Wow it’s already November and the Holiday Season is right around the corner! It should be a joyful time but it can also be stressful with shopping, feasting and more making finances pretty challenging.
We’re here to help you bring in more money and make the most of the money you have. Check out our highlights for tips and tricks for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. Bet you haven’t thought of all of them… even if you’re a pro! And be sure to carve out special time to spend with loved ones… There’s certainly plenty of sports going on to keep you entertained. The World Series gave us a stunner to close out October. The Nats were the underdog but they came through to win their first and only World Series in 95 years! Greinke couldn’t quite pull it off for the Astros and amazingly, neither team ever won at home — in 7 games! That is definitely a first.
So now it’s football and holidays. As Thanksgiving draws near pause and take stock of all you have to be thankful for. Even if times are tough it will lift your spirits.
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Looking for ways to get enough cash to get your new business off the ground? Or need to find more funds to keep you business growing? Small Business Financing Opportunities is a “must read” for finding traditional and new resources to make your business take off. It includes tips for more successful crowdfunding (some are amazingly easy) and lots more.
Funding Startups: This can be a tough one since lenders like to see a track record of success before they invest. Fund a Startup Business identifies lots of resources you probably haven’t thought of, like your IRA (really!) — without paying a penalty even if you’re younger than 59 and a half — and you won’t even get taxed on the withdrawal. Find out how in Fund A Startup Business.
You’ll also learn the pros and cons of franchising, and see why the SBA should be high on your list when looking for funding — (even if you feel a bit intimidated). The SBA doesn’t make direct loans but they do guarantee them — making you a much more attractive prospect for investors. They also offer some great business training — and it’s free! Last but not least, you’ll also find Entrepreneur Magazine’s top ten recommendations for funding a new business — you’re bound to find at least one new idea in Fund a Startup Business.
And don’t forget Black Business Resources for the latest on specialized business assistance for minorities and women - they have a lot to offer!
A couple months ago we talked about families in the Chicago area taking advantage of loopholes in the law. They falsely represented their college age kids as being part of another family with a much lower income. That would then qualify the student for larger financial aid awards. That loophole has been closed so you don’t need to compete with that anymore! On a happier and important note, did you know that some colleges will actually pay you to take a year off before you start your first year of college? You can spend that year traveling or working on some cool project that you have a passion for. And the program is well funded by generous donors. Check it out in Grants for College. There are also travel grants specifically for students — discover more about them in Travel Grants.
Keep Up With The Latest On Pell Grants! That’s always important but there’s special news this month: there are some minor changes to the FAFSA for 2020-2021 but the bigger news is that if you have a parent or guardian wo lost their life while on duty as a public safety officerand you qualify for Pell Grants you have some extra awards coming: check it out in the latest update to Pell Grants. And don't forget our super quick quiz to see if you could be eligible for Pell Grants.
One area where grants could take a hit is those colleges who are judged to not protect free speech on campus. On a happier note, funding has gone up significantly for student loans, and for childcare services at universities and colleges. Find out more in Federal Grants.
Free Land: Would you believe that there are still land grants out there in the United States? And they’re not just in remote areas of Alaska. There are several states who have programs designed to attract more people to come and live and work there. The grants typically include property in attractive areas where you can build your own home. Check out the latest in Land Grants.
Still dreaming of owning your own home? This could be the time for you! Mortgage rates are going down and better yet, the Trump Administration is greatly increasing the number of loans the FHA will guarantee, with reduced financial requirements for would be buyers. That’s great news if you are looking for or would consider a certain type of residence. The latest updates to Grants to Purchase a Home and Grants for First Time Home Buyers provide more information to help you realize your dream.
Do you live in a foreign country? If so are you aware that you can still get Social Security benefits? SSA has agreements with many countries that are part of a special program that also helps with tax issues and withholding for “nonresident aliens.” These programs also apply to people who work partly in the U.S. and partly in another country. Take a look SSA to learn a lot more — including how foreign pensions might affect you and your taxes.
If you or your organization work to help those who suffer from mental illness and/or substance abuse and addiction? If so you could benefit from Block Grants designed to help in this area at the community level. You can even apply for these grants online. Get the details in our recent update Block Grants.
Do you have health insurance? This is Open Enrollment and you need to act soon if you need to apply for the first time or make changes to your exisiting plan. There are a number of decisions to be made and there’s a deadline coming right up, so go now to get more details in our review of the federal healthcare website.
Women! If you are involved in supporting women - or want to be - you need to check out the a special, international fund just for women. Find out how in the October update to Grants for Women.
Want to know how you can officially comment on federal documents, proposed rules, and more? It’s amazing — discover more in A Quick Guide to Federal Register.
And finally: our tips for Black Friday/Cyber Monday: (courtesy of Clark Howard):
- - Take advantage of early deals: for example Costco has already started promoting some Black Friday deals available now;
- - Keep an eye on sites on Facebook where they share shopping deals;
- - While you’re shopping for this years holidays, also take advantage of bargains for items that will come in handy for upcoming events in 2020;
- - Don’t wear red at Target or lots of people may assume you work there and ask for help;
- - Shop online and avoid crowds and craziness…
- - If you are shopping in-store use bags instead of a cart so you can maneuver more easily;
- - Stay away from Walmart to avoid BIG crowds!;
- - Start early and shop late: some retailers have late specials to keep people in the store…
- - Don’t let yourself get carried away: set a budget and use cash or discounted gift cards (see below);
- - Use discounted gift cards available from raise.com;
- - Shop with a friend, but leave the kids at home;
- - Shop the Wednesday, you might nab that popular toy that’s going fast…;
- - Plan your trip, prioritizing first by store and then by the importance of the items you’re looking for.
Happy Holidays and remember: be thankful!