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college – Luv Saving Money

Melvin Brewing Scholarship Opportunity: Apply Now

With my oldest son getting ready to start his freshman year of college this fall, I have my eyes trained on spotting scholarship opportunities. Of course, I have to actually get him to apply but at least I can say I tried right? The way I explain it to my son, no scholarship is too small. For every dollar he gets in scholarship or grant money that’s $1 he won’t have have to pay back later. $500 here, $1000 there can make a different in how much needs to come out of pocket for us and how much he needs to pay back later.

Some people only fill out the FAFSA and check with their local college (which is definitely the first and most important steps) to find scholarships but there are so many more scholarships out there. Local clubs, businesses, entrepreneurs, and more will offer scholarships. Some of the more niche or obscure ones can be harder to find. For example, when searching for scholarships, one might not think about a brewing company offering a scholarship but I know of at least one that I’m gonna tell you about here.

Melvin Brewing has been regularly offering scholarships for a couple years now. Since I’ve been writing about scholarships more I’ve been blessed to even have a few places contact me and want me to share about scholarships to my readers. Since we’re a money-savvy bunch I figure you’d want to hear about it.

Melvin Brewing is a brewing company that wanted to “bring the beer of the future” to Jackson, Wy. They started off as a little business but soon grew become award winning brewers. They’ve been in business since 2009. They are a company with heart that are involved in many philanthropy projects.

Melvin Brewing is currently offering a $1000 scholarship to students who are currently enrolled full or part-time in college. To apply for the $1,000 Melvin Brewing Scholarship students need to write a 500-word essay that answers the question, “How do you plan to use the funds from this scholarship in your journey to continue your education?

It does not say that the applicant has to be 21 to apply only that they need to be enrolled in a college. But, parents should be aware that it is a brewery site.

Apply for the Melvin Brewing scholarship here

Deadline is March 30, 2021. The winner will be selected the first week of April 2021. The winner will have 2 weeks to respond before a runner up winner is chosen.

If you’re business is offering a scholarship open to students in the US please feel free to contact me: Angie at angwith4 at gmail dot com. I’d love to feature your scholarship on my blog. I was horrified to find out that a local club in my community would regularly offer $1000 scholarships to local kids in our school. A friend of mine said her daughter was the only one to apply. When I contacted them about it they actually stopped doing it. I’m not sure if it was lack of interest or lack of funds. But I don’t want a business to stop offering scholarships on lack of interest. Let me help!

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

Steps To Take When Looking for Scholarships for College

I have 4 kids. My oldest of which is heading to college in the fall. It’s been a whirlwind experience trying to navigate the whole application process for college and for scholarships. Even though he’s already been accepted and we put money down already we’re still having to take more steps that need completed before he actually starts. Guys he has new student orientation on the 19th! He still has to do some kinds of counseling session in regard to his student loans he qualified for. The whole pandemic thing made this process a little weirder too.

When I thought of the whole scholarship process I thought of it as filling out scholarship application after scholarship application hoping to get just one. Don’t get me wrong, there still plenty you can apply for on your own but the one he got was already applied for when we filled out the FAFSA. Let me explain.

Every year before starting college until college is finished you need to fill out the FAFSA. It’s important to fill it out completely and honestly. This helps schools make decisions on awarding scholarships and financial aid (among other things).

My son actually got a decent yearly scholarship from his college thanks to the FAFSA. As long as he keeps his GPA decent he’ll have the scholarship all 4 years.

My son’s high school also had their own form to fill out for scholarships specific to his school and the area. Colleges will sometimes offers scholarship awards to high school graduates for specific majors too. This was one form to fill out to determine scholarships for many.

In both of these scenarios only one form was needed to throw his name in the hat for many scholarship opportunities. These are the two major things to do . But, it doesn’t have to stop there. You can seek out and apply for individual scholarships as well. There are scholarship specific to majors, hobbies, religion, heritage, geographic area and more.

The David Ebrahimzadeh scholarship, for example, is a scholarship to recognize students seeking a degree in real estate! They’re accepting applications now. So don’t discount your career path in regard to scholarship opportunities.

