October 20, 2018

Top 8 Most Affordable Places to Study Abroad

Many people think that tertiary study overseas is a luxury that only the rich can afford, but you’ll be surprised that there are many countries where you can have an overseas study experience on a budget.

Here are the most affordable places for overseas study:

1. Peru

Expect to pay much less for transportation, food, and other essentials in Peru. Spend like a local and save money not only for study-related expenses but also to witness the beauty of Machu Picchu or Cusco.

2. Morocco

If you’re a student who’s studying Arabic or French, consider going to Morocco to hone your language skills. When in markets, practice using the language when you haggle!

3. Portugal

Looking for affordable study arrangements in Western Europe? Look no further than Portugal, where almost everything costs less than its neighbouring countries.

4. Hungary

Budapest is home to a lot of study abroad programs and affordable accommodation for those who want to study abroad.

5. Germany

Save money by frequenting discount grocers and staying at an accommodation that comes with an average rent that is one-third less than in the US.

6. Mexico

This country offers a low cost of living, rich history, and a huge array of street food available at student-friendly prices.

7. Greece

Expect low everyday expenses when you study in Greece, where tourism has become an essential source of income.

8. Chile

You’ll find a lot of affordable hotels and food in Chile, making it an ideal destination for those who want to study overseas.

Obviously, countries have varying rates when it comes essentials, so when you plan to study abroad, make sure to do your research. Compare the prices not only of the tuition but also food, accommodation, transportation, etc. in several countries so you can make a well-informed decision. With careful planning and consideration of the things that matter most to you, you can study abroad on a budget.

If you’ve found an affordable country for your exchange, bear in mind that expenses can pile up. To avoid this, see if you can get a study abroad scholarship to help alleviate the costs. You’ll find several options for specific locations, depending on your field of study.

Do you have other ideas on the most affordable places to study abroad? Share your insights about child’s education in the comments section.

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6 Reasons to Save For Your Children’s Education

As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids especially when it comes to their education. But as much as we want to send them to the best schools and universities, one thing that may hinder us from doing so is insufficient funds. Just imagine the huge costs of a child’s private education including tuition, school supplies and uniforms.

Some parents set up an education savings plan early on, which is a great idea if they plan to send their children to private schools. Even if they hope to send their kids to private schools, many parents don’t save for their children’s education because they have to deal with more immediate needs first.

Different circumstances may lead us to prepare for our family’s day-to-day needs first but it’s a good idea to save for your child’s education if you can.

Here are six reasons to save for your children’s education:

Reason 1: Ever-rising tuition

If you think private school tuition is expensive now, just imagine how much it will be five years from now, or when your child starts studying at university. Together with inflation and other factors, the fees at many private schools and universities will likely increase over time. That’s why it’s important to save for your child’s education as early as possible.

Reason 2: Avoid dropping out due to lack of funds

If you send your kids to a private school and then find yourself struggling financially, you may ultimately have to pull them out of the school which is a major blow to them.

Reason 3: Peace of mind

Having insurance gives you some peace of mind, knowing that if something unfortunate happens, you’ll have something to rely on to ease the burden. The same thing goes for having enough savings for your child’s education.

Reason 4: Set a good example

As they always say, practice what you preach. Having an education savings plan says a lot about how you value education, and when your kids see how you work hard to save for their future, they may study harder, or learn to save money at an early age.

Reason 5: Money works for you

Start saving and let it work for you by having a diversified portfolio. Over time, you don’t have to work too hard to send your kids to school since you’ll get huge returns from your investments.

Reason 6: More options

Having enough savings allows you to have a breather if you lose your job or you want to move to another place. You can afford more time to look for a better job, or afford to be in a much nicer house and neighbourhood. Just imagine the state you’ll be in if you suddenly lose your main source of income and you don’t have savings.

Do you have other ideas on saving for your children’s education? Share your insights in the comments section.

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5 Ways to Get through University on a Budget

Getting through university is hard enough, but it becomes even more challenging if you’re on a budget. Day-to-day expenses can add up so you’ll be spending lots every month. Truth be told, it’s not really fun or easy to manage your finances and ensure that you’ll have funds throughout the week, or until your next allowance. To survive, you need to change perspective. We’re not talking about major lifestyle changes.

As they say, every little bit counts, and this holds true when it comes to maximising your budget at university. So how can you better manage your finances? Here are some options:

#1 Consider living in a share house

Accommodation takes a huge chunk of your monthly budget while you are at university. In general, it’s far more expensive if you live alone. If living at home is not an option, live in a share house so you can save money. You can do this with some friends. In this way, you’ll have some company and at the same time, share expenses.

