Purge Your College Budget of These Money Wasters in 2015

Categories: College Life

urlAs a college student, you probably don’t have a big stash of cash, and maxing out your credit cards can ruin your credit score. But you hate to turn down a good concert and spring break is right around the corner. So how do you avoid financial disaster without living like a recluse? Our tips for creating a college budget will prove that all you need is a dash of discipline and dose of creativity to make your cash stretch further than you ever thought possible.

1. Entertainment
Money waster: Compared to other entertainment options, you might think going to the movies is cheap. But the cost of admission is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you’re there, you’re sure to head to the snack bar where you’ll fork out cash for popcorn, candy, and soda.

Penny saver: Grab an “almost new” release from Redbox or Netflix and invite a few friends over to your dorm room. Split the cost of pizza, soda, and chips and you can enjoy a Friday night movie marathon for half the price of going to the theater. Bonus: You can take a bathroom break whenever you want without missing a thing. If you need a theater fix, go during the day when ticket prices are generally cheaper and don’t forget to ask about a student discount.

2. School Supplies
Money waster: No doubt that fancy pen looks cool and you’d like to upgrade your computer, but spending money on unnecessary school supplies can put a serious drain on your budget.

Penny saver: Consider buying school supplies in bulk and splitting the cost with a few friends. From notebooks and highlighters, to USB flash drives, buying in bulk is a smart move. And instead of charging a new computer on your credit card, start a savings plan and, once you’ve saved enough, pay in cash. Keep in mind that there’s a best and worst time to buy things you’ll need as a college student. For example, school supplies and computers are often discounted in August and September when retailers offer back to school deals. And don’t forget that some retailers offer additional savings to college students, so shop with your college ID in hand.

3. Food and Drink
Money waster: According to a survey by the Bureau of Labor, the average college student spends over seven percent of their income on dining out and nearly two percent on buying alcohol. That’s roughly twice the amount someone in their 40’s or 50’s spends. From nixing your daily latte to avoiding a late night burger, there’s a good chance you can free up cash by making better choices when it comes to food and drink.

Penny saver: College-aged or not, we all make the mistake of eating out for convenience sake. Instead of running to your favorite fast food joint, consider getting on a meal plan and using it. Your college’s meal plan may cost a pretty penny upfront, but it will likely save you a lot of money in the long run. For dorm snacks, buy in bulk with your suitemates and stash a few goodies in your backpack so you won’t waste money on that snack machine outside the lecture hall.

4. Transportation
Money waster: Having a car at college is a nice perk, but car insurance, parking permits, gas, and regular upkeep can take a toll on your meager budget.

Penny saver: If you must have a car at school, keep it parked as often as possible and opt for public transportation. If mass transit isn’t an option, carpool whenever possible and “just say no” to that pal who is constantly nagging you for a lift.

5. Consider a Cheaper College
Money waster: Going to a prestigious college can offer some benefits, but only if you can afford it. Unfortunately many college-bound seniors don’t consider the long-term financial impact of going to a pricey college, not the least of which is being saddled with exorbitant student loan debt that could take decades to pay off.

Penny saver: There are a few reasons to consider transferring colleges, and saving money is one of them. Believe it or not, a handful of affordable private colleges and universities offer an excellent education. You might also consider going to a budget-friendly community college and then transferring to the university of your dreams at the start of your junior year. If you decide to stay put, boost your money management IQ with an online course like the “Money Matters” course a few colleges in Minnesota offer.

Start saving money today by creating a budget.
If this is the semester you’re going to get serious about cracking down on your spending, you need to establish a budget. A budget will not only reveal where you’re wasting money, it can also help you get your spending under control and keep it that way. Best yet, you’ll develop amazing money management skills that will serve you well throughout college and beyond. To get started, use an interactive budget worksheet or a convenient budgeting app created especially for college students.

Build a budget and use these tips to spend your pennies wisely. Then explore more ways to be a money savvy college student.

image credit: moneytalksnews.com

Original Post Date: February 3rd, 2015

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42 Scholarships Expiring in February

mzm.zqreetenLate winter is a very popular time for scholarship deadlines! That’s why there are many opportunities on this list of scholarships with February deadlines we’ve compiled for you below. Enjoy!

