Educational Opportunities

Going back to school? Just finished high school and looking for a college? Are you interested in a trade school to jump-start your chances at a good paying job? There are lots of educational opportunities out there. What are the best ones for you and how should you go about getting the educational opportunities that you need? Can you get help paying for school? Are there work study programs available? Just how much education do you need for what you want? Here are a few thoughts about educational opportunities and how to connect to them.

What Is the Right Fit for You?

Are you a top of your class scholar or a regular student like most of us? Do you like to work with your hands or are you happier talking to people face to face? Do you like to deal with people or would you prefer a job in a quiet setting such as working at a computer? There are educational opportunities for everyone but it does not make any sense to pursue an advanced university degree if what you want to do is become an electrician or plumber and eventually own your own business. On the other hand if you want to manage a major construction business a civil engineering degree may put you at the front of the line. Think about what you want and then pursue the educational opportunities that lead to your goal.


To be eligible for college you typically need a high school diploma. If you do not have one you can get a graduate equivalent diploma known as a GED. The GED test is designed for adults over the age of 16 who haven’t earned a high school diploma and aren’t currently enrolled in high school. For current students who are considering leaving high school early, the GED test can also provide an alternative to graduation. This is a faster way to catch up than going back to high school but it is not easier.
The GED test is graded on an equivalency scale compared to current high school students. A passing grade must rank above sixty percent of high school seniors These are the subjects that you are tested on:

  1. Science
  2. Social studies
  3. Mathematics
  4. Language arts, reading
  5. Language arts, writing

There is also an essay. You will need to study for the GED in order to pass. There are adult education centers in all states that offer courses in preparing for the GED and suggestions for books to purchase as well as practice exams.

Where Does the Money Come From?

There is federal student aid for many educational opportunities. Grants are scholarships are gifts need not be repaid. Student loans must be paid back. Some scholarships are based on academic excellence but most are based on need so you will need to demonstrate that you need the money for the educational opportunities that you want to pursue. There are many types of grants, scholarships and loans including ones connected to military service. Once you decide where you want to go to school you can ask the aid officer at the school about grants, loans and scholarships. The first choice, however, is to decide what you want to do and pursue educational opportunities that match your abilities and your goals.

A Chance to Win a CVS Gift Card – by simply filling out a survey

A great place for your health, pharmacy and beauty needs is CVS. A great way to shop at CVS is with a gift card. If you are interested in winning a $1,500 CVS gift card it is possible if you take a survey. But first, who is CVS and why would you want a gift card?


CVS Pharmacy is the second biggest pharmacy chain in the United States. It has more than 7,600 stores. It is the retail pharmacy division of CVS Health and ranks as the 12th largest company in the world according to Fortune 500. At their CVS Pharmacy and Longs Drugs retail stores CVS sells:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-counter drugs
  • Beauty products
  • Cosmetics
  • Film and photo finishing services
  • Seasonal merchandise
  • Greeting cards
  • Convenience foods

CVS also provides healthcare services through its more than 600 Minute Clinic medical clinics and Diabetes Care Centers. Most of these clinics are located within CVS stores. A CVS gift card can be a handy thing, especially one for $1,500! For a quick look at what CVS has to offer take a look at This retail chain of pharmacies may already be where you pick up your vitamins or birth control pills. CVS has lots of things that you need, lots of things that you might want and lots of sales. Especially if you have a free CVS gift card this can be a great place to shop. Please take a look at the offer we ran across while researching this article. You have a chance of winning a $1,500 CVS gift card by taking a few easy steps.

Gift Cards

According to market research, the most popular gift choice for a woman is a gift card. For men gift cards rank number three. A gift card is an electronically encoded plastic card similar to a credit card. The point of giving a gift card is that you do not have to guess what kind of gift to give. Many cards are limited to a specific mall or retailer. Gift cards replaced gift certificates when printers became sufficiently sophisticated that they could produce counterfeits. A CVS gift card lets you buy health care, beauty, cosmetic and other products at any of more than seven thousand CVS pharmacies.

