Vital Financial Updates Credit – Is it good or bad?

County board mulls debt relief

An early Friday morning meeting of the Limestone County Schools Board of Education turned into an early start on the discussion of debt relief for school projects.

Board members had scheduled the emergency meeting to accept bids on an Internet service provider and accept a resolution to hire a construction company to renovate the Clements High School field house, but also ended up contemplating how to move forward with such construction projects in the future.

Debt Relief: Government Sanctions Rs 3.38 cr

The State Government has sanctioned around Rs four crore as debt relief to farmers, except those in the districts of Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur.

The amount was sanctioned, the order for which was issued on Friday, was in tune with the proposal submitted by the State Farmers’ Debt Relief Commission which had furnished 12 proposals for releasing the amount recommended as debt relief on individual applications of farmers in the 11 districts.

The total debt relief recommended came to Rs 3,38,87,191 and the government accorded sanction to the director of Agriculture to disburse the same amount. ”The fund is being sanctioned from the non- Plan head. The debt relief fund vary as per the recommendations of the Debt Relief Commission,” said director of Agriculture R Ajith Kumar.

The amount will be deposited in the Special TSB account of the registrar of Cooperative Societies. The registrar will then disburse the amount to the concerned cooperative banks/ societies subject to certain conditions.

“The proposal is being prepared after direct verification of the details furnished by the farmers. In the last budget there was an allocation of Rs 20 crore for providing debt relief to farmers and a portion of the amount is still pending,” said Debt Relief Commission chairman K R Udayabhanu.

Service Charge Dispute leading to Bad Credit

Service Charge Dispute leading to Bad Credit

Money-Saving money

WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY IT IS MONEY SAVING MONDAY IN OUR LAST HOUR AISHA SHOWS US WHERE SHE GETS HER COUPON. IN THIS HOUR WERE TALKING STRATEGY. I THINK THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU CAN REVIEW, BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE PEOPLE GET OVERWHELMED. THIS IS WHERE PEOPLE GET OVERWHELMED AND ONE OF THE THINGS I LIKE TO DO IS, I LAY OUT DIFFERENT STRATEGIES IN THE WORKSHOP FOR YOUR LIFESTYLE, BECAUSE THIS IS NOT — COUPONING AND SAYING MONEY HAS TO BE CONDUCIVE TO YOUR LIFESTYLE AND ANYBODY CAN DO IT. YOU DONT HAVE TO DO EXTREME AS EXTREME COUPONING. THAT IS REALITY BUT NOT REALITY. YOU CAN DO IT IN SEGMENTS. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE GOING TO BE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES TRY DIFFERENT AND NEW THINGS IN ORDER TO MAG YOUR — MANAGE YOUR COUPONS. I TEACH THOSE DIFFERENT WAYS IN THE WORKSHOP. IT COULD BE A FOLDER LIKE THIS A BIGGER FOLDER OR THIS GIANT BOX. OR CAN BE SOMETHING AS SMALL AS, YOU KNOW THIS ONE RIGHT HERE OR IT COULD BE A LITTLE SMALL ACCORDION, SOMETHING YOU CAN STICK IN YOUR PURSE. THERE ARE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU TO SAVE AND IT DOESNT HAVE TO BE GUY GANTIC JIESH GIGANTIC. DO YOU RECOMMEND ONE WAY TO SECTION EVERYTHING, THOUGH? AND REALLY THAT DEPENDS ON WHAT METHOD YOU DECIDE TO USE. OKAY, SO FOR INSTANCE, THIS ONE RIGHT HERE, YOU HAVE TO HAVE A LOT OF TIME ON YOUR HANDS BECAUSE YOUR COUPONS HAVE TO BE CUT WEEKLEY WITH THE ONE OVER HERE WHERE YOU JUST HAVE THE FOLDERS YOURE BASICALLY FILING AND THEN YOURE GOING TO CUT AS YOU NEEDED, OKAY. I DO A HYBRID METHOD AND THIS IS MY LITTLE BOX DOWN HERE THAT SOMETHING THAT I DO DOWN HERE WHICH I FILE SOME OF MY INSERTS AND THEN SOME OF THEM I CUT SO THAT I CAN BE PREPARED OR READY FOR THE WEEKLY GROCERY TRIPS THAT I TAKE DURING THE WEEK THAT I CAN GO AHEAD AND BE READY AND HAVE COUPONS IN MY LITTLE CONTAINER. SO AISHA SAYS ALL OF RUSS MAKING ONE BIG MISTAKE WHEN THE WEEKLY COUPONS COME AND YOU CLIP THEM, WERE GOING TO TELL YOU

