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Adopting a pet can be a life changing experience. If you want to improve the life of an animal desperately in need of your support; then adopt a pet instead of buying one at your local pet store. There are numerous pounds struggling to take care and manage the overwhelming amount of abandoned animals that need your help. By adopting a pet you will gain the satisfaction of knowing that you not only changed the life of one animal, but also helped support your local community in a big way. There are many advantages to adopting a pet that go beyond the obvious contribution to society and saving an animal’s life. I remember arriving at the Edmond vet in my area and being pleasantly surprised by the calming effect the trip had on me.

First, adopting a pet rather than purchasing one at your local pet store often means you get a pet that is well mannered. A brand new puppy can be a struggle to train and can require costly classes. Alternatively, a young adult dog or cat can be well mannered and more mature than a rambunctious puppy. Moreover, a puppy is often a terror when they first arrive in your home. If you choose not to adopt; then prepare your house for knowing, biting, scratching, and digging. You will have to potty train your puppy as well and keep them inside a kennel for at least a year every time you leave. However, should you decide to adopt a pet, you can rest assured that your adult pet already understands some rules and is mature enough to live peacefully in your home.

Seriously, having a pet is a wonderful feeling as it would become a welcome addition to the family that can be the best playmate for kids but adopting it is one hell of a task where one needs to be aware of all the additional responsibilities that need to be followed and there was an interesting piece in that spoke about the same.

Secondly, the cost of a puppy versus an adult dog shows up in the daily diet and possibly the cost of repairs and carpet stains. For example, a puppy is likely to have numerous accidents in your home during the potty-training stages while an older experienced dog is likely to be potty trained and much less likely to have random acts of messes around your home. The cost of specialized puppy food is much higher than that of average department store bought food for regular adult dogs.

Lastly, adopted pets seem to be mixed breeds and mixed breeds tend to have less genetic disorders and seem to be smarter overall pets than pure breeds. Often times, a mix breed is easier to train if they are a mixture of two or more intelligent breeds because they have a natural and healthy gene pool comprising their genetics. Mixed breeds are known to have longer life spans with a less likelihood of chronic or genetic diseases such as the hip problems of German Shepherds or the back problems of Welsh Corgis.

For these reasons as well as the sense of well-being achieved by rescuing an at-risk pet, you should adopt a pet from your local human society and be the saving grace in an animal’s life. Take the time to research your local pound or animal shelter. Your next best friend will be happy to see you and thank you every day for saving his or her life.

It was a balmy March day when I figured I would brainstorm ideas towards the greatest birthday party any boy could want. After all, my youngest son was turning eleven in August and there was not going to be many more years of birthday plans to be had in the future, at the rate he was aging. (You know if you’re a mom and having been through this twice before, how around twelve or thirteen your sons no longer want what they consider something beneath them and embarrassing. They say things like: “Awe Mom, I’m not a baby anymore.”

So thinking I’m ahead at this game, I grabbed my son and asked for his opinion on my ideas. We decided on a bike party and I began to research ideas in magazines and on the Internet.

It being march-I guess I let down my guard and thinking I was so far ahead and having plenty of time, I kind of just poked along getting things for the party together until suddenly I turned around and my middle son-turning eighteen and not into kiddie parties had his birthday.

This was July and August sixth was fast approaching. I began to hastily make lists and start to purchase. The weather was so hot, we decided the hour for the party would be best early morning or evening. We set the date for the Saturday evening before my son’s birth date.

My first inclination of Murphy’s Law should have been when my son announced as we were readying the invitations, “TJ and Jimmy can’t come this day and Brendan has a game.” This was half his list of invites and of course he did not want to do it without them and they would also be upset if they missed the event.