How Gift Cards Work

A gift card can be for one time use or can be rechargeable. The card balance is maintained on the card itself as well in the database of the processor. All the recipient of the card needs to do is take it to the retailer and use it to make a purchase. Sometimes the card is set up so that the person receives change in cash and sometimes the card is simply debited. There are often time limits on the use of gift cards so do not let your gift card from last Christmas go unused for too long or you may find that your gift evaporated over time. Often retailers drive sales with gift cards so check out the CVS gift card offer and see if you can save money.

Short Term Cash

There are simply times in life where you need emergency cash. Getting cash when your credit is not so good can be difficult, but not impossible. What are your best sources of short term cash and then how can you manage your financial affairs to that short term cash is not an issue?


The most efficient source of free short term loans is a credit card. Charge your purchases and pay when the bill comes. This is essentially getting recurring short term loans for a month. But, what if you do not have a credit card? You can apply for one at your bank. It is a common practice to deposit a fixed sum, such as $500 in your bank account and then receive a card with a $500 credit limit. The way to do this is to make your purchases with the credit card and always pay off the card. This will establish a credit history and allow you to increase your credit limit. With smart use of such a credit/debit account you can commonly establish or repair your credit and get a regular VISA or MasterCard. This is a good way to improve your credit and credit score.

Short Term Loans

There are many sources of short term cash via loans. The interest rates may be high but if you truly need short term cash these sources are life savers. One of the sources of credit that we have run across in our research is These folks work nationwide to provide short term cash for those in need. If you are in need of a quick transfusion of cash click the link and find short term cash today.

Repairing Your Finances

In cases of financial emergency short term cash can be a life-saver. But you also need to address other measures for managing debt. There is discretionary spending and there are fixed costs in life. Cigarettes, video games and movies are discretionary spending. Medical bills, baby food and diapers, rent and the electric bill and bus fare to get to work are fixed and necessary costs. When you are in need of short term cash it is wise to sit down and make a list of what you are spending your money on. Making and following a budget is a smart thing to do as it alerts you beforehand to what you need to spend on necessities and what you will have left over. If you are recurrently in need of short term cash consider putting aside a little of whatever excess you have each pay cycle. Create a so-called rainy day fund so that you will have cash when you need it and will not always be paying interest on your debts.

Starting Over via Bankruptcy

If your debts are way too much you can apply for bankruptcy. You file for bankruptcy in order to restructure debt and get back on your feet. The point of bankruptcy is to continue to work and do business while dealing with debts. The court will often require debt counseling to improve how you handle your finances. This is usually a requirement for receiving bankruptcy protection from the court. And it is especially true for those who repeatedly find themselves far in debt.

In the Meantime

While you can start putting your financial house in order you still need short term cash now. Check out the folks at and see if they can help.

Background Checks

There are times when your personal security and that of your family are paramount. At those times you need information. One of those times is when you are dealing with a suspicious person who has just moved into your neighborhood or is applying to work with you. Here is where it is useful and often crucial to do a background check on that person to protect you and your family. What is a background check and how can you obtain one?

Background Checks

A background check is simply the process of looking up financial, commercial and criminal records of an individual or an organization. These records are useful if the person’s credit is at issue, their honesty or your safety. You may want a background check for a job candidate, especially if the position requires a high level of security or a is position of trust, such as in a financial institution, hospital, school, airport, or government. What you will receive should include verification of past employment, the person’s credit history, and any criminal history. In the workplace the job of vetting an employee is simple. They pass or they do not. If the issue is a suspicious neighbor the problem is twofold. One is that you need to get sufficient information to run the background check and two, if they do not pass you still have them as a neighbor. Usually one does a background check to verify that a person is who and what they say they are. But, you may be doing a background check to make sure that a person is not a dangerous criminal just released from prison. Luckily in the USA the Brady Bill requires criminal checks for those wishing to purchase handguns from licensed firearms dealers. Restricted firearms (like machine guns), suppressors, explosives or large quantities of precursor chemicals, and concealed weapons permits also require criminal checks. Background checks are also required for those working in special security positions such as airports, ports of entry, trucking and working with the elderly, disabled or children.

