Category Archives: Money/Budget

5 Things To Start Doing In 2016

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Living, Money/Budget, Seasonal Celebrations, Tips, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

At the beginning of every year, most people spend time thinking about what they want to change in the new year. After reading several articles and reflecting on what has worked for me this year, I’ve put together a list of five things I think people (including myself) should start doing this year if they aren’t doing it already.

Why not make this year the best one yet? Start doing these things in 2016:

1. Grow Your Savings

As college students, we’re all aware of the struggle of handling our money. Some people are just better at it than others, I am not one of them. Last year I decided that instead of managing my savings account and depositing whenever I wanted, that I would setup automatic deposits. This has been life-changing for me. I never noticed the money gone, and it’s already added up greatly. For every paycheck, it automatically deposited $20. I also have saved any tip money I received at the end of the month from my job.

2. Find Your Relaxation

I feel like this world becomes more and more stressful each year, and each year I feel less equipped to handle it. I’ve been researching many different solutions and I think I’ve found a remedy for me. Over the past two months I have replaced soda with hot tea, which was mainly for weight loss reasons, but it has helped my emotional health tremendously. The most important thing to remember is that relaxation looks different for everyone. My relaxation is making myself a cup of tea, and either sitting in my yard, or rocking in the chair on my porch. Learn what calms you down and leaves you feeling happy, then remember to practice this often to reduce stress and increase your inner peace.

3. Read More

This is actually a goal of mine for 2016. I have read more this past year and picked up a book or two every now and then, but it’s my goal to read one book each month for this year. I remember how much I used to love reading, and how calming it was. I want to get back to that instead of filling my nights with Netflix. Reading is found to help in so many areas of your life including stress, happiness, creativity, and even your grammar! Visit www.bookrenter.com for some reading inspiration!

4. Volunteer

For most of us, our schedules can be almost maxed out to the limit. Adding another thing to it can seem impossible. Even still, I’ve decided for this next year that I’m going to overcome the impossible and set some time aside to volunteer at the local children’s center. I’m passionate about children, so it’ll be a great fit. Find what inspires you and you will see that it will seem less like a “chore” and more like another fun thing to do. If you really can’t give your time, get creative to think of how you can give back. A few weeks ago my friend and I had a “purse stuffing” party to stuff unwanted backpacks and purses full of everyday essentials to hand out to any homeless people we cross paths with. Imagine if everyone gave back just a little bit? It would make things just a little bit nicer, don’t you think?

5. Let Go Of The Negative

After a pretty rough year for me, it will be great to mentally refresh. If you’ve had a rough year too, or had a few bad instances, let go of any negative feelings and leave it behind in 2015. Make a decision to be positive going forward. This could even apply to negative situations you may find yourself in or people you hang out with – if you want to improve your situation, think of removing yourself from these scenarios. Use goals and daily motivational quotes to get you started, then it’ll become a routine. The past is the past for a reason, so get past it and look positively toward your future.

These five things are things that I’ve been working on for myself, and will continue to do in 2016. With how busy and stressful life can be, I think the most important thing to remember is to relax. Enjoy life and don’t worry about the small stuff!

Happy New Year! What change will you be making for 2016?

Leave a comment and let us know!

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5 Things to Know About Savings Accounts

Filed under: Living, Money/Budget, Tips - Angelina
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Megan Lehman BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

Learning personal finance and how to take care of your money is extremely important, especially as a college student. Learning how to manage money now will save you time and money in the future. Thanks to these tried and true tips, I am going to graduate with very little student debt!

Here is what you should know about savings accounts:

1. Know the Different Kinds of Accounts

There are multiple forms of savings accounts, some better than others. By that, I mean they allow you to save more by the amount of interest they acquire.  Some of these accounts, however, have very specific requirements and require certain commitments, such as amounts left in the account at all times. Do some research and figure out your best options.