So we switched the date. Now we were scheduled on a week past the actual birthdate, but it was so hot I was welcome for a time lapse. And besides i was having a time trying to find where to hold this thing at. We had to have an area to do a bike obstacle course with a shady spot to do the cake and Ice cream and place the presents. None of the schools would let us in for insurance reasons and the bike pit had no spot for the food to sit so with total- meltdown, literally and how can a mom let a birthday party stress her so much-my husband suggested the park down the street’s lot which very few people ever use since it is out of the way from the rest of the park.

That taken care of, we delivered the invitations and I ran all over town trying to find the “easy to come up with items”-at least that is what the websites’ had called them-pieces needed for the obstacle course and the other games my son had chosen. I finally had to make do and substitute another item for several such as cardboard boxes for pool noodles, etc. And breathing a sigh of relief and proud of my accomplishment, coming home I began to organize my paraphernalia.

“Where’s the cake?”, my son asked the morning of the party. Was I glad we had chosen an evening time to hold this party. I drove frantically around trying to find black paste food coloring, necessary for the black bike wheel tire cake I had planned to do. Have you ever tried to find black paste food coloring at the last minute? And as I was driving I noticed I didn’t need the air conditioning for some reason. The day previous had been in the 90’s, but that evening at the party the wind blew, the temperature was about 65-not that cold, but after being used to 90 and above-“freezing” with rain.

My son loved it though and it brought me great satisfaction having given him this, even if TJ, Jimmy and Brendan didn’t show.

From the first moment I saw her, I knew that parenting my firstborn daughter would be the biggest blessing of my life. She eased me into motherhood because she was the easiest going baby ever. The year she turned 5 was truly a special time for us and we wanted to give her a special birthday party to commemorate the event. However, we also had another new baby in the house this same year. To make it easier on ourselves, we decided we would have an out-of-home party so we wouldn’t have to invest the hours of time into having the party at home.

We decided to have a Build-a-Bear Party, with lunch at the nearby California Pizza Kitchen. We would have 12 children (including our daughter), as well as their families to celebrate at lunch with us. My husband would take care of ordering the cake. He was so into cakes and decided he wanted a two-tiered cake because they were so special. My only condition was that it had to have a bear on top of the cake to go with the Build-a-Bear theme. My husband found a bakery that would be convenient to the local mall where we were having everyone meet us for the lunch, and that could do the cake as we desired.

What started out as a simple idea turned into a rather elaborate and expensive idea. Just imagine 12 children ranging in age from 4-8 who were all invited to the party. Then, imagine all of the older siblings, babies, toddlers, and parents of those children who would also be joining us at California Pizza Kitchen. In total, 40 people ended up celebrating our daughter’s 5th birthday with us. We had a few very long tables reserved just for our party alone. We ordered a variety of pizzas, sodas, salads, and pasta to feed everyone. There were kids running around the restaurant noisily while poor bystanders tried to enjoy their lunch. To top off the event, my husband was picking up the cake from the bakery and bringing it to the restaurant (alone, mind you) as we ate.

Half-way into our lunch, he called me on the cell phone to let me know he just found a parking spot at the very crowded mall as everyone waited for the cake. He said that he was late because he had to drive very slowly in the hopes that the cake would not topple over in the car since the bakery could not cover the cake in a box without damaging it. After all, it was 2 layers and quite tall. On top of the cake, was not a plastic bear or a picture of a bear like I imagined, but a bear made completely out of frosting, sitting on its bottom on the top tier of the cake. In addition, California Pizza Kitchen was on the top level of the two-story outdoor mall.

What a sight it must have been for onlookers to see my husband get out of the car with a very large uncovered, two-tiered cake with a frosting bear sitting on top, as he precariously balanced it out of the car, slowly through the parking lot, even slower up the flight of concrete stairs, and into the restaurant. All the while, he was praying that he would not stumble or drop the cake as he walked at a turtle’s pace with it in the open air. My husband later told me that all he could picture in his mind as he carried our daughter’s cake was that baker guy from the old Sesame Street segments carrying several pies and yelling, “Twelve Chocolate Pies!” just before he slipped and toppled down the stairs, ending up with pie all over himself.