#2 Prepare your meals

Takeaway food and dining in restaurants can be expensive. Many students save a lot of their allowance by preparing their own meals. You can get significant savings and at the same time, it’s quick, delicious, and good for your body. You can make a quick grocery trip and prepare your meals for the next few days.

#3 Use credit cards only for emergencies

By emergency, it doesn’t mean buying the latest phone or gadget. While having a credit card has its benefits, it will not help your savings strategy if you cannot pay in full and on time.

#4 Pay your bills on time

Even those who are not in a university should pay their bills on or before they’re due to avoid late charges, which are unnecessary expenses. If you often forget to pay your bills, you can set up direct debits. Of course, your account should always have sufficient funds to avoid inconvenience.

#5 Be a wise shopper

There are so many ways to save money when it comes to shopping. Look for stores that offer student discounts. If you want to buy some fresh produce, go to the local market. If time permits, wait for the items that you want to go on sale so you can save some cash.

Do you have other ideas on how to get through university on a budget? Share your tips in the comments section.

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What is a Saver Plus Program?

As most parents would know, a child’s education is important, but it can also come with a hefty price tag. From tuition and school uniforms and shoes, to supplies and fees for activities, the cost of sending your kids to school can be really expensive. It’s not surprising that many parents look for ways to prepare for it.

There are a lot of ways to prepare for your children’s education. Do your research and see which works best for your needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a program that will help you with your finances and to save for your child’s education, you may want to look at Saver Plus.

What is a Saver Plus Program? Here are some of the things that you need to know about it:

Established in 2003, Saver Plus is a financial education and matched savings program that helps families gain financial skills that will enable them to achieve their savings goals, develop sound saving habits, and learn how to manage their money. It is run by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ, together with The Smith Family, Berry Street, The Benevolent Society, as well as other community agencies.

This 10-month program gives incentives to those who complete it. Participants can get up to $500 in matched savings from ANZ. This can be of great help for different education-related expenses such as computers, supplies, books, uniforms, and sports equipment.

To join the Saver Plus program, you should be at least 18 years of age, have a Centrelink Health Care or Pensioner Concession Card, and have some form of regular income. You should also have a child at school located in an area where Saver Plus is delivered. The program is offered by different community agencies in 60 locations across states and territories in Australia.

A Saver Plus Coordinator will provide support and guidance to eligible participants throughout the program. They will determine a savings goal and make deposits regularly for 10 months. There’s also MoneyMinded training that comes with four fun and informative workshops, aimed at improving their financial skills.

Saver Plus participants enjoy taking part in the financial education workshops. They improve their money management and saving skills. Another great thing about the program is that the participants can use what they learn even after the program by growing their savings.

Do you have other ideas about education savings plans? Share your insights in the comments section.

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5 Financial Skills that Should be Learned at School

Managing your finances is a key life skill. It affects almost all aspects of our lives, from our security and health to the opportunities that are available to us. For this reason, it would be great if financial skills were included in your child’s education.

Here are some of the financial skills that children should learn:

1. Fundamentals of Money

Your child’s education should include learning the nature and function of money. Age-appropriate lessons can be about saving their daily allowance, opening a bank account, and determining how much they need to make a purchase.

2. Budgeting

Those who are already in primary school are old enough to learn how to create personal budgets. It’s an essential skill especially since their needs and wants are different. They may want to buy a mobile phone. With a budget, they will know how much money is needed to buy it and what they need to do to make it happen.

3. Saving

Their budget should include savings, another essential financial aspect. Nothing beats saving money as early as possible, giving it a lot of time to grow and work for you. Putting away a small amount, but on a regular basis, can significantly help you build your savings. It’s likewise important to set a financial goal that will keep you motivated to improve your finances.

4. Compound Interest

Speaking of letting your money grow and work for you, the concept of compound interest should be learned at school. Once you understand how it works, it’s an effective tool to grow your savings will minimal effort on your part. Knowing how to calculate compound interest will help you better understand your cash flow and savings.

5. Debit/Credit

Using a debit card enables you to make cashless transactions, which is convenient for many. It also helps in managing your finances since you can only spend what you have. But it’s a different story with a credit card. It’s essentially borrowing money then paying it back later. If kids learn the effects of paying only the minimum amount every month, or failing to do so, it will have an impact to their understanding of how money should be spent. It will also teach them to be responsible enough to think long and hard before using a credit card.

What other financial skills should be included in your children’s education? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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HECS Loan Repayment: An Overview

Parents want only the best for their children, and what better way to ensure that they’ll have a bright future than sending them to school and making sure that they finish their studies? Everybody knows that sending kids to school is an expensive affair, that’s why many prepare for it early on by building an education savings plan.