What Information Can You Get?

Available information in background checks includes criminal, arrest, incarceration and sex offender records. Information regarding citizenship, immigration or legal working status are available as are litigation records, driving and vehicle records, education records and records of employment.

How Do You Do a Background Check?

The most reliable way to find out criminal records is to go to the appropriate agency in your state. But this only is useful if the criminal record is in your state. There are numerous agencies that make it their business to collect background check information from across the country. These agencies will be able to tell you if a person who has just moved into your neighborhood in Iowa spent time in prison in New Jersey. The background check should include the type of offense as well as the sentence and if all time has been served. If you are concerned about the safety of your family it can be useful and worth your while to look into a background check if you are concerned about a suspicious person at work or in your neighborhood.

Dealing with Tax Debt

Tax season has come and gone but for many people tax debts remain. If you owe more than you can pay, what do you do? If you find out that you owe taxes from previous years and do not have the money what is your best course?

Double Checking and Using Professionals

Taxes and paying taxes are important parts of life. This is why it is important to take it seriously when you keep all of your records in one place throughout the year. Then when it comes time to fill out your tax return you do not miss out on any deductions. And if you always seem to be paying too much take your taxes to a professional. This serves two purposes. You will get the job done professionally for that year. And you will learn what to keep track of so that you can legally maximize deductions year by year. If you are surprised by a letter from the IRS that says that you owe on previous tax returns pull out the info for that year and double check everything. If it is not clear what happened take all of your info and old return to a professional to sort it out. And if you had your taxes done in that year by a professional and the return is called into question by all means go back to that tax preparer as the problem is now theirs as much as it is yours.

When There Is an Issue

There are times when dealing with tax debt that you and your tax professional disagree with the Internal Revenue Service or the taxing authority of your state. When that is the case you really need the services of a professional. There are tax attorneys if you have a lot of money at stake and there are tax advocates, some of whom worked previously for the IRS, who can deal one on one with people in the IRS to reach an agreeable solution. When there is an issue it is not the time to handle things yourself. You need a professional on your side. If you do not have one in mind, consider checking this option. Contact Consumer Connect. This service can put you in touch with a professional who can help you prepare your taxes, check your taxes and represent you in dealing with tax debt and the various issues that come up when dealing with state or local tax authorities.


There are people who have spent much of their working life in the Internal Revenue Service and decide that enough is enough. Some of these folks go into business for themselves and represent clients who are dealing with tax debt. These professionals may or may not be tax attorneys but they are often 1) on a first name basis with the person that you need to deal with at the IRS or 2) were the boss of that person in previous years. If you are dealing with tax debt and need help, find a professional to help negotiate on your behalf for tax amnesty or tax debt consolidation. Check out Consumer Connect and find a professional who can help you in dealing with tax debt today.

iTunes versus Google Play

Where do you go to find the latest and greatest in apps for your smart phone, laptop or desktop computer? There are two online giants with everything that you need: iTunes and Google Play.


ITunes is a media player, media library, online radio broadcaster, and mobile device management application developed by Apple Inc. Users can play, download, and organize digital audio and video for their personal computers that run OSX and Microsoft Windows operating systems. You can access iTunes from your computer or iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and now the Apple Watch. Besides music, users can download TV shows, music videos, podcasts, movies and audiobooks. In some countries users can rent movies as well. And, if you want the latest and greatest app for your iPhone, iPad, or iPodTouch you can download that from the App store.

