All Posts By

Kyle Latronico

Adulting Other

5 Items You Need For Your College Apartment

August 10, 2018

Congratulations, you survived the dorms! You’ll be surprised when you realize how attached you have become to the convenience of the dining hall, and the fact that your dorm was probably a quick walk away from all your classes. Sadly, all that is over and you’re going to need to cook now. And if you can’t figure out the best way to survive your lengthed commute to class, check out our comparison blog here. Now there are hundreds of articles on the web about all the junk that you can buy and use twice if you’re lucky. This post is designed to give you 5 items you will use on a weekly, if not daily basis.

Coffee Maker: Temptations are everywhere. Coffee shops surround your campus like moths to light. Everywhere you look, $7 cups of Joe are being sold, and if you don’t show restraint, you are going to blow your monthly food budget on one week of coffee. You can purchase a coffee maker off Amazon for fairly cheap, and the single cup coffee makers are a godsend for people who only drink one cup. Pro Tip: Keurig may have made this industry what it is, but you don’t have to pay their prices for the similar quality. Check out your local Target or home goods store for something off-brand, but still functional.

Basic Pots and Pans: You don’t need to go out and buy the $350 Gordon Ramsay collection, but you are going to need a few items. You may not know how to cook now, but over the course of the year, you will pick up at least a few recipes that you can make. Fry pan, saucepan, and baking sheet are the bare minimum. Pro Tip: Crock Pots can be extremely useful if you are committed to meal prep. Simply put the ingredients in, turn it on, and go to class. Come back, and you have dinner.

Vacuum Cleaner: At some point, you are going to have to clean up those crumbs from last week’s Hot Pocket. A vacuum may not be a fun purchase, but man, you will regret not buying one. A mop is a good idea too, but the vacuum is a necessity. Pro Tip: You don’t need to buy your parent’s PetMaster 3000, a small, lightweight model will do you just fine for your messy habits.

Basic Tools: For some of you this could be very foreign. “I will just call maintenance,” you say. Believe or not, they have better things to do than unscrew the shelf in your fridge so you can move it down a rung. Screwdriver (Phillips and Flathead), pliers, and a tape measure are all essentials for any living space. Pro Tip: You can find beginner kits all over the internet.

Dishes: Last, and most importantly, is basic dishware and cutlery. A few plates, bowls, and silverware will be in use at all times, so it is important you have some available. No matter how little you cook, at some point, you will need a spoon or a plate, and you can find sets of varying size and quality very easily. If you plan on doing any cooking whatsoever you will need a minimum 1 chefs knife and 1-2 steak knives. Pro Tip: A pair of kitchen scissors is very convenient, and chip clips are life savers.  

To wrap it up, there are a lot of things out there that will become a staple in your life, it will be different for everybody. But before you sink all your budget into money-grab products you saw on TV, consider how much you will actually use it. And don’t forget to cover your newly acquired items with the proper renter’s insurance through GradGuard! Would hate for all of those items to go to waste if you fill your apartment with smoke when you start to make your first Rachel Ray recipe. Get a free quote on our website today!

Adulting Other

The 5 Dorm Items You Absolutely Need.

August 3, 2018

This is it. This is the day you move out. Your mom might not be ready to be an empty-nester, and let’s face facts, you might have never done your own laundry before. Maybe you’ve never moved before either. You’ve lived in the same house, in the same town, and went to the same barber all your life. Well, finding a new barber is likely going to be the least of your worries when starting this new chapter. Moving to college for the first time can be a bit scary, but we have 5 things you absolutely need to survive in the dorms this year (Results may vary).

Laundry Hamper: This is a MUST. Sorry to say but having clothes strewn about your room is not a “fun quirk.” Also, have you ever tried to carry an armload of clothes to and from the laundry room without dropping more socks than you knew you had? Pro Tip: The mesh folding hampers made a great space saver and are easy to deal with.

Bedding: Chances are, your dorm room employs an extra long twin and unless you have an older sibling who went to college, you do not have those sheets with the extra length. Be sure to get a few sets and alternate them. Pro Tip: In a pinch, use queen, and just let the slack hang down.

