A Lack of Information Cost Me $50,000 in Student Loan Repayments: Don’t Let it Happen to You!

Today I’m excited to bring you a guest post from fellow-blogger Christa.  She’s going to talk to you all about her experience with student debt.  It’s a perspective I can’t bring you as dragged out my education in order to get a degree without taking out loans, graduating debt-free.  But it’s a serious problem that effects so many people.  Today she’s going to give you some insider tips so you don’t miss out on any potential loan forgiveness!

 

benjamin franklin fire

 

Do you have student loan debt? If your answer is no, congratulations! I am supremely jealous. If your answer is yes, then I can commiserate and maybe help guide you in the right direction.

Student loan debt is a problem that plagues many of us. We work hard, get into a good college, research the right career and major – then blindly take out loans to pay for it. Our adult self is left with the financial consequences of repaying the loans a teenager took out for the next 10-30 years.

I have a love-hate relationship with my student loans. I love that they helped get me through undergrad and pharmacy school and into a fulfilling career that helps people. I hate that I am now trying to pay off about $220,000 in student loan debt.

What I really, truly hate is that I lacked certain information regarding student loans when I came out of school. All else being the same, not knowing this single piece of information cost me nearly $50,000. So what is this information? The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program

This is a program available by the federal government to help those working for the government and public service non-profit companies.

I have seen three big reasons why people don’t use this opportunity:
1) Lack of knowledge about the program
2) Difficulty level to get on the program
3) Procrastination

To qualify for the PSLF, you have to have the right kind of student loans under the right kind of repayment program and work full time at the right kind of job for 10 years. After 10 years of making on-time, scheduled monthly payments the remaining balance is forgiven.

When I originally found out about the program, I had:
~The right kind of student loans
~The wrong kind of repayment plan
~The right kind of job

Unfortunately for me, since I was under the wrong repayment plan, the first 3 years of work did not count. A little bit of math tells me that because I did not know about the PSLF program, I will have to pay an additional $48,000 worth of payments!

I quickly realized I was not the only person who did not know about the program and was, therefore, paying thousands more than they need to. It has become my mission to spread the word about this program in order to help as many people with their student loan debt as possible.

Some specifics about the program:

~What type of job do I need?

  • Those who work for the government (example: military, police officers)
  • Those who work for public service non-profit company with a tax exemption code of 501(c)(3). (example: public libraries, non-profit hospitals) Tip: You can call human resources or even check your company’s website for their tax exemption code.

~Which type of student loans qualify?

  • Federal loans that were received under the Federal Direct Loan Program.
  • If you have student loans under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program, you can consolidate them into the Direct Loan program in order for those loans to be eligible.
  • Sorry, but private student loans are not eligible :(

~What repayment programs do I need to be on?

  • Income Based Repayment (IBR)
  • Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
  • 10 year repayment plan (this one is kind of silly since you would have nothing to forgive after 10 years)

~What qualifies as an on time, scheduled monthly payment?

  • On-time payments- paid no later than 15 days after the due date.
  • Scheduled monthly payments- you must be in active repayment status for the payments to count. You can’t be in a grace period, forbearance, deferment…

~Where can I find out more?

  • You can go to the Federal Student Aid website. They have a bunch of information regarding student loans.
  • You can also come visit me on my site where I talk about all things personal finance including my step-by-step guide to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

 

This is a guest post from Christa, the founder of ObjectWealth.com, a blog on personal finance and her journey to go from massive debt to building financial independence. She is also a hospital pharmacist and enjoys eating bologna straight out of the container.

*Featured image: ©Raven/PhotoXpress

Is It Wrong to Spy on My Fiance?

is it wrong to spy on my husband?It was an accident.  Really, it was.

It was about two weeks before our wedding.  The kids by some miracle were actually sleeping, all at the same time.  My phone rang.  It was my fiance.  He was at work.  I picked it up with a musical, “Hi, baby!” (Because that’s how I sound in my head: musical.)

No response.  “Hello?”

I could hear him talking to someone as his phone swished around.  I had been pocket-dialed.

And I almost hung up.

But I didn’t.  Someone just asked him if he was nervous about the wedding.  And I couldn’t force myself to hang up.