For students who are struggling financially and can’t keep up with the expenses in school. There are ways to address it. One of these is to get a loan.

Here are some of the things that you need to know about the loan and the loan repayment:

  • The Australian Government has announced several reforms in an attempt to improve the higher education sector. With these reforms, students will have more options and as for the higher education sector, transparency and accountability will be improved.
  • Check the myGov website. It now offers features that enable you to view your HELP debt, check your payment reference number, as well as identify the payment options available online. All you have to do it to create a myGov account that is linked to the ATO. You can also reach out to the ATOP to find out how much you owe.
  • Once your repayment income is beyond the compulsory repayment threshold, you need to start making loan repayments. Bear in mind that the compulsory repayment threshold is updated every year.
  • Repayment income is affected by several factors. These include your taxable income, reportable fringe benefits, total net investment loss, reportable super contributions, as well as the exempt foreign employment income amounts. The ATO will calculate your compulsory repayment for a particular year. This will be included in your income tax notice of assessment.
  • The amount of your repayments is a percentage of your income. Of course, it increases when your income increases. In other words, the higher your income is, the higher your repayments will be.
  • Voluntary repayments, any amount, can be done at the ATO anytime. These are additional payments to the compulsory repayments that are made through your tax return.
  • Voluntary repayments can be done by BPAY or direct credit. These can also be done through a credit card or check to the ATO. Prepare your PRN when making voluntary repayments. You can always reach out to the ATO if you need assistance on making voluntary repayments.

Do you have other ideas on HELP loan repayment and children’s education? Share your insights in the comments section.

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How does an Education Savings Plan (ESP) Work? 

Regardless of nationality and background, parents all over the world want their kids to have the best education possible. Many save for their children’s education as early as possible because in reality, school and university fees and expenses don’t come cheap. In fact, these can be one of the biggest expenses of the family. As early as possible, try to save money for your children’s education to ensure that you’ll have sufficient funds until they enter university.

In Australia, parents can look into the education savings plan (ESP). It’s a tax-free investment for your child’s education. With the ESP, you are saving for the tertiary education. The returns from the investments directly go to the nominated child, and are taxed as income for the student.

How much money do you need for your children’s education? Ask yourself: do you want your kids to study at public or private schools? Public schools are much cheaper, though you also need to consider other expenses such as textbooks and uniforms. Will they go to a college or a university? Will your child be eligible for HECS-HELP, a government loan designed for tertiary students? Your answers will help you determine the amount of money that you need.

Top Main Features of the ESP:

  • The education savings plan enables you to make regular ad-hoc contributions, with funds invested to grow your money for a particular period.
  • You may not be able to access education savings to pay for other expenses as these are separate from other savings or investments.
  • The earnings from the ESP are tax-effective. If these are used to cover education-related costs, the tax paid will be refunded to you. You can withdraw the earnings to cover costs that are not related to education but keep in mind that the tax refund may not be as favourable.
  • The ESP covers a wide range of costs. These include books, school fees, uniforms, as well as extra-curricular activities.
  • When you redeem your investment, there’s no need to pay any capital gains.
  • ESP is usually invested in property and fixed interest investments, as well as in shares. This is to allow your money to grow for a long time. This is invested in different products, so you may see fluctuations when there are changes in the market.
  • There are newer education savings plans that offer more flexibility in the sense that you can gain access to your money when necessary.

Do you have other ideas on education savings plan and children’s education? Share your insights in the comments section.

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Understanding Tertiary Education Fees in Australia

Since education fees continuously increase, many parents prepare for their children’s education early on. Some get an education savings plan to ensure that they’ll be able to provide for school fees and requirements up to tertiary education.

Higher education or tertiary education is provided by different universities and institutions in Australia. These include the Technical and Further Education institutes and Registered Training Organisations. The country’s higher education system plays a significant role in ensuring that students are equipped with skills that they need to have a successful future, and policies and programs are implemented by the government to support tertiary education. Of course, there are fees involved. In this article, know more about tertiary education fees in Australia:

Tertiary Education Fees for Domestic Students

Higher education involves choosing a course that you want to pursue, and where you want to get your degree. Another consideration is the cost of the course. In general, it depends on the fee structure of your chosen course.

Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) vs. Full-fee Place – The tertiary education fees depend on your course as well as the qualification level and whether you will get it at a university or a private provider. If you’re planning to get a research degree, you don’t have to worry about fees. Government schemes fund students who are undertaking a master’s degree by research or a research doctorate.