Also local businesses, clubs, and even your own workplace may offer scholarships. My son applied for a scholarship through my husband’s place of work.

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

A Surprising Alternative to Education Funding

A good friend of mine is an insurance agent. She happened to mention one day about using whole life insurance to help pay for college. My ears perked up. Wait, what? I can use whole life insurance to help pay for college. But why would I used that instead of loans, 529 plan, or any of the other options out there? Turns out there’s a few reasons. I was eager to learn more and thought maybe my readers would like to know more too. So, I asked her to write up this article. I’m so glad she did.

Providing protection to your loved ones is primarily what whole life insurance is known for, but gone are the days when it’s used solely for the death benefit. One surprising way that life insurance can be used is
to pay for higher education costs, specifically as an alternative to using a 529 plan. If you’re unfamiliar with what a 529 plan is, it’s a tax-advantaged investment vehicle in the U.S. designed to encourage saving for future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary. However, there are several disadvantages to a 529 plan. They vary from state to state and balances in a 529 plan may reduce your beneficiary’s ability to receive financial aid. Also, in the event that your beneficiary doesn’t want to
pursue higher education, the earnings may be subject to income tax plus a 10% penalty tax.

A whole life insurance policy can help you accomplish your college savings goals similar to a 529 plan and for some, an insurance policy may actually be a more suitable option because of the additional benefits, added flexibility, and guarantees not tied to the market. However, it’s best to use this option when the child is young, that way your policy can build up enough cash value to properly cover college expenses. You can also use what’s called an optional Paid-Up Additions (PUA) rider to significantly add
to the early build-up of cash values in your policy. While the two have similar contribution, accumulation, and distribution tax features, there are some differences between the two that might make whole life insurance a more suitable option for you:

Income tax-free college loans. You can use the accumulated cash value in your whole life policy to take out tax-free loans to help pay for college expenses without having to worry whether they’re qualified education expenses or not. If the time comes and your child decides not to pursue higher education, you could use this money for other things. For instance, you could use this money to help them purchase a vehicle, pay for living expenses if they choose to go out on their own, or pay for travel expenses so they could see the world.

Get guarantees without market volatility. A 529 plan likely has funds tied to market returns. While that can allow your college fund to grow over time, a down market could have the opposite effect. Imagine a downward spiraling market right before your child starts college. That would be a disaster. Alternatively, a whole life insurance policy provides you with guaranteed premiums along with a death benefit should the unthinkable happen and an accumulated cash value that won’t decrease based on the financial market performance.

Have options in case of disability. What if you became disabled while trying to build up savings for college education? No worries. With whole life, you have an optional waiver of premium rider to guarantee your college funding goals stay on track.

Benefit from savings that may not affect financial aid considerations. Unfortunately, a 529 plan is considered an asset by FAFSA. However, FAFSA financial aid guidelines currently don’t count your life insurance policy’s cash value as an asset, which means you could qualify for a higher
level of aid. (Note: Some colleges do view life insurance as an asset in determining financial aid).

Fund an education should the unthinkable happen. Life insurance provides an income tax-free benefit to your named beneficiary, which could in turn fund an education if they wished.

However, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. If you could afford it, a whole life policy could simply be used as a solution that supplements funds alongside your 529 plan contributions. If the grandparents are highly involved in your child’s life, you could even consider asking them if they’d like to start a 529 plan for your child (as currently 529 plans owned by grandparents or third parties generally do not affect
financial aid of beneficiaries under the current guidelines), while you start a whole life insurance policy. I encourage you to compare the two and talk to a financial professional to see if using whole life insurance is the right college savings solution for you.

If you’re ready to start with whole life insurance, get in touch with my friend Angie Bailey.



*Disclosure: This article is not intended to provide investment, insurance, or tax advice. Please consult
your own tax advisors regarding the comparative tax benefits of 529 plans, as well as the potential taxation of distributions from both 529 plans and whole life insurance policies

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.

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.