Give the Gift of Education

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.


The Holiday season is quickly approaching!! If you are anything like me, than you are buying all your gifts online and will skip the madness of shopping in person.

The #TampaTrio put together their Christmas Wish List.

And I must say, I am pretty proud of what they put down. They were asked by their Nanny to each chose ONE item that would be a DREAM item, likely something that they would never receive. I'm not sure what Haley's dream item is, as all of the things on her list are totally within our reach. Ella chose a cruise, and Ronin chose an iPad. An "itoy" will never happen in our house because Daddy is a die-hard Microsoft addict.

But what I did notice was that each of them chose at least one item that I would consider educational. Haley asked for books, Ella asked for checkers, and Ronin asked for gems/crystals.

They will certainly get {nearly} all the items on their wish lists.

But what they didn't ask for, and what Daddy and I got for each of them was the Gift of Education.

We have paid off IN FULL all of their remaining balances on their Florida Prepaid College Fund!!

We had 7 years left on Haley's, 8 years for Ella, and 9 years for Ronin, but we decided to pay them off early!!

James and I had our trio when we were a bit older. By the time the kids head off to college, we will be nearing retirement age. We wanted to make sure that the kids had money for college AND we had money for retirement. There have been COUNTLESS times when a friend has said to me "wow, 3 in college at the same time, that's going to be hard on you."

But with the Florida Prepaid College Plan it takes what seems like an IMPOSSIBLE task into one that is very POSSIBLE. And my family is proof of that. 

We've taken a few college visits to my Alma Maters, and so far the Trio all say that they want to stay in Florida to go to college. Did you realize that EVERY Floridian lives within 50 miles of an post-secondary learning institution? I didn't. But this map clearly shows where all state schools are located!

But if something happens, and the kids decide to go to school somewhere else, say North Carolina, OR we move out of Florida what would happen to their plans and our money?? If we move, the child remains eligible for in-state tuition and fees at a Florida College or State University when they use the plan. That is AWESOME!! And if we move, we can apply that money towards college in another state.

You can check out all the plans HERE. There is a plan for every family, for every budget, so don't delay! Sign your kid(s) up today and give them the best gift of all....EDUCATION!


Because I'm all about them books #StartingIsBelieving

The following post is sponsored by Florida Prepaid. I received no monetary compensation and all thoughts are my own.

Because I'm all about them books, 'bout them books, 


I'm all about them books, 'bout them books,


I'm bringing READING BACK,

Go 'head and tell your parent's that....

Seriously though...

I LOVE TO READ. My oldest daughter can always be found with a book (or seven) in her backpack. I work as a professional senior level librarian for Hillsborough County. Books and literacy ARE MY LIFE! 

Countless studies show that children that read both fiction or non-fiction, will broaden their understanding of the world. Those who read have been known to have more finely-tuned brains than those who prefer more passive activities, so anyone hoping to improve their mind both psychologically and cognitively might want to think about taking up the habit of regular reading.


I'm so happy to be able to tell you today about the Florida Prepaid book fair with Barnes & Noble.

Barnes & Noble will be hosting a Bookfair at nine store locations in Florida, as well as online. Through the use of the Florida Prepaid Bookfair ID number, a percentage of each purchase will benefit the Florida Prepaid College Foundation. Since its founding in 1990, the Foundation has committed to giving aspiring students the opportunity to build a better future for themselves and our state by providing college scholarships.


The idea of this partnership will be to encourage parents to enable their children to continue their education at home through books, informational DVDs, etc.


Barnes & Noble will be hosting the bookfair from Feb.6-9, and the following cities will be participating: Tallahassee, Ocala, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando. Floridians statewide can participate by shopping online. The Bookfair ID needed at the time of checkout is: 11549573


But that's not all!!


The Florida Prepaid College Foundation is having a scholarship giveaway with the primary purpose of educating Florida families across the state about the importance of saving for college and encourage them to start saving by showing them how easy and affordable saving for college can be.

–     There will be TEN winners which will receive a 1-Year Florida University               Plans.

–     The promotion will run 30 days – Jan 21 through Feb 18.

–     Accessed from:

–     Floridians can enter daily for a chance to win a 1-Year Florida University Plan

 I have already entered for my chance to win a one year scholarship for one of the #TampaTrio. Now it's your turn!!



The #TampaTrio go to College #StartingisBelieving

The following post is sponsored by Florida Prepaid. I received no monetary compensation and all thoughts are my own.

It sounds like a great title for a fiction book, doesn't it?

The Tampa Trio go to college.

But I'm hopeful that it won't be a fiction novel.

Having 3 children only 30 months apart in age (all singletons) means that I will have 3 children in college AT THE SAME TIME.


My husband and I also chose to have our children a bit later in life, so our kids will be hitting college when we're in our mid-50's, at a time when saving for retirement needs to be a top priority.

But we also don't want to saddle our children with ridiculous amounts of debt. And honestly we REFUSE to saddle ourselves with college debt. Been there, done that. Still paying on it.

So what's a college loving family to do?


When each of our children were in Kindergarten we enrolled each of them in the 2-Year Florida College Plan: The 2-Year Florida College Plan covers Tuition, as well as the mandatory Local Fees, for 60 lower division credit hours at one of 28 Florida Colleges (formerly Community Colleges). This plan offers a child the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree or trade certification in any number of fields, and is an excellent springboard to a fulfilling career or further education.

I started my college experience at my local community college, Manatee Community College, now called The State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota and it provided me with an EXCELLENT opportunity to decide if college was the right path for ME. Of course, we all know how that ended up. Yes, college was for me, and I have the multiple advanced degrees to show for it. Wink

Living in Tampa we have excellent community colleges nearby, and of course The University of South Florida, so the Tampa Trio will always have a roof over their head while they are in school (NO, I WILL NOT DO THEIR LAUNDRY!!)

Knowing that the Trio will have something set aside will help us avoid the stress of saving for both college AND retirement.

Back in 2009, 2010, and 2011 when we signed our kids up, we had to pay a $50 enrollment fee.

But if you sign up BEFORE December 31, 2014, the $50 fee will be WAIVED!!

The Open Enrollment period beginning Oct. 15, 2014 and ending Feb. 28, 2015 is a historic one, marked by the lowest prices on Florida Prepaid College Plans since 2007 and a new 1-Year Florida University Plan costing as little as $43 a month for a newborn. The Florida Prepaid College Board was able to reduce prices on some of the most popular plans following a new state law that limits the future cost of tuition.

Curious how much you should be saving for your child? You can check out the College Savings Demo from

Have you started saving for your child's college education?