How can I Help my Soon-to-be-College Student with Her Financial IQ?!

2015 March 26

{Popmoney.com is sponsoring this series of posts, read them all here.}

We’re at that crazy intersection where our oldest child is trying to decide which college to attend!

 

 

College kid financial IQ student loans taxes and how to splitroommate costs with PopmoneyHow did we arrive at this point already? I have NO IDEA?

Yesterday I was reminding her to comb her hair. Last week I was helping her learn to read. A month ago she took her first steps.

How can she possibly be heading off to college this FALL?!

Four schools accepted her. She’s ruled out two. She’s visiting the other two campuses; attempting to figure out which might be the better fit for her personality, style and future career plans.

At the beginning of the process money was the biggest factor between the 2 colleges, because one boasts a MUCH HIGHER tuition. Now though, thanks to a couple scholarships she earned (Talk about Proud Parenting Moments?) the two schools are on about the same financial playing field.

It’s been an interesting road to watch her drive down, since it’s the first major decision she is making somewhat—okay mostly— without parental input. Either way, I’m sure she’ll do wonderful and the rest of her life is ahead of her. (Pardon me while I go get a tissue.)

My new big mommy fear is not sending her out in the big world of university life—ALONE, no.  Now I’m much more worried about her financial IQ? Can she handle the financial grenades about to be thrown at her?

College Financial Questions for New Students?

  • Student Loans? Yes or No?
  • Work during Freshman Year? Yes or No?
  • How to share Room Mate costs?
  • Credit Cards? (Oh please no.) But maybe she need’ll need the practice to learn financial self control?
  • What do we do about Taxes for a college kid? Should she be doing anything differently?
  • If we need to send money to her, how do we do that?

Because let’s face it. She barely dares talk to ‘grown ups’ on the phone, much less walk in to a bank and deal with loans, credit cards or checking accounts.

I searched around the interwebs for advice on helping new college students tackle these financial questions. Because—what 18 year old listens to their mother?

7 Suggestions to help your college kid become financially smart and less dependent:

 

  1. BE PRACTICAL
    I really like this article from Fastweb with 30 practical money saving tips for college students. Please see #22: actually ATTEND classes. Gee? No kidding!
  2. KEEP INCREASING TEST SCORES
    I HAD NO IDEA a kid can keep taking the ACT or SAT test up until the end of their senior year, not because they are vying for a spot at their academic institution of choice (they already know where they’re going by then)… BUT! There are still financial aid options and scholarships they can continue to apply for and a better test score is… a BETTER TEST SCORE! My kid is about to take the ACT one last time because she could automatically get several thousand dollars more in state scholarships with just a few more points!!
  3. SAVE MONEY ON ATM FEES, USE Popmoney
    Popmoney easy way to request and send money without an online wallet, straight checking to checking and flat $ .95 fee.When kids are sharing the expenses of college living there are likely a lot of times when they will need to split restaurant bills, rent, gift giving, internet/electricity/utilities and more. One way for them to do that easily without running to an ATM every time is to use their Smart Phones! Using Popmoney via their phones with an app, they can either request or send money for a Flat $0.95 rate. There is no online wallet involved, it simply moves funds from one checking account to the other.

    Kids under 18 usually need their parents to help create a checking account. But parents can also use Popmoney to send money to their kid’s checking account while on the fly.
  4. UNDERSTAND COLLEGE TAX CREDITS
    I’m reading cheat sheets on college tax savings as fast as I can. There are a couple different kinds of college tuition tax credits, but there are a lot of rules as well. Plus depending on how you claim your kids you might not qualify if your income is too high. But worth understanding it all anyway.
  5. USE CREDIT AND CREDIT CARDS WISELY
    Kids under age 21 have a harder time getting credit cards on their own since 2009. Which is a GOOD thing! But there are several credit card options for college kids if parents are willing and able to step in and continue being parents a few years longer. I’m willing. Most of these options come with built in ways to avoid financial nightmares. I LIKE THAT.
  6. WORKING IN COLLEGE
    Should kids work while in college? The answer is YES. And NO? The real answer according to USnews is to work… a little bit. 10-15 hours has been shown to help kids graduate more than kids in college with no job at all.
     
  7. BORROW STUDENT LOANS WITH EYES WIDE OPEN
    With the massive increase in college tuition, kids today have little choice but to take on some student loan debt. In this fascinating list of college loan factoids and 17 graphs, QUARTZ shares a snapshot of the student loan bubble. They encourage you NOT to freak out, borrow the least amount necessary and well… they don’t really SEE an answer in sight. Keep other costs low and hope there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

 

 

student loan debt increased to 43%

 

In this brave new world where college students graduate with a degree in one hand and the equivalent of a home mortgage (student loan) debt in the other, I’m committed to helping my kid navigate the financial pitfalls of university life the best she can. I was always very proud of the fact that I put myself through college. But looking back I couldn’t possibly do it on my own with the current tuition costs.

I don’t want my kid camping out in my basement when she graduates. I want her future to be bright and free from a stupid amount of debt when just be starting out. Who knows what graduate school will cost in a few short years?

Focusing on financial smarts and what we CAN do is my plan now to help my kiddo’s dreams come true with the least amount of debt while teaching her how to increase her financial IQ.

 

Disclosure: This is a Popmoney sponsored post. I’ve been using Popmoney for months now. I pay my son’s piano teacher from my phone via Popmoney each month. My sister made me the most amazing boot cuffs and I paid her with Popmoney too. I split the hotel costs with roommates at a recent blogging conference… it was fast and painless… I just sent a Popmoney request via my smart phone!

I’m a fan as well as an ambassador. These are my opinions.

