Monthly Archives: June 2012

Stretching Your Student Wallet for Summer

Filed under: College Life, Digital Interns - BookRenter Team
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Last month marked the official start of summer 2012! That means a whole lot of fun in the sun and chillaxing with your friends. You might wonder what things you can do that are fun and exciting, yet cheap.

Food, friends & fun

Well for starters, everybody loves to eat, so why not get a group of friends and host a potluck or a picnic at a popular spot in town? Here are a few pointers on how to stay under a reasonable budget.

  • Buy what’s on sale! Food goes on sale all the time and is usually the first thing you’ll see when you walk in the store.
  • Value brands are pretty great. If you see something that looks great but is a little pricey, look for a generic brand. Odds are they taste exactly the same!
  • Need your condiments? Save your ketchup, mustard, mayo, & hot sauce packets from every time you go out to eat. It’ll probably save a lot of time when large crowds of people are trying to use the same bottle of ketchup.
  • Most importantly, divvy up who brings what. The more people that participate, the more options, and the easier it’ll be to have a great time!

Movie time

Now that you have a lot of free time, you probably want to catch up on all the movies you missed out on during the semester while you were studying (of course you were studying, right?).  Luckily for you, those awesome movies you missed out on at the time are probably in Redbox or at the dollar theatre! Since you worked hard for a good four months, get a group of friends and make it a weekly thing to hit up your local dollar theatre, or stay in and rent a movie from your nearest redbox! Here are a few ways to find out where to check out cool movies:

  • Got a smart phone? Download the Fandango and/or Redbox app to search local theatres near you and to see what movies are available to rent.
  • Always on your laptop? Have a movie night with a group of friends and hook up your laptop to a TV and stay up all night watching TV from or Netflix.

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have tons of fun. When there’s a will, there is a way! Inside or outside, doesn’t matter! It’s summer. It’s time to have fun… the inexpensive way!

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The Thick and Thin of Summer Fitness

Filed under: Health & Fitness - Social Community Manager
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By guest blogger Michael Chan

Michael is a junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign majoring in English and pursuing a minor in Architectural Studies. He is an aspiring young writer who hopes to someday impact the world through his written work. He plans on traveling to Italy someday to pursue his interests in Renaissance architecture.


Summer is finally here, but are you still carrying around that Freshman 15? With a less than healthy diet and little exercise, it’s common for us college students to expand horizontally during the school year. Whether you’re looking to get in shape for the beach, or trying to shed a few pounds, here are a few tips and resources that will get you to that point while spending little to no money.

Exercise – Just Do It

Keep a Journal

Start a journal to record your goals and track your progress along the way. While this may seem unnecessary at first, it’s actually a great way to stay focused on what you want to get out of your exercise and diet; it also confirms any improvements that you’ve made over time and can even serve as a source of motivation. If that sounds like too much work for you already, Pyramid Tracker is a great online resource that allows you to easily assess and monitor your physical and dietary activity for free.

Alternative Exercises  

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about getting in shape is that you have to work out at the gym, and in order to do, drop a good chunk of money for a membership. Bodyweight exercising is a budget-friendly alternative to paying for a gym membership. These exercises can be done at home and require no equipment. Find a full list of bodyweight exercises that you can do at home, or if you’re looking for a routine to follow, you can find free full body workout plans for beginners along with detailed videos on the proper form of each exercise. If you’re on the go, free mobile apps offer training workouts, where you can also add your own music playlist.

What you eat

Your diet is just as essential to getting back in shape as your workouts. Don’t go completely depriving yourself though; it’s ok to indulge a little every now and then. But keep this word in mind: moderation. If you’re looking to shed some extra pounds while keeping your stomach full, white-meat poultry, lean beef, eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt are some good sources of protein (these are also great for building a little extra muscle!). Last but not least, make sure you drink at least 8 cups of cold water everyday; studies have shown that drinking 64 oz. of cold water can burn up to 70 calories, and staying hydrated boosts your immune system.

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Budget in Some Free Summer Fun

Filed under: Money/Budget, Social Life/Relationships - BookRenter Team
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By BookRenter Digital Intern, Sylwia Baran: Sylwia just completed her sophomore year at Queens College in New York, where she’s studying Women’s Studies and Anthropology. Aside from school, Sylwia loves to bake, and in the far future wants to open her very own bakery. But before all that, Sylwia wants to travel and have as many wonderful experiences as she possibly can.

Hey guys! I just finished my sophomore year at Queens College in New York and like most college students, I want to have a GREAT summer to reward myself for all of the studying I had to do all year. But also like many college students, I’m basically broke. What with tuition and books (although I save a lot on books through BookRenter), I haven’t really had the chance to save up that much throughout the year but I still want to enjoy this Summer vacation to the fullest. That is why I decided to come up with a bunch of cool things to do that don’t require a lot of money.

Something I had never heard of before but was really psyched to discover is that there are A LOT of really fun FREE EVENTS going on during the Summer all around the city. As I am from NY, I looked up events in NY and found this amazing website that essentially lists all of the free events that will be taking place. However, there are free events all over the US so all you have to do is type your city and “free events” into google and you’re set!

Although my second idea may sound corny, it’s actually really fun! Schedule a beach or park day with your friends! Everyone brings something and you grab a volleyball or a frisbee, head to the beach or the park, and you spend the day having fun with your friends. The only cost is the food, which isn’t even that bad if everyone brings an item. Honestly, these “beach/park dates” will probably be the most fun yo

u have all summer!

