How To Start Saving (And Stop Spending)

Filed under: Money/Budget, Tips - Angelina
Tags: , , ,

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!

Add a Comment



5 Reasons To Study Abroad

Filed under: College Life, Fun Ideas, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
Tags: , ,

Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

One of the most unique opportunities offered by colleges these days are the various study abroad programs. There are so many different options when choosing to study abroad. If your school doesn’t offer it directly, there are tons of organizations that offer abroad education. If you’re looking to get school credit, you could always just ask your college for approval if it is not associated with them. However, studying abroad is a valuable experience even if you don’t receive college credit.

Here are the top 5 reasons I believe you should study abroad before you graduate:

1. Learn More About Other Cultures

I’m going to Spain next month to study abroad, and for the past six months I’ve been doing research about the country and I have learned so many things I never knew. I already feel more educated not only about Spain, but of Europe. When I go, I’ll be able to experience their way of life, their culture, and the way that their public relations firms are ran. Whatever field you’re studying, studying abroad can expand your knowledge and allow you to gain valuable skills that will impress future job interviewers.

2. Get A Leg Up On The Competition

Even though there are various programs throughout the world, less than 10% of undergraduate students study abroad. No matter what field you are in, going abroad will definitely set you apart from the rest.

3. Its Cheaper Than To Travel On Your Own

One of the main reasons students don’t opt to do a semester or a year overseas is because they fear the cost of the program will be too high. With most schools, mine included, there are a ton of scholarships offered specifically for abroad education. You can also apply for financial aid to help bring down the cost. Most programs will have package deals that the school sets up, so your overall trip is dramatically cheaper than if you were to travel on your own time. If traveling is an interest of yours, definitely do it this way as a student while you can.

4. You Create Strong Bonds With The Other Students

You’re normally with a group of about 15 to 30 people, depending on your program. I’ll be travelling with 25. The experiences you’ll create with these people will turn into great memories that’ll last forever because you will be learning and exploring together. I haven’t even left yet and I’ve already become so close with the girl I’ll be rooming with while we’re there. This has helped me a lot since this is my first year at a new school too!

5. It Makes Summer School Seem Not So Bad

I feel like I am so lucky because not only am I getting to take two classes that I need to graduate, but I also get to go to Europe for my first time. I’ve always taken summer school, but it is honestly difficult to get through. My friends that take trips, and make plans for all summer, definitely leave me jealous, but now, I’m able to have a great vacation and get the credits I need this summer!

Whether you’re at a school that has study abroad programs or not, there are hundreds of programs throughout the world that allow students to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can broaden your perspective on culture, lifestyles, and field of study. I encourage you to at least look into a few programs and start daydreaming about where you’d want to go. Remember, don’t get discouraged about cost because sometimes your school can help!

Leave a comment if you have traveled abroad or are planning to. Where did you, or are planning to, go? Share your experience with us!

Add a Comment



What Graduating Really Means

Filed under: College Life, Graduation, Post Grad and Career - Angelina
Tags: ,

Sylwia BaranBookRenter Blogger Biography

 

We count down to the days when we no longer have 10 page papers to write, when our bank accounts will have more than $10 in them, and when we finally leave our college campus for the last time and say goodbye to school once and for all after 15+ years. As exciting and wonderful as graduation is, sometimes post-grad life can come as quite a shock to some.

It may take a while for graduation to actually sink in, but graduating really means…

1. Looking For A Job

This should really start even before your graduation day because believe me, you won’t find a job overnight. It can take months to even find a suitable job, and then can take another month just go to through the hiring process of applications, interviews, and paperwork. Be hopeful when applying for jobs, but keep in mind that you will likely not hear back from a majority of the places you apply to. Don’t get discouraged!

2. Working 9 to 5

Once you finally land a job, get ready for what most adults call “the 9 to 5” schedule. Your once underappreciated student schedule of 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. is now long gone. No more mid-day naps and suddenly you realize you spend most of your waking life at work.

3. Working In A Field Different Than Your Major

You may graduate with a major in Anthropology, but that doesn’t mean you will get a job pertaining to what you maybe had hoped. That is okay. You may find that after a long job search, it may be wise to say yes to the next job that comes your way, because face it – being an adult now means you have responsibilities, such as bills. Who knows, you may even really like a job you never would have before considered.