Storage Containers: Whether your taste is a trunk, totes, or folding cardboard boxes, you will need to store all your misc. items that you couldn’t bear to part with but have no actual use. They are also good for storing extra clothes or books. Pro Tip: Plastic 3 drawer containers are also great for storing books, documents, and ramen.

Headphones: This one is very important. PSA: Your roommate may or may not want to listen to what you are listening to 24/7. The headphones are also great when you roommate is talking to their mom for the third time that week about every minor tragedy that’s happened. As much as you love hearing about how the dressing on their kale salad was too sweet, sometimes you need a break. Also great when it is 2am and your roommate is asleep, but you NEED to watch that next episode on Netflix. Pro Tip: Noise-canceling headphones are recommended for maximum success.

Cleaning Supplies: You would be shocked at how many people are totally fine living in filth. A few crumbs on the carpet is acceptable. A little iron and lime buildup around your sink and shower are ok. But when your toilet starts to darken in tint and develops a ring around the toilet bowl, it’s time to clean up. You also need to clean your floor occasionally, and, sadly, the trash fairy is never coming; take it out instead of stacking everything to create the next great modern art piece. It won’t be so bad if you stay on top of it. Pro Tip: All-purpose cleaner will solve the majority of your cleaning problems, make sure you have a bottle (or three).

We hope this list makes packing for school a little easier! Along with these essential dorm room items, be sure that you have the essential renters insurance! GradGuard protects your items in and out of the dorm room. With the new year approaching be sure you are prepared and cover all of your bases. Let us know your dorm necessities in the comments below.

Other Transition

4 Ways To Get Involved Your Freshman Year

July 21, 2018

If you have ever been to a major college campus during the school year you know it’s a buzzing place. The sheer amount of people going around, with their own schedule and agenda, can be a little overwhelming. Your first day will consist of you clutching your campus map trying figure out the location of Science Building D. Upperclassmen scoff as you spin around in circles trying to locate which direction is north. Your first few days on campus can be kind of a crash course, especially if you are new to the area. One of the best ways to become acclimated to college life is to fully immerse yourself in the experience. Jump in the deep end, and become completely involved in your campus community. We are here with 4 ways to get you out of that extra long twin and into university life.

Join Greek Life: It might seem unappealing at first, but rushing a fraternity or sorority can be the fastest way to make friends, and find a group of people to belong to. Many Greek life organizations are connected at the national level and can provide a connection for you when trying to apply for your first job out of college. Just make sure that your fraternity or sorority is enhancing your college experience, not is your college experience.

Play Intramurals: Playing sports just for fun can be extremely beneficial to you in more ways than one. You will be playing games with like-minded individuals that inspire both competitiveness and teamwork. The friends you discover playing on a team can be some of the best you will make, and blowing off some steam on a Tuesday night sure beats that sad pizza day your RA threw.

Join Clubs or Church Groups: There will probably be hundreds of clubs at your school varying from student-run chess clubs, to nationwide competitive trivia groups. You never know what you will find going around your campus, but most have a database of all the activities you can join. Many students will also become involved in church or religious groups, where they can celebrate their beliefs together or discuss the texts amongst one another. Any way you want to do it, you are sure to find some of your interests being celebrated around you.

Be Open Minded: You never know what sort of activities will take place on your campus. From concerts and political rallies to festivals and fairs; you will find your campus is humming with life, and you need only tap into it to change your daily routine. Check out the paintings they are displaying, and talk to the artists about why or how they got started. Walk through the world culture festival, listen to the music, and sample the food. As long as you are willing, your college campus can be one of the most interesting places you will ever be on.

It isn’t easy starting over in a place where you don’t know anyone, but that is the situation for a lot of out-of-state college students. Getting involved in the hive that is a college campus can seem daunting at first, but with these 4 tips, GradGuard is here to save the day.

Other Student Life

Ultimate Campus Commuter: Legs, Lance, or Longboard?

