Tag Archives: money

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 CD (certificate of deposit) accounts require a time commitment during which no money can be withdrawn from the account, but can be added.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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4 Campus Services You Should Not Pay For

Filed under: College Life, Money/Budget, Tips - Angelina
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By Guest Blogger, Kevin Foor

College is expensive. One year of school at an in-state public institution currently averages $18,391, according to the College Board. If you go out of state, that number bumps up to $31,701. Because of the high costs of tuition and room and board, it’s essential that you cut costs wherever you can. In addition to saving money on textbooks by using a service like BookRenter, there are plenty more ways to conserve cash in college – and they come mainly from avoiding costly campus services. Here are four that you should avoid.

1. College Debit Card

You might think that getting a college debit card is a great idea, especially since many schools can load your financial aid directly onto it. However, these cards are typically chock-full of fees, including swipe fees, usage fees, and inactivity fees. Plus, having all that student loan money on a piece of plastic is only going to tempt you to spend it unnecessarily. Your best bet is to get in on the latest checking account promotions or to open an account at a local bank that offers a fee-free debit card.

2. Errand Services

These services run the gamut. You might see signs in your dorm lobby for laundry pick-up, grocery shopping, or meal preparation and delivery. Don’t take the bait. College is tough, there’s no denying it, but if you don’t think you have enough time in the day to take care of these responsibilities yourself, try instituting some time management practices to free up the necessary time. When you’re studying, go to the library or another quiet area so you’re not interrupted. If you’re doing online research for a school project, stick to the matter at hand and avoid surfing the Internet or checking your social media accounts. Free up more time in your day and you can complete these errands on your own and save a bundle.

3. University Health Coverage

Because of the Affordable Care Act you can now stay on your parents’ health insurance plan until you reach the age of 26. Take advantage of that and opt out of campus-based health insurance. This is another unneeded expense and even if your parents ask you to pay for your portion of the coverage, it’s likely to be less than what you would pay through your school plan since many institutions have significantly raised premiums.

4. Dining Meal Plan

I was recently reading a college education website and one student commented that his food plan cost $1,325 for 100 meals. That’s $13.25 per meal. Be sure to run the numbers of a university meal plan before signing on the dotted line. You could save yourself hundreds by eating in your dorm room. Take advantage of cooking facilities and clip coupons to save money on your grocery trips.

You may believe some of these services are worth the cost, but don’t lose sight of how important it is to keep your expenses down while in school. Once you graduate and hopefully find work, you’re going to be responsible for personal budgeting. Save money any way you can during school and start paying your loans back as quickly as possible.

What campus services can you eliminate that are unnecessary?

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Online Scholarship Search

Filed under: College Life, Money/Budget, Tips - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Finding and applying for college scholarships and grants can be a lengthy and tiring process. Filling out applications, tracking down personal information, and writing essays can really take up a lot of time.

When I was a college student and looking to receive free aid, I would look for the easiest and quickest ways to do it. One of the best perks to using online applications is that unlike the resources your university usually gives out, they save a lot of time. Through a bit of searching, I found quite a few websites that ended up being some of my favorites:

1. Fastweb

On Fastweb, make an account with all your school info. The more blanks you fill in, the more scholarship applications you’ll be notified about. Most applications I found were a quick five or six question form and most did not require an essay!

2. Scholarships.com

This is another website you can make an account with and they will find the scholarships most fitted for you based on the information you supply. Then you can pick and choose what to apply for!

3. Scholarship Experts

As with the two above, the scholarships found are tailored to meet your qualifications. It is really easy to set up and to find quick and easy scholarships!

4. College Board

College Board publishes a book of scholarships and now has information available online. Their scholarship database has more than 2,300 scholarship opportunities so this is a great website to definitely look into.

5. CollegeNET

With CollegeNET, the winner of a scholarship is determined through voters. Also, students can participate in online communities where the student who is ‘most interesting’ in conversation by the end of the voting cycle every Wednesday, can win $3,000-$5,000 in scholarship money!

Scholarships are not easy to get, but at least you can make it easy on yourself to apply!

How do you find your scholarships?

 

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