County educators weigh in on AP bill

“It allows them to take a university level class while still in high school and to be tested for college credit. If they pass the test, it allows them to save on college tuition. It allows them to jump start their college requirements which reduces student debt to repay college loans, which is at an all time high. AP classes are one of the smartest things we have done in education,” Linihan said. “A student who passes the AP test in Oklahoma should demonstrate the same knowledge over the same standards that a student in another state demonstrates, so colleges can gauge their aptitude in granting them the credit.”

Proponents of the bill have lumped AP History curriculum in with the highly-criticized Common Core curriculum.

“To try and tie AP course into the Common Core curriculum argument is ridiculous. It is another attempt by the legislature to write school curriculum without having the experience or knowledge to do so,” Linihan said.

He said if this bill passes it would mean “thousands of students will not be able to earn college credit via AP courses, which could lead to costing them and their families thousands of dollars in tuition that would have otherwise been negated by passing an AP exam.

“Additionally, Rep. Dan Fisher, when asked what the financial impact of the bill would be should it pass, stated it would have no impact. However, the House budget office did a study and concluded that to fulfill the entirety of the bill, should it become a law, would cost nearly $4 million, at a time when the state has a $611 million budget shortfall,” Linihan said.

Adair AP History teacher Drew Cummings called the bill poorly devised and written.

“The current AP US History framework allows for much greater flexibility on the part of the APUSH (AP US History) teacher in the classroom. Instead of having an exhaustive list of details for teachers to teach and students to memorize and regurgitate, the new framework allows teachers to choose important events through US History that satisfy the concept outline and gives them more time to focus on the critical thinking aspect of the class,” Cummings said.

Cummings said HB1380 and SB650 provide a “laundry list” of material “which could never be covered adequately in a single school year to pass an AP exam.”

The new framework, he said, stresses important themes in American history, allowing the teacher to choose what best fits those themes for his/her classroom and students. This, he added, allows the entirety of United States history, from pre-Columbian to present, to be covered while training the students on the ability to analyze primary and secondary sources and synthesize the information into a coherent argument.

“The ability to think critically about a given problem or situation or public policy, and to argue your point of view in a cogent manner backed up with evidence is the underpinning of not only APUSH but any history class, AP or otherwise,” Cummings said.

Kenny Mason, Chouteau Public School Superintendent, is also a supporter of the APUSH course as it is.

“AP courses are also a vital component of the A-F report card that is currently used to grade high schools in our state,” Mason said.

Pryor Public School Superintendent Don Raleigh also called these bills poorly conceived and a “threat to solidly built curriculum.”

Raleigh added that the course is an elective so if any parent found the curriculum questionable they could opt out of the course.

He too said the AP courses provide students an opportunity to earn gain a college-level advantage.

“Anything that threatens that opportunity I would hesitate to embrace,” Raleigh said. “These courses encourage critical thinking and analysis of good and bad parts of history.”

Since all APUSH students take the same course, he said, colleges can better judge student aptitude.

Raleigh said, “What worries me is what could happen next. After we threaten the AP History course, what’s next? The entire AP program?”

7 Ways to Build Your Credit Score Without a Credit Card

Here are a few alternatives to help raise your credit scores without the magic plastic:

1. Ask companies to report on your behalf

Do you have any recurring bills that you pay on a monthly basis, such as rent, utilities, cable or a cellphone? Try giving the providers a call and request that they report your account activity to the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.

