cost of the loan, any additional fees and the repayment plan.

Check out crowdsourced funding sites, like Upstart, allow you to collect funds for college, though you cannot bank on getting the full amount you have asked for.

Take Advantage of Income-Based Repayment Plans

If the thought of paying back the loans is already in the forefront of your mind, know that there are income-based repayment plans that can help your child once he graduates from school. Provided the borrower meets certain qualifications, his federal loan repayments can be capped to between 10 and 15 percent of discretionary income. Should he still be on this plan 20 to 25 years later, any remaining debt is forgiven, provided payments have been timely. Taxes, however, will have to be paid on that remainder.

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January 28, 2014 |  by  |  Education  |  Comments Off

Tall Guy Fashion Tips

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Buying a wardrobe for tall men can prove to be a daunting endeavor. Most clothes are designed for averaged-sized individuals. If you can creatively use different colors, cuts and styles to complement your height you can dress yourself appropriately.

Balance out your long, lean frame by choosing the right accessories, the proper knitwear and appropriate shirts and leg wear. Put some thought into how certain clothes complement your height. A little bit of planning goes a long way in this department.

Choose the Proper Accessories

Using accessories can help you break pull attention to specific parts of your body while breaking up your linear structure. If you want to split your long, lean silhouette into two parts use belts. Plaited, webbing, or colored belts establish a point of interest at your center point. Using belts ceases eye line motion from head to toe. Socks, ties, pocket squares and scarves all move the attention to certain points on your body, effectively compartmentalizing your physique.

Select Knitwear to Complement Your Body

Break up your tall structure and bulk out by using knitwear. Use lightweight pieces of clothing to broaden your physique. Experiment with different knit products to avoid overheating. Leave roll necks and v-necks out of your wardrobe as each style of apparel lengthens your already long body type. Try Breton horizontal stripes instead of vertical cable knits to give off the illusion of width.

Pick the Right Shirts and Tops

Whether you are having a tough time finding a long enough shirt or choosing a top can be a chore for tall men. Never buy an oversized shirt. These poorly fitted sizes simply accentuate your height. Skip the boxy cuts and go instead of styled, long sleeved body range shirts to complement your body type. Buy a few elbow-length and short sleeve tops to add variety to your wardrobe and break up the length created by your arms.

Add width to your trunk by wearing scoop neck and wide crew top styles. These shirts accentuate chest and shoulder shape, taking the attention away from your height.

Choose Appropriate Leg Wear

Pick straight or slim leg wear for the ideal cut. Stay away from skinny cuts. This style makes your legs appear to be longer than they already are and bring wanted attention to your lower half.  Classic slim and straight cuts are always in style, keep your bottom and top halves in perfect proportion and do not accentuate the narrowness or width of your legs to a great extent. Try on any slim or straight leg wear because each brand tends to use different guidelines for these styles. Focus on getting your break right. If you want to go sockless or introduce a statement sock you can reduce your length and complement your physique. Never make the mistake of going accessory heavy in the foot area. This error only accentuates your leg length and height.

Wear knee length shorts to shorten your length. Anything longer makes your height more apparent. During spring or summer months consider white trousers or jeans to add bulk to your legs.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper blogs about all things fashion, for both men and women. If you are in the market for some hot footwear, consider getting a new pair of Jordans.

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January 15, 2014 |  by  |  Shopping  |  Comments Off

Boat-Buying Guide for the First-Timer: 3 Important Tips

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Owning a boat can be great fun, whether you envision yourself fishing on the lake or lounging in the sun with a cool drink in the middle of the ocean. Buying your first boat is exciting, but is not a purchase to be taken lightly or made rashly. Like any big-ticket item, you need to consider several important factors to ensure a smart purchase that meets your needs and budget. Here are a few helpful tips for buying your first boat.

Cost Considerations

Cost will likely be your primary factor. There are lots of elements to consider when it comes to the financial aspect of boat ownership that goes beyond the purchase price of the vessel, and failure to account for all of them could end up being a costly mistake. As for the boat itself, shop around to get a sense of what constitutes a ‘’good’’ price. Look online; visit several boat dealerships. If you are looking for a used boat, there are several sources you can consult to get an idea of their value, such as the NADA Marine Appraisal Guide and the Powerboat Guide. Don’t forget about financing costs if you plan on going this route, as well as insurance. Shop around for quotes before buying your boat.

There are also operation and maintenance costs, which will vary considerably depending on the type of boat you purchase. Educate yourself on the fuel efficiency of the different boats you are looking at to get an idea of how much money you may be spending on fuel, which is typically more expensive than gas for a car. Other operating costs include the purchase of a trailer, or marina and yard costs. As far as maintenance goes, you have to consider whether you will need to hire people to perform tasks such as repairs or hull servicing or if you are able to do it yourself. Some boats require very little maintenance other than washing, while others have higher maintenance features like teak, and naturally will cost more money to maintain.

If you do not have the luxury of just buying a boat without regard to all these costs, lucky you. But, if you are not so blessed, do some serious number-crunching before you look to get an idea of the type of money you have to spend.

Type of Boat

There are all sorts of things you can do with a boat, and there are lots of different boats to accommodate these activities. To buy the most appropriate one for your wants and needs, clarify exactly what it is you want to do with the boat. This will narrow down the choices and lay the foundation for an effective search. List the top three things you plan on doing, in order of preference. You also want to consider who will be using the boat—someone with small children will need to consider things that a solo adult wouldn’t. When it comes to features, make three lists—things you must have, things you would like but don’t need and things that you can live without.

New or Used?

