An Unconventional Guide to Paying for College

Entering Contests and Raffles Online is a Gamble?

Posted by on Jun 12, 2018 in Gifts for College Students | 0 comments


We’ve all seen the email, gotten the piece of mail, received the phone call, you’ve been selected or you have won… followed by a long pitch about a product or service you have never heard of before. The idea of winning something is exciting and it is also a gamble! Registering to win something can be as simple as putting your name and email address on a website and then waiting. You might think your chances to win increase with the more contest you enter, this is just not true. Even if you win one contest the likelihood of winning anything is rare.

However there are many pitfalls to registering for a lot of contests. Your email and information can get sold and then you receive tons of spam that is unrelated to the contest you registered for. You can receive unwanted emails, calls, and mail for the rest of your life because once your information is out there; it is nearly impossible to remove it.

Now that’s not to say all contests or raffles are scams, some of them definitely have winners, but for every hundred or thousands of people who register only one person will win. Statistically speaking it’s unlikely that you might win. However some people will say, well you can’t win if you don’t play. This is true, but at what cost are you applying to win? Entering your personal information seems simple enough, but do you know where that information goes? Is it discarded, unlikely. Is it sold over and over, yes!

Knowing when you are receiving a legitimate email, letter or phone call for a prize is difficult only if you register for so many you cannot keep track. So if someone contacts you and says you’ve been selected, you might want to think twice before believing you have actually won anything.

Here are 12 signs from that the prize you just won is fake:

  1. Anytime the person or business contacting you requests payment to receive your prize.
  2. The email account that contacted you is a free email account, like Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail etc.
  3. They tell you, you won something you don’t recall registering for.
  4. The person or company sends you a giant check for your win notice.
  5. The individual or company wants to send money via Western Union.
  6. The person on the other line is very pushy and wants you to make a decision quickly or the prize will go to the next person.
  7. They ask for your bank account or credit card information.
  8. Winning the lottery without buying a ticket.
  9. They do not address you by your name.
  10. They falsely represent a government organization to get your information.
  11. The notice contains spelling and grammatical errors.
  12. Sweepstakes scam notifications arrive by bulk mail

So it turns out the Prince from Nigeria is not only a bad speller and pushy, he needs your credit card information to confirm your identity before wiring your money Western Union for the lottery ticket from a foreign country that you have never visited and do not remember buying a ticket for and is contacting you from a Hotmail account might be a fake?!

I know this seems a bit crazy, but their target market is young people or older people. If the scammers pressure one of these two generations they have a chance of getting them to give them information to win the prize.

If you register to win a Jeep from a local car dealership, your information will remain on their mailing list, they will usually not sell it and you can always ask them what they will do with your information before you register. If you are going online and registering for every raffle or contest you find that the prize is something you might like, chances of you being contacted by scammers are high.

If you are not sure about the prize you were contacted for, get their name and phone number and ask to call them back. Consult with someone about the situation to see if it seems legit. Never NEVER give any information to a random call from someone saying you have been selected or that you have just won a prize. You should always be able to call them back and claim your prize if it is in fact a legit raffle or contest.

If you want to win the next iPhone or whatever it is that the raffle or contest has as a prize, consider what you are giving them for free and how it impacts you and your information for years to come. Is the idea of winning a $1000 new iPhone that will be outdated in a year worth your personal information being sold worldwide for years to come?

Read More

Weekly Roundup: Writing Inspiration Edition

Posted by on Jun 28, 2013 in Gifts for College Students, How to Pay College Tuition | 3 comments

I had dinner with an old friend last night, and during our conversation he told me that he had published a book last year. I was floored. It was a fiction novel, and he wrote the entire book in about 9 months. We started talking about his writing and publishing experience, and I found out that he has published using a print on demand service, and is currently selling about 125 books a month on Amazon!

As we talked further, he told me that he has hired a narrator who is currently recording an audiobook version of his novel, and he has even been approached by a producer who is considering purchasing the rights to the book to make a movie. Needless to say, I had to find out more!

We talked for a few hours about the entire process, and before the night was over I was completely inspired to go out and get published myself.

I’ve had dreams of being published before, non-fiction rather than fiction, but I have never felt I had the motivation to actually do it. Rekindling an old friendship and knowing someone who is very similar to me has gone through the process successfully, was all the motivation I needed to start typing words into my new non-fiction book.

So here is to keeping up the progress, and hopefully I can report back within the next year that I have published my first book!

Here is what went on at Money for College Project as well as with my Yakezie friends. Enjoy!

