Free Money News September 2016

Farewell to August: Summer waning, cooler temperatures, vacations just a memory — and the Olympics are over. Did you catch Jimmy Fallon’s spoof of Ryan Lochte at the MTV Video Music Awards? Pretty funny. There’s a great clip of him blazing onstage as Ryan and Michael Phelps loving the whole thing.

Lochte is the athlete who lied about an alleged attack and robbery in Brazil. The result? Shame — but also more fame.

That fame hasn’t hurt: He was just announced as part of the 2016 cast on Dancing With the Stars (premiering soon). The cast also includes gold medalist Laurie Hernandez, so the Olympics are well represented and we get to see more of our favorites. Football - also starting a new season - is represented too, by former Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson.

New seasons for DWTS, for Football and of course — back to school! Great if you have kids, maybe scary if you’re trying to pay for college. Most of our highlights this month are devoted to tips to help you do that - and avoid graduating with a mountain of debt. If you are trying to recover from the storms and flooding in Louisiana our hearts are with you — and there are some tips here for you too…

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September Free Money Highlights

Money for School

Going to college is exciting — and the costs can be daunting. Our newest article Grants for College is all about finding ways to help pay those bills. And they can help you graduate without an extraordinary financial burden piled up in debts. In fact most of the article is devoted to options that do NOT involve loans. We show you where to find real “free money” in the form of grants and scholarships. In some cases it really is as easy as just filling out the application — you don’t even have to compete, just get your form in early! In other cases you do have to put some effort into it but come on — we’re talking college here. Some reasonable effort now will save you so much later. We also do a quick recap of your other options. Don’t delay — if you’re late, you lose. Check out Grants for College now.

Speaking of scholarships, have you checked out the websites fastweb.com and finaid.com? They are pretty well known and maintain extensive databases of scholarships. They can be overwhelming but also extremely useful — if you know what you are getting into. We do a review of these sites and how best to use them — along with what to watch out for. The news this month is that they have added a special section just for women so if that’s you, take a look!

While we’re on the topic of women — if you’re a single Mom it’s not just Pell Grants that you can go after. An August update for single moms includes news about some scholarships designed just for you. The goal of the sponsors is to empower women and especially to support those whose education has been interrupted or who have faced significant obstacles to get ahead. They’ve awarded more than $500,000 to date — find out more in Grants for Single Moms.

FAFSA News The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is of course the very first thing you must take care of if you are looking for money for school (whether it’s from the government or not). And some significant changes have been made to the application. Our August News Update in our article about FAFSA reports them and what they mean to you. There are also highlighted updates from 2015 about changes in the timing of your application as well as changes that make it easier to provide your family’s tax information. Check them all out in the FAFSA review.

If you’re not a student but a parent helping your kids pay for school, see our latest update to Grants for Kids. And be sure not to leave money on the table when it comes to Pell Grants. It’s estimated that in 2015 others lost out on almost $3 billion simply because they did not apply for these amazing grants. Don’t make the same mistake…it’s free and pretty easy to apply. And you can find out fast if you may be eligible with this quick quiz for Pell Grant eligibility.

Other Free Money News

The storms and flooding in Louisiana have hit residents and business owners terribly hard. It’s hard to believe the devastation left by these events. Of course folks like the Red Cross and FEMA are there to help. But other agencies are assisting as well. One of them is the Small Business Administration. While their focus is generally on business in this case they are extending significant loans to large and small businesses, non-profits, homeowners and renters. Learn more in our recent update on our review of the SBA website. They’re doing a great job in many respects. If you’d like to donate to the Red Cross a really easy way to do so is to text LAFLOODS to the phone number 90999 and you will automatically donate $10. (The charge will be added to your phone bill, and your carrier will forward all donations to the Red Cross).

A Free Money Experiment Have you heard about this? A tech organization is conducting an experiment by giving some people in Oakland, CA $1800 - $2000 per month — free! — for a year. Pretty wild! Who knows what will come of it, but it will be interesting to watch. Check out our August update on this topic in Free Money. (And don’t forget we publish a new Free Money every year — so also see Free Money 2015 and Free Money 2016 - the info is typically good for more than a year.

Teachers: Back to School can hit teachers as well as parents in the pocketbook. We all know that teachers often spend their own money on classroom supplies (and we love them for it). But teachers should know that they can often deduct such expenditures on their income taxes. See more in our update to Grants for Teachers.

Make the most of September and remember, Dancing with the Stars' Season 23 premiere (with Ryan Lochte and Laurie Hernandez) is scheduled for Monday, September 12, 2016 on ABC …

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