Archive for the ‘Financial’ Category

Freshman year for free… pay for only 3 years of college

11 Jul

College is expensive.  It can be a lot of work too and for many, they get stuck taking classes that just don’t interest them to meet their general education requirements.  IS there a way that you could either

  1.  only need 3 years of those high college bills
  2. go four years but with 20% less work each semester so you have time for a job, college theater, sports, or other interests.
  3. avoid many of those gen ed classes you are not interested in

The answer is yes!  Just follow this easy plan.  Depending on the type of student and opportunities available, you may need to pick and choose which options work best for you.

My first recommendation is that you, as a student, know what school you want and what major your looking to do.  This helps target the plan and makes it more successful.

Secondly, look at the school or schools on your list and see what credit is given for:

CLEP test, AP tests, and any other advanced credit options

Next, look at what courses are required at your school and see if the classes you plan to work on will be able to receive credit and at what score.  If you are considering dual enrollment, look to see if the classes you are taking will transfer.

Once you have all that information (mostly found on admissions page), you can look at your program of study and see how you can replace required classes with test or dual enrollment.

Lets do an example:  In  the Colleges of Engineering at NCSU, they  have a common first year for all COE majors. R. Wants computer science which is in the college of engineering.  He will need all those courses plus general education classes, some of which are specifically for his major, like Economics has to be taken as your social science.

To get a head start, he takes the Calculus CLEP test.  Passing this gives him 4 credits and allows him to sign up for dual enrollment and take Calc 2 at the community college.  He could have taken Calc AB and BC and then took the exam but he felt dividing it up into 2 different test situations was better, rather remember 2 full classes for one test.  He also needed As to get into the computer science major.  Additionally, he took AP computer science (not offered at his school but found it online) the year before and scored 4.  This will allow him to skip the first CSC class at NCSU.

Next, he notices NCSU required Calc based Physics 1, 2, Chemistry 1, and another science course beyond that.  So, although he chose to just take Honors Earth Science, he knew enough to take the AP Environmental Science test, scored a 4 and gets his “extra science ” class out of the way.  The AP Physics class offered in his school was not Calculus based, so he took it as an overview and then self-studied the Calc based Mechanics class, scoring a 4.  This gives him credit for Calc Physics  1 and its Lab.    He tried to do the AP Chem test but his score was not high enough, he needs an A (5) in order to meet requirements of the computer science major.

Now R. hates non – STEM classes, so it is in his best interest to get those done quickly and painlessly.  Therefore, he chose to get some things of his social science done with CLEP testing.  First he chose sociology.  This just requires you to memorize vocabulary and then be able to relate those words to an example.  It was a quick study of two weeks and his test was passed.

The other social science class required by engineering is Microeconomics.  R. Has been self studying for that test, although it has s harder since it isn’t just memorizing, you have to have a sense of the relationships between different parts of the supply and demand concepts.  Hopefully, the plan for s that R. will CLEP out of microeconomics as well.  You don’t get a grade, it is just pass /fail.  And a C is passing.  He gets to avoid all the homework and only has one test to focus on and if he doesn’t pass, he can also retake it again in two months or he will be well prepared for the actual class.

Finally, R. Has time in his high school schedule to take some additional classes.  If they were 3 credit class, it would be easier to schedule and he might make two but with 4 credit classes, it doesn’t leave you much else, so he usually take one 4 credit class plus two high school classes and if time, self studies other things.  For the coming year R. Will take Calc 3 and Physics 2.

Assuming he passes all, this is how it will look when he applies to and attends NCSU.

NCSU first year coursess

  1.  Calc 1. MET
  2. English 1
  3. Enginnering / computers 1
  4. Gen ed class – Sociology- MET
  5. Chemistry 1
  6. calc 2 – MET
  7. Physic 1 with lab – MET
  8.  Csc 116 – first computer class –  MET
  9. Microeconomics –  MET
  10. Basic Sxience elective  – MET

plus he will have Physics 2 and Calc 3 which are softmore classes met.

Total Credits:

Calc 1,2,3 — 12 credits

Physics 1, 2 — 8 credits

APES – basic science- 4

APCS – first csc class- 3

sociology – 3

Microeconomics – 3


Total: 33 credits

This will allow him either to graduate in three years or take 12 credits instead of 15-16 per semester.

A second example, C. had AP credit for English Composition, he didn’t want to do all the extra work required to take an AP class, so he self studied and got a 4.  He also took AP Computer Science and got a 3. He took APES and got a 4.  But he only has 3 AP tests.  He did take a lot of dual enrollment classes, he was going for a degree in simlation and game design and took two iintroductory classes in this but they did not transfer.  He did take both Calc 1 and Business Calculus.  He took Macroeconomics and two programming classes one in C ++ and the other in Java.  He had 29 credits to transfer.  He went in as a freshman but took 16 credits his first semester and tha numbers him to a second semester sophomore.  He was able to graduate in 3 year and save his family an entire tear of tuition, room, and board.  If C. Had known about CLEP tests, he would have tried coming in with more of his gen ed courses met.