Find help for common financial problems in our Solutions Center!

Do this only if you have responsible payment habits, as payment history accounts for 35 percent of your credit scores and can have a significant impact if there is not a lot of other data in your credit reports.

Also, bear in mind that these companies are not obligated to report to the bureaus, and your request is simply a favor that they have the right to deny.

2. Become an authorized user on another credit card

Of course, there are pros and cons to becoming an authorized user. If the cardholder has a strong credit background, two thumbs up for you because signing on as an authorized user will enable their stellar behavior to improve your credit profile somewhat (perhaps not as much as you think). But, if things are the other way around, your credit scores could take a hit.

Either way, if you opt in and have a change of heart, the information will quickly vanish from your credit file when you request to be removed from the account.

3. Open an account with a credit union and take out a small personal loan

Some credit unions have restricted membership and limited accessibility, but credit unions generally offer financing options at lower interest rates than traditional banks. To give your credit score a boost, apply for a small personal loan.

If your request is denied, inquire about a secured loan in which your money, say, a certificate of deposit or savings account, will be used as collateral. The request will more than likely be approved because the risk to the institution is minimal. And you may have to pay a tad bit of interest, but the rate usually beats whats available in the credit card world.

Personal finance: Surviving on a low income

Personal finance: Surviving on a low income

ROB STOCK

Emmet O’Neal Library partners with UAB, furthers personal finance programs …

Emmet ONeal Library will soon partner with faculty from the University of Alabama at Birminghams Collat School of Business to further its educational offerings related to advanced personal finance topics thanks to a $77,000 grant from The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association.

The funds, $1.8 million of which was distributed to 21 recipients across the nation, are part of the Smart investing@your library® initiative. According to a news release about the donation, the program funds library efforts to provide patrons with effective, unbiased educational resources about personal finance and investing.

Emmet ONeal will use its grant money to further explore topics such as: understanding global financial markets, investing in stocks and bonds, conducting investment research, and selecting financial professionals.

A variety of programs will be offered for area residents in varying life stages.

Over the past several years, weve learned through this initiative that libraries are uniquely well positioned in their communities to help residents with their personal finance information needs, said Gerri Walsh, president of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation according to the release. Library patrons can be confident that their own best interests are at the heart of all programming,

For residents in or nearing retirement, for example, the project will help participants examine Medicare options and other insurance-related decisions.

Young professionals and families, those in their 20s and 30s, will have the ability to take part in Table Talk$ conversational seminars at reception-like gatherings. Table Talk$ seminars, according to the release, will address saving and investing for major life goals, such as buying a house or starting a family.

But the lessons wont stop there: young adults are welcome too. Teen programming will focus on how to save for college and how to make appropriate financial decisions while in college. Seminars will help teens understand the connections between the major they choose to study, earning potential following graduation and how much is too much to borrow when it comes to student loans.

Those looking to be a bit more creative can take part in discussions with local experts on small business start-ups who will meet with teen entrepreneurs to discuss ways to grow their businesses.

These projects highlight the librarys essential role in every community as an indispensable hub for learning, said ALA President Courtney L. Young. Trained library staff are creating innovative, activity-based programs and collaborating with their community partners to ensure that unbiased, financial information is readily available to address the information needs of everyone no matter what age or economic circumstance.

Smart investing@your library® is administered jointly by the Reference and User Services Association–a division of ALA–and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. Now in its eighth year, the program has awarded a total of $10 million to public libraries, community college libraries and library networks nationwide.

Click here for a list of the other libraries chosen to receive grants this year as well as descriptions of how the funds will be used.

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects for underserved Americans. For details about grant programs and other FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit www.finrafoundation.org.

FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. For more information, visit www.finra.org.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services and collection materials they need. For more information, visit www.ala.org/rusa.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 60,000 members. For more information, visit www.ala.org.

Updated to properly reflect Emmet ONeal will be partnering with the University of Alabama at Birminghams Collat School of Business.

Student Loan Debt Is Hurting More Than Just Our Wallets

Finding it hard to get that student-debt monkey off your back? Youre not the only one.