Thankfully, he reached his destination with the cake intact and placed it at the end of the table right in front of my daughter. Her eyes lit up when she saw that elaborate cake. Everyone thought the cake was beautiful of course, and the kids had fun making bears at the Build-a-Bear Workshop afterwards, but I will never let my husband forget how hilarious it was to see him with that big cake with the frosting bear on top walking slowly into the restaurant with beads of sweat running down his face. Nor, will we ever forget that even though it was the most expensive birthday we have ever thrown, it certainly was the most memorable.

My family recently went from a one dog household to a three dog household and were in desperate need for a better vacuum when we found theBissell Healthy Home HEPA Upright Vacuum. Our new Bissell vacuum has outperformed every other vacuum our family has tried or owned in the past, but like all vacuums, it does have its flaws. The suction and features are incredible and the reason why I recommend the Bissell Healthy Home, but the maneuverability and weight could be improved.

If you have several pets or are dealing with allergies, I would highly recommend the Bissel Healthy Home HEPA vacuum because of its almost unparalleled suction power. If, on the other hand, you are just looking for something to do light cleaning with and don’t have to worry about pets or allergens, there are several vacuums on the market that perform well and are slightly easier to handle.

One of the main reasons I think the Bissell vacuum is so great, has to do with its cleaning performance. After all, suction is the first thing you look at in a vacuum cleaner and with all the dogs I have running around, this is my main concern. According to the manufacturer, the vacuum has 12 amps of power, which was more or about the same as similar HEPA bagless models, but came at a competitive price. All that suction power translates into clean floors and carpets when you come through with this model, more so than other models that I tried.

On Berber carpet the Bissell Healthy Home is amazing, getting out dirt and pet hair that has been lodged in the pile for way too long. On the surface, there is no longer the noticeable presence of dog hair trapped in the loops of carpeting. The more obvious difference was apparent after I used the Bissell for several weeks and then steam cleaned all the carpets and rugs in my home. Generally, the water sucked back up during a regular steam cleaning was filled with dirt and dust to the point of being murky. After vacuuming on the same schedule I always have, the water sucked back into the steam cleaner was slightly discolored, but without the buildup of dirt and dust piling up at the bottom of the reservoir.

The parts of our home that are covered in hardwood or plush carpeting look even better, and are much easier to clean with the Healthy Home HEPA. In these sections of my home, a single pass through with the vacuum is enough to get the job done and the wide brush helps me get rooms done quicker. Because the cleaner is bagless, disposing of the dirt and hair picked up is quick and easy, I love not having to deal with bags. Other features and attachments include the crevice cleaner, dusting brush and Turbo Brush. All of these are invaluable, and the dusting brush especially, really make this machine a huge multitasking cleaner.

As for cons, the Bissell Healthy Home vacuum could be a little lighter, it is definitely not the easiest machine to move around. Overall maneuverability is a little disappointing, especially when it comes to hard to clean sections like stairs or awkward hallways. The extension wand and hose could also be made a little longer when you consider the effort it takes to pull the vacuum around.

Overall though, the performance and cost far outweighs any weight concerns. I am more than happy to wheel around the Bissell using a little more arm muscle than go back to the hair being left behind by other brands. Definitely a must for pet owners.

Toy boxes are a tradition. They are often passed down from generation to generation and seem as necessary as the bed in the bedroom. But they leave your child’s toys unorganized, allowing for pieces to get lost and parts to break. Organize your child’s bedroom or playroom like a classroom, and get rid of the unnecessary clutter.

Sort toys into boxes and baggies.

All small parts belong in Ziploc baggies. Sort all toys by type, and put them into a plastic box with a lid. Label the box in multiple places, using a sticker or piece of masking tape that can be easily replaced should the contents later change.

Jigsaw puzzles could have a colored dot or shape on the back of each piece, to distinguish pieces should they get mixed up. Cut the picture from the lid of the box and place it into the bag with the pieces.