A really helpful thing I discovered is that a lot of “big” brands will host events throughout the US that are pretty cool. These events are usually not listed on these “free events” websites, but if you “Like” these brands on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, you’ll be the first one to hear about it. One of the most recent events that I found out about this way is Schick’s razor event for which they had The Band Perry perform. This was completely free and only available to those who followed them on Facebook. It pays off to follow big brands, I assure you!!

My last bit of advice is actually something I myself will be doing in a couple of weeks- rent a summer house for a weekend! With a group of friends, the cost to rent a house for a week or a weekend really isn’t that much. I’m renting a house with nine other people, and with food included, we’re each only paying $100 for the entire weekend. There are many other houses out there that will cost even less, and it’s a nice break away from your daily life. I reccomend going somewhere in the mountains; I’ll be going upstate New York.

There are definitely many things that you can do this summer that won’t cost you too much, some won’t cost you anything at all! It’s definitely possible to have the best summer vacation on the budget of a college student!


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Presents for Pops this Father’s Day

Filed under: Money/Budget, Seasonal Celebrations - Social Community Manager
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photo of girl By guest blogger Serena Piper: Journalism major at the University of Oregon. Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Oregon. Magazine, freelance blogger, future world traveler. In her spare time, she likes to read as many books as she can, go for long drives, and peruse news websites. Hopes to one day write for National Geographic.

Father’s Day is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about what to get your pops. A mom may be the center of a child’s life, but it’s the father who, most of the time, teaches the child how to ride a bike, coaches them in sports, and grounds them when they come home after curfew.

But just because your dad means a lot to you, that doesn’t mean he’s easy to shop for..And just because we’re students on a budget doesn’t mean we can only get dad a cheap present. Take a look at my list below for some inexpensive ideas!

1. DIY brewing kit

What man doesn’t love beer? Buy him his own beer brewing kit and keg – I guarantee it’ll taste a lot better than the store bought stuff and he’ll be able to show off his new skills to the family. If the brewing kit is a bit on the expensive side, share the cost with a sibling!

2. Dinner at home (an oldie but goodie)

Salmon, steak, beer sausage… the choices are endless! If your dad is the chef in the house, pick up the apron and tell him to take a load off. You can ask him what his favorite meal is or find a fun recipe. Either way, don’t forget dessert, using fresh summer fruit!

3. Guided fishing trip or outdoor activity

For the outdoorsy dads, there’s no shortage of things to do. Just type in “guided fishing trip” or “kayaking” and your location on Google and you’re set! Find one of many Groupon deals on guided trips that use all the best gear, and enjoy a fun bonding experience with dad on a day out on the river.

Of course, for some fathers, it’s about the smaller, intangible things. Jeremiah Mitchel, a father to eight children, says as he’s gotten older, it’s not about the gifts anymore.

“All I want from my children is for them to be well and be happy, and to stay in touch with me and let me know how they’re doing,” he says. “There are days when I want this or that, but there’s nothing like the feelings I have about my children’s welfare.”



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What Would You Tell Your Freshman Self? Think EPIC.

Filed under: College Life, Post Grad and Career - Social Community Manager
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This is Part 2 in a series of letters from college graduates to their freshman alter egos. (Here’s Part 1 on freshman advice.) Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self about your college years?

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By guest blogger, Keith Kaplan: ALBION COLLEGE: Brains (double-major honors student, Mortar Board, College Fellow) and brawn (swim team captain and an avid outdoorsman who most days can be seen paddling on the river that runs through his campus). Co-founder of the eponymous DK Cookies (on Facebook!).

If you ask many older folks about college, they’ll most likely say they miss college or something involving how great their college experience was.

They’re definitely right. Being a current college student and from my experiences, your college experience should be EPIC.

To make your journey an epic experience, I put together a list of the top tips to have a stellar experience these next few years of your life – I would’ve wanted to know these going into my college experience.

Don’t be a cement head. While in school, you’ll experience situations you probably haven’t experienced before. Whether it’s new activities or learning new skills, always have a positive mentality and a drive to achieve. Be sure to ditch the “I am not good at this, so I won’t try” cement head attitude – you’ll only be limiting yourself.

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College freshman Keith

Don’t be afraid. I know from personal experience, I’d be afraid to try something new by myself, whether it was attending a club meeting or joining an intramural sport. Don’t be afraid. The only person that can limit yourself is you.

Have fun, but be responsible. In college there will be parties, there will be drinking, and there may be some risky behavior. I say feel free to partake in these social experiences, but be responsible. This might take a few times to adjust to, but you will learn soon enough how to balance a social life and your studies.
Be yourself.
 Typically, there are a bunch of activities to do on or around campus. If you have to change yourself for something or someone, don’t do it. There will always be a group of people, an activity, or a hobby that’ll fit your interest.Take advantage of your college network. This includes other students on campus as well as your professors and administrators. Ask upperclassmen about professors and classes to take and not to take. Also, use your college campus as a microcosm to try out new ideas, whether it’s a business or starting a new club or sport.Meet your professors. Office hours are great for connecting with your professors. Students might think of office hours as a weakness because they see it as not performing well and needing extra help – FALSE. Connecting with your professors could lead to possible job and internship opportunities, and research positions.College is about learning, discovering yourself, your interests, and your passions. I say if you don’t put yourself into uncomfortable or challenging situations, you are doing college wrong. One more thing, please try something new because you may never know what you’ll discover about yourself.


Professional college student (for now),
Keith Kaplan


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