Google Play

Google Play is a online digital distribution platform operated by Google. It is the official app store for the Android operating system. You can browse and download applications developed with the Android SDK and published through Google. It also serves as a digital media store and offers music, magazines, books, movies, and television programs. And if you want an android compatible app Google Play is the place to go. Apps can be downloaded to an android device or Google TV device using the Play Store mobile app. Many apps are user specific based on attributes of the device in question. Google Play includes Google Play Music, Google Play Books, Google Play Newsstand, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Games.

ITunes versus Google Play

Depending on the kind of device you have and the software that runs it your choice of iTunes of Google Play is made for you. This is because of operating system incompatibility. Apple and Microsoft systems are compatible on Apple devices. Microsoft systems only run Microsoft. And android systems are unique to themselves.

Android Operating System

Android is a mobile operating system based on the Linux kernel and currently developed by Google. The user interface is based on direct manipulation. Android is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers but has with specialized user interfaces for televisions (Android TV), cars (Android Auto), and wrist watches (Android Wear). The android interface uses touch inputs that loosely correspond to real-world actions, like swiping, tapping, pinching, and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects, and a virtual keyboard. Android has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems. The Google Play store has had over one million Android applications published, and over 50 billion applications downloaded.


Apple was the inventor of the personal computer in the 1970s and introduced the iPod, iPad, iPad tablet and Apple Watch smartwatch. Apple uses the OS X and iOS operating systems which are able to run Microsoft Software.


Microsoft uses the Windows operating system. The company eclipsed Apple in the 1980s by licensing its software to developers who came out with a wide range of applications. Microsoft is the dominant force worldwide in IBM compatible operating systems and business products. The company makes the Xbox and Microsoft Surface tablet computer.

Renters Insurance

If you rent your home you ought to have renters insurance. What is renters insurance and why do you need it? What should you look for? How much should you be paying? And, where do you find the best deals?

Why Do You Need Renters Insurance?

Too often tenants believe that any problems will be covered by their landlord’s insurance. The landlord’s insurance only covers what the landlord owns. The building itself and the land will be covered by the landlord’s insurance. Any of your possessions within the rental space will not be included in the landlord’s insurance policy. It may well be that this is specified in your rental agreement. Even if it is not you really need to have rental insurance to cover any damage that may occur to your belongings, theft of those belongings and things such as fire or water damage. In short, if your rent, you need renters insurance.

What Do You Want in a Rental Insurance Policy?

Personal Property Coverage: You want a policy that offers you coverage for the theft, loss or destruction of your personal belongings in the event of a fire, storm or other covered risk. You will want to replace items that you use on a daily basis such as clothing, furniture and appliances. Items such as jewelry and collectibles may require what is called floater insurance or scheduled personal property coverage. This may be extra but may be worth it if you have thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry, rare coins, etc. And you want coverage for personal belongings when they are outside of your home, such as when you take your laptop computer with you on a trip and it is stolen.

Liability Coverage: A friend of a friend is injured in an accident in your home. He or she is no longer a friend but a claimant for injuries suffered. Your renters insurance should have liability coverage in case you are sued by a guest who is injured in your home. Such coverage takes care of legal expenses, medical bills and any and all other damages. Liability coverage should also cover damages that you or your family cause by accident to others. A common example is when your son throws a baseball through the neighbor’s living room window.

Additional Living Expenses: If there is a fire in your apartment where will you live? Your renters insurance policy should cover temporary living expenses such as staying in a hotel and eating in restaurants.

Who Does and Does Not Have Renters Insurance?

Only about three out of ten renters have renters insurance. This is typically a matter of people not knowing that renters insurance is available or simply not having thought about it. Cost is typically not an issue as a very basic policy will commonly run between fifteen and twenty dollars a month. Renters insurance is available from any insurance agent and there are many listings on the internet. It is a good idea to make sure that the policy that you are getting will cover what you need and that the price is competitive.