Keep board games in the original box as long as possible. When the boxes break, use the extra-large bags, such as those for clothing and bedding, to contain the game board. Smaller pieces can go in their own size-appropriate baggie, within that larger one.

Rotate the toys as if they were classroom activities.

Children easily get bored with their toys. They also get bored with activities in the classroom. To keep them entertained and engaged, teachers rotate the available works on the shelves. Do this with young children’s toys.

Look at dollar stores and other discount stores for attractive trays, baskets, and bowls. Display your child’s toys by placing one activity on each tray or in each basket. Keep all necessary parts together, so that when the child chooses it, she doesn’t have to look for missing pieces.

Within the shelves, keep activities organized by the type they are. Only put a few trays on a shelf, to keep the area looking neat and orderly.

Pay attention to what your child is using. If she asks for a specific activity, consider putting it out again. When it looks like she hasn’t touched a particular toy for a while, put it away in the storage area for a while. Then, when it reappers, she will be excited to see it again.

Also include her in regular maintenance of the toys. Pick a regular cleaning schedule, and let her help you do it. Have her help check for broken or missing pieces. Ask her to organize the shelves before going to bed at night, or at the end of a “play session.”

Use work rugs.

Purchase white or colored rugs, or special towels that can serve as work rugs. Have the children keep their activities on the rugs, instead of spreading the play all over the floor. Some activities are going to be too big for one rug, so use more than one when necessary.

When they are finished using their toys, they should be expected to put them away in the proper places. If they are truly in the middle of something, they could put a “save name” on it and finish it the following day. Rugs should also be folded or rolled up, and put into their special area.

It will take some time to implement the plan into your household. It will also take some time to get used to enforcing the rules. Stay consistent and persistent, and it will pay off.

Not too many years ago, the idea of an HIV infected woman choosing to have a baby brought about strong opposition from just about everyone, including medical professionals who were involved in the treatment of HIV disease. In the past, people with HIV were not expected to live long, and the chances of their children being born HIV+ was greater than 25%. Today, with the advances in the care and treatment of HIV, people are living longer, healthier lives. Many HIV+ women are now making the decision to become pregnant and start a family, with the support of their HIV treatment specialists.

Although there are still many people, including medical professionals, who would discourage an HIV+ woman from having a baby because of the risk of mother-to-child transmission of the virus, most HIV treatment specialists now have an acceptance that starting a family is in fact an option for an HIV+ woman. With the advances in treatment, the risk of transmitting the virus is less than 2% overall, and studies have proven that pregnancy and childbirth does not affect the progression of HIV in the mother in any way.

Women who take HIV medications and have an undetectable HIV viral load have the lowest risk for transmission of the virus to their babies; however, certain medications can cause serious birth defects and must not be taken if a woman is pregnant or trying to become pregnant. It is vital that the decision to become pregnant be discussed with the healthcare provider in advance so that the woman is on an appropriate regimen of medications.

Most couples cannot afford procedures such as sperm-washing, so they will make the decision to have unprotected sex in order to get pregnant; unprotected sex itself has risks (other than pregnancy) which the couple needs to consider. This is a personal and individual decision which both partners must make after they have been informed of the potential risks and the ways to minimize those risks as much as possible. If the man is HIV negative, he should know that unprotected sex with an HIV+ woman could put him at risk for becoming HIV+, although the transmission rate from females to males through unprotected vaginal sex is lower than it is from males to females; the risk is decreased even further if the woman is taking antiretroviral medications to treat the HIV and her viral load is undetectable. If both partners are HIV+, unprotected sex can cause one partner to become reinfected with a different HIV virus, potentially leading to treatment complications in the future. Either way, there is risk involved. If a woman is trying to become pregnant by having unprotected sex, she should be taking HIV medications consistently and have an undetectable HIV viral load (as should her partner, if he is also HIV+). The couple should receive preconception counselling from an obstetrician to determine the time of the month when the woman is most fertile, and engage in unprotected sex only at that time; condoms should be used for the remainder of the month.