A study in the January edition of Social Science amp; Medicine has found evidence that high levels of student debt are linked to negative psychological impacts like depression, stressand generally worse mental health.

The study:University of South Carolina researchers surveyed 4,600 students and degree holders ages25-31, asking them to complete five questions that acted as markers of psychological health. They then took those results and compared them to the levels of student loan debt each respondent held.

The researchers found that even when controlling for factors like income levels or family wealth, cumulative student loans were significantly and inversely associated with better psychological functioning. They also found an effect for yearly student loans borrowed, suggesting that both having high levels of debt and taking the large loans out in the first place were stressing the respondents out.

The study also found occupational trajectories and health inequities were impacted among student debt holders, meaning that loans may be forcing students and graduates off their preferred career paths and to delay getting married or starting a family.

Generation Progress Lucy Stratton adds that Gallup poll findings from last year showed a 15-point thriving gap between indebted and debt-free students, with the indebted students doing worse in four out of five measurements of health.

As the Brookings Institution noted, the study cant tell us whether student loans are more stressful than other kinds of debt. The size of the measured effect was also rather small. But with former students holding an estimated $1.2 trillion in student loan debt across the country, and an average debt loadof nearly $30,000,college loans are probably one of the biggest sources of debt-related stress in the country. A recent Federal Reserve survey estimated that student loan debt has increased 250% in the past three decades, even after adjusted for inflation. Americans only owe more on home mortgages.

We are speculating that part of the reason that these types of loans are so stressful is the fact that you cannot defer them, they follow you for the rest of your life until you pay them off, lead author Katrina Walsemanntold ScienceDaily. We speculate that the American middle class is suffering the most from post-graduation debt, since they do not qualify for governmental assistance, nor is their family able to take on the bulk of the costs associated with college.

Why you should care:Knowing that research is proving student loans are so stressful they have negative impacts on the mind and body isnt going to help them go away. But it is slightly comforting to know that stressed-out loan holders are in good company:the rest of their generation. If paying back student loans is a constant shadow over your life, at least youre not alone.

But with the number of 25-year-olds with student loan debt now around45%, up from 25% a decade ago, entering adulthood is becoming a more challenging task for the legions of graduates who are hindered by seemingly insurmountable levels of debt. Paying off those loans comes at the cost of other things young Americans might want to do, such as saving for retirement. Its a bad situation to be in, and one that seems to be getting worse, not better.

The Ultimate Money-Saving Tip for Your Gluten-Free Diet

It’s not fair that people with celiac disease should pay more when dining out.

Let’s all sue PF Changs for charging more for a gluten-free meal.

These are (sadly) common comments I hear from readers and from around the web.

That last one, though. Really? I’m guessing you’ve heard about it, and maybe even deposited your 2-cents’ worth on some Facebook page or Twitter feed. If you’ve been in the dark, here’s the skinny fromNation’s Restaurant News:

“A California woman is suing PF Chang’s China Bistro Inc., claiming the chain’s gluten-free menu pricing violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

The suit was filed December 9, 2014, so it’s not “new” news; however it does seem to be resurging now. Perhaps we were all too caught up in the holidays and New Year to pay attention. Oh, and there’s that part about it now being a class action suit. Oy!

Here’san update from Legal Newslinewith a few more details of where the case is today and a quote from Celiac Disease Foundation CEO, Marilyn Geller. The CDF doesn’t appear to endorse the lawsuit shenanigans.

Personally, I feel the lawsuit is foolish and a tragic waste of time, resources and money. I don’t let it ruffle me, though, like some I’ve seen on the social media channels. What is going on with a person that they become so enraged over a topic as to threaten “fighting” over it on Twitter? I will never understand this.

In any case, the suit is happening and it’s happening because one individual (and now, more joining her in a class action suit) feels PF Chang’s is discriminating against individuals with celiac disease because they charge $1 more per menu item that is prepared gluten-free.