Ways to Make Money from Home in Your Spare Time

Out of work and need something to do to make money? Or do you simply have time on your hands want to put it to good use? There are lots of ways to make money from home in your spare time. The kind of work that you need to look for is often available on the internet and something that you can do when you have time and ignore when you do not. The idea is to think creatively in order to make money from home in your spare time. What are your skills and assets? Are you fluent in Spanish and English and do you have a computer and a headset? There are jobs that require bilingual persons working a computer anywhere in the world. Using the extra language, or two, that you know is a great way to make money from home in your spare time. Be a translator, an online call center person working from home or someone who acts a virtual assistant to one or more persons elsewhere in the world. We offer just a few examples but once you get the idea of what sort of things are possible you will find many more.

Survey Taker

A simple way to make money from home in your spare time is to answer surveys. Big companies like Coca Cola, McDonalds, Target or VISA pay to find out what people are thinking. Set yourself up for taking surveys and answering questions and make money from home in your spare time. Take a look at this link. It goes to a web site that offers work filling out surveys, for a chance to win $50,000!

Virtual Assistant

If you are someone who juggles the family calendar and likes to organize and keep organized you may want to look for work online as a virtual assistant. Doctor’s offices, dentists offices, physical therapists and virtually any business needs someone to make appointments, hand email, set up travel arrangements and handle personal matters as well such as how to get a child from school to an appointment when mom or dad cannot get out of the office to help. The skills you will need are the ability to speak clearly and organize well and you will need a home computer with a reasonably fast internet connection and a headset that allows you communicate with anyone else in the world. Having Microsoft office on your computer helps although employers will commonly provide the software that you will need. Workers commonly get $10 an hour through staffing agencies for this kind or work two and three times as much when working directly for the employer.

Online Reseller

People need things and often do not have the time and patience needed to track down the items that they need. Experience buying and selling through Craig’s List or EBay is useful. Any you will need a head for numbers as you will need to be able to find things that are under priced and sell them for a fair and substantially higher price. It helps to develop a list of sources of surplus merchandise that you can turn around and promote.

And More

You can make money from home in your spare time working as a call center employee, document translator, data entry person, answering service employee, interview transcriber, content writer, affiliate blogger, online tutor and teacher, tech support rep and seller of beauty products. It all has to do with assessing your skill set and finding a job that fits.

Dealing with Disabilities

Anger, grief, fear and shock are common reactions to permanent disability, yours or a loved one’s. Some disabilities are partial and have a measurable but limited effect on a person’s life. And some disabilities are total and change our lives forever. The reaction one has to disabilities and the difficulty in dealing with disabilities is strongly related to the totality and severity of disabilities. And, our reaction to disabilities is normal. The healthy thing is to talk about your reaction to the disability. There is no right or wrong reaction when dealing with disabilities. There are, however, more and less effective approaches. Learning how to effectively adapt is the key.

Learning to and Coping with Change

It is common that a person will need to change where they work or where they live or make changes to compensate for a disability. Calmly analyzing the situation and making concrete plans is healthy as well as necessary. Here are a few insights from those who have learned how to deal with disabilities.

Daily Activities

You or your love one will find certain activities impossible without taking a different approach or getting help. Common daily tasks may take longer to accomplish. It is important to understand this, accept it and plan the day to get things done as efficiently as possible given new circumstances. A commonly successful approach is to break tasks down into small bits and learn to accomplish those small bits one at a time, adding a new task once the first has been mastered.

Assistive Devices

If an assistive device such as a wheelchair is needed get professional advice and check to see if your insurance covers the cost. This is commonly the case. Assistive devices such as brushes with suction cups, “clapper” light switches, cutting boards for one hand use, door openers, garage door openers, holders (drink, utensils, etc.), one-handed can openers, portable phones, reachers, remote controls, scoop dishes, under-cabinet jar openers, and wheeled laundry baskets are all helpful under certain circumstances. A rehabilitation specialist will often help you or your loved one in picking and choosing which devices will be helpful to you and help you learn how to use them.

