Extended Stay America: An Off-Campus Living Option? Yes

So I’m signed up for the Extended Stay America newsletter ok. They have good deals, it’s been an option for us with vacations, who knows when we’ll need them. I get info about deals and coupon codes. I don’t hate getting the newsletters. In fact, sometimes they’re even enlightening.

The latest email I got from them blew my mind. It was one of those things that made me thing “Wow, that’s true! Why didn’t I think of that”

Extended Stay America offers short term and long term stay options. Even offering bigger discounts for stays of 30+ days or more. The rooms have kitchenettes complete with microwave refrigerator, coffee maker, and counter space. I’m thinking, most the time parents have to buy mini fridges, microwaves, coffee makers, linens, etc. You wouldn’t have to buy any of that stuff.

Most of the complaints about dorms are things like: community showers, small living space, noisy, cleanliness,or being stuck with a roommate you just don’t get along with. This alleviates all those.

Another bonus, Extended Stay America has laundry facilities and offers free breakfasts. Some Extended Stay America sites even offer amenities like gyms, swimming pools, and business areas that would be great for typing up reports.

Extended Stay America also offers free wi-fi (uber important for college) and include all utilities! Be sure to check Extended Plus Program for 60+ days or longer for lowest rates.

This could be a great temporary option too for those colleges with limited dorm availability or for those that just like their personal space. Go together with a friend and get a room at Extended Stay America and split the cost.

Oh and one more thing, Extended Stay America offers pet friendly rooms. So if your college bound student just can’t part with Fido, he may be able to take him along! Some Extended Stay America sites offer shuttle services to local restaurants and stores. A ride to the grocery store? Awesome!

I understand this option may not be appealing to everyone but I thought it would be a great idea in several circumstances. If you deduct the price you’d pay for furnishing a dorm room, paying for laundry, paying for breakfasts, paying for any utilities the price could even out.

This post does contain affiliate links. I will get a small commission from bookings made through this post.

2 Pair of Kids Shoes for $9.95 and FREE Shipping!

Before we know it, it will be time for back to school shopping. If I find a good deal before I officially start back to school shopping (around the end of July or beginning of August) I’ll grab the deals when I see them.

FabKids is offering 2 pairs of shoes for $9.95 and free shipping. It includes their new rainbow, unicorn and glitter shoes. This selection sounds like it’s made for my daugther!

The 2 pair or $9.95 offers is exclusive for new VIP members. Grab this awesome deal and get happy delivered each month.

If you’re not even thinking of back to school yet it’s totally fine. The shoes deal has some really cute sandals and slip on shoes in the selection too.

Fabkids isn’t just about shoes though, they have super cute outfit selections each month for your son or daughter. They can get a fresh outfit shipped to your house each month at an affordable rate. So really if you started your VIP membership now, they’d have a couple outfits to start school and a new outfit coming each month that’s seasonably appropriate!

This post does contain affiliate links. I will get a small commission from sales made through my links.

Having a 2020 High School Graduate: The Highs, Lows, and Expectation

At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year there was no reason to believe that it wouldn’t end just as any other school year did. With the exception of my oldest son who would be graduating. We sat through the FAFSA education meetings, I asked a million questions to family and friends about preparing my child, financial resources, scholarships, wading through paperwork, etc. It was a learning experience for us and we’re still making sure we check off steps to get things done. But, my son was accepted to his first college choice which is the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He intends to major in Environmental Science but can’t decide if he wants to minor in Geology as well.

When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit there were so many questions. Will there be a graduation and if so, how will we do it? I guess there’s no senior prom then huh? Will the kids get to finish out their sport as a senior? Will any of the events be rescheduled? Will anything change with the college process? Will there even be college in the fall? So many questions.

This was my son’s last year of archery club. He had made it to States again and had hoped for one more try to make it to nationals. States was canceled and we’ve heard nothing about rescheduling. This was probably the most disappointing thing to my son. One of the lows for him. But he was grateful he got to experience his senior year of football in its entirety including receiving several football awards at his banquet. One of the highs of his senior year.

We did have a graduation. Socially distanced. I really didn’t know what to expect but it turned out beautifully. It was amazing to see the community support for our seniors. People lined the streets with signs including local businesses. You could tell how much time and effort was put into this graduation. Almost everyone I talked to said they think they enjoyed it more than the traditional graduation. I told him, I don’t remember a think about my graduation but you will remember at least some of this forever. Definitely a high in all this. I think our seniors felt recognized and validated in a time when they could have missed out on a lot.

Now that things have moved to the “green phase” here in Pennsylvania our school has decided to hold a traditional graduation and prom as well. My son is excited about prom but we feel nothing could top the first graduation they had.

Still some anxiety about if he will actually be able to physically attend college in the fall or if it will be virtual. Thankfully he had already decided he wanted to be a commuter (we don’t live far from the college) so no worries about dorm situations. And if it’s virtual will there be a change in fees? We really don’t know what to expect.

I’ve been seeking out scholarships for some time now. Nagging my son about applying for school scholarship, college offered scholarships, and any other ones I find lol We were blessed that he received one scholarship. I love finding scholarships online too. Especially the ones that aren’t so prominently advertised. I just found the Nancy Etz Scholarship which I will definitely have him apply for. Every bit helps! As I told my son, for every grand and scholarship dollar you received that’s one less dollar you have to pay back later!

