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Money Management Tips Older Foster Youth Need to Know

Posted on August 10, 2017 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Leaving foster care with little or no support is scary enough. Then, you are supposed to get a job and suddenly figure out how to handle money

The problem is no one has taught you anything about money management.

Below, you'll find starter information on money. These are basic explanations of money-related topics.

Learning this information now will help you avoid costly mistakes later.

What a bank account is and how to use it

Accounts with banks and credit unions are a service that allows you to store your money for easy accessibility and savings. You may be wondering why you even need a bank account.

Here are a few benefits of bank and credit union accounts:

1. Protected by the federal government

2. Convenience

3. Makes saving easy

Some banks charge a monthly service fee for checking accounts. Credit unions often don't charge service fees for these accounts.

Whether or not you use a check, cash or a debit card to pay for something depends on the amount, how much money you have and where you're making the purchase.

Use your discretion as to which method is appropriate when making payments.

Maintaining a monthly budget

It is wise to create and follow a monthly budget to keep track of your spending.

A budget allows you to make sure your expenses are within your means. It also helps you to set financial goals for saving and making large purchases for a car or house.

Using a budget template makes it easier to organize all the categories and numbers you'll need to sort out. We can provide you with a budget template.

Pay your bills on time

Paying your bills by the due dates seems like a no-brainer and it is. Yet, you need to know this because companies will charge a late fee if you pay even one day after the due date.

Late fees often can be steep, up to half of what you already owe. Keep track of your bill's due dates with a written list, a document on your computer or add them to a calendar. Better yet, do all three to make sure you don't forget. We can assist with planning.

Paying your bills on time affects your credit report, which we will discuss next.

What is a credit report?

Credit is money that you can borrow to make purchases. A credit report is a listing of how much money you’ve borrowed and whether you've paid your bills on time. You can view your credit report free.

Absorbing all of this information now may seem overwhelming but you will understand all of it over time. Just take this as a first step in learning how to handle your money properly.

We provide assistance with learning money management skills; contact us to get more information and guidance.

4 Ways Foster Care Youth Can Pay for College

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Applying for college or a vocational training program involves so many steps.

College applications require asking for references, writing essays, requesting transcripts, keeping track of deadlines, SAT and ACT scores, etc.

It can be overwhelming for any young adult, but especially for foster care youth. The most important concern is how to pay college tuition.

You may be feeling lost since no one has explained to you where to find financial aid.

This post will teach you what your payment options are and where to find them.

How much does college cost?

Before we get into how to pay for higher education, you should know where the money is going. Universities, colleges, and vocational programs charge tuition for courses.

That money goes toward paying instructors, support staff, maintaining the campus and other expenses.

They charge fees for enrolling, access to campus facilities and room and board.

Then there is the cost of textbooks and basic supplies like a laptop, notebooks, backpack, etc.

Tuition and fees vary greatly depending on the college. Private colleges and universities typically charge higher than public ones.

Sources of Financial Aid

Various organizations offer scholarships according to academic achievement. Some have several other requirements like writing essays. Foundations, non-profit organizations, corporations, universities, colleges and state governments award scholarships.

Three steps to gain scholarships:

1. Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

The FAFSA will tell you how much aid you are eligible for from the government. It is best to fill out the FAFSA early in January of the year you will be applying to college. The government grants financial aid on a first-come first served basis.    


2. Complete your college's financial aid forms

Check out your college's financial aid website and/or call them to find out if they have a separate form. If they do, complete and submit it early and far ahead of the deadline.

3. Find Scholarships from private organizations

You can research scholarships using many online resources:

The federal government offers grants mainly according to your financial situation. The most common one is the Pell grant. State governments, as well as colleges and universities, also give grants.

The federal work-study program allows students to work part time to earn money for college expenses. The federal government provides funds to colleges and local employers to hire students under this program. The FAFSA will inform you of your eligibility for work-study.

The federal government and private lenders also offer loans to pay for tuition. If you borrow a loan, you must pay it back with interest. Many students take this option because college tuition can be very high.

If you can, it is better to borrow as little as possible or not at all. Student loan debt can be an investment if you know your income will be high after college. But, it could also become a burden.

We're here to help you through the process of securing college funding. Send us an email or call and we will walk you through filling out the FAFSA and finding scholarships.