Scheduling and Making Special Arrangements

You may be disabled but you can often travel, attend sporting events or simply spend time out of doors in a park. In each case it is wise to think though what is necessary. Ask the airline for a seat at the front of the compartment for easier access. Make sure to ask to get on the plane first and leave last. Aisle seats are good. Rental cars can come with hand controls if you ask ahead of time and hotels have many handicapped accessible features if you check in advance. If you need a wheel chair make sure that the restaurant you want to go to has an access ramp and easy access inside the restaurant. Sending someone to scout out facilities beforehand is a good idea.

Communication Is Often the Key

Communication is a two way street. If you are dealing with disabilities, your own, remember that other folks are not familiar with what you are going through and how your disabilities affect you. Do not be afraid to explain what for you is obvious to those who do not get it right away. And if you have a friend or loved one who is disabled do not be afraid to ask specific questions in order to find out what you can do and how you can help. And, talk to the person, not the disability. Your friend or family member is a person with a disability and not a disabled person!

Patience, Practice and Success

Dealing with disabilities can be tiring, frustrating and painful. Be patient. In dealing with disabilities things often take more time to accomplish. Practice until you get it right. Many times you or your loved one need to develop an entirely new skill set that simply takes repetition to learn correctly. And acknowledge success. Dealing with disabilities can be difficult and rewarding yourself or your friend with kind words goes a long way towards making life easier and disabilities more bearable.

Offer to Help; Don’t Insist

A common response when one is in the presence of a person with disabilities is to take over and do things when things are going too slowly. First of all ask the person if he or she wants help. If you are the person with a disability ask for help when you need it and tell the person that you need to do it yourself if they are interfering. There are skill sets to be learned when dealing with disabilities and many times the person with the disability needs to be left alone for a minute in order to develop that skill set and not be rescued every time things go slowly and those around start to feel uncomfortable.

Know Your Rights if You Have Mesothelioma

We have written about mesothelioma, prevention and monitoring and about coping with mesothelioma. If you have this disease you know how difficult it is and what damage it does to your family. You also may or may not be aware that you may be able to recover damages for the harm and suffering that this disease has done to you and your loved ones. The bottom line is that exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma and this has been known for a long time. If you or your loved one worked around asbestos and were not properly protected the fault may lie with your employer. If this is the case you may be entitled to damages in a court of law. Know your rights if you have mesothelioma. Visit this link to find out if you are entitled to damages for the harm and suffering you have endured from this disease.

Getting Expert Help

We wrote about getting expert help in treating mesothelioma and how new methods of therapy can prolong your life. We wrote about coping with mesothelioma and how there are practical things that you can do to make things easier. The same applies to getting legal help in asserting your rights. A simple mistake in preparation and/or presentation of your case can leave you with no payment for the harm and suffering that you and your loved ones have endured. Find an expert who deals with the legal aspects of health issues and the legal aspects of proving fault in cases such as asbestos exposure. Click this link for more information and help in dealing with a legal claim regarding mesothelioma.

Know Your Rights

What are your rights if you have mesothelioma? You have the right to state of the art medical care. You have the right to an investigation as to how you got the disease. And you have the right to compensation if someone else is at fault for your being exposed to asbestos and getting mesothelioma. Find out your rights by clicking here.

For a review of our previous articles about mesothelioma visit the links below.

What Is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the chest cavity, heart or abdomen. Exposure to asbestos is the main cause and risk factor leading to mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos related diseases.

Mesothelioma: Prevention and Monitoring

Last week we asked, what is mesothelioma, and looked at some facts and figures about the disease. Despite the fact that we know that exposure to asbestos fibers causes this disease, mesothelioma cases continue to surface. As an example, reports new mesothelioma cases from the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota.

Coping with Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a devastating disease. Not only is it eventually fatal but the disease can take a terrible toll on the family of the person with the disease. Much can be learned from those who have traveled the same path that you are on. Here are several suggestions for coping with mesothelioma.

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