“No, not really.  I love her.  We’ve been together for xxxxx years, so it’s not like anything’s really changing.  I mean, we don’t have joint bank accounts or anything yet, but pretty much everything’s the same.”

Interesting.  For those of you who are new, I’m not very into joint bank accounts.  I prefer my money separate, and he seemed okay with that.  I stayed on the line.  Because I had to know what else he would say when I wasn’t listening.

Maybe that’s wrong.

But it turned out okay.  It turned out great, actually.  People were asking him a succession of questions, all of which had answers that were congruent with what we’ve talked about together.  We want to buy a house, and this next tax return will be awesome to help us save up for that in addition to what we’re already trying to stash away.  Of course, he also outlined everything we’ve spent our past tax return money on, which was a little more than I’d normally share.  He outlined my jobs options and prospects…including salaries.  And he said he wanted to find an entry-level position somewhere in his field before he graduated so he could have benefits and have experience under his belt before graduation.  Again with the expected salary.

Then he started walking and things got all swishy again.  So I finally hung up.

Overall I was really glad I spied.  How many people get the chance to know that you’re really, truly on the same page in such a candid way two weeks before you say, “I do?”  The only thing I found a little surprising was how open he was about our money.

I confessed my espionage when he got home. We talked about the joint bank account.  He said he knew my stance on it.  He also said that it wouldn’t make sense for us with the ways we get paid and how much sense each of the services our respective banks offer us; combining would just make things 20 times more complicated.  Which wasn’t something I had thought about, but is true.  He said the reason he even brought it up was that most people just think that’s “what you do” when you get married.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about what he was going to say when he didn’t know I was listening.  But I was super happy about everything I heard.  Especially that, “I love her,” part.

Financially Savvy Saturdays: Forty-Seventh Edition

Welcome to Financially Savvy Saturdays, a blog hop created specifically for personal finance writers. We welcome all things money here. Whether you’ve written anything from updating your financial goals to a spending fast,  you’re invited to link up. If it ties into personal finance, we want to read it!

Tweet about it. You can use #finsavsat when tweeting about the party!

Concerns about SEO?  Recently many bloggers have decided to stop participating in events such as Carnivals.  If you’re worried about how participating in this link-up could effect your SEO, I’d encourage you to check out this article.

Feature of the Week

This week’s determined co-host, Kayla from Shoeaholic No More, has selected her favorite post from last week’s blog hop. This week’s feature is “My Single Most Effective Money Saving Strategy:  Safe Sex” from The Broke and Beautiful Life.   Click on the image to read her great post!

birth control

 

 

If you submit a post, you could be featured in next week’s party!

 

We do have a couple of rules for participation. Those who don’t follow the rules will have their link taken down.

1. Your post must be written in the past seven days and not be a giveaway.

2. Be sure to include a link to one of your hosts by copying and pasting the html in one of the boxes below into your linked up post. You have the option of the button or a text link.

3. Follow your hosts. You can follow Femme Frugality on Google+, Twitter OR by subscribing to her RSS feed via email. Also follow Shoeaholic No More on Twitter, Bloglovin’, OR subscribe to her RSS feed.

4. Comment on at least two other posts that have joined the party.

5. HAVE FUN!

 

Shoeaholic No More

OR grab the text link here!

 <em>*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on <a href="http://wp.me/p3TJm1-wR" rel="nofollow">Femme Frugality</a> and <a href="http://shoeaholicnomore.com/financially-savvy-saturdays-forty-seventh-edition">Shoeaholic No More</a>*</em>


Socially Responsible Investing Through Index Funds

sri index fundsI’m in the process of trying to save up enough money to open a Roth IRA.  From everything I’ve learned, an index fund is the way to go.  I was all mentally prepared for everything when Done By Forty’s article threw me for a loop.  In it, he raises questions about supporting some of the most socially irresponsible companies and not even knowing it…because you’re investing in it through your index fund.

The large consensus from commenters was, “Oh, well, what can I do?  Sometimes evil wins, and I want to be invested in things that profit.”

That wasn’t good enough for me.  I want to make money as much as the next guy, but I’m not willing to sacrifice the sake of our planet and the welfare of my fellow human beings for extra wealth.  So I researched.  And it turns out there’s a whole field of investing dedicated to this exact issue.  It’s called Socially Responsible Investing (or SRI.)

They Have Index Funds!