July 13, 2018

College campuses can seem like cities when you are walking across them with the sun beating on your back, or the icy air finding the gap in your layers. You think to yourself, “there has got to be a better way.” Well, you are correct, this innovative product from Ancient Mesopotamia is called the “wheel” and it is here to rescue you from 30-minute walks to class. Now, some people still stand by the leg (origins unknown) as the ultimate campus transportation. Today we will discuss what is the best way to get around campus; walking, biking, or boarding. Some people will use a scooter, but they are the flat-earthers of the university commute debate.

Legs: This method should require little introduction, chances are you have been walking for a little while now, though I tell you, the freshmen look younger every year. Walking is by far the slowest mode of transportation on this list, but it is also the safest. 99% of you will probably be able to get from one end of the campus to the other without hurting yourself, but we all have that one friend. This may be the most tedious method on the list, but how else are you going to tell your kids you walked to school 4 miles, in the snow, uphill both ways, while barefoot. Though this might make your commute longer, it is a great time to catch up on your favorite podcast or audiobook.

Lance: This method is most likely going to be the fastest on this list. You will be able to ride in the bike lanes on the roads, as well speed past the Leg Truthers. The quick turning ability, accessible learning curve (no rules against training wheels), and smooth ride make the bike a very enticing option for campus commuters of all kinds. However, there are plenty of drawbacks to this two-wheeled chariot. You can only go where there are bike racks. Bolt it to fences and lampposts all you want, but don’t be shocked when you come back and it is gone; you parked it illegally. The final drawback is how common bike theft is on campus. If you plan on biking all four years you will want to buy several bikes or purchase a renters insurance policy from GradGuard. That will help you in the likely event it is stolen while you’re taking a test.

Longboard: This is by far the most iconic college mode.  Well, the longboard has blown up, and you can even use it in Minnesota before the frost hits. By far, the hardest to learn of the three, you will struggle to get up and running on the board, but it is well worth it once you are used to it. It’s light, quick, and somewhat agile.  You can bail from it at any second, something you will be doing when you remember it has no brakes. Most professors won’t say anything if you bring it to your desk, eliminating most cases of theft. Just be aware of where you boarding; you will feel every crack in the sidewalk. As fly as you may look, resist the temptation to smolder at that cute classmate because there is no recovering from eating concrete as you run over a rock. You’ll end up running away as fast as you can; pride in ruins.

There are pros and cons to every mode. Each person will value different aspects more than others. Longboards seem to have the best combination for most college students but require the most skill. Whatever you choose, stay safe out there, watch out for Mustangs, and of course be sure you have the proper liability and property coverage through GradGuard.

Health Other

4 Tips to Help You Excel at Adulting

June 12, 2018

Congratulations, you have graduated from high school! You’ve unlocked the entry-level door to adulthood; the one where you owe money to everyone, everywhere. In high school, your bank statement would be littered with charges such as McDonald’s and Forever 21. Nowadays, those charges are scarce and replaced by the responsibility of rent and tuition. Regardless, life comes at you fast.  The anxieties of trying to stay afloat on all of these new responsibilities may have you nostalgic for the drudgery of 2nd-period English. Not to worry; we are here with 4 tips on how to excel at adulting in college.

Keep track of fixed costs: Now you might say, “What even is a fixed cost?” It is a cost that will not change: i.e. rent. You will pay the same amount of rent every month unless there are changes made to your leasing agreement. Chances are, for bills like these, you have them set up on auto-pay. Just because you have auto-pay set up does not mean the payment is out of sight, out of mind. It is recommended that you have a physical list or spreadsheet of all the charges you know are inevitable to ensure you have funds in your checking account. If you don’t, your account may be over-drafted, which can result in monetary consequences. This would certainly put a damper on your weekly pizza budget. So, manage your bills, and it will save you some major headaches.