 

Blueberry French Toast Casserole | Be Careful, This is Ridiculous!

2015 March 24

Seriously People.

Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole make ahead night before SRSLY! Cream Cheese people!

This is getting to be a problem. There’s no redeeming breakfast left in this breakfast. Do NOT attempt on a diet. If you want healthy for brunch… go ahead, click away from this recipe.

 

Please. Just top this with Whip Cream and call it DESSERT for BREAKFAST. Cuz that’s exactly what it is.

 

Our Church schedule changed to afternoons this year… and I’ve been secretly searching and testing to produce the best Sunday morning breakfast.

 

Don’t tell my kids I’m experimenting on them!

Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole

Otherwise known as… OH MY HECK! Is THAT really for BREAKFAST Mom? We LOVE you!

INGREDIENTS

CASSEROLE – Night Before

  • A loaf of day-old bread, cut into cubes – I used white bread
  • 1 & a 1/2 package cream cheese, cut into cubes (or 12 oz)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries — I used frozen, worked fabulously
  • 2 cups milk
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup — I didn’t use anything fancy, just store bought, store brand

TOPPING – Next Morning while Baking

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries — again I used frozen

DIRECTIONS

Spray a 13×9 inch pan with cooking spray. Layer half of the bread in the bottom of the pan. Spread the cream cheese bits around on top of the bread. Evenly sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the bread and cream cheese. Then top with the rest of the bread.

In a large mixing bowl beat the milk, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup till well combined. Pour carefully over the bread and blueberries. The pan will be pretty full by this point. Cover with tin foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning turn the oven on to 350 degrees, while it heats up, remove the dessert I mean… casserole from the fridge keeping the tin foil on. When the oven is hot, place the casserole in the oven and time for 45 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake another 15 minutes. The bread become a nice golden hue and the whole thing will puff up quite a bit. The center should be firm when it’s done.

While the casserole is baking— start making the topping.
Okay let’s just call it “Pie Filling”. Because. It totally is.

overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole make ahead night before SRSLY! Cream Cheese people!In a medium sized, heavy bottomed pan (or whatever kind of sauce pan you own), add 1 cup cold water, 2 TBLSPOONS corn starch and 1 cup of sugar. Cook on high, whisking till it comes to a boil. It will thicken about like a pie filling consistency. Let it boil gently on Med. High for 2-3 minutes. Then turn it down to medium and add 1 cup of blueberries.

Keep stirring and watch the magic happen. It goes from a whitish looking syrup to a deep purple-blue once the berries begin to burst a little bit. It’s time to taste test it at this point (don’t burn yourself) but WHOA… I was all? Who knew nirvana was this easy to stir up?

Let the blueberry topping simmer on low 10 minutes or until the casserole is done.

Pour the topping over the French Toast once it’s out of the oven. And if you’re up for Whip Cream at this point… BE MY GUEST. It’s still super hot for a while so let it cool for kiddos.

 

I don’t know how to tell you how amazing this was. The cream cheese and blueberry topping with the bread/toasted thing going on? Like cheesecake and stuffed French toast rolled into the most divine Sunday Brunch in the WORLD. Amen to that!

Strawberry Hint for Spring

Shhh I have a secret. Last night I made the same topping except I used fresh Strawberries since they are all over my grocery stores lately. And all we did was use it to top store bought angel food cake and then whip topping. Everyone begged for a second piece and when I finally got a chance to sit down and taste it, I cried.

I’m wondering what else I can make this topping/pie filling um… – NECTAR out of? Peaches? Fresh Raspberries? Infuse it with herbs maybe? Rosemary? Basil?
Let’s DO THIS!

Join The #StraightTalkonSteak Twitter Party March 26th!

2015 March 20

I was invited to help Omaha Steaks share a few healthy lunch tips and join in a Twitter Party NEXT THURSDAY!

And I’d love you to join me! Noon Eastern.

omaha steaks logo“Think of beef as the kale of protein foods—in addition to being a high-quality, complete protein, a single serving of lean beef contributes 8% of daily calories (2,000-calories per day), yet provides more than 10% of the daily value for 10 essential nutrients—protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin, choline, selenium, and phosphorus.” —Mitch Rippe, Director of Nutrition and Education at the Nebraska Beef Council.

omaha steaks March Twitter Party #straighttalkonsteak

Good conversation, Healthy Lunch tips and well…
a STEAKLICIOUS Giveaway!

TWITTER PARTYThursday, March 26 at Noon ET.

TOPIC: Discuss beef as an important part of a healthy diet.

WHO: Anyone can join Omaha Steaks for a Healthy Lunch @Omahasteaks #StraightTalkonSteak.

WHAT:  One participant will receive the Eating Well Combo from Omaha Steaks, which includes Top Sirloins, Classic Salmon Fillets, Ground Bison Burgers and Boneless Chicken Breasts. A full nutrition analysis on all Omaha Steaks products is available on the company’s website at www.OmahaSteaks.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post. Steak will likely be involved.

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2015 March 4
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Whoah! What should I do!?

Here’s where the story gets good.
I can ask them to remove my kids’ image and they say they will. Apparently they are genuine about what they are doing and raising awareness. See several images have already been removed from the homepage.

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This one starts with a Lemon cake mix and YOU turn it into Pink Lemonade Cake—KA-POW!

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Anyone? Any…One?

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Valentine’s Ideas? oh yeah. They’re all OVER that.
Or CUSTOMIZE your card with a name or phrase you love.

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2015 February 3

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Cost to attend is $69 but I have a 10% off code for you! USE: “CRAZY” when you checkout.

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Ends Thursday Feb 5th at Midnight Eastern.

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