This post is sponsored by Diamond Links. Any opinions expressed are my own.

How Far Would Borrowers Go For Student Loan Forgiveness?

My College Story

When I went into college, my job title was hyped as an “in demand” job. I chose an “affordable” two year school. I use the word affordable loosely because college is expensive. But my school was “affordable” compared to many others.

Being the oldest of 4 kids in my family, we had really hoped I’d get more financial help. In the end I got $800 a year in grants which barely covered my books. I was only able to take out about $6000 in student loans because I had no credit history and my parents had to take out the rest. I competed twice for a $2500 scholarship my school offered. Both times I made it to the final round only me and one other person. Both times I ended up losing out. The one person I lost to was a classmate that ended up failing out after only 6 months.

Then half way through my program, big changes came about with health insurance. Suddenly the school was talking about “alternative jobs” with our degree. “oh you can be an activity director or a work with architects to help make handicap accessible buildings, etc. Wait wait, why can’t I used my degree? You don’t need a degree to be an Activity Director. I also found the dirty secrets behinds college job placement claims. The truth is, if the college helps place you in a job…any job… even the Activity Director job or heck as a cashier, they can say they placed you in a job even though it’s not what you actually paid for.

Survey Says…

Which brings us to the interesting survey completed by lendedu.com. Just what would borrowers be willing to do for student loan forgiveness?

More Results

1000 adult Americans with some amount of student loan debt were surveyed. The results were interesting.

  • 30% would enlist to fight in a hypothetical World War 3 if it meant their student loan debt was completely forgiven
  • 60% would give up all streaming services for life
  • 52% would give up all payment methods besides cash for life
  • 49% would give up being vegan or have to become vegan for life
  • Only 17% would give up hot showers for the next 25 years, the lowest percentage in the report

Me personally, I wouldn’t have a problem giving up streaming services. I don’t watch much tv anyway. The rest, I’m not so sure about.

I’m Preparing To Send My 1st Child To College – White Mountain Partners

Having 4 kids, I felt like college was so far away. My first child is now in the beginning of all the college preparation paperwork. My hope is that by child 3 and 4 we should be pros at this.

Start Financial Planning Early With a Finance Expert Like White Mountain Partners

Years ago I started a 529 plan for my two oldest kids. Unfortunately things happened and it didn’t get too far. Now I’m seeking advice from every source possible. I’ve talked to my son’s guidance counselor, check out every financial aid and grant lead that comes my way, and attend every meeting the school offers. I wish I wouldn’t have dropped the ball on the 529 plan. Talking to a financial expert like White Mountain Partners could have eased some of this college financial worry. Here are some other ways to help prepare.

  • It’s helped me a lot talking to my son’s guidance counselor. She’s provided info, reassurance, and pointed me in the right direction for several questions.
  • Attending meetings, classes, and information sessions provided by my son’s high school. I attended a session to help fill out the FAFSA form. My middle son had the opportunity to earn college credits for one of his classes and we found out how to do that. SAT prep classes and more.
  • Attending college visit days. We have a few scheduled but our school’s guidance counselor highly recommended this. This, not only, can help your child make a better decision on where they feel comfortable but it gives parents and child the opportunity to ask burning questions and concerns.
  • Search for scholarships and grants. If your child knows what they want to do you can do searches specific to their major choice.
  • Talk to a financial expert like White Mountain Partners can help you find financial strategies to help finance your child’s education.

Pay Attention College Mailings

My son went to a college fair and put in for info on a few colleges. We’ve been receiving an endless stream of college mailings. We’ve received everything from simple post cards about college visit days (important) to full envelopes with applications in them. We’ve received at least one that had a special offer waving the application fee, 1 week decision, no essay requirement, and early consideration for financial assistance.

That’s one thing I didn’t think about in regard to college financials, it’s all the fees just to be able to get into a college.

  • application fees
  • SAT and ACT testing fees
  • money to travel to colleges
  • miscellaneous fees like an SAT approved scientific calculator that cost $90!
  • I’m sure there’s more I just haven’t run into it yet! That’s why financial people like White Mountain Partners can really help.

Once Your Child Is Accepted To College

Through my research, it seems that most scholarships and grants can only be applied for if you’ve been accepted into a place of higher education or are already in a college/university/technical school.

We’ve had a few bumps in the road with our process. My son is taking his SATs this Saturday. Then I’m hoping he’ll finally start filling out some college applications.

But What If My Kid Doesn’t Know What They Want To Do

I’m there. My son knew what he wanted to do his junior year. Now that he’s a senior he’s seemed to have lost interest in that idea. He has no clue what he wants to do and it’s stressing me out. But as much as it stresses me out I’m sure it’s nerve-racking for him too.

We’ve talked about the possibility of him going to the local community college to get his Gen Ed classes out of the way. That way we’re still making progress while he decides but we’re not dumping University money into something he’s not sure he wants to do.

This post is sponsored by Diamond Links. Any opinions expressed are my own.