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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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Making The Most Of Winter Break

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

This is my fifth winter break from college, and I’m prepared to make the most out of it. When I first started college, I didn’t value the break as much as I do now as a senior coming off of an 18 hour day semester. The main thing to remember is that this is your break, so do some things for you!

Here are a few suggestions for how you can make the most out of your winter break:

1. Spend Time With Family

I know this isn’t applicable to everyone because we don’t all live close to our family, but now that I’ve moved back to Texas, I’ve realized how important it truly is to spend as much time as possible with them. Life is incredibly short and semesters are incredibly long, so take some time to get some quality time in.

2. Have Some Alone Time

As important as it is to spend time with the people you love, I’m a big believer in spending time alone too. I frequently have “me” dates at the movies, or at a good dinner. Being alone to be peaceful with your thoughts and to do something you enjoy can be very calming (which we all can need at the end of a semester). This gives you time to regroup, recoup, and relax.

3. Do Some Reading

This has turned into a tradition of mine, and one that I cherish. Every year before winter break begins, I pick one novel that I’m going to read. I’m not a huge reader, so I set my goal realistically with just one book. It’s a great way to keep your brain active, and a great way to make sure you aren’t glued to the TV all break. This year my novel is Animal Farm (for the third time). This also allows me to remember the entertainment in reading, and not to just think of reading as “studying” or homework.

4. Volunteer

During the last four of my winter breaks, I have always gone and worked at the homeless shelter for a few days. This year, I will be working a lot so I figured out another way to give back to the community. I collected unwanted purses and backpacks from friends and family and filled them with essentials (toothbrush/paste, deodorant, snacks, etc.). I now keep them in my car to hand out to any homeless people I may see over the break!

These suggestions are just a few things that I like to do during my break. But, like I said, this is YOUR break. You have to figure out what you can do to make the most out of it because before you know it, we’ll be back in class.

What are you doing this winter break? Share with us in a comment below!

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Rejoice: Rewarding Yourself After Finals!

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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Serena Piper BookRenter Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Most college students right now are probably stressing out, studying crazy hours, drinking enormous amounts of caffeine, and losing precious time for sleep. Why? FINALS.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, finals may not be as stressful for you as it can be for other students. When I was attending school, the only classes I wasn’t worried about finals for were classes having to do with my major since the material came naturally. They were one less final to worry about, and one less thing to study. But for other classes, ones I wasn’t so naturally great at, I worried. I worried so much that when finals were finally over, I was mentally exhausted. The one thing I gave myself to look forward to for completing finals was to reward myself. And you should too when you’re done with finals!

Rewards, no matter how small, are a great source of motivation. You might be surprised at how efficient you can be if you have something to look forward to after completing a task. If you’ve worked hard, you deserve a break and to treat yourself!

Here are a few ways you can relax and reward yourself after finals:

1. Treat Yourself

Normally I’m not one to use food as a reward, but during finals week, I would reward myself with Caramel Apple Spices from Starbucks for each final I completed. Needless to say, my sweet tooth was happy! You can try frozen yogurt, ice cream with all your favorite toppings, or even just a juicy burger from a local diner.

2. Movie Marathon

Are there movies out in theaters you’re hoping to see? When finals are over, make a day of it and buy tickets to each one so you can see one right after the other! Bring along some friends to make it extra special.

3. Relax and Rejuvenate

The beach is one of my favorite places to unwind and relax. I find listening to the waves and feeling the sand between my toes really loosens me up if I’ve been feeling particularly stressed or stretched with work. Bring a journal or a book and some music, set up a blanket with a picnic, and relax for the afternoon. If the beach isn’t an option due to weather, then find another place you like to relax.

4. Retail Therapy

Who doesn’t secretly have something they’d like to splurge on? Whether it’s a pair of boots that cost a bit more than you’d normally spend, a flashy watch, or a cozy leather jacket – chances are if you walk through any store, you’ll find something that catches your eye. Or, during one of your study breaks, scan your favorite store online and pick out something you’ll really look forward to when it arrives.

5. Simple Works Too

If all else fails, your reward can simply be a cat nap and then waking up to a great book you’re dying to finish. Hey, we’re college students! Sleep holds its own value now too!

Good luck students on finals season! You will do great!

Share with us in a comment below how you reward yourself after completing finals.

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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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Fit-Feasting On Thanksgiving

Filed under: Food, Health & Fitness, Seasonal Celebrations, Tips - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

This time of the year is known as the time that ruins your diet. With the holidays, great meals, and colder weather – everyone seems to gain weight. Usually we don’t worry about gaining the weight until bikini body season. For the past couple of years, I’ve learned some tricks to staying as healthy as I can during Thanksgiving and this time of year so that afterwards I don’t feel sluggish and gross.

Here are some suggestions to how to stay healthy during Thanksgiving:

1. Family Fitness Activity

If you’re spending the holiday with family, like most of us do, the easiest way to get a “workout” in is to involve the whole family. For two years, my family and I have participated in the Turkey Trot 5K races the morning of Thanksgiving. If your town doesn’t offer something like that, then do a flag football or volleyball competition. Incorporate some sort of competition or game that gets the family going so you can burn some extra calories and make some holiday memories while doing it!

2. Cook Some Of The Meal

Talk to whoever is “in charge” of Thanksgiving and see what you can make yourself for the meal. I’ve already talked to my grandma about making a pie, and some side dishes this year. This puts you in control of the recipe, so you can use healthier options when cooking!

3. Smaller Plate Trick

So you don’t offend the cook, talk to them beforehand, but instead of using a big plate like everyone else, use a smaller plate. That way you will have a full plate, and smaller portions, so you trick yourself into thinking you’ve eaten a lot. This will help you to prevent all of that gluttonous overeating.

4. Commercial Break

My family watches football on Thanksgiving as a tradition. When there is a commercial break, I use it as an opportunity to get away from the TV and walk around. If you’re in a comfortable family setting, do jumping jacks or push-ups between commercials to get your blood flowing!

5. Don’t Discourage Yourself

Don’t be upset because you ate mash potatoes, or if you ate one too many cookies. IT HAPPENS! If you eat too many cookies, walk around the house and burn some extra calories. Don’t let this celebration with your family turn into you freaking out about calories all day.

Remember to enjoy yourself, and your family’s company. Don’t stress about calories all day, but be try to do some fit-feasting this Thanksgiving to help!

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