Cosmetology is the practice in which a professional beautifies the hair, skin or face. Cosmetologists may be hair stylists, makeup specialists, nail technicians or skin specialists. In order to become a cosmetologist, you must attend cosmetology school and get your license. With the average cost of school being about $20,000, this isn’t a career to be taken lightly. Fortunately, there are ways you can save on your program of choice.
Here, we’re looking at what to expect from cosmetology education and how to save money in the process.
Saving money on cosmetology school
Among the tricks to saving expenses include:
- Only take out loans for money that you need – Students oftentimes get themselves in trouble because they take out more money in loans than they actually need. If you need a loan to help pay for tuition or for a portion of your living expenses, that’s understandable. But if you request more loan money to pay for your expensive eating habits or fine taste in clothing, that’s unnecessary. Get into good money habits when you’re young – the results will pay off immensely.
- Look into cosmetology grants – There are two types of grants – need-based grants and merit-based grants. Need-based grants are based off of your income. Merit-based grants are awarded to students who qualify for reasons other than low income. These can include anything from being a single mom to being a certain ethnicity. There are millions of dollars available in grants and scholarships; it’s up to you to get awarded them.
- Choose a less expensive school – While some beauty schools cost tens of thousands of dollars, that doesn’t mean all of them do. Do an extensive search in your area on the cost of several different schools. Find one that fits or comes closest to your predetermined budget and go with that one. After getting your license, you can gain experience and work your way up to where you want to be. Once you have 10 years of experience under your belt, it won’t matter what school you graduated from.
- Work part-time while in school – Most cosmetology schools offer classes at night. Consider working as a receptionist at a salon during the day and going to school at night. Yes, you will be extremely busy, but most cosmetology programs are only 9 months to 2 years, so you can make it work. If the school of your choice only has classes during the day, pick up a serving job part-time to bring in some extra money. The less debt you have when you graduate, the better.
- Take your licensure test immediately after graduating – If you’re forced to wait a few months to take your licensure examination, apply at salons in the meantime instead of sitting around. There are salons out there that will hire people who have completed their program of study but are still waiting to get licensed. Another benefit of taking the test as soon as possible is the information is still fresh on your mind.
Get into a program, study hard and stay focused.
Take out minimal, if any, loans and look for grants and scholarships.
It won’t be long until you’re a licensed cosmetologist and gaining a reliable and steady influx of clients – and a steady paycheck!
About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ. She writes on saving money, small businesses and travel.
In the wake of America’s biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression, many find themselves working at jobs that not only pay less but also provide far fewer benefits than was the case before the slump.
For those looking beyond their working years to what hopefully will be a financially secure and comfortable retirement, the outlook for reaching their goals may seem very gloomy indeed.
But with a little strategic planning, in time you can move from a low-paying job now to a more lucrative position that will allow you to set aside more savings for the future and your eventual retirement.
And if you play your cards right, you may land a position with a company that offers a retirement savings plan such as the 401k that allows you to grow your money at an even faster pace.
Advance Planning Is Key
Like anything worthwhile in life, retirement requires advance planning — lots of planning.
You need to decide what sort of life you want to lead after leaving the workplace and, most importantly, the level of monthly income you’ll need to pay the way for such a lifestyle.
To achieve savings goals, you first must decide how much you’ll need to save to support you in your retirement years.
Without savings goals, you have no way to gauge just how much should be put aside in savings each month to accumulate your retirement nest egg.
Survey Findings Alarming
Nearly half of all American workers 45 and older have made no attempt to calculate the amount of money they’ll need to save in order to finance a comfortable retirement. This alarming statistic comes from a 2013 survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to helping develop sound employee benefit programs.
Not surprisingly, the same EBRI survey indicated that far more American workers expect to be working longer before retirement than was the case a decade ago.
EBRI’s 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey also revealed that only 67 percent of those surveyed believe they will have enough money to cover their basic expenses during retirement. That’s down sharply from 80 percent in 2012.
Breaking down the 2013 data even further, 24 percent of respondents are very confident they’ll have the money they need to cover basic expenses, while 43 percent describe themselves as only “somewhat confident.”
Get a Plan Started
The most important step you can take toward retirement is to draw up a plan that can serve as your roadmap to the life you hope to lead after your working days are over. The earlier you start this plan, the better. However, it’s never too late to put a plan into place.
You’ll find a wide array of online planning tools that can provide a framework for your retirement plan. CNN Money’s Retirement Planner is a simple tool that can get you started. Or you can use one of the online templates as a model for a retirement planner of your own design.
Save for Retirement
Ideally, you should be stashing away 15 percent of your current gross income into a retirement savings fund.
If that’s impossible given your modest current earnings, save as much as you possibly can. If and when you move on to a better-paying job, you can try to increase your savings to compensate for the years when you were unable to save as much.
Take full advantage of your employer’s savings plans, particularly 401k plans in which the employer matches your contributions, at least up to a certain percentage point.
Another worthwhile investment opportunity available from many employers is an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, which allows vested employees to purchase company stock at a discounted rate.
Typically, employees put a specific amount of pre-tax earnings into an ESOP fund that is used to purchase company shares at, say, 85 percent of face value. Assuming the company is solid financially and doing well, that amounts to an instant 15 percent savings, which can add up quickly over time.
If you are currently working in a job where no such employee benefits are offered, your search for a better-paying job should also take into consideration what benefit plans are available from prospective employers. Whether you work for company that sells real estate, markets various products and services, specializes in mobile payments or offers various financial investments, take advantage of what your employer offers you.
Timing Your Retirement
While most individuals dream of retiring as early as possible, that might not be a viable option for you, particularly if you’re getting a late start on your retirement plan or if you’re now unable to save as much as you’d like for the future.
Working a few years longer, however, can pay significant dividends, particularly when it comes to the size of your Social Security check each month.
Forbes magazine estimates that an unmarried worker earning $50,000 a year would get a monthly check of $1,011 if he took early retirement at age 62 in mid-2013. If he waits until the full retirement age of 66, the check would increase to about $1,420.
Postponing benefits until age 70, the worker would receive a monthly check of $1,972, almost twice the amount of the monthly benefits from early retirement.
About the Author: Jay Fremont is a freelance author who has written extensively about personal finance, corporate strategy and social media.
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