Need help paying for college?


Our daughter's high school graduation.

Our daughter’s high school graduation.

I am forever grateful that my father and step mother set up a special savings account for both of my children for college. Living paycheck to paycheck hasn’t afforded us the opportunity to to put aside much money to help our children pay for college. Thankfully their college funds can help pay for at least two years of college.

Our daughter is currently in college. She graduates this time next year. She is already looking into what college to transfer to.

There are many factors she is considering when looking at colleges to transfer to – majors, college life, area, reviews from other students, and the biggest factor of all – tuition.

When I look at the cost of tuition I get stressed out. It truly is a major investment, just like a car or a home. You really have to explore all options to make the best decisions for your family.

Now that our daughter’s college fun from grandpa is running out we need to find other ways for her to afford her college so that she can finish up her Bachelor’s Degree, and ideally her Master’s Degree down the road too.

One of the things that bothers us about most student loans is that their terms are not something we are comfortable with. We want a student loan that has payment terms that we feel are best for us.

Student Loans

I recently learned about College Ave Student Loans.  College Ave Student Loans is a leading online student loan marketplace.

The College Ave Student Loans parent page is loaded with a lot of valuable information about College Ave Student Loans, interest rates and how parents can save an average of $1,000 compared to Federal Student Loans. I’m all for saving money.

Another interesting thing that I like about College Ave Student Loans is that parents can get up to $2,500 direct deposited into their bank account. Those funds can be used to pay for other college expenses like books and dorm supplies. I can tell you first hand that college books are VERY expensive. Just one of my daughter’s books cost $300 – and it was a used book.

With most student loans, parents and students are required to start paying the loan back as soon as the student graduates. With the deferred payment and astronomical interest rates, students are looking at paying back hundreds of dollars each month. That is not that easy for a new college graduate to do.

A co-worker of my husband’s daughter is paying over $400+ per month toward her student loans. When I think about my daughter and how much she makes at her current job, there is no way she can afford that. It’s no wonder many college students end up back and home with their parents.

A unique thing with College Ave Student Loans is that parents and students can start paying the loan off right away. You do not have to wait until your student graduates from college. By paying off the loan while the student is in college you are saving a lot of money on interest.

College Ave Student Loans also lets parents/students to pick their own payment terms, making it easier and more convenient to pay back the loan. Repayment terms run from 5 to 12 years.

College Ave Tool

I was playing around with the College Ave Student Loans qualification tool and found that payment terms and amounts are very flexible. You could easily find something that works for you.

The tool shows you payment amounts for loans from $2,000 up to $80,000. I put in random amounts (thinking abut how much the colleges my daughter is looking into cost) and played around with the length of the loan and how much per month we could comfortably afford.

I found this to be a very valuable and eye opening tool.

If you have a child who heading off to college, and you are still up in the air about how you are going to afford the tuition and other expenses, I encourage you to check out College Ave Student Loans.

College Ave Student Loans also have no origination fees and lower rates than the federal loan for those with qualifying credit.

Let’s face it, paying for college is not easy, but knowing how much you can afford and how long it will take to pay it off makes the process a lot less stressing.

For more information visit the College Ave Student Loans homepage. From there you can you can access tools, loans, refinancing and more.

You can also check out College Ave Student Loans on social media. Their links can be found on the bottom right of their homepage.

Do you have a student in college? Do you have student loans? How are you dealing with them?

Do you have a student who will be attending college in the near future? How are you planning to help pay the cost of tuition and other expenses?

College Ave Student Loans Logo


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Why strict parenting is bad for your kids?



What kind of a parent you are? A soft one? Or hard? Or a mix of both? No matter in which category you belong to, one thing is sure that, being a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the world. It comes with the great responsibility of raising a kid, instilling good virtues and taking care of him or her physical and emotional growth.

In between all this, a parent has to discipline the kid and make him/her understand the virtues of good behavior. After all, every parent wants a well-behaved and obedient kid. In a sense, you do all this by adopting a parenting style – some take to soft parenting while some resort to strict parenting and harsh discipline. So, is strict parenting justified or beneficial?

No, this may make the kid polite and obedient but only temporarily. This kind of parenting style gives advantages but only of instant type. There are many theories that caution parents against authoritative parenting as it does some serious harms to the psyche of the kids. In a way, strict parenting is something you must not resort for many reasons.