As with any woman, an HIV+ woman who is trying to become pregnant should give up smoking and avoid all alcohol and drug use. She should have a gynecological examination and PAP smear and be screened for other sexually transmitted diseases, and she should start taking prescription prenatal vitamins containing folic acid and calcium before she becomes pregnant to help ensure the health of her baby.

A couple will most likely encounter some critical, negative, and unsupportive attitudes from certain family members or friends regarding their decision to have a baby, and they should be prepared to deal with this. Many people are unaware of the advances in HIV treatment, and simply educating them will help them to become more understanding and supportive. The couple should encourage people who are critical of their decision to ask questions, and assist them in getting the knowledge that they need to understand their decision. To reduce stress, the couple may find it helpful to seek supportive counselling from a mental health professional so that they can discuss their feelings openly.

Yesterday I left work and decided to check prices at the local chain gyms. I was looking for a new gym as I previously had a gym membership to my local YMCA. There was no problem with the Y…. but like many others I don’t have almost $400 to spend on a year long gym membership.

One gym had a membership at $49 a month with no commitment or 3 months for $159 with no commitment after that. I was considering this until I walked into Planet Fitness. They have 2 options, both which are less than that of the other chain gym. The first option was membership good only for that location at $10 a month. There are no frills with that membership but you have access to all work out equipment in that gym for only $10 a month. The second option is $19.99 a month. This package is good for all of Planet Fitness locations. With this membership you have access to unlimited tanning, massage chairs, and you can make an appointment to have a staff member teach you how to use each machine. On top of that each time you go to the gym you can bring a guest for FREE. (My suggestion is to charge them $10 a month and then you are paying the $9.99 for yourself.) Each package has an annual fee. (Both less than $50.)

I choose to pay $10 a month for now, knowing that I am able to upgrade at anytime and cancel at anytime. I signed up; they gave me a purple pen, my member number, and a size XL T-shirt (I know! They only give out one size… but I don’t go to the gym for the free t-shirt.) Then I was on my way to the locker room to get my sneakers on so I could start working out. My one complaint at this point is that I was just sent off. Not a small orientation or anything. I mean I knew the policies from the paper I had to sign but that was it. I wasn’t even told “Alright the locker rooms are down there.” I looked at the end, saw Locker Room written on the wall and just headed towards it.

The locker room was very clean. No qualms there. I emerged back out into the gym and decided to hit the machines. I have to say the machines are all very new and very easy to use. They have pre-set programs where you can fill in your weight, and age and it will customize a program to fit your target heart rate. The programs are fat burn, cardio, random and more. I enjoyed the machines and even more I enjoyed watching television while I was working out. They have a bunch of TVs and they were on many different channels. They ranged from game shows, to the food network, to sports.

After some cardio I decided to go to their 30 minute circuit area. They have a 20 station circuit with 10 machines. Between each machine you have a step where you do some stair stepping to keep your heart pumping. These machines are well maintained and easy to use. The directions are right on the machines and there is a red and green traffic symbol that keeps you moving around the circuit. Now while this area is only for circuits they have all these machines and more in the rest of the gym.

They have plenty of machines where you are not fighting for machines to use or waiting on a long list for your chance to work out. In addition to all of these machines there are plenty of free weights and a small area for stretching, floor work, and the use of medicine balls.

If you forget our water they do have drinks available at the desk, and if you choose the 19.99 plan you get them for less money.

This gym is probably not right for someone that needs a lot of attention, unless you want to hire your own personal trainer to come in with you. I do however think it is a well kept, clean gym that is right for my money.

Millions of Americans find themselves carrying student loans. Some students graduated and carry the financial debt as an investment in their education, while others carry student loans for semesters they completed, but did not earn the degree. Whatever the reason, managing student loan payments can be difficult for former students. In recent surveys, many people paying back student loans report that their payment exceeds rent or mortgage costs.