If you search for an SRI index fund, you’ll find funds managed with social responsibility in mind.  I know what you’re all thinking:  does Vanguard have one?

Yes.  It’s the VFTSX and you can check it out here.  I can’t lie to you…it’s not performing as well as the S&P 500 right now.  (In this very moment of writing VFTSX sits at $18,445.26 while the S&P 500 is at $21,907.)  But it has a low expense ratio of 0.28%, and no front or back end loads.

“Oh!” you cry.  “I knew SRI couldn’t produce the same results I’m getting now!”

Hold on a minute.  Vanguard’s fund isn’t outperforming the S&P, but others most certainly are.  Take Parnassus (PARNX.)  They’ve been steadily outpacing the S&P since we started this slow crawl out of the Great Recession.  No loads, and the expense ratio is 0.86%.  Over the past 10 years it’s outperformed the S&P 500 by 1.85%.  It only has 45 holdings, but it’s record is  pretty solid.

Or look at TIAA-CREF’s Social Choice Equity (TICRX) which has a ten year record of +0.15 over the S&P, no loads and an expense ratio of 0.45%.

The point isn’t to tell you which funds to invest in.  Let me say that again:  this is not an article to reccomend which funds to invest in.  Markets are volatile and I only minimally know what I’m talking about.  The point is that it doesn’t really take that much research to find an index fund that could allocate your investments into companies that aren’t abusing human beings or killing the planet I want my children to grow up on.

But that’s ACTIVE investing.

Kind of.  Not really.  The way I see it, it’s the same as investing in any other index fund except you’re banking on the fact that the fund will not funnel money into inhuman work conditions or chemical “spills.”  If that’s active, sign me up.  But I’m not going to be picking my own stocks.  That’s the whole reason I want an index fund…I want someone smarter than I am to capture a snapshot of the market, and if they’re going to do it in a socially responsible way that will promote businesses that are, in fact, socially responsible, that’s the fund I want.  Especially since the performance issue seems to be a myth.

But therein lies the moral dilemma of investing in even SRI Index funds:  you are letting someone else make your moral decisions for you.  Unless you keep up on every investment in that fund, you don’t really know if they’re making decisions you’d agree with.  For example, VFTSX’s 4th largest holding is JPMorgan Chase, which is on the list of bad companies that orignally spurred Done By Forty’s post.  So without becoming an active investor, there’s really no way to be 100% sure you support where your money’s going.

But an SRI index fund is a hell of a lot better.  At least they are trying to implement some type of code.

I don’t care.  I’m not switching.

Fine.  I understand that.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t help make changes for better.  Take the investments you have now.  And try these things:

  • If you care at all about climate change, check out the CDP’s Climate Perfromance Leadership Index.  As a stockholder, voice your opinion that you’d like company disclosures and practices to be sufficient to get them into the top performing category (A-Band) on that list.
  • File a shareholder resolution.  You may have to have own $2,000 in company stock for 1 year+, but you can do that collectively.  So find some other people who care.  Know that you won’t win majority support, but generally if 20% of stockholders voice an opinion, the company pays attention.  I’d argue that this is more powerful than switching the type of index funds you buy.  It’s more work, but you’re actually working to change the “evil” part of the company into something good.  I’m guessing you’d feel pretty amazing after all that.  (All numbers in this paragraph can be found in USSIF’s “Investing to Curb Climate Change.”  I’d highly recommend the short read.  If you don’t care about the planet, but do want to improve work conditions of people in third world countries, or whatever your cause is, you can apply the same principles and process…just change the motivating factor.)
  • Tell the investment management company that you want to see more of a consciousness towards SRI in your index fund.  If you have a specific example, site it.  Enough people expressing their opinions can really produce a change.

 

Before I wrap this up, I want to mention Done By Forty’s article one more time.  It’s well-written and thought provoking.  It’s called Hotel Soaps and Externalities.

The Lemonade Stand Book Review (And an iPad Mini #Giveaway)

shannon ryan

For those of you who don’t know about Shannon Ryan, I’d highly suggest becoming familiar with her.  Especially if you have kids.  Shannon’s a certified financial planner that writes financial education books for kids.  She also has books for their parents, who want to teach those kiddos to use money responsibly.  You can check them all out on her website, The Heavy Purse.