Let’s look why strict parenting is not justified:

  • Kids raised through strict parenting develop low self-esteem and inferiority complex. Such kids live with a conception that their opinion does not matter at all.
  • Such kids develop low self-worth as their entire purpose remain focused around showing good behavior only as this is the only route for them to be feel accepted.
  • Kids raise through authoritative parenting styles often lack trust in people and for them, affections shown by others never appear anything more than a hidden motive.
  • Such kids gradually lose the will to go with gut feeling or intuition as they have been controlled to become passive.
  • Such kids have fear of new experimentation or lack enthusiasm for trying out something new, as from the childhood, they have been told to not go out of the box of always live within a box.
  • Such kids come with a preconceived notions of the world around and have biased about the ways of the world, which somewhat limits their thought process.
  • They grow up suppressing feelings, which over time, give them an emotionally detached façade.
  • Their experience makes them averse to positive feelings or affections and they never take such emotions seriously.
  • For having gone through punishment strategy, they develop shame and self-guilt and view people from the lens of good or bad only.
  • Such kids develop an attraction towards power and in this, they get the recipe or develop the habit of lording over others.
  • Kids who are raised this way are more likely to bully others into submission than the rest.
  • Strict parenting leaves behind a hierarchical behavior pattern where kids deem it necessary to present oneself as inferior to authorities.

In a nutshell, we can see how adopting strict parenting is a sure-shot recipe of disaster. It may bring some short-term rewards but its impact lasts long and in some cases, can haunt one to the grave. So, it’s important to understand your kid and their requirements and handle them with great care.


About the author:

Ian Alam is a blogger & writer from UK who specializes in writing about health & Fitness topics. He works with Jump In, which is counted among one of the Best  Trampoline Park London, UK. 

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Siblings… and what to watch on television



Me and my “sister” (biological aunt)

Whenever someone asks me if I am an only child, the youngest or the oldest I have to answer “yes” to all three of them. Confusing, isn’t it?

I am my father’s only biological child. I was raised by my paternal grandparents. My biological aunt and uncle were my sister and brother. That would make me the youngest. It wasn’t until a month or so ago that I found my maternal aunt who told me I have FOUR younger brothers. That makes me the oldest of my half-brothers, even though I have never met them and chances are I never will (one passed away at birth).

What is it about siblings where they have to quibble over the silliest things.

I have a son and daughter. They are two and a half years apart in age. They get along better now that they are teenagers (16 1/2 and almost 19), but they still fight over the silliest things.

Siblings 1

When they were younger (even as far as a year or two ago) they would fight over what to watch on television. It’s not that my son watches much t.v. (he honestly doesn’t), but he does like to watch CNN, MSNBC and The Weather Channel (odd choices for a teen boy, but he likes what he likes). My daughter on the other hand loves to watch t.v. and she is totally into hows like One Tree Hill, the O.C and Degrassi. She’s watched the seasons over and over again on Netflix. They are not my son’s “cup of tea,” but he tend to give into her (they share one of the t.v.’s) so the poor boy probably knows every episode by heart. LOL!

Even when it comes to Family Movie Night it can be a struggle because my kids are into totally different things. I tend to pick the movie so as not to have to deal with their squabbling at on another.

Siblings 2

Did you know that April 10, 2016 is National Sibling Day?

Netflix wants siblings everywhere, no matter what their television preferences are, to get along and find shows they can enjoy – dare I say – together.

This month, Netflix has created two different playlists that siblings can choose from in hopes that they enjoy watching the programs together.

One of the playlists is “Tale of Two Distant Ages” and the other is “Sugar and Spice.”

Both lists have a nice variety of programs and movies. Some I know are favorites of my children, others they haven’t seen yet but I think they might enjoy.

Netflix Siblings Day

Both playlists are geared more towards children and younger teens, but I know my kids both enjoy movies and shows such as Daddy Day Care, The Croods, Cupcake Wars and Fuller House.

To make it even easier to find quality entertainment sibling of all ages can enjoy (parents too!), Netflix also included two other lists – “Meet in the Middle” and “Much Watch TV.”

Out of all four lists, the one that would best suit my kids is “Must Watch TV.” My daughter already watches some of the shows on the list (Parks and Recreation and New Girl).

If your kids still need help deciding what to watch, Netflix has created a special “Fortune Teller” to make things a little easier. Fortune Tellers go by other names too like “Cootie Catcher.” I make these ALL THE TIME for the kids I work with. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t make at least one of them.

Netflix Fortune Teller

You can find the directions to make Netflix’s Fortune Teller HERE.

I might just have to use this the next time we are trying to decide what to watch for Family Movie Night. I might even use it to decide what to have for dinner and/or what to do on the weekends. LOL!

When it comes to deciding what to watch on television, how did you and your sibling/siblings decide? If you have children, how do they decide what to watch?

I always love to hear from readers. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

If you would like to learn more about Netflix simply visit Netflix.com. You can also check them out on social media.



*I have partnered with Netflix to bring you this information. I have received free service and promotional products in exchange for my participation. There is no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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The 6 Dangers Teens Face on the MeetMe App



TeenSafe, one of the most popular parental monitoring technology service, is developing a guide on everything parents need to know about MeetMe, one of the hundreds of apps teens use for socializing that have the potential to become dangerous.

