Category Archives: Money/Budget

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 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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Spring Break On A Budget

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Money/Budget, Seasonal Celebrations, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

Every year, I daydream about a beautiful, warm, tropical place that I can fly away to, but then I remember that I don’t exactly have the money for such a trip. Working full time and going to school is something a lot of us are familiar with – along with not being able to pay for a flight to Miami and a hotel room for five days. However, just because you cannot afford to have a luxurious Spring Break, doesn’t mean you are completely out of luck! Here’s a few ideas to have a memorable Spring Break while on a budget:

1. Alternative Trips

Some universities are awesome and have packages for Spring Break trips. I go to Texas State University and they offer a week long mission trip. I’m considering to go on the trip because they take us around Texas to help out at shelters, and then drive us to Louisiana to help there. Not to mention, our nights are free to do as we please! Free New Orleans trip AND you get to help out so many people in just a few days!

2. Drive Around

Explore your state (or states nearby)! There’s no reason you have to fly to get away. It’s so much cheaper to drive. Grab two or three friends, split the cost, and don’t splurge on fancy hotels. Plan some favorite activities and you’ll realize the company is really what makes a vacation fun.

3. Vacation Bundles

Like always, Google can be your best friend. There are a ton of sites that offers packages and plans for college students to go on a trip for spring break! Some of my friends have used Student City because they offer safe, reliable, and convenient vacation packages that have everything included in the price. Oftentimes, the more you can bundle, the more you can save.

4. Plan Ahead Next Year

It may be too late for this year, but if you have some solid friends that you know you’ll still love next year, it’s SO much cheaper to plan ahead and to pull your resources. You’ll get flights way cheaper, along with hotels. I planned a trip to Thailand for next December, and my flight is dramatically cheaper than if I were planning this trip for a few months away!

So, don’t fret! If you plan ahead and work within your means, I promise you can still have an amazing Spring Break!

Leave a comment below and share with us your plans for Spring Break 2015!

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Starting A New Exercise Routine

Filed under: Fun Ideas, Health & Fitness, Money/Budget, Tips - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

It’s always difficult to start a new exercise routine. Especially with the pressure of welcoming in a new year. Every year I feel like I say I’m going to start being healthier, and exercise every day, but now that I’m older, I’ve realized more and more than I do not like traditional exercises. It’s very hard for me to be motivated because I don’t like lifting weights, and I definitely do not like running. There are a few ways that I’ve kept myself motivated and on the right track, that are easy to implement into your everyday life!

1. Figure Out What You Like

I got a cheap pass at my local gym that allowed me to try out all of the different kinds of group classes. It was a great experience because I found out some exercises that I never would have thought of that I absolutely love now. My new favorites are hot yoga, spin class, and boxing! This makes it so much easier for me to want to go to the gym because it is so much fun!

2. Get A Gym Buddy

I have a co-worker that has been struggling to lose weight, just like me. We decided to start exercising and start going to the gym together! Not only do we go to group classes together now, but we also split the cost for a personal trainer! This makes it easier on our wallets, and we have each other to make sure we commit to our routine.

3. Find Discounts

Websites like Groupon and Living Social are my favorite because they have major discounts for awesome activities. I have been using Groupon a lot lately and I’ve been able to go on a lot of adventures, that are a twist on exercise. I’ve gone on a group rock climb, a white water rafting trip, and hot yoga for a month for only $20!

My best advice is to try several different forms of exercise to figure out what you like the best, even if it’s just dancing for an hour every night! You’re burning calories and doing something that you love. It’s not about forcing yourself to exercise, it’s about changing your lifestyle to be more physically active, which you can’t do unless it’s something you enjoy!

Good luck!

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