Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Back to School on a Shoe String Budget

According to Dr. Stephen Jones, parents can save thousands of dollars by mapping out a back to school shoe string budget.   Annually the cost of going back to school continues to rise.  Supplying one child for a k12 school or college can cost between $300 and $1000.  In fact one student recently said a book he purchased cost $200.  While this may not be the norm it is cause for alarm for parents who have several children. Parents must make difficult choices regarding the quality of materials their children will use to present term papers and projects that are due during the school year.  Often parents get so busy during the summer that they fail to plan a school supply budget and they end up running around from store to store trying to reduce the cost of book bags, calculators, text books, computers and etc. 

It is clear that the retail stores are doing their research and they know that parents will flood the stores around the third week of August.  Most parents would prefer to go to one store to get all of their supplies but they look in the papers and discover that the prices vary from store to store.  Dr. Jones says that parents can save hundreds of dollars by making wise purchases.  Here’s how parents can save hundreds of dollars:

1.         Don’t shop at the last minute right before school is about to start.

2.         Identify a discount school supply store so that you don’t end up shopping at the local corner store.

3.         Check the internet for sales at websites such as  Get together with friends and buy some things in bulk.

4.         Don’t be afraid to buy some clothing at a thrift store. You can save hundreds of dollars.

5.         Check your supplies from last year before you go out to buy new supplies.  You will reduce the chances that you are purchasing items that you have stored from last year.

6.         Ask your local school where they order their supplies from and contact the store for a catalogue or website.

7.         Consider purchasing certain items at the Dollar Store near you.

8.         Purchase books at discount websites that are on the internet

It’s amazing that some parents are willing to spend more money because they are unwilling to invest time to uncover savings.  The hundreds of dollars that are saved can help with the purchase of a new computer and printer. Don’t cave in to the temptation to putting your purchases on a credit card.  The credit card debts that parents obtain at the beginning of the school year can last until the next summer if a parent is not cautious.  Parents who are shopping on a shoe string budget recognize that credit cards are potholes that will take you thousands of dollars off track. 

Mobilize family and friends who can keep an eye out for special school supply sales.  Parents can use a number of methods to stay in touch.  First consider using the cell phone to create a list of people who will be looking out for certain supplies that you have identified.  Also, friends and family can contact you immediately when they discover a good sale.  Parents can give friends and family money in advance or ask them to pay for it and agree to pay them back.   Using e-mail can also be a good method to share websites that offer the products at prices that are not available at the stores.  The links to website can be put right within the text of the e-mail, which makes it easy fro a parent to make a purchase right away.

You can save thousands of dollars by shopping on shoe string budget.  Get started right away and you will not regret it.   Dr Stephen Jones is education consultant author of three books the Seven Secrets of How to Study, the Parent's Ultimate Education Guide and the Ultimate Scholarship Guide available at

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Scholarships for January 2014

Here are the top 10 scholarships with upcoming deadlines in January 2014:

#1 - The Tom Joyner Foundation "Full Ride" Scholarship awards a full scholarship to one student to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).
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#2 - The Burger King Scholars program is designed to help high-school seniors who are looking to start college next year. Annually, the program awards more than $1.4 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 students.
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#3 - The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (also known as the Bill Gates Scholarship) awards scholarships each year to African American students who plan to enroll full-time in a two-year or four-year college or university program.
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#4 - The Ron Brown Scholar Program provides scholarship awards to African-American high school seniors who are excelling in their academics, exhibiting exceptional leadership potential, and actively serving in community service activities.
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#5 - The Discover Card Tribute Award Scholarship Program is sponsored by Discover Financial Services. The program recognizes students in their junior year of high school who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in their communities.
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#6 - The National Black Law Student Association (NBLSA) provides four scholarships each year to African-American students currently in law school. Each applicant will be required to complete an essay on a topic that is related to the specific scholarship for which they are applying.
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#7 - Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarships (RMHC) for African American Future Achievers are awarded to eligible high school students with high academic performance and community service as well as financial need.
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#8 - The Talbots Scholarship Program awards one-time scholarships to women who want to go back to school to earn their undergraduate degree after graduating from high school or receiving their GED at least ten years ago. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.
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#9 - The Ronald Reagan College Leaders Scholarship Program awards scholarships to college juniors and seniors who demonstrate leadership qualities in support of freedom, American values and constitutional principles.
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#10 - The NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a career in the field of aeronautics. It is a renewable scholarship for U.S. citizens and nationals.
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Dr. Stephen Jones is the author of the Ultimate Scholarship Guide available at