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Four Tips to Find Easy Scholarships to Apply For

Four Tips to Find Easy Scholarships to Apply For

Some scholarships will be easier to apply for than others. Keep in mind that if they are really easy to apply for, e.g. if they just require a couple of sentences by way of application (instead of requesting an essay, personal statement, proof of grades, a CV, examples of extra-curricular activities of sports or volunteering) then there will probably be more competition for that scholarship. Everyone wants an easy option and the scholarship may not amount to a high financial reward. That said, you must to be in it to win it and even small scholarships here and there can help.

There are many ways to pay for college. This article focuses on making the scholarship search as easy as possible for you, whilst trying to keep it realistic and relevant to your needs.

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1. Be prepared.

Be prepared to thoroughly research relevant scholarships yourself and send in the applications. Do not pay someone to do this research for you. Both searching for and completing the applications is time consuming, and it may feel like you are having to repeat a lot of information in slightly different ways, but it’s worth it when successful. If you are put off by applying, other people will be, too. If you actually get your applications in, then you are already one step ahead of most of them. The more you apply for the better. If you have done your research before you start, you’ll have already decided which scholarships are worth your while applying for. You will have checked that you meet all their requirements and therefore stand a better chance of success.

2. Know the amount you want.

To some extent, it depends on how much scholarship money would be beneficial to you. Some weird scholarships are for a lower amount of money, and may not require you to submit such a lengthy essay response, but may offer a $500, $1,000 or $2,000 dollar scholarship to the successful candidate. These may be easy to apply for and easy to find online with a quick Internet search. You can specifically search for “no-essay scholarships.”

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3. Think outside of the box.

Do you belong to a club or church, or  do you work for a business that funds private scholarships? Are there big businesses near where you live that may offer a scholarship (and perhaps future employment once you have graduated)? It may depend on what sort of study you are interested in, i.e. if it is something like chemistry or engineering then look at large organizations/industries connected to them near where you are located. If they do have scholarships, enquire whether you’re eligible to apply.

There are big companies that offer scholarships. For example: Dr Pepper offers $100,000 to students ages 18-24 years and gives four awards. The entry for this is a 350-word response. Then students need to get friends to vote for them, submit a video, and attend a college football conference championship game. There’s a $20,000 Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Scholarship that gives 20 awards per year; this requires applicants to demonstrate the good skills of being motivated and showing good morals, plus good sportsmanship with a desire to lead. There are certain scholarships affiliated with certain religions such as the Christian College Scholarship worth $2,500.

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There will be universities that are local to you, universities that teach specific courses that are highly relevant to your chosen area of study, and universities that have outstanding reputations that you’d like to attend. In all of these cases, go directly to the university’s main website and type “scholarships” into the search-box. If they’re good, reputable universities, with a quick search you’ll find all the scholarship opportunities that they have to offer. Some university websites will break this down specifically into subject/department areas for scholarships. If the government of the country you live in funds any research (for example in the UK they have research councils), they’re likely to pay this funding directly to universities, and then they distribute that money as scholarships.

4. Pick the right scholarships.

Just like when choosing college, ensure that the scholarship you are applying for is for something that you are really passionate about and enjoy. If you enjoy what you are applying to do, the application for it will seem easy and not hard work at all. For example, if creative writing is your passion and you want to study that at university, having to complete a creative writing task for your scholarship application should actually be a pleasure. We often excel at what we enjoy, so your application may stand out from the rest. You may find the scholarship application task easy, whereas another person may struggle with it.

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Many “Easy Scholarships” mean that you don’t have to do a lengthy application form, essay, or show grades, but many students will apply for these. Generally the amount you could get isn’t as great as some other more traditional scholarships unless it’s a promotional one, such as the Dr. Pepper one mentioned in point four above. You can look for many easy scholarships online from scholarship websites. Remember, the more you find and apply for the better.

College life is not easy, but having scholarships will definitely help you financially and that will make your life much easier.

Featured photo credit: StartupStockPhotos via pixabay.com

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Liem Nguyen

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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