Whether you should buy new or used will depend on many factors. If you are on a tight budget, used may be your only option. But, if you are not totally restrained by your finances, here are some important points to consider. You may be very enthusiastic about owning a boat now, but it is possible this passion will die down. Many people who buy a boat end up not really feeling it after awhile. For this reason, going used may be a smart option, especially if you plan on financing. Boats, like cars, depreciate quickly.  Used boats are not like used cars—they are not put through the same rigors and you can find many used boats that have very little engine time logged. If you do find you love boating, chances are you will look to upgrade in a few years time, making a used boat a good choice for your first. You can find used boats through dealerships and private sellers; you can even buy boats from charitable organizations that use the profits for their programs — this site lists a few.


About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about a variety of recreational activities.

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December 30, 2013 |  by  |  Shopping  |  Comments Off

4 Tips for Picking a Cloud Service Provider

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ID-10073466As businesses grow and demand for storage increases, the cloud continues to become a strong alternative for expanding enterprises. The complex nature of the cloud requires you to engage in disciplined due diligence to find a cloud service provider which fits your unique needs. Partner only with companies which make serving you the number one priority of their business and choose providers which can meet your growing needs as your organization expands. Make a confident choice by using each one of these tips.

Gauge the Expertise of Cloud Service Providers

Seek out experts rich with experience in operations management, architecture and industry best practices on design. Many businesses either do not have access to or cannot afford costly in-house skills for short term engagement. Your business can stand out from the crowd by accessing the collective knowledge base of cloud experts instead of outsourcing to an average third party which can only provide mediocre service for your business needs. Demand that your online service provider shares a community forum and frequently asked questions page with you to gauge their expertise.

Determine the Type of Cloud

Since clouds differ in type determine the type of cloud which best benefits your organization. Clouds developed open proprietary models will be different than clouds build on open source code. Open source models prevent vendors from locking-in, meaning that you can shift your workload between multiple open cloud vendors or perhaps even run your own open cloud model. Seek out support and service from open source providers to make your life easier.

Demand Reliable Uptime

Customers need information now through your website. Clients might make their buying decision based on engagement through your website. If your site frequently goes down you might lose big business and even go out of business if you are at a critically important stage of growth. Websites which go out during holiday periods like Christmas lose a small fortune and potentially prospering customer relationships which reap tremendous rewards in the future.  Research to find out your potential cloud service provider’s uptime history. Check out their track record to see how well the provider serviced former and current clients. Gauge how they handle crises like outages, check out their guarantees and observe the frequency of outages to make a firm, confident decision on whether or not you will choose their services. Sign up only with cloud service providers who make service their number one priority.

Research Deployment Models

Think about scale before you choose cloud service providers. Start up businesses might be wooed by just about any provider but dwell on the future growth of your company to get a clearer picture of the perfect match. Ask yourself if the provider can meet your needs after your company has grown at an aggressive rate. Big businesses would rarely place their full data center and workloads on the public cloud. Consider using a cloud service which could provide you with a public cloud for certain workloads and a private cloud for other workloads running in a colocation center.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about all things tech; if you are looking for a company that will support your business as it  grows, Togglebox lets you scale your cloud servers, making it a good choice for your cloud computing needs.

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December 28, 2013 |  by  |  Business  |  Comments Off

4 Tips for Overcoming Drug Addiction

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1247880594_7818ddf408Curing your drug addiction can present you with the biggest challenge you will ever face in your life. Even the most disciplined individuals struggle to stay clean so someone with less willpower will need to use every trick in the book to remain sober amidst a world of temptations. Hang out with positive, supportive people and exercise frequently to feel better about yourself.

Work on your mindset to deal with cravings and consider attending a rehab facility if you require professional help to stay clean. Do whatever it takes to live a positive, productive life for yourself and your family.

Surround Yourself with a Strong Support System

Having a positive, nurturing support system in place helps you to fight off any cravings to begin using again. Surround yourself with friends and loved ones who make your well-being their number one priority. Nobody can get and stay clean for you, but loving people will do everything in their power to help you through difficult times. Your network keeps you on the straight and narrow when times get tough. This support system can help you focus on your job or high energy activities outside of work like keeping fit or having a social life.

Exercise Frequently

Get enough exercise to feel good about yourself, reduce stress and stay clean and sober. By exercising daily your body will release endorphins that will enhance your mood. Feeling better about yourself and your life can dissipate any low energy feelings which might lead to a dangerous relapse. Running, walking or jogging for at least 30 minutes per session is the ultimate stress buster. Instead of searching for a quick drug fix when you feel stressed, leave your house and hit the pavement for an invigorating run.


Meditate daily to deal with your feelings. Any cravings you might feel can be controlled if you realize that you are in the driver’s seat. Your feelings come and go with ease once you identify that you, rather than your addiction,are in full control. Meditating expands your awareness to the point that you will be able to remove yourself any desire to use drugs and let go of that urge without acting on the emotion. This might sound virtually impossible if you are new to meditating but with practice you can both face and release emotions to help you avoid any dangerous relapses.

Spend Time at a Facility

Spending time at a rehabilitation facility might be necessary if you find yourself struggling horribly with your addiction or if you simply want to boost your overall wellness with professional help. Research rehabilitation facilities, both online and offline, to find the right match for your needs. Whether you want to visit a luxury facility or a simple location, select a spot with a helpful, supportive staff and proven track record for getting people on the straight and narrow.

About the Author: Ryan Biddulph helps you to overcome your addiction with proven tips. If you require professional treatment for your addiction he suggests Bayside Marin.

December 27, 2013 |  by  |  Health  |  Comments Off