1. Playing With Purpose Scholarship Program

Deadline: February 1      Award: $300 – $2,000
Must be varsity-level athletes in one or more sports

2. AXA Achievement Community Scholarship

Deadline: February 1      Award: $2,500
Must demonstrate achievement in school, community, or work activities

3. Abercrombie & Fitch Anti-Bullying Scholarship Program

Deadline: February 1      Award: varies
Must have academically persevered while experiencing bullying and/or must have lead anti-bullying efforts in school or the community

4. John F. and Anna Lee Stacey Scholarship Fund for Art Education

Deadline: February 1      Award: $5,000
Must be pursuing a profession in visual arts

5. Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award

Deadline: February 1      Award: $10,000
Must be classical musicians, vocalists, or composers

6. Naomi Winston Scholarship in Art

Deadline: February 1      Award: $5,000
Must submit a CD and printout of two-dimensional, original artworks

7. Shirley Rabb Winston Scholarship in Voice

Deadline: February 1      Award: $5,000
Must submit a ten-minute vocal performance

8. National Garden Clubs College Scholarships

Deadline: February 1      Award: $3,500
Must be pursuing a career related to gardening, landscape design, environmental issues, floral design, or horticulture

9. eSchoolView Student Scholarship Program

Deadline: February 1      Award: $1,000 – $5,000
Must be interested in studying graphic design, web design, or development

10. IFSEA Worthy Goal Scholarship

Deadline: February 1      Award: $500 – $1,500
Must be pursuing a food service-related major

11. ASRT Foundation Entry-Level Scholarships

Deadline: February 1      Award: $2,500 – $4,000
Must be majoring in a radiologic science program, such as radiation therapy, radiography, sonography, magnetic resonance, or nuclear medicine

12. American Atheists Scholarship

Deadline: February 1      Award: $500 – $1,000
Must be atheists

13. CPF College Scholarship for Students with Craniofacial Differences

Deadline: February 1      Award: $500
Must have a craniofacial anomaly, such as cleft palate or cleft lip

14. Raytheon Patriot Scholarship

Deadline: February 1      Award: $10,000
Must be student veterans pursuing studies in engineering

15. Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: February 5      Award: $1,000 – $10,000
Must be majoring in accounting, business administration, finance, or criminal justice

16. Davidson Fellows Scholarship

Deadline: February 11      Award: $10,000 – $50,000
Must have completed a significant piece of work that falls into one of the following categories: science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature, music, philosophy, or outside the box

17. Media Plan Case Competition

Deadline: February 11      Award: $2,000 – $3,000
Must team up with another student to submit a competitive media plan

18. Courageous Persuaders Competition

Deadline: February 12      Award: $250 – $3,000
Must create a TV commercial that warns middle school students about the dangers of underage drinking

19. Richie’s Spirit Scholarship

Deadline: February 13      Award: $1,000
Must demonstrate strong leadership roles in the community

20. Proton OnSite Scholarship and Innovation Program

Deadline: February 13      Award: $25,000
Must submit an essay related to renewable energy and hydrogen generation

21. Queer Foundation High School Seniors English Essay Contest

Deadline: February 14      Award: $1,000
Must be LGBTQ or LGBTQ allies

22. AFA Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship

Deadline: February 15      Award: $500 – $5,000
Must write an autobiographical essay related to Alzheimer’s disease

23. Richard and Elizabeth Dean Scholarship

Deadline: February 15      Award: $5,000
Must have a minimum 4.0 GPA

24. Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Award

Deadline: February 15      Award: $7,500
Must be minority high school seniors who demonstrate academic achievement, financial need, and leadership potential

25. American Indian Services Scholarship

Deadline: February 15      Award: varies
Must be Native American students

26. RiSE Scholarship

Deadline: February 15      Award: varies
Must have a documented learning disability

27. Tall Clubs International Student Scholarships

Deadline: February 15      Award: $1,000
Must meet TCI minimum height requirements of 5’10″ for women and 6’2″ for men

28. Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest

Deadline: February 18      Award: $10,000
Must create and submit a photo, artwork, or computer graphic for the front of a greeting card

29. Gordon A. Rich Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: February 18      Award: $12,500
Must have a parent or legal guardian who has a full-time career in the financial services industry

30. Michael Yasick ADHD Scholarship

Deadline: February 18      Award: $2,000
Must have been diagnosed with ADHD

31. Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship

Deadline: February 20      Award: $500 – $10,000
Must promote vegetarianism in school or the community

32. The Christophers’ Poster Contest for High School Students

Deadline: February 21      Award: $100 – $1,000
Must create an original poster that interprets the theme, “You Can Make a Difference”

33. GEICO Achievement Award

Deadline: February 22     Award: $1,000
Must be majoring in business, computer science, or a related program

34. John Lennon Scholarship

Deadline: February 27      Award: $5,000 – $10,000
Must submit an original song with lyrics

35. Spirit of Anne Frank Scholarship Award

Deadline: February 27      Award: $5,000 $10,000
Must have proven yourself to be an exceptional leader in the community