2. Picking An Account

When it comes to picking which account to open, it is important to consider where you are financially at this point in your life. If you work part time hours, like 5-10 hours a week, the basic savings account is for you. If you work full time, without many expenses, and have the ability to put a larger chunk away, open a CD or a MMA. These two accounts give the most interest and are two accounts to pay attention to.

3. CDs vs. Money Markets

These two savings accounts give the account owner the most return with interest. However, they require more of a commitment. CD (certificate of deposit) accounts require a time commitment during which no money can be withdrawn from the account, but can be added. The time commitment can be anywhere from six, twelve, or even twenty four months and require at least $100 to open.  Money market accounts (MMAs) require at least $1,000 to be in the account at all times. The owner can only withdraw from the account six times a month. I know that sounds like a lot of money, but this account will earn you more interest than any other account available at this time. Currently, CDs are not earning much more interest than the basic savings account. I would advise waiting until you can put away $1,000 and start a personal money market account.

4. Be Aware of the Fees

The money market account restricts the owner of the account from withdrawing from the account more than six times in a one month period. There are multiple accounts similar to this and it is important to understand the fees resulting from withdrawing too many times. There may even be regular monthly fees just to have an account, although sometimes there are certain requirements that can be met to waive these fees. Each bank is different.

5. Take Advantage Now

As a college student, I understand the struggle to save money. Currently, as an unpaid intern in Washington D.C., I understand the struggle even more intensely. Right now, no matter where you are in your college career, it is important to start thinking about a budget and savings. Recognize the timing in your life. Imagine what you could retire with if you started a 401k now? I started my 401k when I was 19 and, if I continue at the rate I am at, will be able to retire early.

Also, look at what you’re spending and what you can cut to save some extra cash. I choose to save now so I can graduate with as little debt as possible. By following these tips and learning more about which savings account is right for you, you can too.

Good luck!

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3 Things You May Not Know About Student Loans

Filed under: College Life, Education, Money/Budget, Post Grad and Career, Tips - Angelina
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Sylwia Baran BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

The very thought of a student loan makes most of us shudder. The complexity of it all, the stress of making payments on time, the debt that we fear will follow us around forever; this is what we think of when we think about student loans. It’s important to have at least a general understanding of loans to help minimize many of these fears.

Here are a few things that you may not have known about student loans:

1. Types of Loans

There are many different kinds of loans out there. Before you can choose the best loan for yourself, you have to get familiar with all of the different types of loans that are available to you. You can choose between getting a federal loan (if you are eligible) or applying for a loan from a private lender. Federal loans can be in the form of a Stafford loan which comes directly from the federal government, or it can be in the form of a Perkins loan which are funded by the federal government but are given out through the universities themselves. The breakdown continues even further from there. Check out this article to learn more about the different types of student loans to figure our which one is right for you.

2. Grace Period

One of the perks of a federal student loan is the six month grace period (be careful, this is not applicable on ALL loans, so be sure to do your research). After graduation, you are given six months before being required to many any payments on your federal loans. This is great because it takes some of the pressure off of you for a few months after your graduation and allows you time to find steady income. Although you are given this option, you can still make payments during this period if you would like to get a jump on paying off your loan. Contact your lender to find out if your loan offers you a grace period and check out this article for some more information.

3. Discounts on Interest Rates

Signing up for automatic payments can save you money. Many lenders offer a small discount on your interest rates if you make your payments through electronic debit. Not only is this beneficial financially speaking, but it also ensures that you will not forget to make your monthly payments as your bank automatically makes the payment for you each month. Consolidating your loans into one payment may also slightly lower your interest rates, but may actually take longer to pay off. Read about consolidating and more ways to save on your loans here.

When it comes to student loans, your biggest tool is knowledge. When you become familiar with all of the possible student loans out there and what each one offers, you will feel more comfortable with the loan that you choose. Loans are not fun, but they are available as an opportunity to invest in education and your future. Just make sure you know what you can handle and in the long run, it could actually build up your credit!

What are some tips you have about loans? Share with us in a comment below!