Limit your variable costs: You can probably guess what variable costs are based on context clues. Variable costs are things you pay for that often fluctuate. Examples include groceries and your utility bill (unless you pay flat rate). In terms of your budget, simply to limit where you can. Don’t leave lights on when you leave, limit your unnecessary purchases, and save money by budgeting your groceries

Learn how to say no: College is a wonderful time of your life. A lot of freedom will be thrown at you fast and you should have fun exploring the new waters. However, there will come a time when your feet don’t touch the ground anymore and you become uncomfortable with the way a situation is panning out. College peer pressures differ from those in high school. It’s important to stand your ground; especially when managing money is involved. Don’t let things get taken out of your hands as your true friends will understand.

Don’t be afraid to seek help: Believe it or not, nobody comes out of the womb with all the life skills they will ever need; they are acquired over time. Just because you are trying to be your own adult does not mean you figure everything out yourself. Any pride you may lose by calling up your parents for the 10th time that week will be surpassed by the relief of doing it right. However, be sure that you retain the skills you are taught. Don’t call your Dad every time the battery dies in the smoke detector. You should be actively trying to become independent.

Next time you’re looking around your parent or guardian’s house wondering how you will manage without them, remember these tips to excel at #adulting, and don’t forget to do the adult thing and purchase GradGuard Renters Insurance! You will impress your parents or guardians with your proactive decision. Taking life into your own hands means taking the proper precautions while at college. Learn more about GradGuard’s Renter’s Insurance today by visiting our website!

Health Other

5 Tips For Buying Groceries On a College Budget

May 25, 2018

We all know college is a very busy time of your life. You are balancing classes, jobs, family, extracurricular activities, and for those who have time for it, a social life. Believe it or not, in the midst of all this you do have to eat, or you won’t even make it to that practice exam for calculus. As tempting as that might seem during exam week, eating, and by nature, grocery shopping is a skill you will need to achieve that elusive degree. That is, unless you commute from home and the smell of your mom’s lasagna is wafting into the room right now.  In which case, bookmark this page, and come back once you leave the nest. Regardless, grocery shopping on a college budget can be tough, as most of us know eating at home is more cost-effective and a lot healthier than eating out all the time, so we are here with 5 tips to help you shop like a pro!

Buy produce in season: This is undoubtedly something you have heard countless times, but who really knows the harvest calendar? You can see what produce is in season by visiting websites like the USDA Seasonal Produce Guide and the Seasonal Food Guide to keep you in the know. This will help you keep fresh foods in your fridge at great prices.

Pay attention to sale ads: Grocery stores have one goal in making these ads: to get you into the store. Their thought process is if you go to the store for one thing, you will come out with five. If you have ever gone grocery shopping while hungry (don’t do it), you know this is true. Stores will place some of their sale prices to a point where they know they are losing money on it so you will go in and buy other items. The app Flipp uses your location to find the ads in your area and shows all of them to you. So the next time your pantry is running a little low, check out the ad deals in your college town.

Check out the day-olds: Grocery stores can only keep baked goods on the shelf for so long before they cannot be sold. As they near that date, the store will place them on a separate shelf with a discounted price to sell them before they must be tossed. In no way does this mean they aren’t suitable for consumption. Loaves of bread will probably be good for another 3-5 days after they’re purchased or they can be frozen and saved for a later date. Often times grocery stores will also combine produce in bulk bags for a quick sale on items that are bruising or nearing their expiration date. Consider this another solid opportunity to cut costs while attending college. 

Use coupons: Coupons are a great way to save money on most of your staple goods and maybe some stuff you don’t need, but really want. Websites like The Krazy Coupon Lady and SmartSource are great tools to print coupons, and most stores will allow you to load certain coupons onto your store card.

Learn your stores: This comes with time, especially if you are in a new college town, but definitely pays off in the end. Some stores tend to have better pricing on certain items than the rest. You will figure out where to get your meat (or veggie burgers), where the best deals on produce will be, and where to buy your staple items. Just explore your area and find out what stores work the best for you. 

We hope these tips will help you come in under budget because we know those potato chips will come in handy when you are stress eating for that calculus exam. Happy Hunting!

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