36. LAGRANT Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship

Deadline: February 27      Award: $2,500
Must be minority students majoring in public relations, marketing, advertising, or communications

37. Buick Achievers Scholarship Program

Deadline: February 27      Award: $2,000 – $25,000
Must demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in the automotive or related industries

38. William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fellowship for Minority Students

Deadline: February 27      Award: $2,000 – $4,000
Must be minority students with an interest in nonprofits, philanthropy, and the social sector

39. Congressional Black Caucus Spouses General Mills Health Scholarship

Deadline: February 28      Award: varies
Must be pursuing a degree in medicine, engineering, technology, nutrition, or another health-related field

40. GreenPal Business Scholarship

Deadline: February 28      Award: $2,000
Must be enrolled in a college of business

41. NAWIC Founders’ Undergraduate Scholarship

Deadline: February 28      Award: $500 – $2,500
Must be enrolled in a construction-related degree program

42. CORE Que Lleva Cafe Scholarship

Deadline: February 28      Award: $500
Must be undocumented students of Chicano/Latino descent

Get access to thousands more scholarships — create your free account on Cappex today!

image credit: villageofjoy.com

Original Post Date: January 29th, 2015

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Productivity Boost: Organizational Tips for Making Your Dorm Room the Study Safe Haven of Your Dreams

Categories: College Life

YAs a retired Resident Advisor, I can honestly say that I have seen an abundance of dorm rooms. Hundreds in fact. The good, the bad, the clean, the filthy—I’ve seen it all. And in my time, I have seen some truly ingenious ways to organize small spaces. Organization can be the key to determining whether your room is a productive, study-friendly haven or just a place where you dump your dirty laundry every few days.

There are things, like living alone or having a lofted bed, that may help with space control. But for this article, let’s assume that most of you have a standard, shared dorm-style room with all of the basics: bed, dresser, closet, and desk. Here are a few organizational tips that will help you turn your space into the study spot you desperately desire.

Bed

Ah, the bed. The true focal point of your room. The place for you to crash between classes and to prop yourself up just right when you have a serious amount of reading to do. The key to having your bed be the best bed it can be is simple—you have to make it. I know, you probably don’t need another person in your life telling you to make your bed, but it’s true! If you leave it unmade and bunched up, you’re more likely to pile things on top of it, and just like that there will be textbooks and clothes caught between your sheets. It will lose its relaxing appeal. If you take two minutes (it probably won’t even take you two minutes!) to make it every day, it will set the precedent to keep the rest of your room a relaxing and clean space. If your residence hall allows it, lift your bed up with bed risers to get more storage space under your bed. Every little inch counts!

Closet

It is amazing how quickly your closet and your dresser can get out of control. You wake up in the morning and everything is tidily organized, only to find that two outfits later the floor is littered with every kind of clothing. At the beginning of a new semester, you should start fresh. Go through each dresser drawer and refold the things that are in disarray. Purge your wardrobe of anything you haven’t worn in the last six months, or you know you won’t wear in the next six. A great way to keep track of this is to do the hanger test. Store cold weather gear like gloves and hats in bins, rather than having them floating around the bottom of your drawers. And hang coats on the outside of your closet to save space for clothes inside.

Laundry

When your laundry isn’t a clean mess in your closet, it’s a dirty mess on your floor. The best trick to combat this is to only allow yourself one laundry hamper—and make it a small one. Then promise yourself that when the basket gets full, you will wash its contents. If you wait too long to wash, it’s too late. Keeping your dirty laundry to a small amount makes the task more manageable. And it will take you a lot less time to put away when you’re done.

Storage

One word: multifunction. Finding multiple ways to use a piece of furniture is the key to organizing a small space. For example, a storage trunk is a great way to store all of your toiletries, snacks, extra linens, etc. It also makes a great coffee table or extra seat for when your friends stop by. If your residence hall allows it, don’t hesitate to put up shelving to hold things like dishes and laundry detergent. You want to get that stuff up and tucked away so that it doesn’t clutter any of your work spaces.

Desk

Speaking of work space, your desk is your work space. You need to keep it cleaned and organized in order for it to remain a place where you can study. The only things you should be keeping on or in your desk are books, work materials, important documents, and your computer. Organize your books and notebooks together, first by class and then by day of the week. Use drawer organizers to keep things like paper clips and pushpins in one place. I would also recommend a file holder like this to keep track of financial information, contracts, and bills. Get a dry erase calendar that will help your organize your priorities for the week, but is small enough to fit in a tight space.

By following these organizational tips, you can create a clean and more relaxing work environment for you and your friends! Good luck this semester!

image credit: go2fresnostate.com

Original Post Date: January 22nd, 2015

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