Money for College Project


Weekly ROundup



7 Ways to Earn $1000 Per Month




Yakezie Friends


Edward Antrobus – Blue Collar Money



Funancials – How I Started Investing



On Target Coach – The 5 Club



Debt Roundup – Why I Save



KNS Financial – Traffic Light Camera Scam



Fat Free Finance – Stop Comparing Rent to Mortgage



Mom and Dad Money – Liebster Award



Stacking Benjamins – Sketch Your Goals



Tie The Money Knot – Bribe Your Kids Read More

7 Ways to Earn $1000 Extra Per Month

Posted by on Jun 26, 2013 in Gifts for College Students, How to Pay College Tuition | 10 comments

earn extra money

Wouldn’t it be great to earn $1000 per month, or more, extra each month?

What freedom would that open up in your monthly budget, in your savings goals, in your wealth creation scheme, in your retirement planning, in your vacation or new car fund?

Regardless of what you would use it for, all of us could use an extra $1000 per month. The trick, is figuring how to actually make that happen. I don’t have any magic formulas here, and certainly no tricks or scams. The ideas I have listed below are all ones that I have either personally tried, or know of folks who have done successfully. Many of these ideas may not be full-time business material, but that is not our goal. Our goal is to create a “muse” or an income generating vehicle that will produce at least $1,000 extra per month, while not take consuming all of our time.

Here are my ideas:

1. Rent Scooters and Bicycles to College Students

College students hate bringing their bulky bicycles down to campus and they hate bringing their expensive scooters from their homes. They also hate having to drive a full size car onto campus, and pay for the ridiculously high parking pass and the unavoidable parking fines. The solution is to buy a collection of used bicycles (both mountain and road bikes) and rent them out to college students. You would charge an upfront fee that would cover the lease for the entire 9 or 12 month school year. You could also rent out scooters, although these would take much more of a significant upfront investment. Your quickest path to profitability is to buy used bikes, and rent these out for $20 to $30 per month. At $20 per month, you would only need to rent out 50 bikes to reach your $1000 per month income goal.

2. Sell Informational Products

You can sell an informational product on any topic, to virtually anyone. If you think hard enough, I can virtually guarantee you that you have a skill that someone would pay you for. Even if this is a physical skill such as woodworking landscaping, plumbing, or fixing cars, these skills can easily be transitioned into informational products. The key to making at least $1,000 per month selling informational products is just that, the ability to sell them. You will need a vehicle for selling, such as a website or a blog, and you will need to understand internet marketing. The upside is huge with this route, and I believe one of the big futures in internet marketing.

3. Create a Membership Site

Similar to the information products above, a membership site allows you to bring in members who pay a monthly subscription fee to be in your special club online. They are willing to pay this fee for the value they receive. This could include exclusive material, private mentoring sessions, one on one examples and coaching, or access to the private membership community. You can base this membership site around any products or genre, but be sure it is one that you are confident you can add value to. Membership sites can be an excellent way to make money, but the members can also be fickle and turn on you if they do not receive the value they expected.

4. Buy and Re-Sell on Craigslist

Last year I was trying to buy a small pressure washer off of Craigslist. I found one I liked, went to the guys’s house, and bought the machine. WHile I was there, I noticed a Stihl chainsaw in his garage. I asked him if this was also for sale, and for how much. He told me yes, he would take $40. I knew the real value, so I offered him $40 and took both machines home. The next day I turned around and listed the Stihl chainsaw for $200 back on Craigslist. I had over 10 calls/emails, and sold it that next day for $190. I made a $150 profit within 48 hours. This can be done consistently through Craigslist as long as you are knowledgeable about the products you are buying. If I was able to replicate this resell 6 times, I would have almost reached my $1,000 mark.

5. Re-Sell Used Textbooks

I do this every semester, and generally make between $1500 to $2000. The trick is to buy textbooks from college students at the end of each semester. I usually hang around the book buy-back trailers around any college campus and find the students walking away from the trailers with books still in tow. Campus bookstores will not buy back a book that has not been requested for the next semester, but that book is still valuable. Often times college students are willing to get a fraction of the value for the book because they are so mad they cannot re-sell their book. Once you have purchased these books from the students, you can then turn around and list these books on Ebay, Craigslist, Amazon, or any number of other book retailers. It involves shipping the books, but it is a great way to make some extra cash.

6. Create a Directory Website for Local Businesses

This is an idea that I have been experimenting with, and am excited about for the future. If you can create a directory website for a local niche business, then you can easily sell marketing space on that website to these same local businesses. The key is to ensure that your website ranks well in search engines for the search terms your customers care about. For example, if you build a website around Nashville Wedding Photography, and your site ranks on the first page of all Google search results for that term, then you can easily sell ad space to all Nashville wedding photographers. Depending on your traffic, you can easily charge anywhere from $30 – $200 per month for a business listing. With a large amount of traffic, you could easily reach $1,000 per month.

