Free Money Newsletter September 2015

September begins with an entertaining surprise: The new movie War Room from Alex Kendrick ranked #4 in box office its opening weekend at the end of August.

Impressive, and refreshing that a movie that is essentially about an African-American family and the power of prayer in our lives could come close to an $11 million weekend. And that figure’s not far from Straight Outta Compton’s third weekend tally of $11.5 million.

This site is about providing information that helps you do what's necessary to get more money and resources in your life. Sometimes programs come from the government but many times private organizations and non-profits also create new opportunities. And in some cases we suggest that you check out local churches for services like assistance with home repair.

We also believe in the power of prayer, which you can enjoy in or out of church! And you may be inspired by War Room. We hope you’ll also be inspired by September’s free money opportunities:

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September Free Money Highlights

New Article: Free Money 2015

While many tips and resources can be found in Free Money and Free Government Money, this article highlights newer opportunities. Some are based on newer technology opening up innovative sources of income and support. One of those is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding has been in use for a while in the business world and for creative projects in the arts. Now it’s also being used - often with great success - to allow people to help other people in need of some sort. Examples include help for home repair, medical bills, paying off debts, even contributing to college tuition. How cool is that? There are lots of crowdfunding sites though and it’s important to know their specialties and which ones you can trust. We review four of the top sites, each with different areas of focus so you can be ahead of the game.

Free Money 2015 also covers tips for recovering past wages you may not even know you have earned. There’s an easy way to find out if some of that money has your name on it! And you can find some tips regarding credit card programs, shopping and education benefits.

Billions Unclaimed in Pell Grants: 
You read that right — a study conducted in January of this year by NerdWallet found that high school grads missed out on $2.9 billion in Pell Grant money simply because they did not fill out the FAFSA. The study found that 47% of graduating seniors did not fill out the form. Of those, many were Pell Grant eligible and could have received a total of almost $3 billion in aid. In California alone over 100,000 students missed out on close to $400,000 in Pell Grants. And Pell Grants are real “free money” — money that never has to be paid back! That $2.9 billion may be good for the Education Department’s budget but it’s not great for the students! And that department and President Obama are making it a priority to get the word out: fill out that FAFSA! You can find out really fast if you might be eligible for a Pell Grant by taking our “Quick Six” Pell Grant quiz (seriously, it takes maybe two minutes max).

$1 Billion in Unclaimed Tax Refunds Held by IRS What? It’s true — April of this year marked the deadline for people to file their 2011 tax returns. And according to the IRS, a lot of people who did not file returns for that year missed out on a total of $1 billion they could have received due to the Earned Income Credit. This credit is supposed to encourage people to earn money - at least enough to earn the credit. But clearly not enough people know about it. Lesson to learn: even if you earned too little to owe taxes you could benefit by filing a tax return. The EZ forms are truly easy and you can probably even file online. Worth checking out since you have three years to file those returns. And the Earned Income Credit can be as much as $5000 or more! Read more in Free Unclaimed Money.

How About a Goat Farm? If farming in general - or goat farming in specific - is in your dreams, this could be a great opportunity. The owners of Humble Heart Farms in Alabama are running a contest to basically give away their goat farm and creamery, goat herd and all. If you want to enter you do need to pay a $150 entry fee. Those fees will go toward covering what remains on the farm’s mortgage and providing $20,000 for the new owner’s start-up costs. You must also write an essay - just 200 words or less - telling why you’re the right person to take over this farm (which includes 85 goats on 20 acres plus a great goat-cheese operation!). The owners look forward to changing someone’s life, and they will train newbies. Plus one of the current cheesemakers will remain! Sounds like a dream come true for the right applicant! Just search “humble heart farms contest” and you’ll find the contest rules and entry application. But hurry, contest closes October 1, 2015. If goats aren’t your thing but you own or would like to own a farm, check out Grants for Farms.

Money for School The 2015-2016 academic year is upon us and we have a couple more tidbits to help you find money to pay for it:

  1. The first is Pell Grants, which we have highlighted above and encourage everyone to apply for. Remember that you do not have to compete for these grants, you qualify on the basis of your income and financial need. Everyone should fill out a FAFSA! And remember it’s free — you don’t need to pay anyone to do this. And the maximum Pell Grant award has increased again this year — you can now receive up to $5775.
  2. The second is a pretty cool new program called “BridgeQuest.” You can find more about it in Free Money 2015. Basically this is a start-up which identifies very talented, low-income students who aren’t applying to the top schools in the U.S. Those schools want these students, who they often don’t find because their visits are limited to heavily populated urban areas. BridgeQuest helps make the connection and students can end up with full scholarships at outstanding colleges and universities. You can fill out their application online.

Enjoy your Labor Day holiday weekend - and take advantage of the opportunities that are out there for you. Fill out a form, say a prayer, maybe catch a good movie…

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