Stdents can manage even more than one year but I think one year is good, it gives them options, doesn’t put them too far ahead of their peers, is doable during the four years that f high school without overloading the child to try and do a year of high school and college at the same time unless they are in an early college program that has them all in college classes full time by senior year.

Remember, if you don’t get a merit scholarship, taking a semester or a year from payments can offer similar financial advantages.




Personal Finance 101

19 Feb

Hello, I wanted to start a new topic on my blog addressing both personal finance and rental investments.  I love personal finance.  I wish I could volunteer  to help people budget and organize their finances.

Personally We (hbbynand 8) did not come from money and when we graduated college, we both had student loans and hubby got a job that didn’t pay well and I went to graduate school after being in another low paying job.  Hubby made in the high $20k and I made in the low $20k and once I was in school, we only had his $20k to live on and had a baby on the way.

I learned to live frugally and even now that we make more, I still live frugally.

So how much does one need to live comfortably?

What are the essentials you need to live on?  While some people msyndefine the list differently, I will work with the goal of living on $6100 month, this will be our NET pay som we have already had ntaxes taken out, paid for our medical insurance, put money in a flex accoutnro cover the rest of medical, and paid for our 401k.  So overall, we are assuming, a total annual salary of $75,000.  The area you live in dictates how much things costs as well as the size and needs of your family.

Here s a general dea of my budget for $6100 per month: (*This is hypothetical to some extent and also uses some,of my own personal expenses either now or in the past).

Housing costs $2300. (I chose  a 15 year loan to pay off early but with the cost being 1/3 my total monthly pay, it makes things tight and a 30 year would have given me more breathing room).  * Note in CA, this covers a 1 bedroom apartment but in NC, you can have a 3000 SF 5 BR house.

Utilites will include heat, gas, trash, sewer, recycling, phone, cell phone for six people, internet, direct tv : $800  *would be less with smaller houses, less people in house…

Car costs: includes car payments, insurance, repairs, gasoline for three cars : $500

* For me, this is low, we have three cars but all are paid off, so I pay for gas insurance, repairs, and save some for my next new car as I don’t like having car payments.  Others, however might have all these expenses and two car payments.

Life Insurance (outside of work policy), :$ 200

* For two people, important while you have kids

Saving for college :$200

* with 4 kids that is a lot f college money, some people don’t save and just leave the thing up to the kid but, it is important to us, so we are paying and they are going


credit card debt :$61

* This may be a lot higher for others but I don’t keep balances, interest is too high, this balance is at 0%.

eating out: $250  * see notes below

Groceries: $1500 * depends on number and of people too

Purchases $100 * we all buy stuff, even if it is just stamps or makeup

savings (future problems fund)  : $100  * sh be in every budget

vacatation savings : $50 * always save to give yourself a break, you deserve it.

Misc :$64  * what s left?


*Things to notes, many other typical expenses are already being taking directly from my check before I get my $6100, so I am not paying for medical costs, 401k costs, and even prescriptions many eye glasses I have prepaid for with a flex spending account.

This budget overall makes me uncomfortable, I have very little buffer and am living month to month without building a savings.  I did this for a long time.  So… what would you suggest changing ?  The money is average and I don’t have to pay extra medical and I am saving for my 410k.


I would tell myself to reduce eating out to once per month and only order water for drinks (never got sodas or beers when was low n money mwhen wemwneout to eat), also try sharing a plate, they give big portions, one dish is  often enough for two (can help you lose a few pounds too) and never get dessert.

i would also look at what grocery store I shop at, some are more pricey, switching mstores ormbrands can save you a ton.  Look at what you buy and the cost and see if you can find more affordable dinners for two days a week to cut down the grocery bill.  Buy big bags of things and let kids make there own snack size bags rather than buying the snack size bags, thing like that can save a lot of money.


Refnance to a 30 year loan if your bills are tight, having extra money each month is worth it.  If you get a bump in salary later, go back to the 15, planning for a debt free retirement is great.

Continue and always have the emergency savings fund and don’t use it for other stuff, when your AC breaks or you suddenly need a water heater, you will have the money and won’t be in a panic. Plus it feels good seeing that add up, knowing you can save.


Feel free to share your budget or for more security, email me at and I can give you feedback free.  Learning how to get ahead financially is easier than you think.  It takes some desire and discipline but can be done.

i have lots of other tips,on how to get extra cash too…

… there is mystery shopping f you have time, pay outs are small but they add up and if you have time, why not?

…; open accounts at banks, they will often give you free money

…. get a side job…. but be your own boss, do you clean well?  People always need people who clean well with attention to detail, it can be really easy to pick up just me or two side,clients for extra money.  Have a skill?  People always need people who are good at skills that work hard…Make a webpage or face book page and get second job going, just get some insurance.

Once you save enough, getting involved in rental properties can be very lucrative, tune in for more on that later.