Black Friday has come and gone with Cyber Monday close behind. Hopefully the madness helps the economy.
Do you get caught up in that madness, turning shopping into a team sport, searching for deals on alleged “must-haves” you (or your kids) really don’t need, and racking up more debt than you intended to this year? Is that what the “holiday spirit” is really all about?
If you are already struggling with finances – especially if you’re a single mom - maybe this is a good time to step back and take a deep breath.
Take stock of your situation and what you really want to be doing in the coming year. Get a jump on New Year’s resolutions. Use the time you save with less shopping to focus on the real reason for the season.
Use our December Free Money Highlights to get some good ideas and set realistic expectations. This month we’re giving special attention to single moms and how and where they can find help (without paying for it!).
We also offer suggestions for finding resources for school (without incurring more debt), for starting a business, and maybe even finding a way to purchase a home during this holiday season!
Discover your program today!
Help For Single Moms
We don’t mean to slight single dads, but did you know that most single parent homes (like 85% or so) are headed by women? Unfortunately a little under half of those households are also at or below the poverty level for their area. In our Community Talk section and on our Facebook page we get lots of comments and questions about finding help as a single mom. In Grants for Single Moms we take a look at this issue and detail some of the quickest and most effective ways to find help.
We have found that many “offers” for single moms focus on loans for school — possibly a good thing, but often not if they end up increasing your debt without increasing the likelihood of finding a job that can support a family. Our advice focuses first on ways to quickly find free local services and support. Then we review programs aimed at getting trained for and finding jobs. One promising government program even helps you to qualify for work in well-paying jobs that have historically been done only by men. See the Help for Single Moms section for more details.
Find Out If You Qualify For a Pell Grant
While we encourage people to avoid incurring a lot of student debt, the Pell Grant is definitely an opportunity worth pursuing. This is a government grant for college which, unlike many forms of financial aid, does not ever have to be paid back. It is aimed at lower income students and you do not have to compete for this type of grant: if you qualify, you get a financial award based on an assessment of your need. The important thing is to apply and to do so early to maximize your award. Take our quick Pell Grant Eligibility Quiz to see if you may qualify!
Is Your Own Business In Your Future?
Many people dream of starting a business and working for themselves. Some even turn that dream into a reality! A good idea and the willingness to work hard are required to make such a dream come true. Equally important is finding the funding necessary to get your business off the ground. Fund A Startup Business helps you do just that. In addition to covering the basics about raising money for a business we also cover:
- special opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs;
- franchising options;
- SBA 7(a) loan availability;
- the Small Business Jobs Act, and more.
Purchase A Home For The Holidays?
If you have dreamed of purchasing your own home, the holiday season may actually be a good time to do it. Of course it first has to be a possibility to consider doing at all. In Grants To Purchase A Home we cover the facts about finding help to buy a home – what is realistic, whom to trust (and not trust), and where and how you might find help. If this is a possibility for you, now could be a surprisingly good time of the year to pursue your dream. Most homeowners tend to sell during the spring and summer months, so those selling their homes now may be under some pressure to sell. That could mean a better purchase price for you as a buyer. Since most people are caught up in holiday activities you could also face less competition from other buyers. There will probably be fewer homes available for sale for you to consider. But if ownership is your main goal and you are willing to be flexible, this could be your best holiday gift of all. Read our article about Home Grants to get some good advice.