Degree Loans – There are government loans available that can help you manage your tertiary education fees. The government can defer all or part of your fees, though this will depend on whether you get a CSP or a full-fee place. One loan type is the HECS-HELP that is for students who get a CSP, and is available at public universities and in some courses offered by private institutions. The other loan type is FEE-HELP that is available for those who receive a full-fee place. Bear in mind that only postgraduate students are eligible for this loan type.

Tertiary Education for International Students

The fees will depend on the level of study and where you want to attend. If you’re an international student, you will be required to pay fees before you study. Take note that there may be additional costs such as payment for course materials and access to facilities. To give you an idea, here are estimates for different types of qualifications:

  • School – from $7,800 up to $30,000
  • English language studies – $300 per week, depending on the course length
  • Vocational education and training – from $4,000 to $22,000
  • Undergraduate bachelor’s degree – from $15,000
  • Postgraduate Master’s degree – from $20,000
  • Doctoral degree – from $14,000

Got other ideas on child’s education and tertiary education fees in Australia? Share your tips in the comments section.

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Top 6 Apps that can Help You Learn New Skills

Education is important, no matter where you’re from or what your background is. It’s such an essential part of our lives that many parents prepare for their children’s education as early as possible. There are also those who get an education savings plan to ensure that they’ll be able to provide the needs of their kids in school.

Another thing to remember is that learning is a never-ending process. Even adults still need to learn new skills, whether to be more suitable for a certain job or simply to know more about other things. Thanks to technological advancements, learning has become a lot easier with apps. In this section, check out six apps that can help you learn new skills:

1. Ready4

Preparing for an exam? Use Ready4 app to help you ace that test. It offers more than just practice questions. It’s convenient to use that you can study wherever you are, thanks to its mobile-friendly features. You can download it for free.

2. GradeProof

If you want to learn how to write effectively or further hone your writing skills, consider downloading the GradeProof app. It’s like having your own editor who will show you how to improve your writing, from checking your grammar to ensuring that its original and ideas flow smoothly. It’s free of charge, but you can upgrade to GradeProof Premium to access more features.

3. EdX

As long as you have a smartphone, you can use EdX and learn from well-known institutions such as MIT and McGill. It offers online lectures, assignments, and quizzes. It is also possible to earn a certificate, with a fee of course.

4. Coursera

With more than 1,000 courses on a wide range of topics including math, science, and technology, you can learn a lot from the Coursera app. It’s like an online school wherein lessons and classes are available, with reading assignments and video content. Some courses are free of charge, and you can earn a certificate when you complete a course.

5. Duolingo

Fancy learning a new language? Duolingo may be the app for you. Since 2014, it has been offering language lessons through mini games that kids and adults alike can enjoy. It offers more than 12 languages, plus it’s completely free.

6. SoloLearn

If you want to learn computer programming, you may want to check out SoloLearn, which is a Google Play developer. HTML, Java, and C++ are some of the languages that they offer. There’s a corresponding app for each language. It’s also free.

Do you know other apps that can help you learn new skills? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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Ways to Support Your Children’s Learning

When it comes to our children’s education, we only want the best that we can possibly give. That’s why many parents manage the education savings plan as early as possible to ensure that they can provide for their child’s education. Kids are natural learners. Every day, they learn new things not only from school but also in their surroundings and their interactions with family and friends. And it’s essential that parents support their children’s learning. Here are some points to consider when it comes to supporting your children’s learning:

Talk with your child every day

Ask what happens in school or encourage your children to tell you about their day. Letting them know that you’re open to listening to whatever they want to say is essential in their performance at school. You and your children can also discuss movies, books or TV shows that they’re interested in.

Encourage them to pursue their interests

In some cases, parents impose their own dreams to their children, out of frustration that they weren’t able to do them while they’re young. What’s ideal is to let your kids pursue their own passion and interests, be it in sports, music, arts or literature. The more involved they become with their favourite activity, there’s a higher possibility that they will learn.

Set a good example

Children are observant, and they quickly pick up the way we speak and behave, and treat other people. To support children’s learning, be a role model. Initiate conversations over dinner or after watching a movie. When they see that learning is an integral part of our lives, they’ll be more inclined to learn.

Let your children learn the value of failure

When there’s success, there’s also failure. While we don’t want our kids to feel upset because of failing on something, let them understand what it means and how to rise from it.

Instill some routines

In a classroom setting, the curriculum comes with routines to provide structure on the way kids learn. You can do the same at home to establish a good learning environment. You can set some rituals and routines during playtime or when they’re doing their favourite activity.

Your child’s education at school can be supported by creating a healthy environment at home. Keep these tips in mind so you can support your children’s learning.

Do you have other tips on child’s education and how to support your children’s learning? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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