In fact, in 2014 the San Francisco city attorney sued MeetMe  after three separate sex-crime cases that stemmed from conversations started on the app occurred in California.

MeetMe differentiates itself from other social networks because it introduces people to new friends instead of connecting them to existing ones.

Below are some quick facts about MeetMe and the dangers teens may face by simply logging on.

What are the dangers of MeetMe?

  • Members can be introduced to other users located nearby — You will be able to see profile pictures, basic information and choose to message MeetMe. Users can also browse through the newsfeed of people nearby.
  • Widely considered to be a dating app to find people nearby —There are games available for users to play that feed into the dating app reputation, including the Blind Date game, where users are asked to answer questions to be introduced to a match.
  • “Ask Me” feature — Anonymous questions can be sent to users, which are not monitored or censored, so the content can sometimes turn explicit.
  • No profile information is verified — Predators can easily pose as teens to befriend and lure other teens to meet in person. The fact that MeetMe matches users based on location elevates the possible danger.
  • Automatic public privacy settings – Unless teens log in to their accounts and manually change their privacy settings, the app will automatically have everything set up to be public, meaning any MeetMe user in the area will be able to view your photos and information.
  • Private messaging and photo exchange – These features introduce the possibility that your teen could be cyberbullied based on his or her looks, values, or comments made on the app, leading to low self-esteem and emotional stress.

 The Numbers Behind MeetMe

  • There are more than one million daily active users on MeetMe.
  • In 2012, MeetMe was named one of the 25 most trafficked websites.
  • There is a minimum age limit of 13 on MeetMe, however since this is nearly impossible for the app to verify, it does not stop younger users from joining.
  • There are over 100 million MeetMe users.
  • About 25% of these users are between the ages of 13 and 17.
  • MeetMe was named as one of the 6 adult dating apps that teens are using too much by The Huffington Post.


*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the benefit of my site readers. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do no necessarily reflect my own. 

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Supporting Your Child’s Healthcare Independence



As we enter the teen years it’s important to encourage our children to take control of their own health care. This prepares them for autonomous living and helps them navigate the world around them. It also give them room to practice without dangerous consequences and under our watchful eye.

Achieving independence is a crucial part of the journey into adulthood. Children are able to practice these skills when they are given the freedom to try new things. While they are still learning, however, they still need our guidance and support along the way.

Thankfully, there are a few different ways to subtly encourage our children to be more independent, while still staying involved with their daily healthcare needs. Here are some ideas to help you and your child find the right balance between freedom and guidance when it comes to handing over health care decisions and autonomy to a pre-teen or teenager.

Scheduling and appointment setting

Encourage your child to schedule their own doctor’s appointments. I know this one is scary. It’s normal to want to keep your child safe and ensure that they are getting the care they need. It’s also important to gently push them to begin taking control of their own needs – much like they also feed themselves, bathe themselves, take care of their own personal grooming, ensure a good night’s rest, plan their homework, and complete their other chores. Healthcare and dental care is another important aspect of self-care that needs to be taught in a way that encourages them to put the effort in themselves.

Give them their pediatrician’s and dentist’s number and have them call to schedule their checkups and other appointments, even if they’re nervous about it. Have them add the appointment to the family calendar, and also set a reminder for themselves on their phone of the appointment date, time, and location.

Self check-in

On the day of the appointment be sure to arrive early and actually discourage your child from bringing some activity to so while they wait. Don’t let them slump down in a seat and wait for their name to be called while you do all the work. Instead YOU take a seat when you both walk in. Empower them to take their identification and other medical cards or numbers to the support staff to check themselves in.

They may have no concept of how much things cost, but they can fill out their own health questionnaire. This will ensure that they take a few moments to really think about and evaluate their own health. Of course you can answer any questions they may have with the form, or assist them in remembering any medical allergies to certain medications. The more you encourage them to read over and answer the questions on their own, the better off they’ll be and the more informed they’ll become about their own health conditions.


During the exam

Once their name is called, you can certainly attend the appointment with them and stay in the room. However, you do stay, encourage your child to talk with the healthcare professionals on their own. Strongly resist the urge to jump in and over-talk your child. Staying quiet, no matter how long or uncomfortable the silence, will give your child the confidence and chance to express him or herself. You child will also learn how to advocate for his or her own healthcare – a skill that we all know is invaluable in the age of revolving door doctor’s appointments and over-booked staff.

If possible (and if you are on good terms with your family physician or pediatrician) you can even contact the doctor and other staff ahead of time to let them know that you are working on teaching health care independence and would appreciate their cooperation. In this way you can ensure that the doctor will not turn to you to seek answers to the same questions if your child is slow to answer, and will work harder to talk to them directly. If you get the staff on board to help you ahead of time it can make the process of transferring focus from parent to child go much smoother.