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How To Start Saving (And Stop Spending)

Filed under: Money/Budget, Tips - Angelina
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Darlene Megino BookRenter Blogger Biography

Saving money can always be a difficult task. Especially when you are surrounded by things you would like to splurge on: coffees, clothes, etc. Whether you are saving up for a trip, need money for the next semester of college, or would like to start investing towards a savings account, you need to save some money and limit your spending habits.

Here are three ways to start saving and stop spending:

1. Start A Savings Challenge

A savings challenge is the easiest and fastest way to begin saving. It’s very direct and easy to follow. The object of the challenge is to begin saving money in small increments (even as losw as $1) and eventually it will add up to a large sum by the time your challenge is complete. Each week, put more money into your savings than you did the week prior. Save for as long as you can and you will soon be rolling in dough!

2. Download Financial Apps

Mint.com is one of many apps available for download to your smartphone or tablet to help keep track of your spending. Financial applications like these are great to help you become aware of where your money goes, which can help determine where you can cut back and save. The Mint app tracks your entire account activity and will let you know when your account is low and can even alert you of any potential suspicious activity. You also can set up allowances for how much you would like to spend on specific categories and it will alert you when you’ve reached your budget.

3. Jar Method

If you are saving towards a certain item, event, or trip, then get a jar (or container) and label it for your goal. Any time you have any spare change or extra cash (I suggest using cash to reach bigger savings), then stash it inside. Before you know it, the jar will be filled and you will be on your way towards cashing it in for just the thing you had in mind.

It can be hard cutting back on spending and even harder to not spend money you are trying to save, but it is so rewarding when you see your savings grow or when you finally use your savings towards the item you were saving for.

Share your saving secrets with us in a comment below!

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Creative DIY Mother’s Day Gifts

Filed under: DIY & Crafts, Fun Ideas, Money/Budget, Social Life/Relationships, Tips - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day is May 10th, do you know what you’re getting your mom?

Rest assured, even if you’re on a tight budget – which, let’s face it, all college students are – there are still some creative do-it-yourself Mother’s Day gifts that you can make to show your mom, or the mother figure in your life, just how much you love and appreciate her.

1. Decorative Candle Holders

It may be easy to just go to the store and buy some candles, but why not personalize some basic candles to add that special touch? Head to a nearby dollar or craft supplies store to pick up a few materials, then head home to create this shimmery delight for your mom. She will be sure to love it!

2. Chocolate Covered Strawberries

What mom doesn’t love chocolate? Everyone loves a little sweet treat every now and then, and this one doesn’t cost a fortune. Pick up some strawberries, chocolate chips, and make sure you have vegetable oil on hand. You can even add sprinkles, as demonstrated in the video. These can either be a decadent dessert, or a tasty side to a home-cooked breakfast made by you!

3. Photo Collage

If you have family photo albums (not the kind that are online), snag a few of your favorites of you and your mom and make copies. You can get a cheap picture frame at the dollar store for this idea. In this tutorial, ribbon is used in place of the traditional glass front, but you can do whichever one you think your mom would love more.

4. Sharpie Mug

I have done this for my mom and she absolutely loved it. For this project, all you’ll need are oil-based Sharpies, which you can find in a bunch of different colors at a craft store for under $10, and a plain mug (or plate, flower pot, etc.) from the dollar store. You can write lyrics to her favorite song, an inside joke between you two, a personal message, or draw a cute design.

5. Scented Bath Salts

Your mom deserves to take a break every now and then just to relax and rejuvenate. Make her some sweet-scented bath salts so she can enjoy a nice hot bath! The ingredients used for this DIY are things you’ll probably already have in your kitchen. If you know her favorite smell, pick it up as an essential oil at a craft store. Not sure what she’ll like? You can’t go wrong with vanilla or lavender!

The most important thing is to make your mom feel special and that she is truly appreciated for all that she does. If you are planning to make something for your mom this year, share what it is in a comment below!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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