Her latest, brand-new book is “The Lemonade Stand.”  And I’m lucky to have been offered a free copy to review it.  (All opinions are my own, or those of my children, free or not.)

lemonade stand

 

My kids love books.  So when this came in the mail they were super excited.  They loved following the main characters as they lusted after items such as model airplanes, toy balls, and drum sets.  They sympathized with them as their mother told them, “No, we’re only here for xyz.” (My paraphrase.)  They liked the idea of building their own lemonade stand to make money, especially when we got to their favorite page:

counting coins

Because who doesn’t love counting out their hard-earned cash?

Then, after they earn the money, Shannon does something amazing:  she has the child-characters decide how they’re going to spend and save their own money.  Some of the children are generous with their earnings, and some are a little bit near-sighted.  But this method is one that I whole-heartedly support, in a book or in real life.  Educating your children and then letting them make their own decisions.

Overall review?  Awesome.  I’d suggest that your child be at least four years old to have the attention-span necessary to follow the story and grasp the concepts.

Wait, didn’t you say something about an iPad Mini?

Yes, I did!  To celebrate the book’s launch, The Heavy Purse is giving one away.  And Femme Frugality readers can enter below!  Make sure to use the rafflecopter to secure your entries!

 

The Lemonade Stand – iPad Mini Giveaway

July 14-31, 2014

Sponsored by The Heavy Purse

Co-hosted by Are Ya Gonna Eat That, Broke Millennial, Budget and The Beach, Budget Blonde,Budgeting for More,Busy Mom Budgets,Cash Cow Couple,Cents and Sensibility,Club Thrifty,Color Me Frugal,Debt Debs,Debt Roundup,Disease Called Debt,Eat Laugh Purr,Enemy of Debt,Eyes on the Dollar,Femme Frugality,Financially Blonde,Frugal Rules,Living Rich Cheaply,Luke 1428,Making Sense of Cents,Money Saving Dude,Monster Piggy Bank,Not Now Mom’s Busy,Reach Financial Independence,Shoeaholic No More,Tackling Our Debt,The Broke and Beautiful Life,The Finance Girl,The Frugal Farmer,The Random Path,Thrifty Dad, and Young Adult Money.

Join Lauren and Taylor in their continuing money adventures in The Lemonade Stand by Shannon Ryan, CFP®. Shannon is a Mom on a mission to help busy parents teach their children simple, value-based principles that guide their money decisions and support their long-term financial well-being.

“Everyone handles money. Unfortunately, not everyone does it with confidence. Money has long been a taboo topic in many homes, which makes it even harder for parents to know where to start or what to teach. So I created a series of children books to help parents ease into these important conversations. Financial literacy is one of the most loving gifts you can give your children, and I encourage everyone to make money conversations a priority in your home.”

We’re Giving Away an iPad Mini to One Lucky Reader!

Help us celebrate the release of The Lemonade Stand and join Shannon in her mission to increase financial literacy in both children and adults.

The giveaway runs from July 14-31, 2014 and is open worldwide.*

* A winner located outside of the United States will receive a cash equivalent prize via PayPal.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Financially Savvy Saturdays-Forty Sixth Edition

Welcome to Financially Savvy Saturdays, a blog hop created specifically for personal finance writers. We welcome all things money here. Whether you’ve written anything from the merits of renting to the merits of the 401k, you’re invited to link up. If it ties into personal finance, we want to read it!

Tweet about it. You can use #finsavsat when tweeting about the party!

Concerns about SEO?  Recently many bloggers have decided to stop participating in events such as Carnivals.  If you’re worried about how participating in this link-up could effect your SEO, I’d encourage you to check out this article.

Feature of the Week

This week’s recently-well-traveled host, Janine from My Pennies, My Thoughts, has selected her favorite post from last week’s blog hop. This week’s feature is “Accountability: June 2014″ from brokeGIRLrich.   Click on the image to read her great post!

budget

 

 

If you submit a post, you could be featured in next week’s party!

 

We do have a couple of rules for participation. Those who don’t follow the rules will have their link taken down.

1. Your post must be written in the past seven days and not be a giveaway.

2. Be sure to include a link to one of your hosts by copying and pasting the html in one of the boxes below into your linked up post. You have the option of the button or a text link.