Follow up care and appointment reminders

Encourage your child to stay in contact with their healthcare providers outside of their regular, or emergency care office visits. Have them ask for a business card and e-mail address where they can send any questions outside of office visits.

Before leaving the office, make sure that your child is signed up to receive appointment reminders either by e-mail, phone, or reminder postcard (in addition to yourself). This will encourage them to take initiative for future appointments.

Becoming a capable adult involves learning to depending on our parents less and take on more responsibility. “Adulting” also requires making decisions, solving problems, and forming our own identities. It’s common to worry that you may be allowing too much independence too soon. However, in order to grow and learn your child actually needs to try new scary things, make mistakes, explore and have new experiences. Not only does this help them learn all of life’s sometimes hard lessons, but it also helps shape their brain’s development.

You, your child, and the health professionals managing your child’s care will all need to be involved in facilitating these independently managed health decisions. Speak to your child’s health professional about any questions and concerns you may have.

Medical Doctor

About the author:

James Smith is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger who loves to write about prevailing trends. He is currently working for Centra Care Kids, a Florida-based pediatric urgent care provider.

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7 Tips for Finding the Right Insurance for Your Teen Driver



For a teenager, getting a drivers license is a symbol of freedom. For parents it’s a sign of tremendous stress. However, while you can’t be there every time they get behind the wheel, you can keep them protected with the right car insurance.

The team at www.acceptanceinsurance.com helps families across 12 states make insurance decisions every day. They say that many parents aren’t sure where to start when it comes to car insurance for teenagers. Many parents are also unaware that there are plans and discounts designed specifically with teens in mind.

If you’re in the process of getting your new driver covered, here are a few tips that can save you stress and money:

Prepare for Higher Premiums

There’s no getting around the fact that car insurance for teens is expensive. When insurance companies look at teen drivers, all they see is risk. And for good reason. The CDC reports that only 14% of the population is between the ages of 15-24, but that age group accounts for 28-30% of the costs associated with motor vehicle injuries.

Insurance companies offset this risk by charging higher monthly premiums. There are some tricks noted below that can help you reduce the cost, but be prepared to pay more than your own car insurance.

The average insurance cost for teenage drivers: $1,500+ per year

Get Your Teen Covered as Soon as They Get a License

Even if your teen doesn’t have their own car and doesn’t drive often, they still need to be covered by car insurance as soon as they get their license. For one, many insurance companies require that all licensed drivers who operate a vehicle be covered by insurance. The other reason to get them covered from day one is that if they do get into an accident driving your car and aren’t listed on the policy, your coverage could be limited.

Check to see if your state requires car-driver matching. Most states don’t, but in the states that do you may need to specify which car the teen primarily drives.

Separate Car, Separate Policy

Did your kid get their own car for their 16th birthday? Then you may want to put them on their own separate insurance plan. Covering your teen driver is going to be expensive either way. However, if they are on your policy and get in an accident, it can increase your rates well after they’ve grown up and gotten a policy of their own.

For that reason, it’s a good idea to consider getting them a separate car insurance policy right from the start if they have their own car to drive. Yes, you could save money up front by simply adding them and their car to your existing policy, but there’s a risk that it could eventually cost much more.

Safer Cars Can Save You Money on Teen Car Insurance

One factor that can impact insurance costs for young drivers is the type of vehicle they drive. If you haven’t bought your teenager a car yet, the experts at Acceptance Insurance suggest that you look for a car with very high safety ratings. You can find automobile safety ratings through a number of resources, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Better Grades Can Get You Better Car Insurance Rates

Some car insurance companies offer discounts to teenage drivers that keep up their grades in school. It’s commonly referred to as the “good student discount.” To get this discount, teen drivers typically need to have a B average or higher. Why a B average or higher? A 2011 study found that teens who had a 3.0 GPA or higher were 33% less likely to have an auto accident in their first year of driving.

Get the Highest Liability Coverage You Can Afford

Remember the stat from the CDC? As a parent I would never want to think about it, but the reality is there’s a good chance your teen will get into an accident. Big life events like driving to prom and celebrating after graduation can increase the chances that an accident will happen. Whether it’s a fender bender or a major crash, you don’t want to have to worry about coverage. That’s why it’s always advisable to get the highest amount of liability coverage you can comfortably afford.

Get Your Teen to Take a Driving Course

Driving courses teach teenagers valuable driving skills, and they can lower the cost of car insurance. Some insurers offer discounts to teens that have completed a qualifying driver safety course.

The good news is many of the steps you take to lower your teenager’s car insurance costs also help them drive more safely. At the end of the day, you need coverage, but you hope your teenage driver never has to actually use it.


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