April 2016 - History Gal

What Happened Today in May?

What Happened in History? May by History Gal

May 1, 1960

Soviets shot down an American U-2 spy plane. Read the official communications between the US and USSR about the incident.

May 2, 1960

Dick Clark escaped unscathed in the Payola Scandal. What was the Payola scandal? Read this article to find out and then watch an interview with Dick Clark discussing the scandal.

May 3, 1942

The Battle of Coral Sea began. Watch this video to learn about the battle and why it's important.
History Gal

May 4, 1980

Josip Broz Tito, the leader of Yugoslavia, died. Go to the New York Times and read an article of your choosing about Marshall Tito.

May 5, 1904

Cy Young pitched a perfect game. Learn more about him at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

May 6, 1937

The Hindenburg exploded. Listen and view the eyewitness report.

May 7, 1954

The French were defeated at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Watch a BBC documentary about the Siege of Dien Bien Phu.

May 8, 1541

Hernando deSoto reached the Mississippi River. Watch this PBS video about the explorer and his accomplishments.

May 9, 1887

Buffalo Bill's Wild West show opened. Read an article about the show and watch the film clips. Then, read about some of the show's stars and watch some show footage of Buffalo Bill.

May 10, 1980

US government gave Chrysler a $1.5 billion loan. Watch this video to learn more.

May 11, 1969

US paratroopers fought in the Battle of Hamburger Hill. Watch this video to learn about the battle.

May 12, 1975

The US freighter Mayaguez was seized by Cambodian forces. Visit the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum to view images and learn more about this international incident.

May 13, 1846

President Polk declared war on Mexico. Explore the PBS site US-Mexican War.

May 14, 1796

Edward Jenner tested his smallpox vaccine. Visit Dr. Jenner's House to learn about smallpox and his important discovery.

May 15, 1972

Alabama governor George Wallace was shot. Read a Washington Post article about the attack.

May 16, 1770

Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette got married. Visit the Chateau de Versailles and read about their wedding. Then, take some time to explore the site and learn more about the two.

May 17, 1954

The US Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education. Read the transcript.

May 18, 1871

Chief Santana led a massacre of a wagon train near Red River, Texas. Visit the Kansas Historical Society to learn about him and then view the digitized primary sources.

May 19, 1588

The Spanish Armada set sail. Read about the armada and the significance of its defeat.

May 20, 1873

Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a patent for blue jeans. Read about the history of Levi jeans and check out at least one of the videos.

May 21, 1927

Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris. Read an article about his feat and then spend some time exploring the site.

May 22, 1455

War of the Roses began. Check out this Shmoop video.

May 23, 1701

Captain Kidd was executed for piracy and murder. Read his biography and then read to see if his sunken treasure was discovered.

May 24, 1883

Brooklyn Bridge opened. Read an eyewitness account of its construction, some facts about the bridge and then view some primary sources about the bridge.

May 25, 1977 

The movie Star Wars opened in theaters. Check it out here and watch the opening crawl.

May 26, 1927

Last production day of the Model T. Read some facts about the Model T and then watch "Driving a Model T."

May 27, 1703

St. Petersburg was founded. Read a collection of primary sources about Peter the Great.

May 28, 1940

Belgium surrendered to the Germans. Read this article and then view the photographs, maps, and film footage.

May 29, 1953

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mt. Everest. Explore Scholastic's site on Hillary.

May 30, 1431

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Watch a 5 minute summary of the Hundred Years War.

May 31, 2005

Deep Throat was identified as W. Mark Felt. Read a Newsweek article about the sources including Deep Throat that helped topple Nixon and watch a short video about why Felt revealed himself 30 years later.

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Thriving on a Teacher's Salary: Let's Talk Credit Cards

by History Gal

You know the slogans.  You hear them on the radio and see the commercials on television and online. You get mailings from credit card companies enticing you with fantastic rewards and bonus points.

So, how many cards are in your wallet? I intentionally have just 1.

Reality Check #1: Credit card companies don't offer us credit cards out of the goodness of their hearts. Credit cards companies run a business. If they weren't making a profit, they wouldn't be enticing us to sign up.

Credit card companies make their money by charging businesses fees when a customer uses a credit card and by charging us interest on any unpaid bill balances we carry.  Do you know what the interest rates are on your credit cards?  Did you know that if you make a late payment, credit card companies can increase that interest rate? For example, if I were to miss a payment, my credit interest rate jumps from 18% to almost 30%! 

Credit card companies are now required to show you how long it would take you to pay off your credit card bill if you just made the minimum payment and what the total cost would be.

Imagine you had a balance of $3000 on your credit card and you pay the minimum balance of  $30 a month. If you did not charge another penny to this credit card, it would take you 15 years and over $6000 to pay off your credit card bill!

According to a 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances by the U.S. Federal Reserves, 38% of Americans carry credit card debt. If you have credit card debt and are wondering where to even start in paying down your debt, check out Credit Card Insider's article How to Pay Off Debt.

Reality Check #2: When you make a credit card purchase, you are getting a 30 day or so no-interest loan from your credit card provider.

Thriving on a Teacher's Salary
It's not free money. It's a loan with terms and conditions. Yes, I love the ease of making purchases with my credit card, but it is really easy to overspend since I don't have to actually pay for my purchases until later.

My mom gave me very important piece of advice when I got my first credit card as a freshman in college. She said to treat every credit card purchase like a debit and deduct it from the balance in my checkbook. That way, when the credit card bill arrived, I would have already deducted the money from my account and all I would have to do was write the check. It's a strategy I use to this day. There is no stress when the credit card bill arrives because I know the money is there in my checking account. At any given time, I know exactly how much I have left in my account to spend because I have counted that credit card purchase, not as a loan, but as if I had actually used my own money for the purchase.

Reality Check #3: You may not need all those credit cards in your wallet.

When my husband and I made the decision to live on just his teaching salary so I could stay home with our kids, we took a long, hard look at the credit cards we were carrying and made the decision to cancel all but two (one for him and one for me).

 I probably had half a dozen retail credit cards from some of my favorite stores. I realized that these cards encouraged me to spend more than I really should. It was too easy to buy $300 worth of clothes and just swipe the credit card. I canceled the cards and cut them up. Now, I always say no when the sales clerk asks if I would like to save an additional 20%. Of course, I'd love to save that extra 20% - I am a bargain hunter at heart - but, I have committed to staying within our budget and not overspend. Maybe, you don't have the same problem I had. But, if you are carrying debt on multiple cards - especially retail cards - it may be time to take your own long, hard look at what you are carrying in your wallet.

Credit cards definitely have their uses and I use mine almost daily. It is just important to use credit cards as part of a budget and not as a way to buy more than you can afford.

What are some ways you keep your credit card spending in check?


Looking for some other ways to Thrive on a Teacher's Salary? Check out these posts! 

Musings of a History Gal
Musings of a History Gal

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