3. Follow your hosts. You can follow Femme Frugality on Google+, Twitter OR by subscribing to her RSS feed via email. Also follow janine from My Pennies, My Thoughts on  FacebookTwitter, Instagram, Pinterest, OR subscribe to her RSS feed.

4. Comment on at least two other posts that have joined the party.

5. HAVE FUN!

 

My Pennies, My Thoughts

OR grab the text link here!

 <em>*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on <a href="http://wp.me/p3TJm1-w3" rel="nofollow">Femme Frugality</a> and <a href="http://mypenniesmythoughts.com/2014/07/financially-savvy-saturdays-forty-sixth-edition.html" rel="nofollow">My Pennies, My Thoughts</a>*</em>


Defining Success: Thoughts On God and Finances

meditateSometimes I read to help me go to sleep.  When I run out of real books, I turn to ebooks on my phone.  The free ones, because I’m cheap like that.  I’ll look up free personal finance books, free classics, free autobiographies, free anything that piques my interest.  Included in this are books on spirituality.

Recently, I downloaded The Road to Armageddon: A Free Spiritual Guide.  The author isn’t really clear.  Apparently it’s a transcript to some type of documentary.  It’s edited by Chuck Facas.  To be honest, it’s not very well-written (probably because it’s a transcript.) It’s hard to read and it has references to parts of a documentary I’m not really sure how to find.  But despite the rambling nature and awful grammar, it’s struck me.

It has a decidedly Christian undertone, but notes that while the reference are largely Christian, many of the actual points are relatable to almost any religion/spiritual orientation.  While I haven’t finished the book, so far I’ve found that to be true.  There was one section I really wanted to share with everyone:

“What the forces of darkness want us to do is spend our life trying to grab for all the gusto that we can get – to get stuff – and to get things – and to treat people like things…There really is a purpose for us being here – and the purpose is not to live a worldly life, be successful and all this stuff.  The purpose has to do with this purification process that God” (or whatever power  you consider to be holy) “sent us to the mortal realms to overcome – but if you think about how brilliant this is of the dark side..if the dark side can get us to focus entirely on worldly things and waste our time –  works for him, doesn’t it? Because we waste an entire lifetime and accomplish nothing.”

This is not something I’ve never heard before.  In fact, I’ve heard this exact point put more eloquently.  I think a lot of us have.  But for some reason at this time this rambling paragraph really hit a chord with me.

We run around a lot in our house right now.  We’ve got kids.  We’ve both got jobs.  He’s in school full-time immediately following my own graduation.  We’re doing what we’ve got to do to get by, but a lot of what we’re doing is extra stuff to build a better life.

But sometimes I think I need to recenter myself on what a better life means.  Yes, it would be nice to set ourselves up so we never had to worry about money.  Yes, it would be nice to be able to give back monetarily in amounts that would give us a reason to itemize and not take our standard tax deduction.  Yes, it will be nice to see the fruit of all our hard work.

But Jesus loved and lived amongst the poor.  Mohammed, too, as far as I understand it was not a financially rich man.  Moses had to first give up a life as a prince before he could fulfill his true destiny as a spiritual leader in the wilderness.  Buddha reached Nirvana under a tree, not in a mansion.  If we’re reincarnated no amount of money is going to help us get out of that purification cycle and away from earthly suffering.

I don’t know if the answer is to be poor.  I know it’s easier to be financially poor and spiritually wealthy.  Almost all scripture I’m familiar with says so.  What I do know is that it’s important that we don’t waste our lives seeking after riches and forgetting everything else.  Your net worth will be absolutely worthless when you get to whatever life you believe comes next.  The metric that will be important is how much love you demonstrated.  How much selflessness.  How much empathy.  How much compassion.  Even humanists, who generally don’t acknowledge anything beyond the world as we currently, scientifically understand it, do acknowledge that treating others well is a fundamental purpose for being.

Even if you’re not doing it to get let into some type of pearly gates that you don’t believe in,  life is fuller when we seek personal growth and love.

And money can sometimes get in the way of that.  Ambition has only recently become not a dirty word.  Among other reasons for this old attribution, ambition can be synonymous with selfishness, pride, and a willingness to do whatever we have to in order to achieve what we believe to be “worldly” success, even if we have to do something on the other side of “good.”