4. Waking Up Early

Morning classes were always a last pick, but now waking up early may not be an option anymore. Once you have a full-time job, you won’t be able to roll out of bed at 9:55 a.m. every morning for your 10:00 a.m. class. You will have to actually make sure you have time to dress appropriately and get to your destination on time.

5. Going To Bed By 10:00 P.M. Every Night

Once you’re waking up every day at 6:00 a.m., going to sleep early is no longer an option but a necessity in order to function. Trust me. Nights that you force yourself to stay awake like the good old days, will only have you suffering the next day.

6. Still Not Having Any Time For Anything

Even though you’ll be waking up at the crack of dawn, you’ll still find yourself with absolutely no time for anything other than work and sleep. It’s a sad reality. Even if you had time to do things, by the time you get home from work, it is very likely that you are exhausted and will have zero motivation to continue to be a productive member of society.

7. Losing Contact With Your Friends

Those people you promised to be friends with forever as you departed Graduation will probably be forgotten by December. Sorry, but it’s true. You’ll jump into your busy work lives and the lack of free time and the distance makes it a whole lot harder to stay social. If you are lucky, you will have a few friends you will keep in contact with, but daily hangouts will be reduced significantly. Just remember, this is normal for everyone.

8. Paying Off Loans

Yup, those pesky loans will now finally catch up to you. There should be a six month grace period from the moment you graduate until the first payment is due, but remember that a college education was an investment towards your future. Pay off what you can by the due dates, and everything should be alright. Don’t freak out over the total number, but think of it as monthly payments instead to make it a lot easier to handle.

9. No More Student Discounts

The next discount you’ll be eligible for is the senior discount, unless you go into the military. Being a college student really did have some perks; every penny counts!

10. Limited Napping Opportunities

Creating your own class schedule in college meant that you could perfectly arrange time in your day to nap between classes. Working full time not only changes your schedule, but in the chance that you nap when you get home from work, you likely will then have trouble falling asleep that night and then be tired the next day. There is no winning here.

11. Living At Home Again

For those of us who cannot afford to live on our own just yet, this means moving back home with Mom and Dad. Except now, it’s harder because they think everything will revert back to how it used to be before college, and you consider yourself an adult that shouldn’t be told what to do. It’s a complete struggle of power. Who wins? No one. Just take one day at a time and remember that when the day comes to move out, you will miss being at home.

12. No More Partying

You’ll be tucking yourself into bed at the same hour of the night that you used to be pre-gaming for parties in college. It may be a sad thought, but it shows maturity and responsibility. The world will not end, I promise.

13. More Consequences For Skipping A Day

We all have those days where we are tired, grumpy, or not feeling well. Deciding not to go to class wasn’t a big deal because you could always borrow someone else’s notes, but skipping work now has more serious consequences than skipping class. Skipping work, or even being late, reflects poorly on you and could even cost you your job. Thankfully, some work places offer you enough sick days or annual days that hopefully you will be able to re-group if necessary. Still, do not use them after at least being an employee for several months.

14. The End Of Summer, Winter, and Spring  Breaks

This is by far the biggest disadvantage of no longer being in school. We were truly spoiled with two month-long breaks in the summer. If and when you are lucky enough to put in for some vacation time at work, it will not be for as long.

For the Class of 2015, please take heed!  Your life is about to change drastically over the next year, and it may seem overwhelming – at times you might have a full-blown panic attack. Keep cool. No one ever said life was easy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy these changes. Yes, more responsibility is coming your way, but just remember that there is no better feeling than to achieve goals you have had set for so long. Do not get discouraged if everything doesn’t fall into place as originally thought; just keep working towards your desires and everything will be just fine.

Congratulations graduates! You’ve worked hard, don’t stop now!

Add a Comment



Crash Guide To Acing Finals: Suggestions From A Senior

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
Tags: , ,

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!

Add a Comment



Creative DIY Mother’s Day Gifts

Filed under: DIY & Crafts, Fun Ideas, Money/Budget, Social Life/Relationships, Tips - Angelina
Tags: , ,

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!

Add a Comment