So what do you do if you fall on hard times? Deferrment is possible, as is forbearance; both are ways to stop your required loan payment, but these are temporary measures. Student loans, unlike other forms of debt, are not dischargable during bankruptcy. This means that even if you filed bankruptcy, you are still responsible for the loan payments, no matter what your circumstances.

Thare are ways to get part or all of your student loans discharged, or taken off your record. These are legal methods, and many people do not know the various ways that the government legally allows you to get rid of student loan debt.

  1. If you are declared 100% disabled or die, you or your heirs do not need to repay student loans. This is important–if you were to die suddenly, does your family know that they do NOT have to repay your loans? Make sure they know this. If you are in an accident or become ill with a long-term chronic illness that makes it impossible for you to work, you can apply to have your student loans discharged as well. You credit will not be harmed by a disability discharge.
  2. If the school you attend closes before you can complete your program, you are not responsible for your student loans, and do not need to repay them. The loans are cancelled in full, and your credit report is not harmed by this.
  3. You can join the Peace Corps, VISTA, or teach for five or ore years in a designated low-income school, and get up to $5,000 for teaching. The Peace Corps and VISTA give you 15% of your loans EACH YEAR you are part of their programs; while the pay is low for these programs, the 15% off your student loans goes directly to the loan agency, and you have peace of mind knowing that part of your loans are repaid.
  4. A hardship hearing. If you declare bankruptcy, student loan debt is not discharged. However, you can request a special “hardship hearing” where you present your case to a special judge, explaining why repaying the loans would be an undue hardship. Only a very small percentage of people successfully discharge their loans; talk to a bankruptcy lawyer for more information on this option.
  5. “False certification.” If you can prove that a school misled you into thinking that you would benefit from their program, and the loans or debt you took out was a result of such promises, under certain guidelines your loans can be discharged.


One important note: the worst thing you can do is to default on your college debt, and go into delinquency. If you do not make payments for 240 days, your entire balance is due. If you go 270 days, your account is considered to be in default. This means you lose all future federal financial aid. The government can act legally against you, and you can lose your income tax refunds–the money is put toward your student loans owed. Default and delinquency are very serious, and can hurt your credit record for ten or more years.

People facing house foreclosure are often confused as to what options are available to either save their home or minimize the impact to their credit. As a private real estate investor, I know that most homeowners want to stop foreclosure proceedings by working out a payment plan, but some can no longer afford their loan payments and are left with few options.

Contact the Lender

Individuals concerned about house foreclosure must become highly proactive in taking steps to remedy the situation. The first line of defense is to contact the servicing lender. When borrowers default on home loans their account is turned over to bank loss mitigation.

This division handles a multitude of delinquency problems and it can be challenging to speak with a representative. If unable to make phone contact, the next step would be to call the bank and request a meeting with the branch manager.

If this doesn’t provide results, the final step would involve sending a certified letter with a return receipt request. This provides borrowers with a signed document showing the name of the person who received the certified letter.

Reach out to a Bank Loss Mitigator

The role of bank loss mitigators is to help borrowers devise a plan that will allow them to avoid foreclosure. While it often appears as if banks are only interested in repossessing properties, the truth is the foreclosure process costs a considerable sum of money. When possible, banks would rather work out a plan than commence with foreclosure.

Loss mitigators can offer a variety of solutions including loan deferment, mortgage forbearance, loan modification, and mortgage refinance. Much depends on borrowers’ payment history; number of delinquent payments; loan balance; and borrowers’ current financial situation.

When loan deferment is offered, borrowers are given permission to skip a predetermined number of loan payments, usually for 1 to 3 months. Once the deferment period expires, borrowers remit the full amount of skipped payments. This can be a good option for borrowers facing temporary financial setbacks, but they must be in position to repay missed payments at the end of the deferment period or the bank can commence with foreclosure action.