I have celiac disease. I have never been to PF Chang’s. I have been to restaurants where I paid more for gluten-free menu items. I am not offended. (You’re welcome to tell me how you feel in the comments below, but just know if you use profanity or can’t play nice, your comment will not be published. This isn’t about bashing, it’s about sharing so that we can see others’ views on topics that affect our gluten-free community.)

What I wonder is this: Does it really get down to a few dollars here and there? Or is there more to this lawsuit? Maybe a 15-minutes-of-fame desire bubbling to the surface? We’ll never know the real story behind it, but since we’re on the topic of dollars and dishes, let’s address those other (more commonly heard) comments about the cost of gluten-free food I mentioned in the beginning.

It is a fact that pre-packaged gluten-free “replacement” foods cost more than their non-gluten-free counterparts. In fact,some folks set out to studyjust how much more and found that what I like to call “gluten-free box foods” cost a whopping 242% more! And I’veread the storiesof how (when gluten-free box foods weren’t as readily available as they are now) newly diagnosed celiac patients had to travel far and wide, order online and (gasp!) even order products from Canada, just to have the foods their “condition necessitated”. I’m sorry friends, you lost me there.

While celiac diseasedoesrequire a strict 100% gluten-free diet for life, it absolutely, positively doesnotnecessitate eating pre-packaged bread, cookies, cakes, pasta or any other refashioned product.

The Ultimate Money-Saving Tip for Your Gluten-Free Diet

And that leads to my point about the expense of a gluten-free diet. It is what you make it. The truth is, a naturally gluten-free diet is the one that our bodies prefer and the one that will lead to more rapid healing of the damaged small intestine (and all the other fallout damage we are prone to suffer prior to diagnosis). It’s also the one that will restore our health and help us maintain our health.

And guess what? The bananas (and any other “regular” naturally gluten-free food) that I buy cost the same as those purchased by the non-celiac population. So there you have it. If you’re complaining over the high price of gluten-free goods, simply stop purchasing(the ultimate tip for saving money on your gluten-free diet!), or limit those costly pre-pacakaged products.

Try these tips for saving money at the checkout:

  • Instead of buying pre-packaged mixes and flour blends, make your own. It will literally save you thousands of dollars over time. Stop relying on processed gluten-free foods to make up your daily meals.
  • Eat in-season fresh produce, scour the frozen and canned foods aisles for sales (make sure those products are 100% gluten-free, of course!).
  • Turn to lean meats, fish, poultry and eggs for protein (or plant-based proteins if you are vegan). Use those specialty items to complement meals or as a special, occasional treat. You will soon see your grocery bill dwindle down.

And for goodness’ sake, if you do buy those higher priced gluten-free foods, consider what is involved before you attack companies for charging more. The fact is, when companies (or restaurants) get into the intricacies of creating safe gluten-free products for those who need or want them, the cost of the end product increases. And rightly so.

Consider justa fewof the things that go into creating gluten-free foods that can drive up the cost:

  • A dedicated facility (or a “secure” facility where gluten-free foods can be manufactured)
  • Specialty ingredients (like gluten-free flours and other items)
  • Employee training above and beyond the norm
  • Facility inspection
  • Product testing
  • Product certification

In a restaurant, there are similar points to consider, and I, for one, am grateful to any restaurant that sincerely puts forth the effort to source ingredients, train employees, dedicate a prep area and prevent cross-contamination of my food. I’ll also happily pay $1 (or whatever) more for that peace of mind.

I do not feel discriminated against because I am not disabled. I have a disease that I am thrilled to say can be controlled with nothing more than the foods I choose to put into my body. After a 25+ year struggle to figure out what was making me so sick, depleting my nutrients and literally took me to the brink of death, I have little about which I can complain.

Ready to experience a total health transformation?Get YOUR copy ofThe Gluten-Free Solution: Your Ultimate Guide to Positive Gluten-Free Livingtoday!It’s also available forKindle!

Don’t miss another delish dish!Sign upfor my free eNewsletter, theGluten Free Fix, and have each new recipe and article delivered to your inbox.

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