I’m not going to stop working on my financial goals.  But there is a possibility that sometimes I need to put them in perspective.  Considering how little finances matter to my soul, or even considering how much they can be a detriment to it, am I focusing on the right things?  Do I show enough love to those around me?  Do I pray/meditate/whatever you want to call it in order to  center myself each day?  The answer to both is I could do more.  And I recognize from past experience that focusing more on these things and less on the size of my paycheck or the items that need to be ticked off my never-ending to-do list makes me happier, gives me greater peace.  I don’t even have to wait for the next life.  I can feel it here and now.

Thoughts?  This topic and reflection is far outside the norm around here, and I’m interested in what you have to say.

 

*This is a Thrifty Thursday Tip at The Thrifty Issue.*

Get a #Free Month of Republic Wireless, a Huge #Giveaway and Other Good Things

Today’s post is a little different.  I have some pretty amazing affiliates, and I usually feature them one at a time.  However, so many of them have so much cool stuff going on right now that I wanted to let you know about it all in one post.  There’s a deal in here for pretty much everyone, so happy bargain shopping!

Get $20 Off Your First Month of Republic Wireless

save $100

 

It’s no secret that I love Republic Wireless.  I have a Moto X and unlimited talk, text and data for $25/month.  I wrote a whole post about the details here.

But if you’ve been thinking about signing up and saving oodles of money with me, and haven’t quite made the plunge yet, here’s something that makes it worth your wait:  You can get $20 off your first month of service by using this link.  (I also get a credit on my account, but I still have free service for a while so this is mostly for you.)  I have a $25/mo plan, but you can get them as low as $5 depending on what you need.  Again, check out that old post for more details.

Disney and Harry Potter Savings

disney cruise

Laura at Destinations in Florida has some pretty sweet deals going on right now!  The newsletter with all the in-depth details is below.  I’m just going to excerpt a couple of them here, too:

  • Active Duty Military Discount.  For Disney hotel rooms, cruises, the list goes on.
  • Diagon Alley opens at Universal Studios this week!  If you’re a Florida resident, you can get a discounted price and essentially a VIP package with a bunch of free perks and an owl plush.  And you don’t have to go right now with the crowds.  If you book by July 31st, you can make your actual trip anytime before the end of the year.
  • If you want to go on a last minute cruise, right now you can get a crazy good deal with Disney.  A Verandah Stateroom is going for $280 right now.  Only goes through July 24th, though, so go get on that.
  • 30% off Dinsey hotels for everybody. June 15-Aug 28.

There’s so much more.  Just download the newsletter.  It’s pretty crazy how much she can save you:

 DisneyOrlandoDigest (<That’s the newsletter)

Also, here’s some of the latest events news at Disney.

Then you can come back and get in touch with Laura by filling out this online form.

 

Modcloth…

I’m trying really hard to only shop consignment this summer, but it’s really hard to stay away from a Pittsburgh company that’s made it big and sells super cute vintage-y looking clothes.  Free shipping on orders $50+.  And this until July 14:

 

 

So my consignment-only goals are pretty much doomed.

 

Now You Can Do Tampa Bay for Super Cheap, too.

The husband recently told me he wants to go to Tampa Bay, too.  His list is starting to get long. I’m pretty sure if there’s an MLB or NHL team in a city, he wants to go see it.

Well, CityPASS, who gives you tickets to major attractions at major cities for a crazy steep discount, just added Tampa Bay to their list.  So it just got bumped up ours, as far as I’m concerned.  Then again, they also have Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Atlanta, Houston, NYC, Seattle and San Francisco, so the short list is still pretty long.

(They have Philly, too, I just know he has no interest in going there.  I’d love to see the history there, but have to admit, I kind of hate their sports teams, too.  Last time I was there I went to Sesame Place.  And it was awesome.  Because I was like 5.)

 $100 Target Giveaway!

 

TargetGiveaway

 

I’m super excited to have partnered up with my fellow Pittsburgh-bloggers at Urban Cashmere and 7 other amazing sites to bring you this $100 Target Gift Card Giveaway!  It’s open until July 14th, so hurry to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if that’s not enough giveaways for you, check out my 3 Year Blogiversary post.  There’s 3 great prizes on there, and lots of ways to win.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Favorite Free Bargain Bidding App

I love saving money.  Obviously.  But I love saving it on everything.  And I was recently introduced to an app that allows me to do just that.  I’m pretty sure it’s genius. (And try not to get so excited that you miss the coupon codes below!)