Mortgage Forbearance

Mortgage forbearance plans allow borrowers to skip payments or pay partial loan installments for a specific amount of time. Similar to loan deferment, forbearance agreements prevent the bank from commencing with foreclosure as long as borrowers remain in compliance. When forbearance plans expire, borrowers enter into a payment plan to pay skipped amounts.

Careful consideration should be given when entering into either of these options because banks can immediately engage in foreclosure if borrowers are unable to pay skipped amounts or remain current with future payments.

Loan Modification

Loan modification alters terms of the mortgage note. Banks can reduce the rate of interest, lower principal amounts, or both. Most lenders reduce interest rates which in turn reduces loan installments. However, a few banks are now reducing principal amounts when borrowers owe substantially more than the property is worth. Lowering the principal balance often allows borrowers to save their home from foreclosure and meet future loan obligations.

Making Home Affordable

Prior to contacting the serving lender, borrowers may first want to investigate the Making Home Affordable program. Many banks are participating in this program which engages in loan mods, mortgage refinancing, and foreclosure alternatives. Participating lenders are required to respond to foreclosure assistance requests within 30 days.

If borrowers cannot afford to prevent house foreclosure they may be eligible for Making Home Affordable ‘Exit Gracefully’ program. Options include real estate short sales or deed in lieu of foreclosure. Qualified homeowners can receive up to $3000 in relocation assistance funds.

Short Sale

Real estate short sales involve selling the property for less than owed on the loan. Deed in lieu of foreclosure involves returning the property to the lender. Careful consideration should be given to both options as banks oftentimes hold borrowers responsible for deficiency amounts between the loan balance and property sale price.

Borrowers may find it advantageous to obtain counseling to determine which options are best suited for their needs. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has received over $70 million in grant money to provide free housing counseling to those in need. Program details and a list of nationwide housing counselors are available at

As millions of high school graduates embark onward to college within the next few months many families will find themselves having to plod through student loan applications. In a weak job market student loans become increasingly hazardous and student loan debt is harrowing. For example, according to several sources, on May 8th 2012 the total amount of debt from student loans reached the 1 trillion dollar mark (as measured by the student loan debt clock created by Mark Kantrowitz). Clearly I wanted to avoid the financial horrors of student loans. One of my best personal financial moves was to avoid taking out student loans to afford a four year college and instead attend a community college.

There is a stigma attached to attending a community college, for instance in my hometown many referred to community college as “13th grade.” By some standards this statement holds true in the form of lesser quality education materials or insufficiently trained faculty and staff in comparison to a four year college. Although from my personal experience I discovered that, for the most part, the first year of college (be it in community college or a four year college) is relatively similar in that, basic level courses are generally taken. Unless college credits were earned in high school to avoid having to take English 101, History 101, etc. Generally freshman college students will find themselves having to stave off drowsiness and sit through these basic general requirement courses again while having to pay for them this time around.

Although this isn’t always true, but in some cases attending a two year college may make it easier to hold a part time job. For example, in my situation I held a job at a local business practically down the road from my community college. The other major plus of attending a community college was that it cut my tuition in half, with minimal financial aid I completed two years of community college having spent around $8,000 a year so my associates degree was roughly worth $16,000. Had I attended a four year school my tuition may have been $18,000-$23,000 per year (even more had I chosen to dorm). So rather than attending a four year college and spending $36,000-$46,000 in my first two years I cut that in less than half by spending $16,000 for two years of community college.

Of course there are benefits to attending a four year college right out of high school. Several of my friends did so and they are happy with this decision. When it comes right down to it, depending on the financial factors in your family and your own life, community college may not be as worthwhile as a four year college. Of course there will also be those cases of students who must take a student loan out for community college as well, but at least it won’t be as expensive as a four year student loan.

For me personally, attending a community college and avoiding student loans was a cheaper option in comparison to attending a four year college and I still consider it to be my best financial move.