Category Archives: Tips

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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Crash Guide To Acing Finals: Suggestions From A Senior

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

Some people handle finals better than others, but for the majority of the college student population this is an incredibly stressful time. Time after time again, I have seen my peers work themselves into a state of perpetual anxiety induced by their fears over the outcome of their finals. They either feel that they have not studied enough, worry they studied the wrong material, or they let their procrastination get the best of them. But, when students obsessively worry about their finals, it can have detrimental effects. Some students find it harder to focus on individual tasks because of the sheer overwhelming amount of work constantly dividing their attention; some can’t sleep or force themselves to stay awake for unhealthy amounts of time; some turn to unhealthy decisions like Adderall (which should only be taken in small doses and only if prescribed by a doctor), which can cause liver damage and even addiction.

Finals can be stressful, but there are ways to overcome this challenge and walk away with pride.

Anxiety

I have struggled with anxiety in the past until I became a lazy and unmotivated teenager. I still struggle staying motivated to do my work, but I have come to realize that by being more laid back and not worrying so much about the material, I actually began to improve on my test and essay scores. I could more easily recall the information I had learned in class or studied for homework just by being more calm and collected. Then this brought confidence. If you feel that you are overwhelmed and drowning in work, take a break. Take a moment to think, reflect, breathe, and then plan out how you are going to approach your workload. Once you break it down on paper and have a solid plan, that Mt. Everest of work and responsibility is diminished to nothing but a bunny slope.

Preparation

Simply telling yourself “everything is going to be ok” is not enough (but it helps with anxiety). You actually have to put in the work. Write down your plan of what you want to get done and how long it will take to accomplish. I like to write down my plan in a personal agenda or calendar, but plenty of people are more inclined to use their phones or tablets. In each box (day), I write down what I want to accomplish for that day and I mark the due date for assignments. For example, I may write in the box for 5/11 that I want to work on an introduction to an essay that is due Friday. I write in the Friday box what time the essay is due. I continue to break down the assignment throughout the week to make the assignment easier and less daunting. Having a specific plan and visualizing due dates can help to keep you on task and organized.

Take Breaks

Finally, as mentioned before, don’t forget to take a break once in a while. Most experts agree that studying in 1 hour blocks with 15 minute breaks is the most effective way to study. That is not to say that you should follow this model perfectly. Sometimes when I am studying, I like to keep going even past an hour just to keep my momentum up. I generally just take a break once I start having difficulty focusing. This is a signal to me that my brain is tiring and can no longer stay on one task. No matter how long it takes you, once you start to feel brain-dead, take a quick break. Get up from your workstation to get a change of scenery and work your blood flow. Try to find something else that will engage your brain and/or body. Playing music, taking a walk, getting a snack, or talking to a friend are all great break-time activities. Just remember to keep it short. Sometimes a “quick break” can easily derail a perfectly good study session.

Sleep Well

Make sure you are getting enough sleep. The brain simply cannot function at full capacity when it is sleep deprived. This will just make things harder for yourself. Avoid late night cram sessions and definitely do not pull an all-nighter, no matter how desperate you may be to study material. You will be guaranteed to crash during your exam if you do. Sleep actually helps memory function and helps to keep focus, which are things that are definitely needed for finals.

Always remember that if you don’t get your desired grade on a final, it is not going to ruin your life. Surround yourself with positivity. Listen to some feel-good music, hangout or study with your best friends, and always remember: everything is going to be okay. Everyone has the potential to do well; never doubt your abilities. Just give your best shot at finals – giving anything less than your best, will only cheat yourself.

Good luck!

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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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How To Land Your Dream Job

Filed under: Graduation, Post Grad and Career, Tips - Angelina
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Darlene Megino BookRenter Blogger Biography

For those college seniors that will be graduating soon, you will soon be facing the real world made up of bills, expenses, and unforeseeable costs. Did I mention student loan payments? Like most college graduates, the next thing to achieve is a full-time job to ease these worries. Better yet – aim for the job you went to college for in the first place, the job that will prove that getting your degree was worth it; reach to achieve your ultimate dream job.

Whatever your career interest is, here is some job hunting advice that will help you land your dream job:

1. The Resume

Make sure to get your resume as perfect as you can. The key to a great resume is to make it appealing to the company you are applying to. Try not to overload your resume with information. Keep it simple and concise. The key is to highlight your accomplishments, the work you’ve done, and the extracurricular activities you’ve participated in. Look at some resume examples for comparison and make sure your resume stands out with maybe a hint of color, a unique design, or something that will catch the eye of the reviewer (but do not go too drastic because that will scare them away). Always proof-read! Nothing looks worse than representing yourself as a horrible speller (it’s simple mistakes that can really make a difference). Always have a few people look it over and ask for their input. Another good tip is to always put the same key words from the job description and listing into your resume so the reviewer will see you are qualified for the job at hand.

2. Social Media

Social media is definitely a great resource to finding employment positions. Make sure to create a LinkedIn account because a lot of business professionals tend to look for candidates and post jobs here. LinkedIn is essentially a place to grow your network and to have your resume online for other business professionals to see (and evaluate if you would be a good fit for their team). Though social media can be a great source for finding employment, it can also hinder you from getting jobs if you have content that an employer could find questionable, such as inappropriate clothing, alcohol/drug use, profanity, etc. The best thing to do is to clean up your social media profiles (yes, all of them, they can all be found by a simple Google search) prior to applying to any jobs. Google search your name and see what you find. Would you hire yourself based off of what you saw?