7. Perform SEO Services for Real Estate Agents

This sounds like a very niche market, but I can guarantee you that if you spend any amount of time as a blogger, or content editor online then you undersand SEO much better than a real estate agent does. However, for them, their livelihood is increasingly dependent on SEO. Internet traffic now drives the largest percentage of home buyers to their prospective homes. A realtor’s website is their golden ticket. If it ranks well for their local area they can easily see their business double or triple from what it had been previously. This is where you come in. You can offer your SEO services to a real estate agent for a monthly fee. This could include submitting their sites to listing directories, writing blog posts, ensuring their site is optimized properly, tagging their pictures with meta tags, and installing SEO software into their website. Even though you may not be an SEO expert, you will be viewed as one by the vast majority of Real Estate Agents.

Read More

Weekly Roundup: Expensive Landscaping Edition

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Gifts for College Students | 10 comments

My wife and I really enjoy having a well kept yard. We enjoy a yard where the grass is mowed, the beds are neatly arranged, the flowers are pruned and orderly, and the beds are freshly mulched each spring. This is a priority for us, and we have built money into our budget to pay for these expenses every year. The biggest expense in maintaining a well kept yard though, is time!

I often do not feel like working in our yard in the evenings when I come home, and I find myself running through blog post ideas as I am mowing our grass. I am great at multi-tasking, but there has to be a balance. A person can only do so many things in one day.

In the end, it comes down to priorities. My wife and I have decided that we are ok to let our yard slip a bit to focus on more income generating tasks (like blogging, and our side businesses). We also enjoy these things, and the freedom/money these extra activities affords us more than compensates for never winning another “yard of the month” sign again…

Here is what went on at Money for College Project as well as with my Yakezie friends. Enjoy!

Money for College Project


My First Father’s Day



How to Negotiate Financial Aid




Yakezie Friends


Edward Antrobus – Blue Collar Money



Funancials – How I Started Investing



On Target Coach – Small Business Week



Debt Roundup – Weekly PF Digest



KNS Financial – Have a Budget Account



Fat Free Finance – Stop Comparing Rent to Mortgage



Mom and Dad Money – Bad for Budget Good for Soul



Stacking Benjamins – Big Drugstore Discounts



Tie The Money Knot – Why Buy Life Insurance Read More

Weekly Roundup: Crazy Weather Edition

Posted by on Jun 14, 2013 in Gifts for College Students | 12 comments

The past few weeks have made for some miserable weather here in the southeast. We have had storm after storm, and one tornado warning after another. The northeast has seen high winds, flooding, and power outages, the west coast has seen wild fires, strong storms, and flooding, and how can we forget about the deadly tornadoes cycling through Oklahoma!

Weather can be unpredictable, which is why it is a good idea to be prepared. You should have an emergency evacuation plan, a survival kit/first-aid kit, a remote location to seek shelter in, and emergency food and communication supplies. Your finances can also be unpredictable, which is why you should listen to the awesome financial advice from my friends below!

Here is what went on at Money for College Project as well as with my Yakezie friends. Enjoy!

Money for College Project


Dave Ramsey’s Custom College Guide



Non-Profit to Corporate



How to Build a Real Estate Empire



Yakezie Friends


Edward Antrobus – How Much Money for Retirement?



Funancials – How to Double Your Money



On Target Coach – Why You Need an Emergency Fund



Debt Roundup – The Credit History Check



KNS Financial – How to Negotiate with Collection Agencies



Fat Free Finance – Stop Comparing Rent to Mortgage



Mom and Dad Money – Coffee Habit = Debt Habit?



Stacking Benjamins – How to Become a Great Saver



Tie The Money Knot – Father’s Day Financial Lessons Read More

Top 23 Gifts for College Students

Posted by on Feb 27, 2012 in Gifts for College Students | 6 comments

College students are generally some of the most difficult people to shop for. You are not around them all the time, so you don’t know what they could really use on a daily basis. In fact, you may not know what they need unless they ask for it. Here is a list that will help you be proactive. Whether it is a birthday, Christmas, graduation, or other special event. any gift on this list is sure to make you a huge hit with your college student!


No. 1 – Amazon Kindle Fire – $199

The Amazon Kindle Fire has been tagged as the iPad killer. It does allow you to browse the internet with Amazon’s Silk browser, you can download and watch movies, read books, download apps, and even connect to the Amazon Cloud storage. I’d buy one!


No .2 – Timex Ironman Road Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch – $71.60

If your college student is a runner, an athlete, or just wants to avoid the Freshman fifteen, then this heart rate monitor will do the trick. You can even view calories burned!