EZBZ is an app that allows local businesses to bid over…your business.  For any product or service.  Let’s say you’re making an in-town move.  You open the EZBZ app, start an inquiry for movers or moving trucks, and allow local businesses to bid over your patronage.  Maybe you get to your new place and find out there’s some plumbing work that needs to be done.  (Because fun stuff like that happens in real life.)  You can place an inquiry for that, too.  And watch as businesses try to undercut each other for your business.  (I think this would best be used in conjunction with Yelp or something of the like, to make sure that you’re not taking an offer from someone who is charging you a low price, but is going to do a low-quality job.)

It’s really simple, but seems really huge to me at the same time.  Instead being a consumer and scouring the area for the best deal, this app brings the deals directly to you.

 

If you’re a business, this can be a great new way to dive into digital advertising.  You develop leads with people that you know are really looking for your services.  You are able to reach out to them 1:1 rather than flooding a market of potential customers.  There is a small fee structure for using the service as a business, but it seems worth it.  You have 3 different tiers you can try.  That way you can start with a smaller package, and if you are seeing results via leads and new business, you can upgrade from there.  Or you can go big off the bat.

I have a special treat for all of you Femme Frugality readers!  If you’re a consumer, you can get $15 in credit to use on any service purchased through EZBZ.  Remember, the app itself and using it is free.  The coupon code that will give you the credit is: EZUA163

For businesses, you can get free, unlimited access to the business app for 15 days. Again, you’ll need the specialized code for Femme Frugality readers.  For businesses, it is: EZBA163

First, you’ll need to download the app from my link.

Then, you’ll need to register.  When you register, it’ll look something like this:

ezbz

I think this is the first time I’ve ever used my webcam to take a picture. Sorry for the poor quality.

And then you are done.  And you can start getting services for crazy cheap.  Or generating new leads for your business.  Or raising your pet orangutan.  Or whatever it is you choose to do in all the free time you’ll have when you don’t have to comparison shop anymore.

 

*I have received compensation for this post.  I am also an affiliate of EZBZ, and links in this post reflect that fact.  That being said, I only write posts like these for products and companies I think are innovative, useful, or otherwise awesome.*

 

 Part of Friday Jet Fuel

Financially Savvy Saturdays: Forty-Fifth Edition

Hope everyone had a happy (and safe!) fourth!  Welcome to another week of Financially Savvy Saturdays, a blog hop created specifically for personal finance writers. We welcome all things money here. Whether you’ve written anything from your own financial independence to the best sales on quality products, you’re invited to link up. If it ties into personal finance, we want to read it!

Tweet about it. You can use #finsavsat when tweeting about the party!

Concerns about SEO?  Recently many bloggers have decided to stop participating in events such as Carnivals.  If you’re worried about how participating in this link-up could effect your SEO, I’d encourage you to check out this article.

Feature of the Week

This week’s fashionable co-host, Anna from The Anna Belle Blog, has selected her favorite post from last week’s blog hop. This week’s feature is “Broke and Bored? Have a Fun Summer Anyway” from Monica on Money.   Click on the image to read her great post!

broke summer

 

 

If you submit a post, you could be featured in next week’s party!

 

We do have a couple of rules for participation. Those who don’t follow the rules will have their link taken down.

1. Your post must be written in the past seven days and not be a giveaway.

2. Be sure to include a link to one of your hosts by copying and pasting the html in one of the boxes below into your linked up post. You have the option of the button or a text link.

3. Follow your hosts. You can follow Femme Frugality on Google+, Twitter OR by subscribing to her RSS feed via email. Also follow The Anna Belle Blog on Google+FacebookTwitter, Instagram, OR BlogLovin’.

4. Comment on at least two other posts that have joined the party.

5. HAVE FUN!

 

The Anna Belle Blog

OR grab the text link here!

 <em>*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on <a href="http://wp.me/p3TJm1-vu" rel="nofollow">Femme Frugality</a> and <a href="http://theannabelleblog.com/2014/personal/financially-savvy-saturdays/" rel="nofollow">The Anna Belle Blog</a>*</em>


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