3. Dress To Impress 

Once you’ve landed an interview, now you have to dress to impress! The way you present yourself can make or break an interview. A potential employer usually decides within the first few minutes (based on your appearance, fair or not) if they are interested in you. You want to look presentable, professional, and as someone they can see working in their environment. Do your research on the company and see if they are more business casual or if they wear more business professional attire. Although, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Ladies, stray away from any skirts that are too short (anything more than 2 inches above the knee) or massive high heels. Avoid any clothing that may be too tight, too flashy, or too revealing. Keep it as neutral as possible with minimal jewelry. Guys, a nice button-up, dress pants, and shiny dress shoes will do the trick. Denim should absolutely n ever be worn to interviews. Ties and blazers are optional but definitely recommended if you want to make a great first impression. See the above photo for examples on what to wear for business professional and business casual interviews.

4. Interview

The interview is the most nerve-wracking part of the entire job hunting process. My best advice is to walk into the interview with confidence. Make sure you’ve done your research on the company and familiarize yourself with the type of work they do. This is definitely the time to talk yourself up, but at the same time do not sound overly confident. You want to stay relaxed and calm during the interview. Be as personable as you can and just have a conversation with the interviewer. Rehearse potential interview questions and answers the night prior so that you can mentally prepare yourself. It is a good idea to ask someone to do a mock interview for you so you can do a practice run. Make a great first impression by having a good, firm handshake (not too hard) at the start of the interview. Bring a portfolio of work samples to show the interviewer hands on what your experience is. At the end of the interview always have three question to ask the interviewer to clarify any concerns you may have, but to also show the employer your level of interest. Be sure to send a thank you note or email to your interviewer to leave a lasting impression. Feel free to follow up with the employer if a few weeks have passed and you haven’t heard back. However, keep in mind that sometimes filling a position can take a while and this may come across as too pushy to some. So just remember, patience!

Create a resume, set up a LinkedIn, clean up your social media accounts, dress professionally, prepare for an interview, and you will be that much closer to landing your dream job! Don’t get discouraged if you do not get the job right away, it may take several attempts before you get anywhere. Do not lose your confidence! Each time you apply for a job, you can learn what worked and what didn’t and use it towards applying for the next position. Once you land that job, you will truly have earned it!

What is your dream job? Have you landed it yet? If so, how did you do it? If not, how do you plan to? Share with us in the comments!

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Going Green For Earth Day

Filed under: College Life, Education, Fun Ideas, Tips - Angelina
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BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

Earth Day started in 1970 to recognize the need for and celebrate environmental protection. Now, it is a global event, celebrated annually on April 22nd. There are typically many different festivals or events that occur on Earth Day with lots of activities to educate people on how to “go green.” “Going green” means to act in a way that is environmentally friendly that will protect the environment and sustain natural resources. There are many different ways (some simple, others creative) to “go green” this Earth Day and help make a difference!

1. Save Energy At Home

This is at the top of my list because it is the most common (and a simple) way to try to live green. Try reducing your utility usage (water, electricity, and heat/air conditioning) and not only will the environment thank you, but so will your wallet! Reducing the amount of utilities you use will save you money and the earth’s resources. Turn off unused lights, upgrade to more efficient appliances, reduce water usage, and insulate your windows and walls to conserve heat/air conditioning. Instead of sitting at home and watching television or playing videogames, consider going on a walk, exercising, learning to play an instrument (that’s not electric), or planting a tree! Distract yourself from the use of utilities for a while to make a difference and when you eventually do return to watching Netflix, please do so responsibly.

2. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

This is a creative option that not many people consider. Using just vinegar, baking soda, lemons, and soap you can make your own cleaning supplies that are environmentally friendly. What most people don’t think about when using regular cleaning supplies is if the product label says it’s toxic to people, wouldn’t that imply that it is not so great for environment either? Pouring those cleaning supplies down the drain, or throwing away a Windex-soaked paper towel, exposes the environment to these toxins. Some products are labeled as eco-friendly, but be sure to read the label to be sure. Even still, you are better off creating your own cleaning products since you know the materials used first hand and will probably spend less money for them.

3. Buy Used And Donate Items

Buying and donating used items (that are still in good condition) are great ways to reuse and recycle items. Unfortunately, not a lot of people like to own previously used items because they want the newest stuff for themselves. This is the most common mentality since we have been taught how to be good consumers. However, this has led to overproduction of goods and an increase in waste. Not only is buying used a good way to “go green,” but it is also a great way to spend less money. Garage sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, and searching online are all great places to look for discounted used items. Also, buying used does not classify you as “lower class.” It classifies you as smart, responsible, and caring.

4. Buy Local Food

Do you know where your food comes from when you buy it from a store? It is likely that it traveled about 1,500 miles before ever reaching your dinner plate. Think about it. You are relying on the necessity of oil to have your food shipped to you. Oil debate aside, this takes a huge toll on the environment and disenfranchises local farmers trying to make a living with responsible farming practices such as intermittent grazing. If you buy from a local farmer’s market not only are you supporting that farmer, but you are also supporting your local economy and likely buying food that tastes much superior. You are also reducing the distance from the source, which reduces how many people handle your food, how much time your food is sitting on a shelf or in a truck, and you actually decrease the risk of your food expiring too soon or picking up a bacterium along the way. Fresh, local food tastes good, feels good, and does the body good.

These ideas are only a few ways you can “go green” for Earth Day, or any day for that matter. Sometimes small steps towards living an environmentally friendly life can make a big difference.

Leave a comment below to tell us how you’re helping the environment!

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