No 3 – Osprey Daylite Pack – $41.89

Having a quality pack to carry around campus is one of the best ways to promote back health, and foot health. For students who do a lot of walking, they are prone to back and foot strain because of the weight they carry. The Osprey Daylite pack prevents both of those with an ergonomic light design. And, it is super stylish!


No 4. – Camelback Stainless Steel Bottle – $10.95

Staying hydrated, and always having water, coffee, tea, or your other beverage of choice on hand, can be a life saver. You gift can promote health, and is virtually indestructible!


No 5. – NorthFace TriClimate Jacket – $278.00

In most places around the country, winter time on a college campus can be dreary. The skies are gray, exams are right around the corner, and it is just downright depressing at some times. To top it all off, it is cold, windy, rainy, and possibly snowy. That is where the North Face TriClimate jacket comes in. It is a 3 piece jacket that can be a fleece, a rain jacket shell, or a combined fleece/shell for the ultimate protection. Guaranteed to keep your college student safe from the elements on their college campus.


No. 6 – Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones – $299.95

Studying can be tough. A rowdy library, or busy college campus can distract even the most diligent of students. With the Bose noise cancelling headphones, your student can shut out their surroundings and focus on their studies. This fact alone could justify the investment in their future!


No. 7 – iRobot Roomba 532 – $296.99


This gift will save you the peace of mind in knowing that your student’s apartment is clean. What is easier than turning on the Roomba and letting it vacuum? Another gift that has dual benefits!

No. 8 – Subscription to Netflix – $7.99 per Month




This might not sound like the best idea for a college student, but it is one that they will thank you for. There is nothing more thrilling than watching a great movie after a hard exam, or catching the latest thriller with your friends. Your student will thank you.


No. 9 – Western Digital My Passport Portable Hard Drive – $149.99

This handy device has replaced the thumb drive. It allows a student to store up to 1TB of data (that is a lot), and they can plug and play anywhere they go on campus.


No. 10 – Southern Tide Apparel – Varied



Some of the trendiest clothing on college campuses, this is sure to impress.


No. 10 – TOMS Shoes – $39.90

Some of the trendiest shoes on a college campus. Plus every pair you purchase, means that a little kid will get a pair of shoes. A gift and a donation…the best of both worlds!


No. 12 – Apple iPhone 4s – $669

Hopefully this does not surprise anyone that this made the list. It’s only the latest version of the most popular phone in history! Might be cheaper to go through your cell phone provider, but it’s a sweet phone regardless!


No. 13 – Keurig Coffee Machine Signature Brewer – $169

Coffee is an essential part of every college student’s morning, afternoon, evening, and night. The Keurig makes it simple to brew, and low maintenance. Both qualities a college student can appreciate. Oh, and it makes great coffee too!


No. 14 – Canon EOS Rebel T3 – $488

It shoots amazing pictures, it shoots 1080p video, and it is simple to use, yet packed with features. If your college student is a budding photographer or wants quality pics, then this is the camera to buy them.


No. 15 – Apple MacBook Pro – $1099

The ultimate laptop for your college student. Whether they are a fine arts major, or a math major, their world will be revolutionized with this machine. Make them the coolest kid on the block this year!


No. 16 – Xbox 360 – $199

Give the gamer in your life, the ultimate gaming machine. Time management skills sold separately.


No. 17 – Vupoint Magic Wand Portable Scanner – $94

College students can scan important documents on the fly, and even connect to their laptops via bluetooth wireless.


No. 18 – Magellan Roadmate GPS – $92

Your college student will never get lost, and they can even find there way home once or twice a semester. It’s another win- win for all involved.


No. 19 – Livescribe Smartpen – $99

This ingenious gadget is an actual pen, but it is also a voice recorder. So you can take notes and record a lecture at the same time, with the same device!


No. 20 – Sony Dash Personal Internet Viewer – $99

Get information and entertainment in your bedroom, kitchen, or office, without being tethered to your PC. It’s also an alarm clock, which is an essential for every college student. Once missed exam can cause a lot of grief.


No. 21 – Moleskine Leather Notebook – $11

The classic leather notebook, for a classy college student. Perfect match with their Livescribe Smartpen!


No. 22 – Contigo AUTOSEAL Stainless Steel Travel Mug – $22

Most college students drink coffee. If they don’t drink coffee they drink tea, or some other hot beverage. This travel mug will let them carry around their hot liquids and it is 100% guaranteed spill proof. Meaning they can throw it in their cars or in their backpacks and not have to worry about it leaking on their Final papers.

No. 23 – iBeats Headphones by Dr. Dre – $99

If you want to be cool on a college campus, you need headphones. Music is an integral part of college life, and listening to music between classes or while studying is the best expression of that. iBeats headphones by Dr. Dre take in-ear headphones to a new level. Guarantees that your college student will thank you for these!


Read More